Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Race Against Time in Taipei

Taiwan has been in my bucket list of places to travel as I've heard a lot about it from other travelers too. 


What more it can offer having been to South Korea where I wanted to experience a bit of winter and spring; Japan for autumn and also Beijing where Cherry Blossoms welcomed me a bunch.  Taiwan is Philippine's neighbor - the next stop for any typhoon that will hit my country. And it was August, the month when I don't usually travel as it's rainy/typhoon season in the Philippines and in most tropical countries. 
Taipei 101
Further, I have had attempted to book a flight to Taiwan twice.  The first was via Air Asia but the flight was cancelled months before the actual date and got nothing but refund.  Then, I booked via Cebu Pacific but almost had it canceled. Finally, against all odds, in August 16, 2015, I took the flight to Taipei following my friends Connie and Jen. Since we've been cancelling and finding another flight, we ended having different flight schedule. And I was a day behind our flight to Taipei and had to leave a day after theirs. That means, I got my solitary travel for a day.

I arrived past midnight of August 17 in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and had to run a lot to get on the last bus to Main Taipei Station where Cityinn Hotel Taipei is located.  After gotten lost of the directions in awhile, I joined the sisters in their room as I had to check-in later on daylight.

And on Connie's birthday our race against time in Taipen begun.

Day 1:  Connie's Birthday

It was Sunday and Connie's birthday so first in our list was to attend the Sunday Mass. I found The Holy Family Church in Taipei with scheduled English Mass at 9:45AM.  It was the most solemn catholic mass that I attended, and I was happy to spend it with Connie on her birthday.  
Galleries in the train station
Daan Park on our way to The Holy Family Church

The Holy Family Church
After the mass, we went to Hello Kitty Cafe, where most girls of any age might want to spend their birthday.  It was a sumptuous lunch and that's when I found out that Taipei is a food and not a shopping destination.  That kicked off our gastronomic adventure in Taipei.  
Kitchen Hello Kitty & Dining
(not so easy to find the location; our taxi driver didn't even know where it is)

The Entrance of Hello Kitty 
Connie's birthday cake

Connie's birthday adventure continued as we took the train out of Taipei to Northeast of Taiwan, Pingxi to light our sky lantern full of our wishes.  We ended the day with much fun, not to mention, that we slightly had the biggest blooper of our life to scribble in my journal.
At the Pingxi Station
Writing my wishes on my side of the lantern

Day 2: Taipei Trip 

We were supposed to leave Taipei and travel North to Yehliu Geo Park but the weather did not permit us. It was raining early in the morning and we had to wait until it was only drizzling before we decided to change our itinerary for the day.  We first had our lunch at the authentic Din Tai Fung.  Travel bloggers said that the queue could be unimaginable so we had to prepare for a late lunch.
the queue on the board and we're 3041

Din Tai Fung guide to eat Xiao Long Bau
Our dining experience in Din Tai Fung in Taiwan was a bit different in Singapore.  The restaurant staff made us the sauce that compliment the famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings). The guide how to prepare the sauce and how to eat the xiao long bao were helpful for the most satisfying experience of xiao long bao.

After lunch, we took the train to Taipei 101. Though we've been to Petronas Twin Tower, we gave it a go to Taipei 101 as well. Then, we capped off our day together by looking for the Modern Toilet restaurant in Ximending.  It was such a fun adventure in the midst of the rain.

Then, it was time for Connie and Jen to go to the airport for their flight back to Manila and I left for one more day to explore more of Taipei.

My Day 3 would have been full of places to go:
1. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
2. Hiking to Elephant Mountain
2. Guanghwa Digital Mall
3. Shopping at Ximending

But the heavy rains that kept pouring the whole day had ripped me off of my chance to explore Taipei on my own. And that I had to list down Taiwan again in my bucketlist.

Should the time and weather have been accommodating to me, I could have completed my itinerary.  But as they say and with my travel experiences, things can change as you go on with your trip.  At the end of the trip, it's not the destination that really matters but the journey. 
My "should-be" itinerary :-)

No comments: