Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with Japanese colonial lanes, busy shopping streets, and contemporary buildings. The skyline crowned by the 509m-tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper.
Taiwan was never in my bucket list of places to visit only when I saw pictures shared by my friends online; it made me think twice, and why not visit it? Filipinos are granted a free visa until next year, and that is an excellent opportunity to visit Taiwan.
There are many things to love about Taipei, like its night markets and many museums. But beyond its attractions, what makes Taipei so alluring for me, is the city itself. With conveniences like a cheap but incredibly efficient metro system and its overabundance of well-maintained public parks, it’s a city that puts its people first.
We had a late-night flight via Air Asia, which is around 11:15 PM. The travel time will be approximately one and a half hours.
When we arrived at Taoyuan Airport, it was not that cold or hot, but it gave us a welcoming vibe. Because it was around 2 AM when I arrived, MRT is closed, and the only way you can go to Taipei is either hire a taxi or wait for the bus, which comes every hour.
We took the bus going to Taipei Main Station. The bus was not jam-packed because it was so early. It was very convenient too as there is a lot of legroom for me. After half an hour, we reached Taipei Main Station. Our Airbnb was walking distance from the station. We weren’t able to check in early because checking in starts at 3 PM. The good thing though is, our Airbnb host gave us a place where we can leave our luggage and go for the whole day tour.
Based on our itinerary that I made, which will soon post at the end of this article, we will be heading for Taichung. Taichung is an industrial city on the western side of central Taiwan. It’s a gateway for exploring the island’s mountainous interior.
We took the early local train to Taichung (which was a bad idea). We didn’t know that this train will stop at every station and it took us five hours to reach Houli Station.
In Houli Station, we decided to walk going to Houli Flower Farm (which was a wrong move again). But amidst the scorching sun, I was amazed by how peaceful and very rural this place is. There are rice fields along with the streets with a mountain view, which gave me a relaxed feeling.
- HOULI FARM
After 20 minutes of walking, we reached Houli Farm. You can enjoy colorful beds of flowers and a picturesque. For the price of $150NTD, you get to enter into this attraction and enjoy their fields flooded with flowers of different kinds and colors.
Below are the best shots I did.
There is a barbeque restaurant area nearby where you can avail of unlimited bbq for NTD 350. This is actually a package where it also includes the entrance to this flower farm.
- U Bike
Right across the Taichung station are bicycles that can be rented to tour around the city.
- Miyahara Ice Cream
We rented a taxi going in this old eye hospital building which was renovated into a modern charming one. It is located in the Central District of Taichung, Taiwan. It is a store that sells cookies, chocolates, pastries, pineapple cakes and of course their best ice cream.
- Painted Animation Lane
If you’re a fan of anime. You can visit this lane nearby the street where a whole lot of anime characters in One Piece, Studio Ghibli’s, Slamdunk, etc are painted on the walls of this street. Below are some of our photos in character.
It was around evening when we decided to get back to Taichung station and head back to Taipei.
We finally check-in our Airbnb which is near the Taipei Main Station. Allan, who was our host was very accommodating. We did not expect to be our Airbnb this big, clean and spacious.
We only paid Php3000.00 for two nights stay.
You can use this invite code and get Php2,200 off your first trip.
After resting for some hours. It is best to visit the night markets. We booked an uber going to Raohe Night Market.
- Raohe St. Night Market
The Raohe Street Night Market is one of the oldest night markets in Songshan District, Taipei, Taiwan.
There are tons of food starting from stinky tofu, pork buns, Japanese matcha buns, sausages and a lot of street foods to dig in.
After having a good meal. We went back to our place at around 10:00 PM.
Our day one in Taiwan was jampacked. Starting from arriving early to the airport and directly going to Taichung. But we are still thankful for a safe trip. Tomorrow will be a big day to savor this country’s beauty.