19 December 2010

Top Reasons Why You Should Consider Going To Taipei, Taiwan (Hell Valley, Ximen, Shilin Residence, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, National Taiwan University, Night Markets, Martyr's Shrine, Grand Hotel Taipei, Core Pacific Living Mall, Taipei 101's Elevator, Taipei's Transporation System, and Food)

I spent 8 days and 7 nights in Taipei because I found the accommodation cheap [NTD 3,000 (PHP4,500) for 7 nights = NTD 428.5 (PHP643) per night]. Surprisingly, I didn't get bored even if it was my first long stay trip (because I usually spend just a few days in a city per trip) and I didn't speak Mandarin. Thanks to my extensive research, I realized that there are actually so much to do, eat, and see in Taipei. If you're wondering why you should consider Taipei as your next destination, here are the reasons why:

1. Hell Valley
I almost didn't see this as it was at the end of the Beitou trail. It was such a pleasant surprise as the water had a unique color and the steam was just oozing out. Anyone who loves to take photos will surely enjoy this place. If you want to feel the hot spring but don't want to spend, there's an area before Hell Valley where you can dip your tired feet for free.


How to get there:
From Xinbeitou MRT station on the Red Line, walk till you reach the end of Chung-Shan Road. The entrance is surrounded by hot spring spas.

2. Ximen
This place makes me feel like I'm in Tokyo. Very youthful vibe especially during weekends and Friday nights. When I was there, there were students dressed in horror costumes which made me want to take pictures with them.



How to get there:
Take the blue line of the MRT and get off at Ximen Station.

3. Eat! 
I can go back to Taipei just to have a food trip... indulge in the Best Milk Tea (I've tasted), Best Milk (I've tasted), Taiwanese Sausage, Deep Fried Spice-Powdered Boneless Chicken, and a whole lot more.

Because the line in this store was long, I decided to give the store's Pearl Milk Tea a try. Mind you, it didn't fail!

I observed the surroundings of the store and I believe that the secret to their drink was this milk. Because of this, I decided to get one in the convenience store. Bingo!... the milk was the key! Warning though, this brand has an unflavored version which won't make a difference.

Yakult drinks in Taiwan are big. I hope we had the same size in the Philippines.

This shaved soybean milk ice was soooo good. Get it at 3 Brothers at Shilin Night Market for only NTD65. 

World Soybean Milk Magnate - No one speaks English when I went there but through some "sign" language, we understood each other. Good thing she decided to give me a hot version as I found it a pleasant surprise and very apt for a morning snack. After trying the hot version, I grabbed a burger somewhere else and tried the cold version.

How to get there: Take the yellow line of the MRT and get off at Dingxi station.

Genki Sushi - This allows you to try different types of sushis as one order only contains only two sushis. This can be found at the fast food area at the 2nd level of the Taipei Main Station.

Lemon Jelly Juice

Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle (Since 1975) - I just saw a very long line so I figured that their Noodle was a must try... it didn't fail me. Get it at Ximen.

4. Shilin Residence 
The best time to visit Taipei is spring as the flowers in Shilin Residence are blooming. This area lets you see flowers that are as big as your face and orchids which are hard to find. It's no surprise that a lot of pre-wedding pictorials are held here.

How to get there:
Take the red line of the MRT and get off at Shilin Station. Use exit 2 and turn left at Zhongshan Bei Road then walk for about 500m to the main entrance.

5. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
I liked the feel of this place when I went there because it was pretty cold (around 1st week of April). The complex is very picturesque at night but still appealing in the morning. Under the main memorial is a museum featuring Chiang Kai-shek's life and career as well as exhibits related to Taiwan's history and development.


Massive Memorial (Compare the size of the person to the size of the structure)

How to get there:
Take the green or red line of the MRT and get off at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station... how can you get lost?

6. National Taiwan University
Going here made me want to study again. My impression was exercise and sports are highly promoted as they had a lot of tennis courts, basketball courts, an entire track and field ground, as well as a stadium-type gymnasium.

How to get there:
Take the green line of the MRT and get off at Gongguan Station. It's right next to the station. I think you can just go inside right away just like what I did... unless I was just mistaken for a student.

7. Night Market 
Whether you want to shop for kinky costumes, feel young again by playing carnival games, or just eat what Taiwan has to offer, Taiwan's night markets are the place to go.

Shop for kinky costumes

Taiwan Sausage

Carnival games

Famous carnival game in the Philippines - Balloon Darts

How to get there:
They're all around but the most famous one is Shilin Night Market which you can reach by taking the red line of the MRT and getting off at Shilin station.

8. The Changing of Guards at the Martyrs Shrine
I really enjoyed this experience as the guards had a bit of a show for the spectators and were really synchronized. I was lucky enough that the Changing of the Guards was just about to commence when I arrived. The guard-changing ceremony begins at 9am and is held every hour thereafter with the last one at 4:40pm.

Changing of the Guards

Hands down to these guards as they really don't move even if they're so sweaty already and people try to make them laugh.

How to get there:
Take the red line of the MRT to Yuanshan MRT Station and interchange bus no. 208 or 21 to Martyrs’ Shrine. If you're coming from the Grand Hotel, it is only a few minutes walk.

9. Grand Hotel Taipei 
Worth seeing as it is the world's tallest Chinese classical building. It is Classical Chinese inside and out. 

Elaborate Ceiling

How to get there:
Take the red line of the MRT to Yuanshan MRT Station. Once there, go southward along Zhongshan N. Road and pass Chientan Youth Activity Center. Cruise along the far left lane next to a mountain wall and go up the slope. You will then see The Grand Hotel.

10. Core Pacific Living Mall 
This was quite a walk from the MRT station but was worth the photo opportunity. After all, I would think this is the only department store that is in the shape of a globe. It also has elevators which burst out of the core and into the mall.

How to get there:
"From the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall station, walk north (passing by the Taipei Dome construction site). You will approach an overpass of the railways' tracks. Then you turn right and walk along them. The Living Mall will  appear in front of your eyes pretty quickly." - mykafkeasquelife.blogspot.com

11. Tourist-friendly Train System 
All signs have English translation so you won't get lost. It's easy to go to major landmarks as stations are usually named after them (i.e., Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Station, Longshan Temple Station, etc.).

The arrow shows you the direction of the train for your platform as well as the stations it will be passing by.

Each train station has a railway map, a station map, and a location map which will make it easier for you to navigate around Taipei. 

Each train station is equipped with free tourist maps, tourist guides, etc. I find this is perfect for travelers!

Signs that show which platform your train is as well as the time before the train arrives makes it easier for travelers to determine the pace of their walk.

Guides and maps posted on the walls even show the Bus you have to take in order to go to tourist sites that are not easily accessible by foot.

12. Ride the World's Fastest Elevator in Taipei 101 and Loiter Around Taipei 101 
You won't really feel the speed as there's a presentation/light show on the ceiling of the elevator while it is going up. Don't forget to loiter around the area of Taipei 101 as there are several artsy structures.

The Elevator's Badge of Honor

The view from the top of Taipei 101

Taipei 101's 730-Ton Tuned Mass Damper - Sitting just 660 ft. from a major fault line in Taiwan, the tower could be subjected to earthquakes, typhoons and fierce winds--major challenges to the rigidity of the building. The remedy for these potential seismic and atmospheric assaults is this 730-ton tuned mass damper (TMD). It acts like a giant pendulum to counteract the building's movement--reducing sway due to wind by 30 to 40 percent. Constructed by specialty engineering firm Motioneering, the damper was too heavy to be lifted by crane and had to be assembled on-site. Eight steel cables form a sling to support the ball, while eight viscous dampers act like shock absorbers when the sphere shifts. Able to move 5 ft. in any direction, the Taipei TMD is the world's largest and heaviest. - Popular Mechanics

How to get there:
Take the blue line of the MRT and get off at City Hall Station. From there, you can ride a shuttle bus to and from Taipei 101.


  1. I love this post! I'm very much tempted to go to Taipei now! :) Good job with the article! It's so easy to read and very detailed! - Ysabs

  2. thank you for the compliment! that was very inspiring. will be posting more articles soon so stay tuned.

  3. i love this post too. problem is, for a Filipino, one needs to get a visa. And it is not easy to get one if one is unemployed BUT with money. I just hope their immigration will just look at a person's bank account savings and other assets like a car for one to be given a visa.

  4. epic, i'm glad you liked the post. it is indeed sad that it's hard for Filipinos to get a visa. you may still want to try and just make a cover letter indicating the reasons why you should be given a visa or explain how you were able to get that much money, assets, etc.

  5. hi turista,

    may i know kung san yang 4.5k pesos for 7 days na hostel na yan pls?

  6. anonymous, it is in happy family hostel

  7. b lued

    Read your post and it's very helpful! Wish I could tour Taiwan that long. Probably some other time.


    From: shuurei

  8. thanks for the positive comment, shuurei/youknowyouloveme!

    hope you indeed get the opportunity to enjoy taiwan that long.

  9. hi blued

    im here again. youve been to taiwan already and i found it through pex. ill be in taiwan for 9 days but 4 days ffor business trip in september so im researchin hopefully extensively to make the most of out the trip.

    thanks for sharing =)

  10. i'll be visiting Taiwan in November and am totally clueless (though I've heard of Hell's valley and friends said Taipei's a nice place to go for food trips. yum!). Thanks for the heads up! :D

  11. thanks for the tips,i find it very helpful.i'm so excited to go food tripping and shopping of course,especially in the nite markets.we'll be going this december,wud u know the weather at that time?

  12. you're welcome! it will be very cold because it's winter but you can do winter clothes/jacket shopping in shilin night marketfor cheap finds.