Amazing Taiwan: the land of shaved ice, warm people, micro mini skirts and full-on PDA (Part 1)

I love, adore, yearn for Taiwan!

Obviously, three short days is not enough to discover the beauty of Taiwan. But my four short days in Taipei (actually 2 1/2 days in Taipei and half a day in Yehliu) pretty much gave me fond memories of this country formerly called as Formosa. What can I say about Taiwan?

It’s a land of chilled out, laid back happy people who always offer you a smile whenever you need it. It’s the land of amazing wonders waiting to be discovered, of simple culinary delights that will blow your minds away — of teeny, weeny skirts matched with cute, affordable boots and the throes of teenage love that pushed young lovers from devouring each other’s faces while on the subway ride.

We had three short days, but tried to make do with the limited time we had. Early on, we vowed to see more and spend less — and with one character in this story currently jobless after passing her resignation and another one perpetually broke (*ehem*), it sure make a very interesting story.

First day: “Let’s pretend we’re on Amazing Race Asia”
My sister and I arrived on a chilly, midnight aboard a Cebu Pacific midnight flight from Manila. Because Taipei Taoyuan International Airport is located in Taoyuan County and far from Taipei, we decided to book for hotel transfers from CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending, our home for the next two days in Taipei. However, following a small confusion on the booking, we are to spend the night in another hotel called Keyman’s located near the Taipei Main Railway Station. CityInn Hotel Plus was fully booked on the first night (technically early morning) of our stay and even a quick check from other CityInn in the area yielded zero rooms.

No sweat, we just wanted to have a room where we can crash for the (early) morning, get a few zzzzz and score free breakfast in preparation for the long day ahead. We plan on hitting the tried and tested usual sights of Taipei, maybe find little slices of city life in between and then check in at CityInn Hotel Plus in Ximending.

Our bedroom at Keyman's

Our bedroom at Keyman’s

our home away from home: CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

our home away from home: CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

(Read my hotel reviews here and here)

Here’s some notable images of Day 1 (warning: photo-heavy post)

So, we covered the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Sun Yat Sen Museum and Taipei 101. These attractions are near each other and usually found on the same line of the metro (blue line “Yongnin to Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre), so you’ll get to save time and your fare while you hop from one attraction to another. Prior to touring, we headed to Yuanshan in the red line to hear mass at St. Christopher’s Church, where hundreds of Filipino workers converge every Sunday to hear mass and reconnect with kababayans.

St. Christopher's Church in Yuashan (red line), near the Taipei Expo Park - best mass I attended

St. Christopher’s Church in Yuashan (red line), near the Taipei Expo Park – best mass I attended

After asking for God’s blessings, we are off to discover the city!

planes always fly overhead the Taipei Expo Park due to its proximity to the Taipei Airport (the domestic one)

planes always fly overhead the Taipei Expo Park due to its proximity to the Taipei Airport (the domestic one)

...flying through the expo's gardens

…flying through the expo’s gardens

The Main Gates of the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The Main Gates of the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The roof of the Taipei National Theatre located inside the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The roof of the Taipei National Theatre located inside the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

my sister taking a breather in front of a quaint bridal photography shop

my sister taking a breather in front of a quaint bridal photography shop

My sister chasing a hapless fat pigeon

My sister chasing a hapless fat pigeon

at the gardens

at the gardens

cherry blossom tree in full bloom

cherry blossom tree in full bloom

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i love this part of the garden... i can just imagine how it'd look like if the cherry blossom trees are full

i love this part of the garden… i can just imagine how it’d look like if the cherry blossom trees are full

these bikes are available throughout the city. just run your easy card through the censor and you're off!

these bikes are available throughout the city. just run your easy card through the censor and you’re off!

On our way to Taipei 101 (pic courtesy of the Queen's instagram account)

On our way to Taipei 101 (pic courtesy of the Queen’s instagram account)

During our first day in the city, the first thing we noticed is how short the skirts are and how cute the ladies looked with their short, short skirts, tights and matching boots. The ladies always looked fashionable albeit we’ve grown alarmed on finding some non-existent trousers or skirts. It’s like seeing the pages out of Vivi and sitting through a daily fashion show of Asian fashion. I instantly loved it there! Though, if I am to live in Taipei and dress how these ladies dress, I really need to get a few pounds out my massive tree trunks. Boots were available at the numerous shops in Ximending. A typical day-to-day wear will include a coat or jacket, blouse or shirt, the aforementioned fast-shrinking bottoms (shorts or skirt), tights and boots. Ladies are also partial to wearing sneakers (in varying colors and design) or boat shoes. Here’s our usual schedule every night: my sister and I would buy the sweet candied strawberries from an old uncle in Ximending, look for a nice area to sit and people watch and just soak up the culture and the active buzz that is commonly found in the area.

People watching would always lead us to a pair of amorous teenagers usually caught between liplock or gazing dreamily on each other’s eyes — like as if they were leads in the latest Taiwan drama airing on local channels. It was simply amusing, as young lovers often hold tight against each other as they sway to the train’s movement, oblivious to other passengers. Ah, the perils of young love 🙂

…to be continued

Note: A more detailed post of the trip including itinerary and budget breakdown will be published on my travel blog

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