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TaiWander 🇹🇼

 

Thinking of which country to go for on your next vacay? Let Taiwan be the one 🙂Image may contain: one or more people, sky, skyscraper and outdoor

Taiwan is one of our neighbor countries in Asia. It’s actually directly on top of the Philippines. I believe that you should include this on your bucketlist as well (haha, “bucketlist” seems to be an overused term nowadays), especially now that they’re going to be visa-free soon. It is very convenient to go here, even if you are a first-timer in travelling abroad.

If you have limited time, make sure you choose in advance the places you want to go. Try to squeeze in the attractions that are near from each other. Many tourist destinations are very accessible via MRT, and the stations are even conveniently named after them. You will really enjoy the different trips that Taiwan may offer – may it be nature trip, food trip or a shopping trip.  Its currency New Taiwan Dollar has almost the same but a little higher rate than Philippine peso, so it is relatively cheap compared to others (Especially if you usually convert Philippine peso before buying like me. Sorry but I can afford trips because I am a budgetarian. For this trip, however, my mom will treat me. LOL. Yehey!!!!! Thanks mom! haha).

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The Taoyuan Airport

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Welcome to Taiwan, Republic of China :))

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When we visited the country, It was already the rainy season. I prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain so we could push through with everything in our 3-day itinerary. I was with my mom, dad and bro. When I planned the itinerary several nights before, I had to consider my mom who was not used to walking a lot, and  my dad who might get “agit” if ever I’d suck big time in navigating. LOL!!! But seriously, that was the most challenging part (but you know, I was able to make them hike the elephant mountain trail! hahahaha..That is like a great achievement for me). They managed to move fast enough so we were able to maximize the time (Clap!Clap!).

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This was at around 2-3am. We just arrived in Ximending. I thought it was that busy of a place that it didn’t sleep anymore. haha

 

XIMENDING

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These pictures that I posted were in Ximending, which is best known for its shopping and foodtrip spots in Taipei, and definitely a must-visit. This was where we stayed. It actually looked like a mini Times Square. (well, for this particular blogpost, I will focus on Ximending). BTW, it is a 40-hr drive from Taoyuan airport.

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Hahaha.. Of course, I didn’t call. Who else would I be talking to? Photo ops only! LOL

 

At night.

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look at that! A performer…. I believe he tried to talk to me, but I turned away. I am not a snob.. too bad i could not understand what he was saying.

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DIARY OF TAIPEI WANGUO

It is located in Hanzhoung st in Ximending. We chose this because of its proximity from  MRT Ximen station exit 6. It’s easily seen because it is just beside Ximen Uniqlo and it has the same building as the Cinema.

We booked this standard quadruple room in Agoda and it cost us around 3000php  for 4 persons per night (10k for 3 nights). The staff, especially the hotel receptionist, were accommodating and very helpful. They changed the linens and provided new towels everyday. They also gave us bottles of water, free coffee and tea. The facilities were clean. We also had free breakfast from KFC. They will give you coupons in the AM and you can get it there directly. They also allowed us to leave our baggage on our last day. Overall, the experience there was good.

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With our very kind receptionist, Roach. He helped us book slots in Starbucks of Taipei 101,35th floor. The highest starbucks. (Read more. )


COMMUNICATION

We no longer bought a sim card to use. I think it would be wiser if you just rented a 4G pocket wi-fi. You can rent it from the airport or from your hotel. As for us, we got the one from our hotel. Its rate is NT$150/day. That is what we use for our communication there. It can accommodate 5-8 gadgets. You can also avail from klook, that was our first option but we decided to get from the hotel 🙂 Their internet is fast there (just in case you are wondering).


TRANSPORTATION

It is fast and easy to roam around Taipei with their MRT. It operates from 6:00 to 24:00. You just need to get a map, learn to switch to different train lines, and know which exit you are going to. The lines are also color coded with English translation Labels. You won’t get lost. If you are lost, you can just ask the officer roaming around and they will guide you. If there is none nearby, you can ask a local about it. Prepare your feet for a lot of walking. As for us, we just rode the MRT. We got an easy card, which is very convenient, and loaded it with 300 for the first time. BTW, The minimum load is NT$100.

If you are going to take the bus, just know which particular route numbers to take. Sometimes, taking taxi cabs can be more convenient or wiser depending on how many people are you in your group and your situation.

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We are with dad. We couln’t be wrong. haha

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TRA in Reifung Station

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For “Aura” purposes only. No,we didn’t have any destination that requires us to ride HSR.


LANGUAGE

If there is one thing that you need to be concerned of when travelling elsewhere, it is verbal communication. You wouldn’t need to worry about getting lost as long as you know how to ask for directions. Before going to Taiwan, I was able to ask some of my friends who had been there before, and they said that Taiwanese people do not really speak English very well.

When I finally arrived in Taiwan, I was surprised to know that most really did not know how to use or had a hard time with the english language. Most of them spoke Chinese

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Most signboards are written in Chinese Characters. Good thing there are also English translations in some places. And only those who are in the tourism-related jobs knows how to speak english.

As a solution, I submitted myself into a “crash course” of Chinese Mandarin while I was there. I just searched for the basics online. And just so you know, it’s not as easy as it sounds, because Chinese is a tonal language. A different tone may mean differently. So even though I read it correctly, they still couldn’t understand some of the words that I said. I hope that they appreciated my effort for trying hard though! LOL! hahaha… If you can’t relay the message, show them pics of where you want to go. Downloading google translate and Chinese mandarin app are also helpful. You can let that speak for you.

But you know what, even if there was the language barrier, I could say that most of the people I asked were willing to help. They are friendly peeps who were so willing to assist us. After the trip, I found this very good channel on Youtube – Seemile . Ohhh, If only I had known this before. So, If you still have time, try to learn the basics.


FOOD AND SHOPPING

There are plenty of street-foods to try. Make sure you allot money for this. Haha! You can also try Din tai fung, which is one of the famous restos out there and is known for their xiao long bao. We were not able to go there anymore though (sorry, I am not really a fan, so it was a little fine with me). As for shopping, you can go to Ximending. There are plenty of night markets in Taipei, such as Raohe and Shilin night market and

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MONEY MATTERS

We changed our money while still in Taoyuan airport. Here’s our estimated expenditure.

Estimated expenditure: (some of it,I rounded off)

Lodging (quad standard room for 4) = Php10,500

International Travel Fee = Php1,620 x 4 = Php6,480

Air Fare RT = Php3,500 each x 4= Php14,000

Transpo (easy card) = NT$400/pax x 4 = NT$1,600 = (Php2,560)

Transport from airport taxi(RT) = NT$ 2,000 = (Php3,200)

Yehliu Entrance= NT$80 each x 4 = NT$320 = (Php512)

Wifi 4G = NT$150/day x 2days = NT$300 (Php 480)

Starbucks (minimum charge in taipei101) = NT$200 x 4 = NT$800 (Php 1,280)

Taxi(chartered travel:Yehliu,shifen,jiufen)=NT$2800=(Php 4480)

Pocket Money/Shop and Food(depends on you 🙂

Total: Php43,492 divided by 4 = Php10,873. More or less 10k per person for this trip:))(TAKE NOT,THIS AMOUNT INCLUDES AIRFARE.So it depends on how “Abangers” you are for seat sale tix.)

Without airfare: 43,492-14,000 (airfare)=PHP29,492 for 4person or PHP7,373/pax


 

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Familiarizing Taipei Metro Map

We spent more than half of our day in Ximending before we hit our itinerary. We waited for the temperature to cool down a bit so that it would not be so hot. Funny thing was that when the time came that it was not too hot anymore, I worried that it would start to rain. So we hurried to go to the Taipei Main Zoo station, where the Maokong gondola was. The operations of Maokong gondola was weather-dependent, so pray that it won’t rain or that it won’t be windy. I have to say that during our whole trip in Taiwan, we did not experience rainfall until the last day. Probably, Taiwan is sad that we were leaving.

Day 0

8pm Airport

11:15pm ETD Taiwan (1 hr & 45 min)

Day 1

1:00am ETA Taiwan

2:00pm Check in Ximending/Diary of taipei hostel

7:00am  wake up/Prep

8:00am  breakfast KFC(free coupons from accom)

10:00 Roam around ximending/Temple/Personal agenda

1:00pm Lunch at Ximending

3:00pm Visit Maokong Gondola

4:30pm Visit Maokong Station/Foodtrip

6:00pm Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

7:30pm Shilin Night Market

11pm Back to accomodation


MAOKONG GONDOLA/STATION/TAIPEI ZOO

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CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL HALL

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SHILIN NIGHT MARKET

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To continue reading our Day 1 in taiwan, click here.


Other Experiences/Places in Ximending

Taipei Tianhou Temple/Ximending Mazu Temple

While walking along the streets of Wanhou, we noticed this temple. It may go unnoticed for the tourists because it’s between two shops. People may think that Ximending is all about shops and so, but they can actually visit this small but beautiful temple.

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Since this is our nest in Taiwan,we still go out and walk at night after our day tour. (as in Super sinusulit ang place. Hahaha)

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Being on the medical field, this digistamps or “trodat” booth caught my attention! hahaha. These are so cute :))

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Mango Shaved Ice

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with Taro Balls(NT$100)

Taiwan Castella

This tasted sooo good. At closing hours, they usually sold 2 pieces for the price of 1. So upon returning to Ximending, we went to other places first, only to know that it was already sold out when we returned. HUHUHU The Regret!!

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Lunch

(Chinese name… so I forgot:( but it’s above this famous food stall)

We want to try Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle/ A Zong Mian Xian, well known for serving the best meesua in Taipei.  They had no seats so we chose to go to the restaurant upstairs. We were told that it was nice there as well.

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TAIPEI CITY HOSPITAL

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Taipei City Hospital

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I saw this sign here. Might help someone out there..Hahaha!!!

The streets are mainly used for pedestrians, so there is a designated parking area in the heart of Ximending–the Emei Parking lot. It’s in front of this hospital. So you know where to go just in case something happens.

Modern Toilet – We probably came very early so it was still closed when we passed by. My parents are not very cool with this though. Haha Rap and I would have loved to try.

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Eslite bookstore/LAttea

This is near the Emei Parking lot. It was so refreshing to find this kind of bookstore here in the midst of all the RTW clothes, food stalls, etc.

I actually bought one book about human figures. It was written in chinese though. But hey, I’m for the illustrations. I should have bought the watercolor art book as well. Hahaha.. I think the prices are not that expensive if compared here. (What do you think?). There were also lots of cute stuff to be found.

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Lattea is found inside eslite. we ordered the tea with cream cheese on top.

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STARBUCKS – very cozy place to study. I wish we have this in Ph. Very spacious and there were lots of seats.Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor

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This is in 711..haha..For Shinichi kudo’s and Ran’s fans, you might want to hang out here. Lol.

 

D M-Beef Noodles

(checking google:I think it is No. 97號, Section 1, Hangzhou South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100) It was recommended to us by a friend so we gave it a try.  It was just so perfect for the cold weather 🙂 BTW, it is said to be the home of one of the best Taiwanese beef noodles. haha It was delicious, even the appetizers are also good. (Last foodtrip in Taiwan, as I’ve told you it rained during our last day).

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Click here for more info about our trip:

Day 1- This blog and Taiwander2:Maokong,CKS memorial hall,Shilin

Day2-  Northcoast tour: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen and Jiufen

Day 3- Taipei101/Starbucks 35th flr ,  Elephant mountain

 

For you to visualize the destinations, I included here the map for you to see

click here.

DAY 2

7am wake up

8am breakfast

9:15am MRT to taipei main station

9:54am TRA to Reifung stn(9:54am 40mins)

11:00 eta reifung

11:30am etd yehliu geopark(40mins)

1pm

2:30-3:30pm Shifen waterfalls

3:30-4:30pm Shifen old street/flying lantern

5pm-7pmJiufen

7:25pm ETD Reifung stn to taipei Main Streer

11pm Ximending

 

DAY 3

7:30 am wake up/prep for early checkout (checkout is 12nn)

8:00am-10am breakfast

11:00 Starbucks 35th floor/ taipei 101

1:30am Elephant mountain

3:20 end of hike / Shongshan temple

4:30 back to ximending/ Tidy up

6:00-8pm M Beef Noodle soup

8-10pm Eslite bookstore/Lattea

10:00 ETD to Taoyuan Airport

11pm ETA Taoyuan Airport

1:15 ETD to Manila

3:30 ETA in Manila

Comment below if you want a printable file.:)

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TaiWander2:Maokong, CKS memorial hall, Shilin

Ni hao!!I still can’t get over about being a TaiWanderer so I would continue my blog here.LOL. By this time,you have probably read the 1st part of my Taiwander blog. Well if not it is just fine, you can go back here. We spent most of our day in Ximending but you can adjust your time depending on your own iti.

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Day 1

1:00am ETA Taiwan

2:00pm Check in Ximending/Diary of taipei hostel

7:00am  wake up/Prep

8:00am  breakfast KFC/

10:00 Roam around ximending/Temple/Personal agenda

1:00pm Lunch at Ximending

3:00pm Visit Maokong gondola

4:30pm Visit  Maokong station/Foodtrip

6:00pm Chiang kai chek memorial hall

7:30pm Shilin night market

11pm Back to hostel


MAOKONG GONDOLA/STATION/TAIPEI ZOO

How to get here:

1.From ximending, ride blue line up to Zhongxiao Fuxing stn.

2. Swith to brown/Wenhu line.Alight at taipei zoo station. You can walk from there. You won’t be lost,you can see it from there.Believe me.

We just used the easy card here,it is very convenient.I think it costs us NT$120/pax. You can do round trips via but we decided to get one way only. Maokong Gondola is until 5. Pray that the weather will be fine so they can fully operate the cable cars.

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We no longer included Taipei zoo in our iti.We just prioritize going to gondola because the weather is just fine for it. It depends on you if you want to do both because these two attractions are just near from each other. From the taipei zoo station, you can already see maokong Gondola station.

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We no longer bought our tickets here since we are using our easy cards which we bought from Ximen station.Thank God there are no long queues.

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There are few stations between Maokong station and Taipei Main zoo. We thought the travel time was just fast and the personnel will be asking us to go down in every station we were stopping. But as it turns out, they just said hello and we continued the ride. We were able to take pictures and enjoy the view at the same time.It takes about 30mins.

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Take the crystal cabin with transparent floor for better experience. This will also test the courage of those who have fear of heights.Imagine how we manage to do some pictorials without photobomber in this small space.haha

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The view was spectacular.You can see the city side as well as the mountainside.Very relaxing.BTW, the brochure says it is closed during mondays for maintenance.So it is open from Tues to Sundays,starting at 8:30 or 9.Max number of people in crystal cabin is 5, and standard is 8.

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It is Taipei’s first high-altitude gondola.

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This how Maokong station looks like.Very nice view of the Maokong Mt.

 


MAOKONG STATION

Maokong,which means No cat,is known locally grown tea and its scenic spots.

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There are different street foods.As for us we just tasted their match ice cream(The one that has an edible cat on it).I think  it is around NT$80. Once you are done with this place, you can return to the taipei zoo main station via taxi.They are easily seen. we are actually standing the taxi bay. The rate is standard and it costs $75/pax. And I didn’t know they could include a joiner there. I mean, we took the same ride with another tourist.

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I felt a little dizzy when we went downhill because the taxi which we rode on smelled like cigarette fumes. This ride takes around 30mins. So, just in case you’ll be taking a cab, try to sniff in first if you can tolerate it. Haha!Of course,we would not want to spoil the rest of our iti just because we don’t feel good anymore.(Sad face!like huhuhubells)



CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL HALL

How to get here:

1.From taipei zoo stn(brown line),alight at Daan stn.

2.Switch to red line until yo reach Chiang kai shek memorial hall station. Go to exit 5.

You can’t say you have visited Taiwan if you have not seen this historical landmark. This was built in memory of Chiang Kai Shek, a former president of Republic of China(ROC). (Just in case you are wondering, ROC is Taiwan; and People’s Republic of China is China)haha.I’d rather not say anything about their politics:))

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looks like a hat:)

If you wish to know more, click here to view their site.

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We might not be able to witness the changing of guards because it is until 4;but, we saw the flag lowering ceremony which is usually done at 5:10pm”At least,may ganap”Haha

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This is surrounded by a park,  Liberty Square on its East. On its north and south are the National Theater and National Concert Hall.

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Also,we saw the place lighted up.:)I usually have end-of-the-day anxiety but this brighten my mood:))weeee!!!Winner!Wuhoo.LOL!

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Winner pic to.I like it.I almost kissed the ground while taking it.LOL!!haha


SHILIN NIGHT MARKET

How to get here:

From Chiang Kai shek memorial hall, take the MRT at red line.Alight at Jiantan station(not shilin).You can see it across the street. If there is more time(you can prolly squeeze in some minutes to visit the National palace museum in Shilin stn before proceeding here.) I’ll reserve that for next taiwan adv(God willing:),So help me God!)

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The facade.

You still need to walk before you get here. Don’t worry !When you alight at Jiantan station, you will see some food stalls and shops immediately across the street.You won’t get lost.Plus, You won’t get bored because of the amusing view of people eating street foods and the mere sight of the street food starts at that corner of the street.

There are so many things that attracts the eye-from food to souvenirs as well as mini amusing games.

This looks easy but no!hahaha

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This is the road I am talking about.You have to walk through this before you reach Shilin Night Market. It is just near.

 

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This is one of the sweetest fresh orange juice I have tasted so far. Certified thirst quencher. The girl vendor was so sweet and jolly. She also gave us lots of free taste. You can choose between sour and sweet.(NT$55 or 70(?)

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Probably, we got really thirsty from the all day walking so we were enticed easily by these colorful,sweet and juicy fruits.This picture below is a pork strip/sheet. It somehow tastes like tapa for me(?),thinner and dried tapa:)Get the idea?Tell me if we have same thoughts once you tasted it.hahaha

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Foodie

Even in Manila, we like eating shaved ice so imagine our delight when we found this. (BTW,Have you tried the Baobing in Caution hot and snow creme in maginhawa? )Well, here we have found their relatives.We tried the mulberry and the one with pudding.

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Foodie

This is the Potato prince cheese. Imagine the long queues I had to endure for this.HAha I almost did not want to buy anymore but I was like, “No, I could not miss this!!”

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Blowtorched steak-looks so appetizing but we did not eat this anymore.

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This we have tried. NT$100 for scallops and NT$150 for the oyster.It is also blowtorched.It is cheesy.Haha

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Tired feet but with happy tummy:))

I heard the following are also must-try’s: Stinky tofu, squid-whatever-on-a-stick, sausage.Taiwanese meatballs (We feel full. LOL(How ironic. Prolly because of the great amount of fluid we took in)



 

Click here for more info about our trip:

Day1:  TaiWander 🇹🇼TaiWander2:Maokong, CKS memorial hall, Shilin

Day2-  Northcoast tour: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen and Jiufen

Day 3- Taipei101/Starbucks 35th flr ,  Elephant mountain

 

Comment below if you want the printable iti.

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TaiWander: Jiufen Old street

 

Jiufen old street

Jiufen

 

If there are things I can relate Jiufen old street to, those are wholesome gastronomic experience, overlooking sceneries and red round lanterns. It is said that the  film, Spirited away, based its location in this place. Read more about that similarities here:  Spirited away.  And I could say that just like Chihiro’s parents, i was enticed by the delicious variety of food offered within its streets. For the whole two hours that we spent there, I could say that it was short but sweet. This was our last stop for our Northern Taiwan tour for our second day. Good thing I was able to see it in daylight and nightime.

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This is the entrance. .Haha.I could sense that the placement of 7-11 beside the entrance is very strategic.Imagine everyone who will be taking a photo there. Ah!very good advertisement…haha. From that entrance, Food sellers are already giving some taste samplers. They will not hesitate to give you some more if you would ask.

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Aside from the food, some stores are also selling souvenirs and various items.

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Wines

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Raprap,my brother, was starting to buy some peanut-rolled ice cream.It was cold and tasty.You can taste the peanuts. It is like lumpiang shanghai or burrito ice cream with crushed peanuts.

Busy narrow streets. Sometimes there will be slow traffic as the tourists stops in front of a store or food stall to check or buy on something.

Food everywhere

Here are some of the food I have tasted and seen. I may not remember all their names but I remember more what they looked like. The reason why I placed this food section of this blog is that I want you to experience how I felt when I was walking the narrow streets of Jiufen. (Super takaw-tikim everywhere)I did not taste everything though.I just pick those that is visually pleasing and tasty for me. Haha. But Please don’t get tired scrolling I still have some stories to tell you below.

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Vermicelli noodles,dumplings

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Rice cake

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Jiufen

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tea

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Look at me.I did not know which food stall to go.hahaha

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I remember that I almost got my stomach full just by passing by the free taste.HAHA!!!I was not able to take pics of the others though.(If I did took pics of all the food that  saw, then this blog would have been longer.HAha)

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Because we got tired from this all-day walking, we decided to eat our dinner.We actually had a hard time looking for a place to eat since there are many restaurants to choose from. However, this resto got our attention because it looks so clean and bright. The prices are also very affordable. You know we are not that hungry because we could find something to munch on with all these street food and taste samplers.  They just wanted to eat and sit. Good enough for a hungry stomach and tired legs.

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Jiufen

 

When you continue walking straight, you will reach this place.Many people are here to take photos and see the overlooking view from Jiufen.

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You can continue walking there. But as for us, we stopped here to take breathtaking photos of the view and looked for the famous century-old tea house

Jiufen old street

Jiufen old street

My heart was captivated by this view.

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Jiufen old street


A Mei Tea house

We asked the nearby store where this is.This got me so curious that I want to see it for myself. This is said to be the inspiration of the bath house in Spirited away. Plus, This is seen in one of the post cards in Taiwan and if you happen to visit this particular place this is the one you shouldn’t miss.

Jiufen old street

Jiufen old street

You know, this place where I was posing?It was narrowed by people wanted to take a pic of them with the teahouse. It is almost impossible to take a picture without photobombers. So expect that you need to have a good timing to take good pictures  or if you can snap asap.

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This is the entrance.

Jiufen old street

Jiufen old street

We no longer went inside because we still wanted to roam in the old street.Plus,there were so many tourists inside that time.

 

Jiufen old street

Also, funny thing was, this bay or area where we took this pic happened to be a staircase that leads to another tea house.That teahouse’s staircase was full of tourist wanting to take pictures of the A-mei tea house.

 

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Jiufen

Jiufen old street

 

Jiufen old street


SHENGPING THEATRE

When you go down further you will see this Shengping theatre, which is a landmark at Qingbian Road. This was actually built during the Japanese occupation.

Jiufen old street

After we saw this as we go down, we returned immediately because we wanted to go back to the grape seed juice stall.(I’ll tell it to you in a while)


A TUNNEL OR A PORTAL?

So this place was originally a gold mining area.It is not so surprising to see small tunnels just like this one. This is actually near A-mei tea house.Would you dare entering this one?

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Jiufen old street

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Jiufen old street

https://web.facebook.com/reezlie/videos/10209318354183795/

It looks a little creepy. So we did not go inside at first. But curiosity hits us and we continued walking. We ended up in a place like this.It is actually more tranquil place.Like literally it offers a place to breathe away from the crowded streets. There was no one there at that time so just took pics and left immediately.

 

Jiufen old street

Jiufen

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, mountain, sky, tree, outdoor and natureIn spirited away, there was also a tunnel but that one is a portal to the magical world.And that is how the story started.


The View

If you follow the path from the entrance and walk straight, you will see the view in the pics below. Jiufen is located in a mountainous area in the Ruifung district in the Northeastern part of Taiwan. So it is nearer from the Reifung station of TRA. It has some Baguio(Philippines) or Santorini(Greece) vibes because of the strategic placement of houses and establishments. Up there, it offers the stunning view of the pacific ocean.

Jiufen old street

Jiufen old street

Jiufen old street

BTW, look what I have found at Guidetotaipei.com. Jiufen is “Founded during the Qing Dynasty, this small town was a relatively isolated village until the discovery of gold during the Japanese occupation in 1893, quickly developing the town due to a gold rush. Many buildings in the town remain unchanged to this day, reflecting the Japanese influence on both architecture and culture on the island. During World War II, the town housed a Japanese prisoner of war camp where captured Allied Force soldiers (mainly British) were forced to work in the gold mines. After the war, gold mining activities declined, and the town today exists mainly as a tourist destination remembering and celebrating Taiwanese history and culture.”read More


Before we leave

We really returned in this stall before we left. We bought this grape seed concentrate from Ms. Precious. I am telling you, you should really try this one. She gives a lot of taste samplers. You would definitely want for more.

Jiufen old street

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TIME

I think the best time to go here is around afternoon until the sunset. You will see the red lanterns light up:).We stayed here until 7pm. It was not that dark yet.But the stores at this hour already starts to close.

Jiufen old street

Jiufen

Just before we finally leave the place our driver, Mr. Bingo Chen, asked us if we want to take a picture in this area or stay for a few minutes to appreciate the view. Look at that those are very nice to look at. Glad we just hailed a taxi for this trip. Buses don’t stop in this place.

Jiufen

Jiufen old street

https://web.facebook.com/reezlie/videos/10209318370024191/


Overall:

I do not know if it is just the resemblance of the film’s location, Spirited Away, to Jiufen. But I could say that it already had made a mark in heart. My brother was a little disappointed though because he expected the place to be so similar with that movie. You know, “No face” can be seen everywhere as key chain or stuffed toy.It was fun walking through that tunnel only to find out a different set up on the other side. It was a quieter place.It is like you can get lost and avoid the crowd in an instant. Probably there is more to see in Taiwan, but I encourage everyone to visit this place.

How to get here:

-You can ride the MRT and alight at  Songshan station.Then,take the take the Keelung bus 1062

.-As for us, we rode MRT from Ximen up to Taipei Main station.Switch to  TRA up to Reifung.Then, we took a cab from the Reifung station to cover our Northern Taiwan: Yehliu,shifen and jiufen street.(It costs us NT$2800  for 4pax.)

 

Day2-  Northcoast tour: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen and Jiufen

Day 3- Taipei101/Starbucks 35th flr ,  Elephant mountain

 

 

1

TaiWander: Yehliu Geopark

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“We will rock you” is an understatement here. Well, this is the Yehliu geopark, which is a peninsula that runs about 1.7km. At first, I did not thought that the place was huge since I am just seeing the rock formations in pictures. I did not realize that I will be appreciating these pieces of oddly-looking but beautifully and naturally designed rocks even though it was hot..  (Read more about the rocks here.)


How to go there there:

1.Take Mrt to Taipei Main station.(Main station connects to different lines, such as TRA,THSR,Taoyuan Airport MRT).Do not be surprised.You really have to go out of MRT to switch trains.(I’m telling this to you because I was surprised that we had to go out. I thought we just needed to switch lines.LOLLL)

2.Buy a ticket and take a train to Reifung station.(40mins travel time.Note the timetableOurs was 9:54. (We only added NT$100 on our easy card.)reifung is in the middle of Shifen and jiufen, but the latter is nearer. Afraid that we might hop in to a wrong train, we asked some people to confirm it first.

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3.You can ride a train going to shifen. Take the pingxi line and alight at Shifen station.There are also buses which you can take.

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As for us, we rode a taxi. Outside the train stations is a taxi terminal. Since we also wanted to visit YehLiu Geopark,Shifen and Jiufen(separate blog), we just negotiated the taxi driver to customize our trip. It was a bit challenging at first because they know only few English. Our whole trip covers:Yehliu,shifen waterfalls and jiufen. It costs us NT$2800. (Sounds okay for me, lower than the price if we had availed package tours.It is also more time-efficient and convenient.At least we can save the extra money for food and lantern which are still excluded in the tour package)

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Good thing, Mr Bingo Chen can speak a little english so he was the one we negotiated with. Other drivers didn’t talk to us.


This is our whole day itinerary: DAY 2

7am wake up

8am breakfast

9:15am MRT to taipei main station

9:54am TRA to Reifung stn(9:54am 40mins)

11:00 eta reifung

11:30am-1pm etd yehliu geopark(1 and 30mins)

2:30-3:30pm Shifen waterfalls(1hr)

3:30-4:30pm Shifen old street/flying lantern(1hr)

5pm-7pm Jiufen(2hrs)

7:25pm ETD Reifung stn to taipei Main Station

11pm Ximending


YEH LIU GEOPARK

 

You will pass through this as you approach the area.
IMG_1110 The entrance IMG_1256

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The first part was shaded by trees.
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IMG_1274 BTW ,here is the map as well as the attractions you have to look at in order for you to find the unique rocks. IMG_9903

AS you roam around,There will be times that you would think that the huge rock beside you is just ordinary but No.Later on, you would realize that it has a particular name.
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Take note of signs like these. They are there to guide you.
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It is actually a huge park.If you have a limited time, you have to–let us say,strategize or quickly plan which way you go first for you to see everything. Expect that there will be many people wanting to take their own pictures so again strategize. If you don’t want photobombers on your shot go to a less crowded area first. If you do not have a choice then you cannot do anything about it.You can’t tell them to leave.Haha. Just enjoy the scenery.

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During our visit, it was kinda hot and windy at the same time. We cannot use umbrella or our hats(unless it has a tie on it) because the wind will blow it away. SO wear sunscreen or sunblock as you will be exposed to the sun.(If it is sunny,of course.) You might as well tie your hair or clip it in place. I remember myself brushing my hair out of my face and it was sort of a hassle.

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Honeycomb rock

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Mushroom rocks.They actually look like truffes to me.

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This is the cute princess.Is she really cute?:D

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The Iconic Queen’s head.You have to fall in line in order for you to take a pic with it.

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A park is not complete without their souvenir shop. IMG_0041

IMG_0044 Yehliu Aquapark is just near the area. It is not included in my iti so we did not go there anymore DSC_5686

So we were given 1hr and 30mins to stay and roam around at this place. Even if we are in control of our time, it is a must that we adhere to the suggested time. This is to ensure that we could complete the list in our itinerary. We were a bit late buy 10minutes though because we had to go to the restroom to freshen up. After this is Shifen waterfalls and the old street. I’ll finally see you guys!yehey!

Check out the other Taiwan-related trips:

Day 2: Jiufen,  Shifen waterfalls and the old street. 

Day 3: elephant mountain, starbucks and taipei101

 

1

TaiWander:Elephant Mountain(Xiangshan)& Taipei 101

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When you feel like energetic and dressy at the same time,try this back to back gameplan.

Why did I say so? Because Taipei 101 is business tower so there is a more appropriate attire for that-maybe a smart casual attire or so. I heard they discourage wearing flip flops and shorts so might as well be safe.Do not wear those. On the other hand, elephant mountain is a hiking trail so it is very important that you wear comfortable clothes if not your workout clothes. The 2 activities seems to be of opposite activities but because these 2 are 1 station away from each other,I clustered them.


TAIPEI 101

How to get here?

1.From ximen, take the blue line, alight at Taipei main station.

2.Switch to Tamsui-xinyi station(red line) and  Alight at Taipei 101/World Center.

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Nimen hao!!!:))

It is located in Xinyi district. It has its own station in Taipei Metro. You won’t get lost.Haha. The Exit where we passed through leads to the mall. We entered there and that is the time we got a bit lost. Good thing the attendant lead us which elevator to use when we get to the other side,the main building. We were rushing because we had reservations in starbucks 35th floor at 11am. But hey, that’s another separate blog..Click here

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TAIPEI 101 is known before as Taipei World Financial Center. It has one of the world’s fastest elevator with a speed of 60km/hr. It has 101 floors, with the observatory deck at 89th and 92nd floor. (You have to pay for that experience though.It costs NT$600(?)You can also try klook for a hassle-free ticketing service.)Because I’m for TIPIDITY. We only tried sb at 35th.We got to try the elevator as well.haha . To see the panoramic view at their own site,click here.  (More tipid,eh?) (BTW,I repeatedly say, tipid.That means cheap or lower amount.)

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We used the monopad for this.I didn’t think it is good enough..HAHAHHA..Sooooo,

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we crossed the street.

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At this site…haha..(i know we could go somewhere farther,but we didn’t want to walk farther anymore)

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I almost kissed the ground when I took this photo.No I didn’t kiss the ground. I laid myself on the ground.(The other kids actually did my technique.LOL)can you imagine us doing some crunches just to take pics?


INSIDE

The gallery

We got to see Taipei 101 in amazing photographs from different angles and with various concepts.

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Here are the winners…(Clappityy,Claps!!!)

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This is the elev.

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At 36th floor…(checking for a bit)

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SB

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No automatic alt text available.After the short peak at Taipei 101, we kicked our feet as we moved on to our another iti-The elephant mountain.(I was a bit worried because the sky is dark unlike the previous days.)


Elephant Mountain(Xiangshan)

This is where you can find the best view of Taipei!!haha!

How to get here:

From taipei 101, ride the red line up to Xiangshan station (last stn).You won’t get lost. Exit at the Zhongqiang park .

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You will pass through this. From the station, I could say that the start of the trail cannot be easily seen.So you have to follow the signage (Xiangshan trail),it will guide you well.

But as for us there was a road renovation so we had to take the other side of the road which has no signs. We just asked some people. They did not understand us so I just showed them the pictures of elephant mountain and they gestured where it is right away.

Landmark is Nola and golden global plaza.

 

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From what I have read, there are many mosquitoes along the trail. But we didn’t experience those during the 1st part. Nonetheless, I made sure that we would end our trip without any bad experience so I brought insect repellent and applied those.( THANKS OFF LOTION.LOL. )

It was a developed trail. There are rest areas. Just a tip, bring your water bottle with you and, of course, wear something comfortable. Some thought of leaving them and ended up being so thirsty along the way.

Here is the map.Elephant mountain is actually one of the 4 beasts.The Four Beast Mountains are made up of four mountains that are said to resemble an Elephant, Tiger, Leopard and Lion.Given more time, I would really want to hike all.Hahahaha.But this is enough for now.

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So we stop here on these famous 6 boulders. Many wants to have a pic there so ,it’s like, you really have to fall in line or wait for your turn:))Thing is there are also other tourists who were wearing casual wears.So long as it is comfy,then it is fine.IMG_0845IMG_0885

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To motivate them to hike all the way up here,in casual wear, in the heat of the sun,with few hours of sleep,is the REAL ACHIEVEMENT !!!Thanks for the cooperation!

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Panoramic view

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The observatory deck, you can see this when you hike a little more. The view here is nice:)))You can see Taipei 101 and nanshan plaza, the two tallest skyscraper that you can see.

In between

Before I went back to the MRT station, I paid a visit to this temple near the start of the trail.

 

 

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Thank God,it did not rain. It only rained right after we arrived at our Accom at ximending…

1

Starbucks,35th flr Taipei101

Do you wish to see Taipei from the tallest building in Taiwan but  you do not feel like spending too much for the taipei 101 observatory tix ?Or let us say you have run out of budget and you would rather spend the extra cash for some food tripping and shopping?

 

Well, here is the story of how we were able to see Taipei from the bird’s eye view.And No, we did not spend 700 + or 800+ just for that. It may not be that high as the 360 degrees Taipei observatory in 92nd and the 89th floor but I think it is enough for us. At least, my 200$ was just worth it because it is the minimum spending required per person when you reserve for a slot at Starbucks at the 35th floor.It is the highest Starbucks in the whole world (highest building).

 

So you need to reserve a day before your expected day of visit. At first, I thought my plan would not materialize because I thought it was going to be difficult plus couldn’t speak mandarin just to reserve . However, i asked help from our very kind receptionist in the hotel,Roach.  Even though we had a hard time communicating due to the language barrier, he was able to reserve us 4slots at 11am. BTW, He said this Starbucks is open from 10am to 8pm so be sure to call within their operating hours.

Reservations

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To avoid delays, they are instructing everyone to come at least 10minutes before the time. As for us, we entered from the mall since it is the one facing the exit of MRT.I was a bit anxious that we wouldn’t make it because we were not familiar with which way to go. Good thing people are helpful enough to lead us to the lobby.

 

 

 When we reached the lobby, we did not know where to go.So we asked the info,and they lead us here.This whole line is for those who have reservations.


 

 

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At this very moment, i could say we coulfd finally relax because we just had to wait for someone to usher us all the way to 35th flr. Minutes after, a barista came and confirmed our reservation number. Make sure you take note of that. AS for us, the hotel receptionist gave us a printed copy of the details.

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So we were able to ride this elevator, which i believe is one of the world’s fastest and has the speed of 60.6 kilometres (37.7 mi) per hour.

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Many visitors flocked on the other elevator. So we just rode the other one.

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This is the entrance. They are calling the queue number one by one.It was in chinese.

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This starbucks is pretty small compared to other branches so that probably is the reason why they have to control the number of guests per visit.


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Just like any other starbucks, they have the tumbler,mugs,coffee packs area.The starbucks “partners” were also very accomodating and friendly. They can speak english,as well, if communicating is your concern.

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FIRST THINGS FIRST!!!!Before you look through the windows and be mesmerized by the city view or before you buy some stuff, make sure to save the seats in the areas you want. Almost everyone surely wants to see and enjoy the view so they would really hurry to take up the seats by the window. I was a little slow that time.

Inside

Look at those cutesyyy “welcome “drawing there!:D

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Hello rap!

Panoramic view of the whole place


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I told you I was a little slow that time so we were just able to get these seats.

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BTW, there was no extra charge for reservation.However, a minimum amount of $200 must be ordered by every guest.

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Breakfast

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Loading some carbs for trekking later!:))We will hike elephant mountain which is just a station away from taipei 101.

You can see that the room is not that full. People may leave as soon as they want.

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this is the Front view/facade of taipei 101

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The printed details from our hotel receptionist. Thanks so much Roach(our hotel receptionist)Good thing we understand each other..!

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Acc to one of the baristas, this is the side where you can almost see the elephant mountain as well as the maokong mountains

Before I forget to mention, Taipei 101 discourages wearing shorts and  flip flops, so we decided to wear pants and shoes that day.

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As for now, I could say that I am already okay with this view. Though a part of me is just wondering what would this look like up above at 91st flr. Will I still be able to appreciate if they only look as miniature as ants?or will i enjoy it more?

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in front of the elev!

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36th floor

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still at 36th floor. This is outside the Taipei 101 conference hall

In a nutshell:

With this experience, I could say that Three items in the bucketlist are checked out: Go to Taipei 101, ride one of the world’s fastest elev and drink coffee at the world’s highest Starbucks.   I was hesitant at first of the idea because I was thinking of going to the observatory to satisfy my curiosity. You know, 35th floor does not really have a “wow factor” compared to 89th and 91st floor,since it is the essence of Taipei 101. There are many buildings with a height of 35floors. However, my very pragmatic persona is kicking that idea out of me. Instead of spending more I would rather spend my money on other stuff. Imagine if a huge-sized family would avail the observatory tix, that would already cost a lot. I weighed the chances. I am just a budget traveler and I like it.I think it is more practical for me to choose this. Perhaps, I will just leave that for next time, if somebody sponsors me.haha.  Any thoughts you would like to share?:D

 

Well, i hope this will help you as well:)

Check out our other Taiwan-related trip:

Day1: TaiWander 🇹🇼 

Day2: TaiWander: Yehliu GeoparkTaiWander:Shifen(Waterfalls And Old street/Lantern Flying) ,Jiufen

Day3:Starbucks,35th flr Taipei101,TaiWander:Elephant Mountain & Taipei 101