Taipei is a modern metropolis with Japanese colonial influences, popular night markets, and busy shopping streets.
Day 1: Fly to Taiwan, The National Palace Museum
Once we arrived at Taoyuan International Airport, we requested an Uber to Hotel Papa Whale, the hotel we stayed in for the trip. Our first stop was the National Palace Museum, where it has the permanent collection of thousands of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks.
We wanted to go inside to see the artwork, but it was closing early since it was Chinese New Year Eve. So we left the museum, and tried to walk around the city before dinner. We wanted to check out Shilin Market, which is a popular night market, with tons of street food. To our disappointment, it was like the zombie apocalypse when we got there, since everyone was home celebrating with their friends and family for the new year that is coming. We headed back to our hotel, but we stopped by Ximen Night Market which was up and alive. We tried their famous fried chicken bites, egg-scallion pancake, dumplings, and of course bubble tea.
Day 2: Tamsui District and Taipei 101
We were up early to catch a ferry to the Tamsui District. Tamsui was crowded with people, it reminded me a lot of Venice, California. There are food stands and souvenir shops lined along the boardwalk.
We took another ferry over to the Tamsui Lover’s Bridge located at the Fisherman’s Wharf. We didn’t really stay long since there isn’t much to do around the wharf.
As we were leaving the district, we came across another street right behind the boardwalk filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, and bubble tea stands. It was crowded with people, as it seems to be the trend that day.
We took the train back down to downtown Taipei, and made a stop at Taipei 101. We wanted to go up to the top, but the lines were insane. Instead, we took a hike up Elephant Mountain to see the skyline of downtown Taipei.
Our final stop of the night was Tonghua Night Market, which is similar to the night market we’ve been to the previous night.
Day 3: Jiufen and Shifen
We walked through Jiufen Old Street, which was a popular alley with lots of dessert shops and souvenir shops (and again, it was crowded with people). We had to make a stop to try Taiwan’s popular Beef Noodle Soup, and it didn’t disappoint.
When we were done walking around Jiufen, we were off to Shifen which wasn’t easy to get to. We had to take the bus to Ruifang District, before taking an hour and a half train ride to Shifen. The station is basically open to the public to walk on and to take photographs, but once a train is arriving, everyone flees for the platform.
As you walk away from the station, there are paper lanterns you can buy to send off to the sky. People write their wishes on these sky lanterns with the hopes they will come true someday. We then walked over to the Shifen waterfall. It was a bit of a walk from the station, but luckily we got there before the park closed.
We then back to the station to take the train back to the city. It was a long journey back, but we got Din Tai Fung for dinner.
Day 4: Flying Home
We checked out of our hotel and walked around the neighborhood of our hotel before heading to the airport.
Taipei is an amazing city, there is a lot to see and eat. As great as this trip was, I miss my friends and family back home, and I wish they could all be here with me.