Taipei is a bustling metropolis that is pretty much like any other modern city such as Hong Kong and Tokyo. A day isn’t enough to explore this wonderful city, so aside from the first part of our Taipei city tour, we further explored its urban and historic highlights.
Founded in 1738 by Han immigrants from Fujian, this popular Buddhist temple has served not just a house of worship but as well as a municipal, guild and self-defense center. It was dedicated to GuanYin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
This religious site survived and stood the test of time after it has been rebuilt multiple times due to earthquakes, typhoons, and even bombing in the last days of World War II. It remained to be a prime venue for Taiwan’s vibrant folk faith.
These deets instantly gives me a flashback of the dynastic times.
I REALLY have this thing for quaint architecture and this temple exudes precisely just that– exquisite figures on the roof, elaborate stone, and woodcarvings!
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Originally a sake and ginseng winery, the Huashan 1914 Creative Park is a retro-chic, creative space that is considered as the city’s primary creative center that houses specialty stores, third wave coffee shops, independent cinemas, and art installations. Additionally, it has become a hosting ground for some of Taiwan’s most significant cultural activities and exhibits.
Despite its industrial-organic aesthetic, it bursts with fresh and creative energy.
My favorite! Wooderful Life is a gift shop that sells unique wooden toys and music boxes. It also has more than 30 kinds of interesting games made out of wood.
There are immense things to experience on this specialty store, you may opt to play with a variety of fascinating and interactive wooden toy, be amazed by watching the colored wooden balls roll around tracks near the ceiling, figure out wooden logic puzzles, listen and be amused on the various displays of music boxes in the gift shop area, shop for indoor plants, and create your own music box.
Everything here in Huashan is so mesmerizing. Thus, you shouldn’t dare miss this one! Also, there are a lot of cafés within its vicinity, so better check those out, too!
The Maokong Gondola is a cable car system that operates between MRT Taipei Zoo and the peak of Maokong, this can help you reach the following destinations: Taipei Zoo (outside the Taipei Zoo), Taipei Zoo South (inside the Taipei Zoo), Zhinan Temple and Maokong (Sanxuan Temple)
This is the best way to spot the scenic Taipei! It somehow reminded me of The Peak from Hong Kong. Anyway, we skipped the first 3 stops and proceeded straight to Maokong, a quaint village located at the top of the mountain known for high quality tea houses overlooking the city. You may pay via cash (NTD120 each way for adults, NTD50 for children 6-12 and seniors over 65, with each adult allowed up to 2 children under 6 for free. EasyCards are given a 20% discount on weekdays, and is also entitled to receive a NTD20 discount when used also for zoo entry. For EasyCard (similar to Singapore’s MRT EZ-link card), you just need to simply place the EasyCard and when it beeps or an arrow appears, you can then push the turnstile to pass through it with the fee deducted from the EasyCard. It costs around NTD30 to NTD50 per pax.
We decided to not give Taipei Zoo a shot as we’re too Tita for it. HAHA! But if given a chance to come back, I might consider visiting it.
There are actually two options when riding the Gondola, you may opt for a Crystal Cabin or the Regular Cabin. The regular cabin can carry 8 passengers while the crystal cabin can only accommodate up to 5 passengers. We tried both, of course! HAHAHA <3
Mind you, it was freezing cold, so I hurriedly looked for a hot, freshly-baked sweet potato. It was heavenly sweet and delicious!
Also, couldn’t resist to get this cute tea-flavored ice cream!
Maokong is well-known for its wide variety of teahouses and high-quality selection of teas. While the tea houses and shops are open according to their own schedules, gondola service is contingent upon the weather situation for safety reasons. Just visit their website to check their available schedule and if they have a maintenance.
Shilin Night Market
After our tour at Maokong, we went to Shilin Night Market to buy additional souvenirs. This is considered as one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan. This place has alleyways filled with a variety of bargain goods, and even local, traditional, and international merchandise.
But of course, it also offers a LOT of yummy street foods! And they also have carnival and arcade games that kids and adults will surely enjoy!
Raohe Night Market
Raohe Night Market is another night market worth checking out in Taiwan aside from those in Ximending and Shilin.
Dubbed as one of the oldest night markets in Taipei, this place offers an authentic Taiwanese experience with fascinating foods and snacks, quaint shops and stalls, and even carnival games with prizes.
The bustling night market is just a stone’s throw away from Songshan MRT Station, making it an easily accessible attraction.
Most of the food at Raohe Night Market are predominantly Taiwanese and other Asian delicacies. But worry not, you can also expect some Western-inspired dishes.
There is a lot more to do at Raohe Street Night Market than just eating. it also has trendy retail stores, carnival games and many more. Actually, I noticed that it’s mostly the same as with what’s at Shilin. HAHA!
Until then, Taiwan <3 YOU WERE AMAZING!