I was so joyous that I could hardly notice the cold. It was wintertime when we visited Taiwan and there was this chill in the breeze that made me feel air’s tight clasp. Our flight was originally scheduled last October of 2017 but due to ROC Taiwan‘s decision of deferring the visa exemptions for Filipino Nationals, We also had to postpone our trip. It was November of that same year when their visa policy was lifted and we were so lucky that I scored a very cheap fare for all of us to go to the land, which was previously known as Formosa, a beautiful island.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

It took almost two and a half hours for Cebu Pacific to get us there. We were dead tired so we headed off to New Taipei City and checked in at Sofu Hotel to rest.

sofu 1 picture by booking dot comSofu Hotel located at 7th Flr, #96, Guanqian East Road, Banqiao District, Banqiao, Taipei, Taiwan – Hotel where we stayed at. Sofu Hotel is value for money. Accessible to mrt stations, bus stops, convenience stores and restaurants not to mention their friendly, very efficient and accommodating staff. Very recommendable and will definitely stay there when we go back to Taipei. [Photo not mine – Image by Booking.Com]
sofu 2 picture by hotels combinedSofu Hotel Lobby [Photo not mine – Image by Hotels Combined]
sofu 3 picture by tripadvisorWe booked 3 rooms and this was the exact same room I stayed in with my 3 other friends. Very comfortable and relaxing room. { Photo not mine – Image by TripAdvisor

We actually have a lot of places to see the following morning but due to our impromptu photowalks, we only crossed the following off our list:

Banqiao District

Heart of administration, shopping and transportation of New Taipei City, houses shopping establishments, local snack stores, and night markets. This where are Hotel is located. Nearest MRT Stations are Fuzhong and Banqiao, but if you are going to check in at Sofu Hotel, it’s best to alight on or take the train at Fuzhong Station.

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Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

A national monument built in memory of Taiwan’s former president, Chiang Kai-shek. Made accessible to public four years after his death, it became one of the most visited places in the country. The hall is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00PM and is totally for free. Take the MRT and alight on Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station to go there.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

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Taipei 101

The symbolic landmark of Taiwan. A skyscraper once hailed as the world’s tallest in 2004 spanning 101 stories above the ground at 508 meters, this famous icon of Taiwan is located in Xinyi District of Taipei. Besides the tower, the base of the building houses a multi-level shopping mall, food court, various restaurants and stores, and an international grocery store. You might want to allot a few portion of your budget if you want to include Starbucks and the Observatory Deck in your must-see list in Taipei 101. To learn more about it please click here.

Taipei 101

IMG_3420IMG_3740Lunch at Din Tai Fung Taipei 101 – ranked as one of the world’s Top 10 Best Restaurants by The New York Times

Taipei Zoo

Home to giant pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, it is one of the largest zoos in Asia. It was founded as Maruyama Zoo in 1914 when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. The zoo is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00PM and the entrance fee costs around NT$30-NT$60 per person. Get off at Taipei Zoo MRT Station to go there. For more information, click here.

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Shilin Night Market

One of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan. You can forget about other night markets in Taipei but can never miss out on Shilin Night Market. From there you will find bargain goods, clothes, accessories and scrumptious street food. The market is open between 3:00 PM to 1:00AM and is accessible thru Jiantan Station.

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My friends did not pass up the chance to try out Taiwan’s local beer. They’ve had few bottle of drinks before we called it a day. We all woke up a little late the next day and for us to be able to see as many places as we can on our list, we hurriedly prepped up and left the hotel. We went to Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, let our wishes fly thru Lanterns at Shifen Old Street and shopped for souvenirs in Ximending before we headed back to the hotel.

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Yehliu Geopark

The home to a number of unique geological formations. It is one of the premier destinations in northern Taiwan. The park is open between 7:30 AM to 5:30PM and the ticket to go inside costs from NT$40-NT$80. We got our bus ticket at KuoKuang for NT$96 per person, left from Taipei West Bus Station – Terminal A (located at Taipei Main Station), and the bus dropped us off on the main road just outside the park entrance. The travel time was almost 2 hours. To learn more about Yehliu, please click here.

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Jiufen

A mountain town in northeastern Taiwan, east of Taipei. It is known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops. From Yehliu Geopark, we took the bus going to Keelung Station and from there we took another bus going to Jiufen. We were not able to explore Jiufen well because it was raining too hard at that time. We had our dinner in Jiufen enroute to Shifen Old Street.

Shifen Old Street

Originally built for transporting coal during the Japanese era. It is a bustling hub for those eager to get a glimpse of an old railroad town. We got there by Taxi and since the night was running short, we did not waste any of our time and fired up our lanterns with our wishes soared through the sky.

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The taxi that brought us to Shifen was the same taxi that got us back to Taipei. We were dropped off at Taipei 101 and from there we took the train, alighted on Ximen Station, bought souvenirs and went back to the hotel.

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We checked out at 12:00 midnight and booked a cab to take us to the airport. Our plane took off at 3:00 AM and arrived in Manila past 5:00 AM. Our Taiwan journey was the shortest we’ve had yet we have nothing but good memories to remember. All we can say for now is, “We will see you again Taiwan”. And when that time comes, please be ready because it’s definitely going to be a long ride.

Checked out Sofu Hotel

It is indeed a great feeling being able to do the things that really make us happy. Right now, I am really enjoying blogging and I hope that I was able to inspire you with my writings. I will be travelling soon and will surely provide you updates about it. I am looking forward to engaging more with you and if you have questions and suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me and I will be more than happy to connect with you. Thank you for your continued support.

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