It is 1pm in Taipei, Taiwan and I am sitting in a small cafe, resting my legs and watching as the tropical rain washes the afternoon away…
My journey to Taiwan started on the best possible note. An hour before boarding my 1:45am red-eye from Toronto, I was called over the intercom. The lovely staff at EVA Airways informed me that I was being bumped from Economy to Premium for free as Economy was full. I’m not exactly sure how the bumping system works, but I was excited my first solo adventure began with the best of fortunes. I knew right away this upgrade meant better food, in-flight amenities and of course, MORE LEG ROOM!
After a 15.5 hour flight and a 12 hour time difference, I finally landed safe and sound at Taoyuan International Airport at 5am. Immigration went by like a breeze and I before I knew it, was on the next express train to Taipei Main Station. After a scenic 30ish minute ride on Taipei’s MRT, and a quick transfer to Ximen, I was at my accommodations by 7am (way too early for check-in.) Luckily, my host did the process early and held my luggage for me (I will disclose my accommodations in a full review at a later time.) With my luggage stored and my stomach growling, it was time to try some taiwanese eats.
A delicious spicy beef and egg taiwanese pancake (75 NTD or about $3 CAD). My first official Taiwan snack. This is just the beginning.
The picture does not do it justice. The tastiest pork bun I’ve ever had (10 NTD or about 0.45 CAD.) I saw a bunch of locals line up at this shop near the memorial hall and was glad I followed their lead.
This cold brew was out of this world (75 NTD or about $3 CAD.) It is infused with some sort of berry flavour and had a deep coffee bean bitterness. The perfect thing to keep me going until I can get some rest.
I decided to checkout one of Taipei’s most famed areas, the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Boy, was it ever a good way to start this trip! I got there at about 9am, so it wasn’t too packed, But by 10am, it started to flood with tour groups. I sat in the garden at the foot of the temple grounds and caught up with my family and friends over FaceTime. It was calming and they were all pretty excited to see that I was already out and about.
Ahhhh, the beauty! A true sight for sore eyes.
The inside ceiling is mesmerizing.
Can’t wait to come back on a sunny day to get better lighting.
As I walked down the main street toward Taipei 101 ( I don’t know why I didn’t just hop back on the MRT. I got an Easy Card, which is a simple tap on and tap off system) the rain started a-pour-in’. I jumped into a few shops to take cover, bought some well-needed hygiene products and eventually retreated into a Starbucks-esque cafe a few intersections from Taipei 101. I’ll probably hold out here until it calms down and head back to Ximen to check-in for 3pm.
Where’d it go!?!?
It has been a long/wet, yet fruitful morning and I’m running off the bare fumes of my hype alone. I’m going to leave this as my journal entry for day one as I will be hitting the mattress hard as soon as I check-in. You can expect many more updates in the coming days – and let me know if there is something I should check out along the way!