My ultimate global adventure takes me to another Asian country – Taiwan – where I explored the many beautiful things it has to offer. As a travel enthusiast, I watch a lot of travel shows for inspiration. The television program Fun Taiwan, for one, has made me want to explore the country for myself. So I embark on a journey to Taipei city, the capital of Taiwan. Taipei is a magnificent blend of the old and the new cultures and traditions.
I traveled across Taipei visiting many historical locations and historical artifacts; and participating in some of the traditions in the area. The National Palace Museum, for example, holds lots of Chinese artifacts. According to the tour guide, the most interesting exhibits in this museum are the cauldron that holds the origin of Chinese writings, and the vast collection of porcelains.
I also joined the thousands of people gathering at the historic Memorial Square or the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to fly lanterns during the Lantern Festival. Together we released the lanterns. The night sky lit up with all the floating lights.
A travel to Taiwan would not be complete without seeing the Taipei 101, the iconic landmark of Taipei. It has 101 floors above ground and 5 below ground. Whenever I travel, I always give time for my shopping expeditions. Shopping is a therapy to me and Taipei 101, in my opinion, is a big therapeutic haven. As I walk through the door, I saw a variety of stores. The observation deck on the 91st floor, on the other hand, boasts a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.
Getting hungry? As I explored downtown Taipei, there were two restaurants that really caught my attention – the Din Tai Fung, and the Modern Toilet. The Din Tai Fung is considered as one of the top restaurants in the world. I saw why as I witnessed the long lines of waiting patrons trying to enter. The dimsum dishes were spectacular, and I agree that the dumplings are very good. The restaurant is also well known for its steamed buns called xiao long bao.
The Modern Toilet restaurant makes you wanna think or two before dining out. I was struggling with whether or not to be impressed by its innovative and creative twist on its restaurant theme, or be disgusted by it. Needless to say, by its name itself, there are toilets, potties, and urinal containers involved. However, regardless of its appearance, the food was fantastic. I was so fascinated by the locals happily entering the restaurant and enthusiastically eating in a toilet-inspired environment.
After several days of weary travel, it’s time to soothe my tired muscles. I went to Xinbeitou to relax. I loved bathing in the hot springs. Taipei has a hot spring known for its rich sulfur content. I could almost smell the sulfur even while I was still on the train. As I got out of the train I actually felt the sulfur permeating my body. I spent some time soaking in the spring and chatting with the other bathers. Xinbeitou has a hot spring museum that was once a public bath, designed so by the Japanese. I toured the Thermal Valley where a large geyser, gushing huge amounts of natural sulfur, gas resides.
I loved the feeling of being high up in the sky and watching the beautiful mountainous surroundings of Maokong. I was able to do this when I rode the Maokong Gondola, a cable car. It travels from Taipei zoo Station to Maokong station. The graffiti found on the gondola was just adorable, especially those with the little pandas. The ride took me to the Maokong Tea Plantation, once the biggest tea growing area in Taipei. It got converted into a museum. I had the opportunity to feel and touch the old tea rolling machines. It was amazing.
Taiwan is a captivating country. Its capital city is a testament to that. With so much tradition and modern innovations, a girl like me just can’t help but be struck with awe and admiration.
Photo by djvu83 on Flickr