TAIPEI, Taiwan

The second destination of my trip was the capital of Taiwan - Taipei. I was looking forward to this city and country very much as I´ve heard only nice things from my friends and travellers. Especially the people´s kindness, hospitality, safety and of course sightseeing. It was all true! Even more....

DAY 1 

I had not slept at all before I arrived at Taipei airport, because my flight was at 6am so I had to be at the airport around 4am. Nevertheless, Taipei in the morning kept me awake. Btw, in time of traveling my body can switch into mode so-to-speak "travel mode", meaning that I can overcome hunger and lack of sleeping more easily. And it was suitable at my very fisrt day on Taiwan :D

My friend´s friend picked me up in the city center and took me to famous restaurant with typical meals. It was very suitable energy-kicker. Service at high level, food was just amazing. We also ordered a typical sundae after lunch.

The first sightseeing was about to come! We went to visit Chan Kai Shek palace and its big garden with memorial halls. I was looking at the beauty of palace and its garden with open mouth. Besides it was huge area with historical buildings, many green places to have a rest, it was also very clean place. Buldings were nicely maintained. We were even lucky enough to see changing guards in the main hall! It was pretty long - around 20-30 minutes and the chanching ceremony was very complicated. Every step was very precise, interesting choreography. But the most I like the architecure. Again. Like in Tokyo, I admired the precise deatails that decorated old historical buildings. Red roofs, wooden columns, colorfoul ornaments made me really feel Asia. We spent there almost 2 hours as it was really nice weather and changing guards along with green gardens really impressed me.

Then we went to schopping district - I think it was called Ximin - I felt like in Shibuya in Tokyo. Many led advertisements, local food shops, bars, handmade clothes shops, light bulbs, narrow streets, typical smell. Unfortunatelly my Taiwanese friend Rose had to leave me so I decided to explore bit of Taipei by my own. I continued walking in ine direction as I tried to avoid getting lost. I went to less crowded streets so I could see local houses, older people, children playing on the street etc. The I visited an awesome buddhist temple. Many people weret there actually, singing, praying.

When I saw enough, I went back to Chan Kai Shek palace as I fell in love with this place and waited there 2 hours till my couchsurfer is free to meet me. Had some snack, walk through all the are again, took pics and wrote my diary. Time flew pretty fast and I was about to meet my couchsurfer. She was very nice girl with cosy flat. We grabed some beers outised, she invited me for typical soup and went back home where we discussed about our countries, traveling etc.

DAY 2 

My couchsurfer - YuYun - took a day off to take me to mountains around Taipei. It was so cool!! We were going by bus around 1 hour till we reached almost peak of some hill. Already from bus I could see an amazing nature with many paths, green places suitable for picknics, hiking paths and geyser and hotsprings with sulphate smoke. The weather changed, especially the air. It was very clean and colder, but sunny, though. We took some path to walk and were enjoying the green beauty all around us and blue sky. We sat in green grass as we got tired and had a rest.

Sirovodík stoupající ze skal

We got back down to the city center around 2pm as YuYun had to go to work. But we had a lunch together before. Then I explored city center by my own again. Visited another nice temple and the biggest sightseeing in Taipei, that I was looking forward the most. Taipei 101, in other words, skyscraper that used to be the highest building in the world!
Have to highlight one more additional note about Taipei - it has the best undeground system from all Asian countries that I´ve visited - fast orientation among stations (nicely visualised underground plan, perfect system against cheating, fast and smooth buying the tickets (token).

Milk tea

Well, all of that was really cool, but I did not know what Im gonna experience. My next plan was to climb up Elephant mountain, from where I can see Taipei from above. I expected some hill with some nice vantage point. But what I saw and did was just breathtaking! Although the way up was around 20 minutes long, I was at the end of my tether. The stairs were very steep and big, humudity around 80%, 38 degrees, tropical vegetation. I was sweating like a pig, literally. I was all wet, exhausted! But, finally, I reached the view and I just could not believe what I was seeing...It was one of the best view I have ever seen! Whole Taipei from above, the view point surrounded by almost-rainforest trees and all that for free. Well, we all paid by our sweat and heartbeating. I stayed there 3 hours, because I wanted to see Taipei in daylight as well in the dark. I was trully beautiful to see sunset above Taipei. Just look at that!
This amazing day was finished by evening when I invited my couchsurfer for dinner. We had some specialites - chicken, duck, local beer, vegetables. But you know what. On our way to her flat we came across fruit shop. I have never seen some of those kinds of fruit and vegetables. Well, I still had some money in my pocket to we decided to try some kinds! I tried dragon fruit and something I´ve never seen before. It tasted just great! Fresh, fleshy, sweet...

Over there...the view point I headed to.


I slept till 11am as I had to take a rest after previous exhausting days. Rose, a friend from the first day (my czech friend´s friend) lent me a bike so we could explore another part of Taipei more easily and quicker. Riding a bicycle in that warm and humid weather was not piece of cake to be honest. But it was something new and adventurous. I saw something different to the city center, skyscrapers and crowdy places. We had a lunch then, went near to university to sit, drink milk tea and talk. It was our last time, cause Rose had to go to work then. I bought some presents for my mom. Well, I always had to think about size and weight of all presents I was about to buy. Why? Because I had nothing else but small 7kg max on-board luggage and Taipei was only second country of my trip. I also bought a postcard. Went to the biggest park in Taipei, had a snack and wrote my diary and postcard. As it was my last day on Taiwan, we bought wine with YuYun and had nice evening. Oh yes, I tried Taiwan special meal - stinky tofu. Really really special smell :D but tasted OK :D

Stinky TOFU

Milk tea again!


Taipei surprised me in the best way! Beautiful modern city of Taipei has plenty of things to show and many places are worth visiting. The best experience was climbing the Elephant mountain to see all Taipei from above. Besides sightseeing, people of Taipei are helpful and very kind. The city itself is safe, which is one of the best adjective that a capital can have. The local food is really tempting and you simply can´t leave Taipei without tasting it. 2/7 countries done, next stop is Malaysian part of Borneo! Specificaly the capital of Sabah -Kota Kinabalu.