Head south-east out of central Taipei for a short 20 minute drive, and you’ll be in the foothills of Wenshan district, which offers much more than gondolas and tea. With historical towns, trails that seem to never end, night markets, and well-hidden spaces, Wenshan is a quirky respite from Taipei city life that offers plenty without sacrificing convenience. In fact, my love for Taiwan started here almost 6 years ago when I first arrived, and it’s all thanks to a number of hidden gems I’ve found while moseying about understated Wenshan. Continue reading
There’s much to love about central Zhongshan, and it isn’t just because it once was Taipei’s centre for business and pleasure. Glamorous hotels, international dining, and large shopping centres may still grace the district, but it is the winding alleys full of boutique stalls and cafes that make this place perfect for a day of moseying about. From Japanese sites of yesteryear, to hidden hubs of art and entertainment, Zhongshan can cater to all interests. Here’s my top 10 alternative spots of areas predominantly west of Zhongshan and Shuanglian MRT station.
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
July 2017 saw me return to Taiwan for a week of island hopping and scuba-diving. Starting in Houbihu near Kenting (後壁湖，墾丁), I boarded a boat to Orchid Island (蘭嶼). It was a beautifully bright and hot day, but setting my eyes on the island, I felt somewhat cool. To say Lanyu is green is really an understatement. Mountains covered in lush vegetation against a backdrop of the bluest of blue seas. I couldn’t help but felt immediately revitalised.
I was fortunate to have close encounters with the island’s numerous residents – a goat spent an hour relaxing with me and my partner under a shaded pavillion. The photo I took of its eye and the vivid scarlet sunset on the beach are two of my favourite shots.
Back in Taipei, I found myself admiring Jiantan MRT Station (捷運劍潭站), but unfortunately I had little time to people-watch and shoot at the same time. Next time, perhaps.
National Taiwan University is no doubt beautiful, but have you discovered everything it has to offer? Housed in some of the oldest historical buildings, NTU museums are open to the public, and free!
Ill and feeling sorry for myself, I went to my usual haunt for some comfort food. My small appetite fostered wistful thoughts for the owner.
“Your twenties and thirties are the prime of life – even when you’re not well. I used to spend all night out with mates, then work the next day feeling wrecked. But I could still do it. Nowadays my health is gone and all I have is this shop.”
Taking a moment to appreciate his words, I suddenly felt better. I finished my delicious congee, thanked him, and left to make the most of my prime.
One morning I found myself rising before the sun. Restless, I headed to a breakfast shop. It’s open from 3am everyday, offering handmade soy milk, buns and most importantly, you tiao (油條).
“They’re available from 5am only”, the owner said, as her trained hands rolled and cut dough. Bleary-eyed, I waited for breakfast and the sun.
True to her words, she placed the blistering curlers in front of me at 5am sharp. I hastily dunk them in my accompanying savoury soy milk. With every mouthful, the satisfying crunch and streaming hot liquids shook me awake. Far better than coffee ever did.
No. I’m not talking about the TV Show. What is even more enthralling and praiseworthy is the talent at this year’s Young Designer’s Exhibition recently held at Taipei’s World Trade Exhibition Centre. Continue reading