International Destination: Treasures of Taiwan
When you think of a vacation destination, Taiwan is unlikely in your top 20 list of must-visit places, let alone in your top 10. What you might not know is that the small island nation off the coast of China punches well above its weight with a lot of great stuff to do. Here are some suggestions to get your started.
Prepare Your Palate
If you’re a food enthusiast with an adventurous palate, then Taipei will not disappoint. It has night markets where one can enjoy a fusion of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese cuisine, as people from all of these nations have taken up residence in Taiwan at some point in history. The Shilin Night Market is a popular tourist attraction, but you can also try the Raohe Street Night Market.
Trek and Be Rewarded With a Great View
Aptly called the Elephant Mountain, trekking towards its top can be tedious, yes, but it also offers you the best view of Taipei. The trekking trail is called the Nangang District Hiking Trail and can be reached by going down at the Xiangshan MRT station. The trek up, with a lot of stairs, takes around 15 to 20 minutes, so be prepared.
Bathe in Hot Sulfur Baths
Thanks to Taipei’s MRT system, Beitou hot springs is easily accessible and feels like taking a train ride to the mall. There are a lot of inns and resorts, so if you plan to stay the night, it’s not a problem. This is a go-to place, especially during the winter season.
Do not attempt to go to each temple in Taiwan. Only try it if you want to be ‘templed out,’ as there are numerous temples just in Taipei alone. Curious which temples are worth the visit? Try the most famous, Longshan, or the nondescript Qingshan temple, or the stunning masterpiece, Bao’an.
Unleash Your Shopping Beast
There’s no better way to spend your hard-earned cash than to shop in Taipei. Why? It’s cheap and there are so many places where you can haggle your heart out. We’re not talking just dry goods and food here, but we’re talking about every possible item you could imagine. Try the night markets mentioned above, as they don’t only sell food but grocery items and dry goods as well. If you want to have a gadget-asm, try the Guanghwa Digital Plaza for all the tech stuff you need. It will not disappoint.