Taipei is our first introduction to undiscovered Taiwan. For many travelers the Asian metropool is just a stop over, but we spent our first and last days in Taiwan in the vibrant capital. Nobody ever speaks of traveling in Taiwan, which made me even more excited to explore every part of this undervalued tropical destination.
The minute we arrive in Taipei I feel at ease and excited to be here. Although 2,6 million people live in this city, it is well organized, clean, busy but not crowed. Strolling around Xi Men Ding, known as the Harajuku of Taipei, we drink our first bubble tea. Black tea with milk, ice and black little rice balls in it. It’s an exciting experience and my new addiction.
The first day walking around in a new city I feel like a child in a candy shop. New faces, smells, architecture, traditions, language, and FOOD. Especially in Taipei which is known as a foodies heaven. Strolling around on the Raohe Street night market I don’t know where to start. A street full of food stalls with delicious smells. With our eyes wide open we analyze every bite they offer us. One distinctive smell you can’t ignore is the smell of stinky tofu. Although I am a crazy fan of French cheese and open to new tastings, the smell of stinky tofu prevent me of trying. The fried squid, spicy pancakes with vegetables, roasted corn with an undefined sauce are definitely favorites. Not to forget the desert stalls with warm sweet red bean and peanut soup on which you can add all kinds of strange supplements; Bubbles, jelly pudding, dried fruits, more beans and peanuts, marshmallows and even the old school tumtum candy.
In Taiwan everyone eats out for breakfast and so do we. These special breakfast bars are only open in the morning. On the menu is pancake with egg, grilled radish with soy sauce, hamburgers (!) and rice balls with vegetables inside. One thing is for sure, you’ll never get bored of the food. There is enough to try every single day.
A city in the middle of lush mountains
It’s bizar that such a huge modern city full of skyscrapers including one of the world’s tallest (typhoon proof) building Taipei 101 is situated in between the Yangming Mountains and the lush Central Mountains of Taiwan. The city consists of twelve distinct districts. Walking through the serene alleys of Taipei’s oldest area Zhongzheng we feel we are in a complete different city compared to the young and modern Xinyi where we try out the cocktails on the rooftop of W-Taipei overlooking the city skyline. Each has its own charm.
We spend our last days in Guting area where we stay with locals. The large population of students make this an affordable place to shop, go out for (Taiwanse drip-)coffee, drinks or dinner. There are many good (vegan)restaurants, (vegan) buffets, coffeeshops and cool bars to hang out and meet foreign students and expats.
After spending a few days in a metropool I always seek for nature. We walk around in nostalgic Jiufen to escape city life and hike the Elephant Mountain for a sweet view over Taipei before we fly out to Indonesia.