“Where did you go in Taipei? How much cash should you bring to explore Taipei?  What was the food like?”  Explore Taipei (2017) answers these questions and more with visuals from my Nikon D750 and iPhone 6. 

Something is a little different with my WordPress blog… it isn’t hosted by WordPress anymore!  Now powered by SiteGround, I’m able to own my own domain and host photos else where… until I have to renew it of course.  That’s the only new thing that has really changed…

Continuing on from the last blog post, Journey to Hong Kong (2017)it was time to visit some place different, a different country than the usual or recent ones visited (i.e. Japan, Hong Kong).  This was a good chance to visit and explore Taipei.  Reason?  There hasn’t been any negative feedback from anyone that has visited.  It was even recommended several times because of the food.  Am I a foodie?  I wouldn’t say I am, but I do like to eat… so tickets were booked one week before traveling to Hong Kong.

If you missed my itinerary from Journey to HK (2017), you can view it HERE.

“Where did you go in Taipei?”

To be honest, I really had no idea where to go or what do in Taipei.  When I arrived, I wanted to budget myself to just spend $200 on food, lodging, and subways.   I decided to not get a mobile wifi unit as I heard wifi was readily available almost everywhere.  IT IS available everywhere… but you just need to sign up for it in advance or have a local set up a number for you.  You can go HERE to set it up. (I recommend setting it up before you arrive)

“How did you navigate around without wifi??”

Your phone is still able to use GPS, but you won’t be able to search locations without wifi… so I just starred a bunch of places I planned to visit.  If I needed to locate a place, I would just find available wifi and mark the spot in Google maps.  Also, the subway system is really easy to navigate if you have a map and a good common sense of direction.

The flight from Hong Kong to Taipei was about 2 hrs and it looked like the cost was $150 USD all day. This photo was when I had just arrived and started exploring Taiwan.

It was kinda nerve wracking in the beginning because I had no wifi nor a way to translate to where I was going…

But somehow I eventually made it to my hostel near the Dingxi Station in Yonghe district.

Here’s a iPhone photo of the Twelve Half Floors hostel in Taipei. It was one of the higher recommended and cheaper places to stay at $9 USD / night.

Another iPhone shot of the living room area of the Hostel in Taipei. The hostel consisted of 3 floors with a balcony. The hosts were really awesome and nice. They had 2 separate private rooms with bunk beds and a shared room with 12 bunk beds and 1 bathroom.

After checking in, I explored the area a bit. A lot more motorbikes than cars and isn’t as crowded or dense as Hong Kong.

In terms of world development, I want to say kind of reminds me of Vietnam. This is just my perspective and might be different from others…

Of course highways had more cars and buses than bikes.

Randomly walking north, there was a big park for jogging, hiking, or biking…

It actually kind of reminds me of Houstons’ Terry Hershey Park….

The entrance/exit to this park is a big gated wall.

This photo was taken maybe 20 minutes from the hostel…

A view of the direction I was walking to…

Really cloudy day in Taipei. Luckily, it didn’t rain but I hear having an umbrella is suggested because it may rain at least once a day.

Wall art while exploring Taipei.

Shida St.

After the long walk from Yonghe District, I wandered into a restaurant that served beef noodles in Shida Night Market…

Braised beef and noodles from a random place. There were more restaurants and stands around too.

After getting full from the bowl of beef noodle soup, I explored a bit more…

Not knowing where to go I just hopped on a bus. It took me North near Shilin Night Market…

Navigating with GPS, I walked towards Shilin Night Market…

Pro-tip: Bring people with you to night markets!

Reason:  Share all the foods and snacks!

I was too full and on a budget so I couldn’t try everything :/

Shilin Night Market is one of the biggest markets in Taipei. Lots of visitors from other countries stop by here…

I want to say it’s even more packed than Ladies Market in Hong Kong. This was taken during a week night too.

Sea Goddess Temple near Shilin Night Market.

People would buy their snacks and sit in front of the temple to eat.

I wandered around Shilin Night Market for a good 1.5 hrs…

Watched different types of snacks being grilled, cooked, flamed…

Some type of squid and cheese takoyaki…

Sausages….

I did get to try this. Bacon wrapped asparagus with a hidden toothpick inside…

I got thirsty after walking around so I got some tea…

The best milk or green tea is definitely from Taipei.

The Tea of Cool.

 

If you want to see what’s all there to eat at Shilin Night Market, I’d recommend going HERE or just go on youtube and search ‘what to eat at shilin night market’.  I called it a night after the first day.

On my 2nd day in Taipei, I took a tour with a group of older people at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial… jk about the tour with the older people.

If you do visit CKS Memorial, go around April when everything is in full bloom.

Friend told me about Tamsui District so I took a 45 minute train ride there from the CKS Memorial…

I made the mistake of grabbing some food at a Watsons outside of the train station so I was too full to eat at the Tamsui day market.

Visiting the Tamsui Wharf…

45 minute train ride and you get this type of view? Really awesome…

This pupper was huge and just walking around with his owner.

Not an easy pose… I tried.

The wharf had a bunch of food stands. I would suggest going with a group of people here for maybe 3 hrs. I only stayed for 1 hour.. maybe less.

Asian cats are so plump compared to the cats in the States.

After Tamsui, I planned to stop by and visit RWB Taiwan. No bueno, because the owner wasn’t there and no photos were allowed. Since I had nothing to do, I went to Taipei 101 area.

I wish I knew you could rent bicycles. I could’ve biked the whole city of Taipei.

Check out that tile design.

Stores and buildings around Taipei 101.

 

Taipei 101 shopping area…

I found the Taipei 101 food court… and then this little guy appeared…

Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101… and they had tables open. It was a no brainer.

I haven’t eaten at DTF in a while so I tried to eat as much as I could…

The process of how soup dumplings are made can be seen from the dining area. Always love seeing this at each of the restaurants.

I want to say these are perfect pieces of soup dumplings…

And the sauce with garnish to eat the dumplings with goes well together…

One dish that peaked my interest was the pork chop over fried rice. ..

Normally a dish split for 2-3 people, I somehow managed to finish it.

Once I finished stuffing myself with DTF, I set out for 象山 or the Xiangshan trail.

The sun was setting quick so I had to speed up my pace a bit…

The hike to the view takes approximately 15 minutes according to signs… but it was more like 30 minutes. I guess I took more breaks than I was supposed to…

Sunset sky was beautiful.

This was one of the more scenic views of Taipei 101 area so it’s always packed with visitors.

The best view is probably in the evening when all the lights are on.  I headed back to the hostel around 7PM and got asked to go Karaoke with people from the hostel.  Sure why not?

The hostel hosts took us to a local karaoke spot with older people…

We ate all types of snacks while drinking beer and Taiwanese wine.

There weren’t many english song selections but if there’s Backstreet Boys… you have to sing away.

 

Remember to turn your volume down lol.

Good times meeting and hanging out with all the hosts and visitors from the hostel. Learned so much about backpackers and other countries in Asia.  This concludes my Day 2 in Taipei…

Next day, the forecast showed 50% rain…

I was ok with the rain so I just grabbed an umbrella and headed out to Yong Kang St. area…

Thanh Ky on Yong Kang St. is where my friends mom told me to get some pancrepes or a type of green onion pancake…

It’s a stand in front of a Vietnamese restaurant so you can’t really miss it.

I got really lucky because there wasn’t a long line. Probably thanks to the rain.

Another place recommended was Yong-Kang Beef Noodles…

Check out that slice of beef…

There’s so much good stuff to eat in Taipei…

It was raining all day so I headed back to the hostel in Yonghe District. Walking distance… there was a small coffee shop.

The design and layout seemed like it was from Japan but hidden in a small urban area.

I had a simple espresso dopio for the day… 

Once we headed back to the hostel, a few of the others wanted to go to the local night market for dinner. Finally, a chance to eat and share with other people!

We ate from maybe 4-5 stands and were full.

I actually had plans to meet with a friend at Taipei 101 area so I had to rush back to the hostel for my things…

The night was crazy thanks to EddieC and Mike. I met them up at a lounge called MQ Marquee and ended up going to another lounge and then to a club. They told me the ratio of women to men was 3:1… which explains why some guys like to visit Taipei so much.

 

 

After the a long night of ‘meeting and catching up’ with Eddie, I got back to the hostel and slept at 4AM.  It was such a struggle to get up at 6AM for my flight back to HKG.  The hostel host had to wake me up and call a taxi for me.  They’re pretty awesome and I was running a little late.  By the time I checked in, all the seats were full… so they bumped me up to business class!  Unfortunately, I was too hungover/tired to enjoy it.  Definitely, one of the more memorable trips I’ve been on.

Thanks for checking out Explore Taipei (2017) if you’ve actually read or scrolled down the whole post.  I would most definitely recommend Taipei as a place to visit for 4-5 days.  If you have any questions or comments, just hit me up!

http://www.dtphan.com
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Gear:
Nikon D750
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Sigma 35mm f1.4