Another blog post about Sun Moon Lake … or is it?

I’m not kidding anyone. This blog post is about Sun Moon Lake – only, through the eyes of someone who never saw its appeal until recently.

Usually when I hear of someone basing their travel plans around Sun Moon Lake, I would try my best to not scrunch up my nose and judge. It’s been done to death. Why put up with the crowds, and the horrible long-weekend traffic that can transform a one and a half hour stretch of highway into three, when there’s so much quiet beauty Taiwan has elsewhere? Continue reading

7 Less-Known Places for a Romantic Date in Taipei

Every one, in one small way or another, is a little romantic. Whether you are the type to wear matching outfits with your beloved, or just like spending quiet time with that significant other, it sure feels nice to get romantic once in awhile. For me, it’s about appreciating beauty and sharing a common interest with that special someone. So in the spirit of Double Seven Day (seventh day of the seventh lunar month also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day), here are my seven less-known (and low-cost!) places in Taipei for romance. Continue reading

Fei Cui Valley (翡翠谷)

Nature makes us happy. It’s why we seek the outdoors, and look for untouched wilderness. Lonely Planet’s coverage on hiking to wild hot springs as the latest trend has been picking up much interest amongst visitors to Taiwan, though these activities of finding paradise are of no secret to the island’s residents.

Natural Taiwan is really as good as it sounds. While some secret gems require a world of effort to get to, others are surprisingly accessible. It’s not everyday you come across newly uncovered rock pools and a waterfall metres away from a road, minutes from other popular attractions. Fei Cui Valley (翡翠谷) has been incredulously overlooked. Continue reading

I slept in a love hotel in Tainan, and it was the best place I’ve ever stayed in

At first look, Prince Hotel (太子大飯店) is not pretty at all. Fluorescent lights alongside chandeliers, a red counter to a green backdrop. The lounge in the corner is a couple of coffee tables and chairs, half of which are being used as a makeshift nail salon. Not far from its entrance are large signs quoting hourly prices. A telling sign of the kind of place, I have just stepped into. Continue reading

Taiwan’s Abandoned: The Thirteen Levels

It’s impossible to keep abandoned places a secret when the structure itself is akin to an archaic fortress, sits precariously on a mountain face that overlooks the ocean, and also happens to be in close proximity to a number of major tourist attractions. I came across it almost like everyone else did; by accident, while on the way to other destinations, and because it really is that glaringly obvious. Continue reading

Design as Development

What comes to mind when you hear of design? Something trendy like fashion? A plan or blueprint of a building of some sort? Perhaps it’s something more aesthetically pleasing, say, an art piece or something from a home decor catalog. Or to those with a practical mind, it should cater to your needs, like the mobile phone we all depend on so much. Continue reading

Taiwan’s Abandoned: The Once Luxurious Stanton Club

Taipei is covered in a blanket of grey, making it seem chillier than it really is. Despite it being three in the afternoon, the day seemed to be over as we scootered down the quiet back streets of Xinyi. Today I’m not venturing too far, which is uncommon when I have my mind set on some urban exploration. But the ease of getting to this place only makes me more perplexed that I haven’t come across this place earlier. Continue reading

New Year Traditions in Old Taipei

If you are a visitor to Taipei during around February, without a doubt you would have heard to hit up Dihua Street in Dadaocheng (迪化街,大稻埕) for its hustle and bustle as locals prepare for the new year.  The usual quiet and calm of old Dadaocheng will abruptly change, becoming loud and spritely of people eager to prepare for Taiwan’s most important celebration. I was one with the throng of people yesterday, sampling all sorts of delicacies that would only be be found this time of the year. Continue reading

Taiwan is Ridiculously Beautiful

Last week I went on one of the most epic of roadtrips I’ve had for a long while. And with none other but my elderly parents! Though less nimble as they were, we were able to circle Taiwan in just over a week. I think it was quite a feat for them to have seen so much as first-timers to this little island. Small it may be, there is plenty to see and do in Taiwan, and I am so glad they’ve had the chance to appreciate its diversity. For me this getaway was doubly special because not only did I get to show my parents how wonderful life could be in Taiwan, I again witnessed some ridiculously beautiful scenes, only to further reinforce my will to stay. Continue reading

Food You Don’t Want to Eat but Should When in Taiwan

It’s been a long time coming for a food-related post to make its way here. Afterall, Taiwan is well-known for its variety of great food, but surely like me, you also want to know what other delicacies Taiwan has to offer other than niu rou mian (牛肉麵 Taiwanese beef noodles) or Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao (小籠包 soup dumplings). So now that I’ve had time to savour Taiwan’s street food, it’s time to share some of my favourite delectable morsels, so unassuming that most people would often stick up their noses and walk right on by without giving them a chance. Most of them look displeasing to eat. Even the names don’t sound appetising. But I think it’s important to remember that our sense of disgust when it comes to food is also culturally moulded. And what better way to understand a new culture than to challenge our ready-formed perceptions? Continue reading