Have you ever been lying in bed at night and thought, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Because, same.
Cue: Me booking a trip to Taipei, Taiwan four days before departure.
Initially I was going to stay at home during winter vacation but got fed up with bone chilling winter weather. With the help of my brother and sister-in-law, they told me to book a ticket and fly to the land of beef noodles and red bean buns.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve stepped on the soil of Taiwan. I travelled throughout the country with my father, aunt, and uncle two years prior, which you can read about by clicking HERE, HERE, and HERE!
This time around I stayed at an Airbnb called The Comfy Cave which was perfectly located (quiet area but still central) and cozy AF, plus the host was an American living in Taipei and gave great suggestions on things to do, see, and eat. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, save $25 on your first stay by clicking HERE.
Since this was a last minute trip I had NOTHING planned, other than a list of things I wanted to eat. On the first day I woke up at 7AM (couldn’t sleep in, was too excited!) to explore the incredible city by foot. I was immediately immersed in the bustle and it filled all of my senses. The sounds of motorbikes, the smell of freshly baked goods, the sight of colourful street art, the touch of green grass, and the delicious taste of BUBBLE TEA!
One of the best parts about travelling alone is that you can go your own pace. If you want to stand in front of a temple to perfect the angle of a shot for 30 minutes, YOU CAN! The below photo was taken at Jiufen Old Street, which was only a 45 minute bus ride away from Taipei. Here you can shop, eat Taiwanese delicacies (such as ice cream spring rolls.. that’s a delicacy, right?), or enjoy a coffee with a beautiful view of the sea. I do suggest to go as early as you can to avoid the thousands of tour buses that make a pit stop here throughout the afternoon.
After Juifen I took a short train ride to Shifen Old Street, an historic area where train tracks run straight through the village. You can freely take photos on the tracks too, until you hear whistles and people yelling to “GET OFF!” because a train will be coming through.
It is also a place to release sky lanterns! I choose a white one, symbolizing future/brightness and wrote what I wanted/hoped for the future. In big bold letters I wrote “PASSION” as seen in the photo below. Quite like the lantern, passion fuels a fire within. When it comes to my career, hobbies, love, life, etc.. I never want to lose the fire that burns inside of me. Passion gets you up in the morning, keeps you on your toes, and gives you purpose. Also, reallllllllly small in the corner I wrote “dolla billz” because, I like buying pretty things sometimes.
When you go to Taipei you must order xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) from Din Tai Fung. I also ordered a braised beef noodle soup, which was equally as delicious.
After eating at Din Tai Fung I decided to walk off my big, delicious lunch by venturing to Elephant Mountain. The hike isn’t too bad, even for a rookie. It’s about 15-20 minutes of climbing steep steps but before you know it, you will have reached the best view in the city. Skip going up to the glass floor at Taipei 101, this view is way better and it’s free.
After three days I have had my fair share of street food and noodle soups. I was craving a bit of a palette change. I headed over to Tamed Fox, the cutest little Insta-friendly cafe with the most adorable pup. I ordered the homemade ricotta smoked salmon sandwich and turmeric cayenne lemonade. It was scrumptious, healthy, and the girls who worked there were super friendly to boot!
After an incredible brunch I spent the entire afternoon at MOCA Taipei, consumed Taiwanese tea at Smith & Hsu, and shopped at Ximending, the “Harajuku” of Taipei since it’s a hub for shops, clubs, and restaurants.
The next day I I took a trip to Beitou Thermal Valley, where waters can reach up to 90℃ (das hawt!). The waters contain natural sulfate minerals/radium which is why it’s light green and smells slightly of rotten eggs. You can even see the water boiling in some spots! The surrounding area is filled with natural hot springs, which I didn’t get to do *sad* but it sounds absolutely lovely.
After five days of constant walking and sightseeing I decided to take it easy and park my butt in a comfy chair at Bitan Scenic Area, a riverfront park located at Xindian Station. It felt nice to read a book, eat fries, and watch swan boats gracefully float along the water.
On my last day I visited the Taipei Zoo, which you MUST go to if you have the time. It costs $2 (so cheap!) and it’s the largest zoo in Asia filled with pandas, giraffes, hippos, and African wild asses (see below, also, that’s what the sign said!).
IT’S VLOG TIME! Watch some of my solo adventures in Taipei including eating my heart out at night markets, browsing art galleries, and visiting a cat village. Yes, I voluntarily went to a village.. full of cats..