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Taiwan - 2017


Our trip to Taiwan was something that we had been wanting to undertake for a long time. We spotted an opportunity to do this as EVA Air were offering special prices (a great price!) and we could take a few days in Taipei, en-route to Bali. An unusual route but one which gave us the chance to spend some time there.

The flight via Bangkok was good, although long. Immigration for Taipei was fairly speedy and we were soon heading off to exchange some currency and grab a taxi to our hotel. Finding our way to the currency exchange and to the taxi (we had not pre-booked) was simple.

We arrived at our hotel, the Ambience, in less than 40 minutes and were rapidly checked in by, what seemed to be, the most cheerful, friendly and helpful reception staff that we have ever encountered.

Taipei 101
Taipei - Farglory Financial Center

2017 Taipei - Taipei 101

2017 Taipei - Farglory Financial Center

We couldn't have asked for more. We mentioned to the staff that we had no knowledge of the local sites or how to get around. Within no time they were producing any manner of suggestions and we decided that a half-day familiarisation tour would be appropriate, followed up by a tour, out of Taipei, into the countryside and to the coast. An evening visit to a night market was also on the agenda.

The following morning we received some suggested itineraries, hand written by the reception staff and we decided that we should take a taxi, with English speaking driver for some trips out, as this seemed to be much cheaper than organised tours and we could travel in air conditioned comfort - humidity was very high and the temperature was in the 90s Fahrenheit!

We started our day with a walk around the hotel, focusing on the Zhongyangyiwen Park Huashan Creative Park and followed this up with a familiarisation tour by taxi. Obviously, Taipei 101 was included and we visited Longshan Temple, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, National Concert Hall, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, City Hall, The Presidential Office, Bopiliao Ancient Street, Confucian Temple, Dalongdong Baoan Temple - a rather full 1/2 day. We followed this up with a visit to a local restaurant, recommended by the staff at the hotel, that specialised in dumplings and traditional Taiwanese fare. To say that we over-ordered our meal would be an understatement and we certainly were not hungry when we left. We enjoyed the day and looked forward to a full day travelling to the coast and countryside the following morning.

2017 Taipei - Longshuan Temple

2017 Taipei - Rahoe Street Night Market

The next day we headed off to Yangmingshan National Park, Yehliu Geo Park, Keelung, Jiufen, Golden Falls and then back through the National Park to the source of the hot springs and fumeroles and finally to a private hot springs, used mainly by Taiwanese people, where we could bathe privately, away from the normal tourist spots such as Beitou. This was an itererary provided by the hotel staff and undertaken, as was the previous day's orientation tour, by taxi with an English speaking Driver / Guide.

The scenery and mountains were spectacular, as were the fumeroles, the Geo Park was interesting, Keelung was a harbour, Jiufen was beautiful, picturesque and interesting (with some unusual foodstuffs!). The Golden Falls and location of the gold mining area were novel and, nearby, the fumeroles with sulphur laden air were well worth a visit and the hot springs provided a most relaxing high point in the trip.

In the evening we visited Rahoe Street night market, where the foodstuffs, sights, sounds and colours were assults on all the senses. We enjoyed Dim Sum, dumplings and an unusual baked bun containing minced pork and chopped spring onion which was baked in a tandoori like oven! Very unusual and
very tasty!

Another great day, which we rounded off by visiting the "Paradise" bar, close to our hotel, which we had found on the previous evening. A lengthy conversation, drinking with a Taiwanese couple, resulted in a very late evening and a slight over-consumptoon of alcohol.

2017 Taipei - Street at Night

2017 Taipei - Taiwanese tapas?? at the Paradise Bar

All too soon our visit to this fascinating island drew to a close. We had an early start, heading for our flight from Taipei to Bali and were pleasantly surprised that the journey was quicker than anticipated. The roads were well laid out and, despite travelling in "rush hour", the traffic moved quite freely and the sights were interesting.

The queues at the airport for security and pasport control were long and slow but, believe me, were not nearly as slow as they would be on re-entering Taiwan en-route back to the UK!

2017 Taiwan - Coastal View from National Park

2017 Taiwan - Wild Orchids at Hot Spring Baths

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