Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’re having a great Holiday and spending time with people you care about or doing something you love. I’ve just returned from a trip to Taipei and I’m still feeling the feels from the trip. I had such a great time and was so glad I had a great Christmas doing something I love – traveling!
I decided to head to Taipei, Taiwan because of it’s proximity to Japan and it’s relatively low costs also the food, and the weather is much nicer! I made such a great decision and cannot wait to visit again. For now, I am just going to reflect on my trip there.
On my first full day, I decided to go full tourist and take a “free” (tip-based) walking tour with Like It Formosa. I learned of this tour through my Facebook travel group and since I’d never done anything like it, I thought, “why not?”
Like It Formosa, has two types of tours they offer – Historical and Modern. Because I’m such a lover of history, I went on the Historical tour that was led by Chenn and had such a great time.
The tour was 3 hours long and our group was small and so cool. We all vibed together so well so you didn’t feel overly obligated to talk or awkward. On our tour we learned about the history of Taiwan, and explored the west side of the city that houses all of the older structures and districts with deep history.
We visited Longshan Temple, Báng-kah khu district, the Presidents Office, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, 228 Peace Memorial Park, and more. All along our walks, we heard such rich history and stories that reveal some parts of the values and traditions of Taiwanese people.
We also stopped for some Taiwanese ice cream and bubble milk tea that was delicious.
My favorite district was the Báng-kah khu. In Taiwanese, Báng-kah means canoe and this village was previously used as a location to strip trees and, later, deer skin. During Japanese rule, the area was intended to be developed into something, then that never happened after the Japanese lost in WWII and returned Taiwan to the Chinese. Now, the Báng-kah khu district serves as a gallery space and/or a space for independent artists to sell their work. I love the industrial look and how open the are feels.
Another favorite spot of mine was Longshan Temple and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Chenn did an amazing job of explaining the history, symbols, and meanings of this sacred place. For example, when entering a temple, woman must enter with their right foot and men must enter with their left foot. This is because of the Chinese philosophy in Yin and Yang, where Yang symbolizes masculinity and is on the left and Yin symbolizes femininity which is on the right. An easy way to remember this is “Men go left, because women are always right“. HA! You must also be sure to never touch your foot on the threshold and step over it.
I especially loved the attention to detail in the temple. Everywhere you turned you could see beautiful etchings or paintings on the temple columns and/or side panels. As we stalked through the crowded pathways, inhaled smoke from the red candles and passed by tables full of sacrificed food, I couldn’t contain my awe.
After our tour, I joined Chenn and two other girls, Meg and Julia, who went on the tour for lunch. We decided on visiting the famous Yong Kang Beef Noodle Shop and was so satisfied after digging into our dishes. I ordered the spicy beef noodle soup, that was not as spicy, but very salty but still good. I was obsessed with how tender and delicious our meat was and my stomach is growling as I think about it.
After our noodles, we walked the one block to try the famous Tian Scallion Pancakes, and OH MY LORD, were they good! I’m glad I tried the scallion pancakes early on the trip because every time I saw them afterward, I knew what they were and HAD to get them. I was a very happy camper.
So that wraps up my recap of my first day in Taipei. Check out the short clip I put together from my instagram stories below. I hope you enjoyed reading it and consider doing a walking tour with Like It Formosa, when you visit Taipei in the future.
Happy New Year!