Stamped another new country on the passport (not really because crew passports don’t actually get stamped, but ya know, we’ll go with it) last February (yes, I know, I suck – will update this thing more often, I promise) when I visited Taipei! I briefly called this my favorite layover so far (it kind of still is), though I think that had to do more with me finally having the energy and patience to lug around my SLR on a layover for the first time. Going around Taipei with my camera reminded me of the feeling of traveling as a tourist (a feeling I’ve honestly forgotten and sorely miss – it’s just so different traveling on the job versus traveling for yourself, sigh) and going around was a lot more enjoyable this time around.
(My outfit was so wrong – and super gusot, I know, pls don’t judge, haha!)
Our first stop, care of our driver and tour guide Mr. Steven, was Chiang Kai Shiek Memorial Hall, which is a national monument built in memory of one of China’s presidents. Didn’t spend too much time here knowing we had a lot on our itinerary and our next stops were more interesting.
We took quite the drive to Yehliu Geogpark after – we didn’t end up going there though, rather we just stopped along the highway and enjoyed the sea (which happens to be the Philippine Sea, holla!) against the beautiful rock formations.
This is probably my favorite shot from this trip. Love when nature balances out city.
Um. How beautiful are these rock formations??? I
kind of fell in love.
Like. Hard. I mean.
Had to have our photos taken against the stunning backdrop too, of course, haha.
After the nature appreciation bit, we headed for a quick bite at a nearby restaurant, which was my least favorite part of the trip, lol. Supplies were situated next to the toilet, guys, huhu. But perhaps we just unluckily happened upon a bad restaurant.
Next on the itinerary: Jiufen. Also known as the village that inspired Spirited Away (which I keep putting on my to-watch list but never get around to, damn, must correct that soon).
It looks so peaceful, aaaah.
We entered the actual village, tried some street food, met some of the cutest puppies (haircuts are a thing for dogs here), and got lost at some point. It was all cool, since it was mostly a straight path, until we found ourselves facing an intersection. “Aaaaand we’re officially lost.”
We found each other and regrouped eventually, though, whew.
Didn’t get to buy or eat anything in the market, but I thoroughly enjoyed just strolling around and observing the different characters I came across, such as this lady in a meatshop who gamely waved and showed her bubbly self off at the sight of my camera.
After the market, we headed to the Sky Lantern Mountain, which is famous among tourists who I guess want the real life Tangled experience. I don’t really believe in making wishes on things anymore – maybe I’m losing my sense of idealism, a.k.a getting old, meep – so I didn’t partake. But basically, you pick a color for your lantern – pink is for bliss, orange is for love, etc etc. Then you write pretty much whatever you want and you send these lanterns to the sky (for a fee, of course).
It actually looked quite magical at night; I highly recommend going when it’s dark out.
We then headed to Elephant Mountain, which had us climb hundreds (oh boy…) of steps to reach a nice view of Taipei 101, which is among the world’s tallest buildings (which is hard to believe for me – am I the only one who found it looking really tiny? Is that a design thing? An illusion? Serious question, haha). Getting a good photo of the building at night was a struggle without a tripod, though, so no photos worth sharing here.
We capped our tour in Taipei by having xiao long bao, of course, and asking our guide to take us somewhere we can buy pasalubong. Mr. Steven was actually super nice about it and let us take our time in the store despite us already going past our allotted ten hours. (When we handed him our pay with tip, he counted and counted and made sure, then honestly told us it was more than what we were supposed to pay. Realizing it was for him, he jokingly asked, “Tired?” We said no. He said, “Let’s go!” Haha. Careful there – might take that offer up!)
Aaaaand that was it for our one day in Taipei. I realized I enjoy exploring more when I have a camera on my hand, so definitely beating my lazy ass from now on and taking that baby with me to my layovers.
Good night, Taipei. Until next time (specifically: last week of July for me woohoo!).