A Trip to Taipei, Taiwan Part 1

Last week, I took a last-minute trip to Taipei. It was a sudden decision and I booked the flight and place the night before. I need a break from what was happening with the two startups I’m involved in and away from this bustling city. My friend Monique persistently persuaded me to go to Taipei as she was going from Hong Kong. I also wanted to visit one of my best friends Wei Ni whom I haven’t seen for 3 years since he moved back to Taipei. Wei was a friend I made in the US a while back (he moved there from Taipei) and it was sad to see him moved back here due to family reasons. I contacted him to see if he would be free which sealed the deal.

So Thursday to Monday was my duration of stay and this time, I made use of AirBnb, a very famous startup from Silicon Valley who gained worldwide recognition.

I was never a fan of staying at hotels… I always felt they were boring and too proper. Which is why AirBnB and service apartments were that much interesting and what perfect chance to try it out!

Photo Mar 21, 12 20 25 PM (1) I ended up booking a room in a 3 bedroom flat next to Yongchun MRT station, 1 station away from Taipei 101 and few from downtown. It was ideal location. This allowed me to connect deeper with the city and feel like I am living as a local. Living in Hong Kong, I was used to taking the subway system to learning the MRT in Taipei was a breeze. There’s event apps to help you with your direction.

One tip, when you get out of the Taipei Airport custom, buy a sim card at the stand on the right when you exit the arrival gate. The deals are better than the ones you can buy in the city.Photo Mar 20, 12 11 15 PM

When I arrived to Taipei, the weather was a bit cloudy with some light showers. Thinking it would be nice and warm (according to the weather app), I only had with me shirts and tees. Well here was a perfect opportunity to do some shopping. Luckily my friend Monique who also came to Taipei the night become, helped me buy a jacket (and few more later) as she can speak Mandarin.

The rest of the trip followed with more eating and drinking and repeat. My landlord took my friend Monique and myself to visit Danshui as catching the sunset there was beautiful… except it was a rainy day. Still, we got to try some street food and visit around a rather nice area.

Monique’s family in Taipei invited me for dinner that evening. It was quite enjoyable and they made me feel welcome. They tried to speak to me in English and my dialect Chaozhou which I was glad about. I’ve never seen Taiwanese people eat that fast before though… Monique’s uncle and son are… amazingly fast at swallowing food lol.

Dinner done and all full… I head into a street market to buy myself a jacket as its freezing cold. Few hours and careful pickings later, I have myself a light jacket and head back to meet my friend in front of his clinic to go for couple drinks.

Wei takes me to check out the rooftop at W Hotel which we have been become in San Francisco. Yes its nice but since its so windy and chilly… we left after one drink. I still glad to be able to have taken a few photos. The drinks are as pricey as their US counterpart. Worth it for the view but you better off getting something strong.

Next bar is called Barcode, a very chill, classic jazz bar opened by Taiwan Gangsters apparently. Few drinks…couple shots and few extras, we decided to call it a day as my friend has work the following morning.

Continued in part 2…

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