Thursday, April 11, 2013

One Day in Taipei, A Brief Introductory to Taiwan

It was a placed mostly known to me through television channels like TLC and TVB Asia, and has always remain a top destination in my travel list. A place well known for its food, culture and showbiz, despite sharing similarities with mine, there are tonnes of difference if one take a closer look. By now I believe you would have guess the place is Taiwan.

Despite a mere 8 days of work, it was a blessing to be given a day off at the end for me to visit Taipei. Taipei like many major cities, has good public transportation system, knowing mandarin and Hokkien definitely gave me the advantage in this mandarin/Hokkien speaking community. I understand better and was able to read signs and direction well, hence travelling in this part of the world was definitely as easy as a walk in the park. Despite not knowing mandarin, one shouldn't be overly worried about facing hiccups when travelling around in Taipei as the pretty ladies at the information counter inside the main central station are ready to serve, however please give a little bit of patience when having conversation in English.

To take in Taipei in just a day was definitely a foolish talk, I did plan to do so but I gave up soon after as there was too much to see and do in this wonderful modern city. So I decided to take it slow and do whatever I want, whenever I want and what my heart tells me to do. Getting insight from taxi drivers or people from the streets does help, as you get to know first hand, what's going on around, and where's the hype at which corner of the city.

Food in this part of the world is amazing, of course being a Chinese i'm quite accustomed to such food, so it was a cruise in the park and not having to wonder and worried if mystery meat might be served on the plate. Walking around the streets of Shilin night market and visited Di Hua street which offers a variety of street food and local delicacies, that scores highly on appearance and taste. It was interesting enough, that I spent most of my time of the day to venture around the streets, trying and looking for new things to try.

It was at the beginning of the year and Lunar New Year is just around the corner, so I took the advice of a cab driver to visit 'Di Hua Street' as it was now flooded with people trying to do shopping for the festive season, true enough it was an interesting sight to see, many dry seasonal delicacy to try, and to catch a breath of the scent of spring and the festive mood in the air. Taipei Mei Mei is a pretty good watch too!

When the night falls and hunger strikes, Shilin night market seems to be a perfect place to go, where you're able to try all kinds of street food and at the same time not overly consumed and causing later indigestion. Shopping is also a good thing to do around that area, where there are many stores selling fashionable clothing, brands from Korea, Japan as well as some from Europe. Is the place where the young ones hang about, loitering, chit chatting with friends, and the haven for girls who loves to shop and get a good bargain. For me personally I prefer to stick with Makan and people watching.

Not forgetting to mention Taipei houses quite a number of significant buildings with long history and backgrounds for example the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, and the recently built high rise Taipei 101. Taiwan is definitely a good starting ground for amateur travelers who's looking for an adventure with less difficulties, as this part of the world is pretty much modernize, and well equipped with modern infrastructures, and tourist friendly. Taiwan remains my ideal backpack travel destination, the one day roaming around in Taipei served as an introductory to Taiwan. I remain excited and high spirit to plan for my upcoming back pack trip around this part of the world.

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