I have visited Taiwan twice in different seasons, in November just before winter (the best time!) and during summer some years later. In both journey I wished I had superpower to stop time. Here are 20 reasons why:
- Public transportation is well maintained (and relatively clean): The places of interest in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, are mostly accessible via a combination of metro, bus and walking. Even going out to another state is comfortable with train – once you have a city in mind, I recommend going online to book first as tickets to popular cities run out fast. Just a pre-caution in case you are in front of the ticketing machine with all your hopes.
- Hualien city is in Taiwan!!! This place has mountains, beaches and culture altogether it is only right to spend at least 3 days here. For the best experience, visit during spring or towards winter, I’ve seen the most stunning view that left me speechless.
- Still in Hualien, I can have a retreat, a night or two near CingJin Farm. You can see lambs and mountains and blue skies and white clouds and it’s like a dream.
- I can find a coastal spot called Danshui, a metro away from Taipei city. it has a nice walk filled with street foods along the water (lively at night and nice in the morning). You can keep walking along the path to catch a nice sunset.
- Hotsprings! From Taipei just take the metro to Beitou. From private villa-style dip to the public experience depending how much you are willing to pay. Remember to bring a towel and swimsuit if you don’t want to purchase them there.
- I can try the local Din Tai Fung and original xiao long bao/dumpling (they taste the same in Singapore, but according to Taiwanese they are not and thus you must try!)
- The bubble milk tea portion is gigantic, “50 lan” was the famous brand I was introduced to although there are many others around that I think taste good as long as I put the taro balls.
- Nothing is boring when you can play with your camera at beautiful spots- Yehliu is a sight for first-timers; you can either get there by public bus or taxi.
- The fruits are gigantic, look at the peaches and soursops (OK I’m not even sure what those are)…ahhh I love 4-season countries!!
- There are so many backpacking places to stay at you will be spoilt for choices. I stayed at Chocolate Box Backpacker- loved my clean room& toilet.
- I can wander to the night markets every night, the famous one is Shilin but there are so many others. It’s shopping and food and alot of young people, come here to catch up with Asian trends.
- I can have yummy beef noodles or Bakut (pork rib) anywhere, soup or fried.
- People are just so polite and helpful! In developed nations this is not the case normally- I get people bumping to me and then rushing off without a blink. In Taiwan, I was pleasantly surprised when someone offered help after seeing me frowning at the map.
- Ximending shopping district has everything you need, from malls, stalls, restaurants, cafes, hotels, hostels. You can roam around for a whole day and you still think you need more time.
- There are innovative cafes like Hello Kity Cafe, or even a toilet-inspired cafe..
- Local designers flourish so we can get really cute and unique shirts/watches/keychains or paper lamps?
- I felt really safe moving around the country with limited Chinese (I can speak a little but cannot read the words). I suggest to smile a lot 🙂
- Taiwan has the best pineapple tart! Although there are hundreds of brands with the best going really pricey, I don’t mind the common ones sold in supermarkets. Pack this if you can’t think of a souvenir.
- There’s Jiufen and Shifen- a place for you to find the special peanut ice cream, mua chee and of course, FLY LANTERNS.
- Never-ending stock of food, I cannot describe everything I have eaten and still keep this short. I’m sure I have not tried everything too, so I am giving you this link that covers this part really well: http://thesmartlocal.com/read/taiwan-must-try
I went a while back so did not include the prices here. Currently USD 1 = ~ TWD 30. As a guideline, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs ~TWD 100-200, that’s ~USD 3.50 – 6.50.
Trust me, a week in Taiwan is too short even for traveling only half of the country.