Jiufen is best known as the mythical mountain town full of winding alleys, red lanterns, tea houses, and stone stairways that inspired the imaginary land in Miyazaki’s award-winning animated film – Spirited Away. Jiufen was my main motivation to travel back to Taiwan. I remember seeing this film many times in school and it’s about time to see the real life imaginary town of Spirited Away, which is just an hour away from Taipei. If you’ve seen the film, I’m sure you’ve noticed the high focus on food and Jiufen has plenty of it. Lining the streets are many stalls of different traditional snacks, sweets, and drinks (you can start with the tea-boiled eggs, kurobuta sausages, and peanut ice cream, which you can find on almost every corner).
I fell in love with Taipei the first time I visited this small yet vibrant city 3 years ago as one of the first solo trips I had that year. Taipei is surprisingly cheap and you’ll always go home with your tummy happy and full. There was not a day where I did not visit a night market, themed restaurant, or tea shop in between. I knew I had to go back and I’m glad I did! This time, my goal was to hike the Elephant Mountain, which is definitely the perfect spot to see the city from above with Taipei 101 at the center, making the view more stunning. The hiking trail is just a few minutes walk from Xiangshan station (exit 2) and I recommend you going there during sunset. It can be a tiring hike all the way up but the view is totally worth the effort. I also came back here for Din Tai Fung xiaolongbao and Chun Shui Tang, which serves my favorite milk tea and the first one in the world. I also spent a day in the northern district of Tamsui (Danshui), which can be conveniently reached via MRT (around 40 minutes from central Taipei). I had a nice time at Tamsui as it gives off a laid back vibe and is most renowned for its amazing sunset landscape. Taking the ferry towards Fisherman’s Wharf and seeing its iconic bridge was a nice experience as well. Here is a visual diary of my recent trip to Taipei – one of my favorite cities in Asia and I hope you like the photos! 🙂
Heading to Taipei? You might as well consider ordering the best soup dumplings in the world or dining in their famous toilet themed restaurant! Taipei is a city that is also known for its amazing street food – beef noodles, tea eggs, stinky tofu, chicken cutlet, dumplings, and more. But at the same time, it also has many good restaurants and themed cafes that are worth checking out. Din Tai Fung – the creator of the famous Xiao Long Bao soup dumplings also originated from Taipei. Obsessed with milk tea? Try the original and birthplace of the bubble tea we all love today at Chun Shui Tang. If you’re not into night markets or street food, try some of the weirdest themed restaurants in Taipei, such as having a bowl of ‘poop’ for dessert, eating in a fake aircraft, or buying drinks in a hospital themed bar!
Rock Formations at Yehliu
The Yehliu Geopark is located at the North Coast part of Taiwan. It is the home of the unusual yet stunning mushroom rocks formed over the years. The rock layers of nearby seashore contains limestone because of the marine erosion and earth movements. There are around 180 mushroom rock formations in different stages of erosion. These unusual rock formations have been carved by wind and waves, and you’ll see mushroom rocks, sea-eroded troughs, candlestick rocks, honeycombed configurations and bean curd rocks with curvy pathways for exploring. Admission ticket is priced at NT$80. Look for the Queen’s Head, a protrusion of sediment that looks just like the head of an Egyptian queen, and the Fairy Slipper, a smooth bump of earth that mimics that shape of a sandal!
TAIPEI, Taiwan – It was my first time to visit Taiwan and I instantly fell in love with this beautiful country. Taipei is one gorgeous city to live in. Everything is cheap (but it doesn’t look like it is), the MRT system is one of the best in the world, the people are tourist friendly, and the food is to die for. Next to Japan, this is probably my favorite destination in Asia!