Thursday, April 6, 2017

Overnight Stopover in Taipei - 2017


  • The airport metro is pretty awesome and we were able to reach the main station within 30 minutes.  It is far better than taking bus ore taxi for 3 of us.
  • Not many people speak English in the street side shops, so please get some common helpful phrases written down in Taiwanese from you hotel or hostel before you head out.
  • Booked the stay in Flip Flap Hostel which is very close to the train station as well as the bus station (5 minutes walk).  Also, a lot of street food around that area.  It is a nice,
    clean and well maintained. 
     Getting an accommodation for 3 of us under $50 in a central place was tough and FFHostel worked out very well.  There is a small box provided with key to store your personal stuff for free and I could put my 29L backpack in that.
  • Unless you are planning to spend a couple of days in Taipei and going around Taipei in metro a lot, the metro pass doesn’t make sense.  If you plan to travel in metro, enquire when the last train is to avoid walking or taking taxi at late night.
  • Chiang Kai Shek memorial hall closes at 6pm and on every hour there’s a change of guard.  Even though the memorial hall closes, if you arrive late, you will be able to spend time in the Liberty square which is very impressive too.
  • Find out about the famous food corners that you want to try in Taipei before reaching there or ask the hotel or hostel front desk.  There are a lot of nice places, knowing before going will be very helpful.
  • The security line may be incredibly long sometimes, if one security line is long, take a few minutes to check the length of the other security line, you may be lucky to find one may be shorter than the other.
  • Download the translation apps if you have a smart phone which will be very handy here.

My Journey

After dropping off our bags in hostel, we started walking towards Chiang Kal Shek’s memorial and on the way we walked through the National Museum as well as the Peace Park.  Since we didn’t have enough time (because we were in Taipei for
only for 6 hours), we decided to skip the museum but spend some time in the Peace Park.  We walked out of the Peace Park to the Chiang Kai Shek memorial and we were surprised to see the number of motor cycles on the road.  Chiang Kai Shek memorial was pretty impressive and it is surrounded by Liberty square.  We were totally impressed with the area dedicated to this in the middle of the city.  

We wanted to get some good vegetarian food, so my daughter found a place about 1.5 miles away from the memorial hall and we just kept following the Google maps to reach the place while stopping on the way in different restaurants for vegetarian food but we could not find any.  When we reach the destination of the
vegetarian restaurant as indicated by Google Maps, we couldn’t find any restaurant.  After going back and forth on the road for about five minutes, we were comparing the name boards shown in the Google image to the signs on the buildings, we found out that the restaurant was on the third floor of the building where we originally reached.  We were surprised to find the size of the vegetarian restaurant and great number of people dining there when we get in there.  But excitement vanished as soon as we found out that it was a buffet dinner and it cost about $25/person.  After a quick committee meeting, we decided to find some other place to eat, because we wanted to taste the street food and don’t spend $25 as well.  So we walked out.

We marched back towards the memorial hall to a square where we initially a found a lot of shops.  We found a place where we could get some vegetarian food and after suppressing our hunger temporarily, we enquired about where we could find scallion pancake and the lady at the restaurant directed us to a place a block away where we found about 30 people standing in line on the roadside to get the scallion pancake, which looked almost like Indian Paratha.  We stood in the line to get the amazing pancake.  Right across from that place, there’s a huge queue for shaved ice cream that made
us to get the shaved ice cream.  We got one huge bowel of that with mangos, and we three couldn’t finish it.  Someone dining the shaved ice cream told us about the original Din Tai Fung dumpling place close by, so we decided to try that too.  By the time we reached Din Tai Fung place, it was after 9pm, so no much crowd outside even though the restaurant was almost full.  They were able to seat us inside where we enjoyed dumplings and steamed buns.  It is really worth the visit.  

By the time, we finished eating in Din Tai Fung, it was 10pm, so we rushed to visit the Longshan Temple.  It is very close to the metro station and we spent about 30 minutes inside the temple before decided to explore the night market.  With the amount of food that we already had, no one was hungry or even appetite to try anything.  We walked
around looking at what we could have eaten if we didn’t find any vegetarian food :-)  Then suddenly it dawned on us that the metro may not available after mid-night because we didn’t bother to check on the time of the last train.  Luckily, we were able to catch the metro to get back to the hostel.


Taipei street food is pretty awesome if you eat meat and if you are vegetarian, you need to develop some patience and you will be rewarded.  The prices are same as that of US in the restaurants.  We wanted to try some pancakes on the street but we were surprised to find none of the shops or street food were available on a Monday morning at 730.  We’ll surely come back to Taiwan to explore beyond Taipei next time.

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