Friday, October 28, 2016

How I Spent My 2nd Year Anniversary in Taipei


In the Land of Milk Tea: Taipei.

For our 2nd anniversary, instead of buying each other expensive gifts, we decided to just use the money to travel to a country that we've both never been to. 

Getting There
I booked our flight to Taipei during Philippine Airline's 75th Anniversary Seat Sale last March. Each round trip ticket cost around $86 or P3,870. Since I booked our trip five months before our anniversary, it gave us time to save and to research on what we wanted to do.

Where To Stay
You have three options: Hotel, hostel, or rent an apartment. The prices don't vary much but I wanted to try Airbnb for the first time. I was a bit skeptical at first. "What if the photos of the place aren't how it really looks like?", "What if it's dirty?", and "Is it a safe place?" were some of my worries. I thoroughly read through each and every review of the guests before choosing a place and the rating played a huge factor in my decision. Luckily, I found a cute studio apartment in the Zhongshan district owned by Henry. We paid around P2,000 per night. He was very accommodating and he would to reply to my messages right away. He even gave me restaurants to try out. You can see the listing here
Tip: I highly suggest you only book places with 4 stars and above. (Just to be safe!)


It was just simple apartment but it was near all the sites and the MRT station. 


How To Get Around
As soon as you land in the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, look for the booth of the rental of 4G pocket wifi. There are several to choose from. We went with Unite Traveler because it was the most reasonable price. It was just NT$755 for four days. We needed wifi to use Google Maps, Waze and Uber.


When we weren't walking around, we took the MRT. (Yes, it's called the MRT too just like in Manila!) They have five transit lines in their metro system. It's super easy to figure out! By the second day, we were already pros like the locals. Tokens range from NT$20- NT$65 depending on where you are going. You can also opt to get an Easy Card. It's more convenient because you just load it up like a prepaid card and you save yourself from buying a token before each trip. The card alone costs NT$100 without any balance. You are supposed to be able to refund the card after. However, when we inquired, they told us we weren't allowed to so we didn't get a card anymore. I don't know if the person we asked was didn't know or they changed the rule already. Just double check when you get to the station. 



Where To Go
Let me just share with you our 4-day itinerary. I made this all by myself with the help of Google! Toby isn't much of a planner but I, on the other hand, enjoy every bit of it even the stress.



We found this hole-in-the wall Vietnamese restaurant a couple of blocks from our airbnb apartment. This was honestly one of the best pho's I've ever tasted. It was extremely cheap too. If I'm not mistaken, it was around P150 pesos per bowl. 


The Maji-Maji Square consists of food stalls, craft shops, and a mini amusement park at the centre. 





 While Huashan Creative Park is probably the most hipster place I've ever been to. You can see art exhibits and each store is carefully curated. Every corner was Instagram worthy.




 Guys, this is how their Starbucks looks like. Can you believe it?!



We were tired from all the travelling so we just asked around where to eat that's nearby. He pointed us to the direction of a row of small restaurants. 



Custard Wheel Cake 


Aquatic Addiction Development is their high-end fish market. You can choose among their fresh seafood and have it cooked there. 




Oysters Rockefeller 



 Fresh Sushi



We didn't want to do any touristy things except visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall/ Liberty Square. It's a national monument dedicated to the former president of China. Chiang Kai-shek is responsible for unifying China.



Shilin Night Market 


Stinky Tofu- must try!


My two favourites: Cheese and Corn


Pork Belly Bun



While walking home, we saw a row of parlor games. The most unusual one I saw was this one. You have to catch as many shrimps as you can in  30 seconds. (Take note: They are alive!) 


Daan District is where you find all the hypebeast stores. Toby obviously loved shopping here while I just took as many photos of the hipster shops.










Have you ever eaten from a urinal? I have! In Modern Toilet, the name speaks for itself. 




But don't let its appearance fool you. Their food was surprisingly delicious! 



If you're more into food, Raohe Night Market is for you. Shilin Market is much bigger but they have more stalls for clothes, gadgets, and random finds. 



Grilled Octopus


Look at this cutie! I met him in one of the pet stores. 


Savoury crepes


Oyster Omelette- My favorite street food!


In Beitou Spring Resort, you can rent a room for the day with your own hot spring tub. It's NT$600 per head for a maximum of two hours. They don't accept reservations. It's on a first come, first serve basis so be early. From the Beitou Station, there's a shuttle to the resort.


Since we mostly ate in food markets, we made sure to eat in an authentic Taiwanese restaurant before we left. Umeko was suggested to us by our airbnb host. I loved everything especially the beef spareribs. 


Fresh Shrimps


Glazed Beef Spare Ribs---- YUMMM!


They gave us free dessert. 


Last minute shopping in Wu Fen Pu. It's mostly wholesale clothing shops so the prices are dirt cheap.  It's mostly women's clothes though.


That concludes our trip in Taipei! I loved it so much that I think I'm coming back next year. 

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