The following few posts will be about my trip to Taipei, Taiwan in July 2014. Although some of the prices might have changed by this time, hopefully this guide will be useful in at least helping you in planning your own free & easy holiday in Taipei. Although we didn't venture far from Taipei during this trip, Taiwan has really beautiful scenery, most notably Taroko Gorge (which I last visited in 2011). During our time in Taipei, we had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a typhoon first hand, which put a slight dampener to our trip. However, we still had lots of fun, and didn't let a little bit of rain stop us. 

We flew via Jetstar this time, and arrived in Taipei Taoyuan Airport T1 at 11.55am. My gf and I usually travel light, and we brought 1 hand-carry luggage each, and only bought 15kg of check-in luggage for the return flight to Singapore.

It is quite convenient to get to the city centre from the airport. You just need to head to the basement level and buy bus tickets from the counter. The service that runs from the airport to the city centre is called Kuo Kuang (国光号), and this bus brings you to Taipei Main Station, which as the name suggests, is the central station for trains in Taipei. The bus takes about an hour to reach Taipei Main station, and the fare is 125TWD (S$5.50) per person for a one-way trip.

 

From Taipei Main Station, we took the MRT to Ximen station, and exited via Exit #6, which was the nearest exit to our hotel.

Oh if you're going to be in Taipei for a few days, I'd recommend that you purchase either:

1) Easy Card (500TWD, or S$21.90) with 400TWD credit; 100TWD is the non-refundable deposit

2) Taipei Pass; more value for money if you're going to be furiously taking public transport throughout the day

Do check out the public transport website here for more details, as they also have other forms of passes available, so choose one that most suits your needs.

After checking in to our hotel (SWIIO hotel), we headed out in search for food in Ximending. It was already past lunch time so our tummies were growling hungrily!

We zeroed straight in on Ah Zong Mian Xian, a highly popular stall in Ximending. They serve really good vermicelli noodles with oysters, and their sauce is oh-so-good.

Ximending is a great area for food and shopping, and after we had sated our appetites, we proceeded to stroll around the area. Bags, shoes, clothes, you name it, they probably have it! In a myriad of colours too!

Ximending has a vibrant street food culture, and there are many mobile food stalls that you will find as you walk around. They are illegal hawkers though, so if they pack up and run suddenly, you know that the police are here! Anyway, we bought some grilled eggs for 20TWD (S$0.90), which was cheap and decent.

After shopping for a few hours, we were getting tired and hungry, so we headed over to San Xiong Mei (三兄妹) for desserts. Just look out for this huge signboard, you won't miss it! ;) It's near the Hot Star stall, so if you can find Hot Star, you should be able to find this too.

They sell a huge variety of desserts, but what I love the most, and what I always go for is their mango shaved ice mmmm. I'm already drooling thinking about it. That smooth, milky ice sliding down my throat, coupled with mangoes so sweet you'd think that you were eating sugar instead.. After having tasted their mango shaved ice, nothing has come close to that standard so far.. Am I destined to only be able to taste such great mango shaved ice when I'm in Taipei?

*I am not paid by them to advertise in any way. Although if I were, I would accept mango shaved ice as payment! 

We continued shopping around the Ximending area until 6pm and headed over to Shi Da (师大) night market. This market is well known among the university students for cheap, yet good food and clothing, as it is located close to a university. To get there, take the MRT to Taipower Building station, and exit via Exit #3. Turn right and make another right to get onto Shi Da road (师大路). The market is located along both the road and the alleys along it. Click here for a link to a map of Taipei's MRT system (updated as of end-Jan 2015).

Simply pick and choose the type of fried food you would like to have, and pay for what you requested!

We shared an oyster omelette (65 TWD/S$2.85) and some herbal soup (65 TWD/S$2.85). The oyster omelette was the sweeter version than what we were used to, while the herbal soup was just not to my taste. 

We also tried Hsu Ji baos (with meat filling), and I quite liked them! The baos, though small, were tasty and filling. We shared a box of 12 (80 TWD/S$3.50).

 

Summary of Day 1:

- Arrival and check-in to SWIIO hotel

- Ximending (shopping & walking around)

- Ah Zong Mian Xian (ah zong mee sua)

- Desserts at San Xiong Mei (mango shaved ice)

- Shi Da night market (dinner and supper)

 

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Published by Lucas Lee