My Journey into Taiwan from the lovely Ryukyu started with a lesson. When dealing with budget airlines don't be even a minute late. I strolled into the airport ready to roll and start my 3 day adventure into Taipei. However when going to check in for my flight I discovered the counters had been closed and no deals would be made to get me on the flight! Being just 1 minute late I was a little heated and this is actually one of the few times I have missed a flight. After a moment or two and so many close calls I took it as a hard travel lesson and moved on though. It is important not to let the hiccups spoil the whole trip, after all we go on vacations to enjoy our selves not to be stressed.
After arriving into Taiwan I was instantly surprised to find another hiccup. I was an hour outside the city and had landed in a different airport due to the flight change! Luckily with Taiwan being a wonderful destination that seems to strive on a bit of tourism I was soon able to find that a bus into Taipei that would cost me next to nothing! As a nice plus I was able to meet some cool folks on the bus before continuing on to my hostel in the middle of the city for check in. If you don't mind I have to name drop them because I actually lost a couple hours sitting in the lobby chatting up the awesome hosts Kevin and Kimber for stories and information. If you find yourself in need of a clean and cheap place to stay that has good security feel free to find your way over to the Packer's Hostel, I will provide their website at the bottom of this post!
After talking my hosts up a bit I headed to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. By now it was dark and unfortunately the weather was not in my favor either but that did not stop me from going out to see the city. One of the first things I noticed on my walk over was that some of the roundabouts in Taipei have this temples setup in the middle that when combined with the traffic like you see above make for an awesome shot. I also noticed upon arrival at the memorial that the monuments in this city are massive. The area called Liberty Square has the massive archway that acts as an entry to the couple hundred meter long space featuring the Concert Hall, Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial, and the Theatre. The area was well used by the local populace for dancing and as a general hangout for younger people when I stopped by.
After strolling the grounds of the square for some time and battling the rain I decided it was time to depart and head for Ximending, a more hip and younger part of the city featuring an almost Shibuya feel with lots of shops and places to eat. When I arrived in the area it immediately stood out. The buildings were plastered with adds, there was a massive amount of lighting and young 20 somethings ran from store to store cramming in the last minutes of shopping for the night. This was very different from the city I had just walked through to get here, no empty streets or dark alleys with beef noodle shops like you see below.
No more of the above, Ximending had tons of shops to see, large department stores and plenty to eat. It was here I saw my first 4 story KFC and a really crazy place called the Modern Toilet, a restaurant where everything is of the bathroom variety down to even the smallest details. If you go to Taipei you must stop in and have a meal there. Ximending ended up not really being my style but still had its own flare and was a joy to photograph. I called it a night after the photos below and hit the hay early to wake up early for day two.
That wraps up day one of my travels, come back very soon for days two and three in Taipei. Please leave any questions in the comments or contact me directly. Have a great rest of your day!
See an image you love? Want it on the wall? Contact me now for prints!
Give the folks over at The Packer's Hostel a look if looking for a place to stay in Taipei!