My Taiwan Chronicles – Day 1

I decided to do a solo trip to Taiwan this year. This country north of my own was surprisingly amazing. It’s the perfect place to travel alone – safe, urbane, eco-friendly and beautiful. For most of us, we often skip Taiwan and go to more popular destinations like Japan, Korea and mainland China. In skipping Taiwan, we missed some of the amazing sights, places and stories that paint its identity.

My trip spans 6 days and are mostly within Taipei City. Six days may seem too long for some but I say it’s not enough. I covered so much temples, parks and night markets in this visit but it is still not enough. A visit to Taiwan can make you want to come visit it again.

My Taiwan Chronicles would be a 5-part entry, day 1 to day 5. I’m eager to tell you about my travel story to Formosa. Here goes.

Day 1: Arrival Day

There is a direct flight from Cebu to Taipei (Taoyuan International Airport). Fortunately, the Air Asia flight was in the morning at 7AM. As of this writing, for us Filipinos, we still need to get a visa to enter Taiwan. Other options to enter this country is thru a Travel Authorization Certificate which can be obtained online. This is the document I used for the visit.

It’s a three-hour flight to Taoyuan. Taoyuan International Airport is said to be the 11th busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger volume, it being the hub of China Airlines and EVA Air. This airport is 40km (roughly an hour) from Taipei and is accessible to travelers via Taoyuan MRT, bus and taxis.

Arriving Taiwan past 10AM, I quickly purchased a SIM card at the airport for a 5-day unlimited Data Plan and an Easy Card for the Taipei MRT. If you travel to Taipei City by MRT, one-way would cost you TWD 160. For those who want to travel by bus to Taipei Main Station, just ask for directions for the Kuo-Kuang Motor Line – KuoKuang Line (Bus 1819). Fare is TWD 150.

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One-way token

I tried the Taoyuan Airport MRT for Taipei Main Station. It is about an hour of travel. At the Taipei Main Station, I transferred to the Red Line and got off at NTU Hospital Station for my hostel. I strongly recommend that you book a hotel that is near to an MRT station. The Taipei Metro is one of the most efficient in the world. The 5 main lines were designed to have stations near to a tourist spot. It is pretty much convenient for tourists and visitors.

I arrived at the hostel several hours before check-in time. I decided to do what’s in my itinerary.

228 Peace Memorial Park.

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228 Peace Memorial

Just across my hostel is the 228 Peace Memorial Park. It used to be called Taihoku New Park during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s but was renamed as Taipei New Park. Its present name was based from the February 28 incident in 1947 when angry civilians took over the broadcast station and expressed their accusations against the Kuomintang government.

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A bridge in the garden

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Taiwan National Museum

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Pagodas at 228 Peace Park

Thus, when modern democracy came to Taiwan in the 1990s a memorial was built to commemorate the February 28 event. Also found in the park is the National Taiwan Museum and handful of pagodas.

Dahu Park

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It is located in the Neihu District. This park has a 13-hectare lake that features a foot bridge at the southern portion which is the Moon Bridge. The bridge is one of the iconic structure in relation to Taiwan and Taipei.

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Moon Bridge, Dahu Park

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Fishing ground

Chiang Kai-shek Memoral Hall

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CKS Memorial Hall

Hailed as one of the iconic structures and a popular tourist destinations is the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The massive structure is a national monument in honor of the president of the Republic of China. It is on Liberty Square flanked by the Chinese-designed National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.

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The Main Gate

At the far end of the square, opposite to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is the huge Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness. This gate is the most photographed in Taipei.

Ximending Night Market

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Ximending Street

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Street made for shopping

This market reminded me of Seoul’s Myeongdong. It is a shopping district which at night, is filled with food stalls in the middle of Chengdu St, Zhonghua Rd, Wuchang and Xinning Streets. Ximending is the most popular tourist spot for shopping.

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Queued noodle house

At one corner of Ximending, I had braised pork rice and the clear soup noodle for dinner.

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My first day in Taipei was great. It got me excited to explore Taipei for the next couple of days.

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