Taipei, Taiwan

This is the third Asian country I have visited in my life so far. I visited Taiwan in 2012, and I am just reblogging this post as it was on my old website.

Anyways, I actually miss Taipei and it’s natural beauty and would love to go back to explore the other parts of Taiwan. My husband and I were here for 2 weeks, which I wished lasted longer.

The food:

The cheap sushi at the metro strain stations! I was staying in the Da’an area where the Da’an metro station was nearby making it easier for us to commute to places. This station had a small sushi counter outside with a variety of rolls for such an affordable price. I did not actually stop to get sushi until the third day I was here as the first two days we were rushing to head to the Teipei Zoo. The prices of the sushi ranged from NT$5 to NT$25, which is approximately 0.20 cents to 0.80 cents USD per piece.

I am a huge fan of donuts so I was so happy to have stumbled upon a popular donut chain in Taiwan called Mister Donut. Just the entrance drew me in and then the massive donut selection on display made me feel like a kid in a candy shop.

Each donut was NT$29 which is about $1 USD. Not too shabby for my now favourite brand of donuts. Honestly, as I am writing this blog, I am craving these amazing donuts like crazy! There were so many different flavours and my favourites were green tea, strawberry, white chocolate, and caramel. As you can see in the picture, the donut rings are shaped like a flower and I found them to look absolutely adorable. The actual flavours blew me away. The donuts were soft but lightly chewy which was a surprise and the coated flavours were strong and sweet.

Of course, the street food was something that I had to try as you know these are the most authentic here in Taiwan. We passed a few carts and my favourite was the fried quail eggs. These were shaped into small balls and it was such a treat.

I had a few other items at other carts like bubble tea, ice cream burrito and some sausages but I did not fancy the sausages too much.

The next food item that intrigued me was a huge crepe shaped as cone with 3 scoops of ice cream in a dessert shop in Shi Da night market. This dessert was actually so big that I couldn’t finish it on my own. I loved this large treat and the crepe itself was perfect.

Dante Coffee is a well known cafe in Taiwan, and this happened to be walking distance from our hotel so we decided to come here for an early lunch. I love how all coffee and beverage shops here serves their amazing Taiwanese drinks and this was definitely an item I had to get off the menu. Here, I got the mango slush smoothie with chicken curry and rice for lunch.

This was a nice little lunch but it was filling. The curry was light and was similar to the flavours of the well known Japanese curry dishes.

That is all the food that I am going to write about but we did eat at so many places that I wish I could keep writing about but that will take me days as it would be two weeks worth of food to put all in one blog post!

The attractions:

The first attraction that we decided to do was Taipei Zoo. I love animals and basically a natural environment so this place really interested me.

Below are some photos of the types of animals that they have here.

Of course, as some of you may already know, my favourite exhibition was the pandas! So this was the area I hung out the most in and was so fascinated by the cute gentle pandas eating and rolling around.

This area of the zoo was a delight and to top it off there was a panda cafe right next to it where you can sit down and take a break at to eat a small meal. This panda cafe was filled with stuffed panda animals and I really loved the bamboo leaves decor.

The next day we went up to the Maokong metro station where we took the Maokong Gondola up to the mountains here to sightsee some temples. This area of Taipei was super natural and beautiful. The hike to the temples was great exercise but I was so afraid of the huge bugs that were flying around here. I tried my best to ignore them but it was getting dark and a bit scary. Finally, I found myself in the Shian Gong temple.

Inside, there was a shrine that was stunning. I enjoyed seeing this as I am Buddhist and loved seeing the different religious figures. I got a chance to have a prayer here and met the monk.

There were a couple of other shrines we visited but it was getting late and I knew I had to get back to the gondola before the bugs eat me alive.

My husband enjoys going to the shooting range, but since we did not come across any here, we saw that the arcade had a pellet shooting range that was super safe and fun. It was something different that I don’t often see in the arcades back home in Canada.

In the middle of our trip, I knew I wanted to do some shopping so we went to the well known Taipei 101 shopping mall. This structure was pretty tall and at the top there was an observatory where you can see the surrounding area. My husband and I didn’t go up as we were backpacking and this was not in our price range. I did however, take a lovely pick of the tower with my camera.

The following day, we noticed that there were fire crackers on the street that we were wandering around and then there were large dolls being placed around. We asked the locals what was going on and they told us that they were getting ready to celebrate the ghost festival.

The ghost festival happens on the 15th night of the 7th month, so July 15 and it is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival that has the ghosts of deceased ancestors coming out of the lower realm to visit the living. This is the day for the living to pay respects for their deceased ancestors.

There was a parade and thousands of fire crackers lighting up behind them. This was spectacular and something that I have never seen before.

The temperatures were getting pretty high in Taiwan, and this encouraged us to hit up a waterpark to cool off. We went to the Formosa Water Park where there were a few large slides, lazy river rafting, and a kids area. I don’t really enjoy waterparks as I am afraid to go down waterslides, but I had fun on the lazy river.

The final attraction that we had to do was the Beitou Hot Springs. Hot springs are pretty popular in Canada where there are a lot of mountains. Since we were here and everyone was raving about it, we just had to experience it in person.

The train station to Xinbeitou was super cute and you could tell from the artwork that this is the place to head to for hot springs.

Once we arrived, I was amazed by the beauty of the area. It was very natural and it felt good to be around this many trees.

The walk to the thermal valley was not too bad and along the way we got to see some small businesses that we kept in mind to head to after we enjoy our time in the hot springs.

We knew we were getting close when we began to smell the sulfate in the air. We were welcomed with a beautiful spring along the pathway which made us even more excited for this attraction.

We finally arrived and noticed that there were three different springs to soak in. They were all different temperatures, one was 45 degrees, the second was 29 degrees, and finally the third one was 15 degrees celsius. I obviously did not enjoy the coldest one but the 29 degrees was just perfect. Once we got adjusted to the 29, we jumped into the 45 which made us sweat a ton. This was actually super relaxing and made my legs feel better as it was sore from all of the walking we did on this trip.

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