Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part II
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

So last week, I introduced you to a little bit of why I went to visit Taiwan.

And this is why I did so:

Taiwan is all in the news at the moment, so visit sooner rather than later, before it gets all complicated! 

ANY IDEAS OF WHAT I SHOULD DO WHEN I GET TO TAIWAN?

Being in Taiwan was a slow cultural solo trip!
Being in Taiwan was a slow cultural solo trip!

I only went for five (5) days and based myself in Taipei, so this was a sloooooow cultural solo trip.

Taipei is home to various world-famous architectural or cultural landmarks which include:

Taipei 101 Observatory - The world's tallest building in 2004!
Taipei 101 Observatory – The world’s tallest building in 2004!
The 228 Peace Memorial Park ©Ryan G
The 228 Peace Memorial Park ©Ryan G
Making new friends under the glowing lanterns of the Mengjia Longshan Temple, in Taipei!
Making new friends under the glowing lanterns of the Mengjia Longshan Temple, in Taipei!
Tea culture in Taiwan!
Tea culture in Taiwan!
Yangmingshan National Park ©taiwan.net.tw
Yangmingshan National Park ©taiwan.net.tw
Paintbrushes, stencils, and ink, ready for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience, in Taiwan!
Paintbrushes, stencils, and ink, ready for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience, in Taiwan!
  • Pingxi

There really is plenty to do, and I wrote 16 brilliant reasons all about it! 

Schoolgirls in Taiwan for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience!
Schoolgirls in Taiwan for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Taipei is easy to navigate using public transport.
Taipei is easy to navigate using public transport.

Taipei is easy to navigate.

Taxis are cheap and so is public transport.

The trains were easy to navigate and use, and were cheap, costing just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey!

Single journeys in Taipei cost just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey. Plenty of room to take your cello with you!
Single journeys in Taipei cost just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey. Plenty of room to take your cello with you!

The trains weren’t crammed or packed, and the floors were clean. I used my finger, and checked lol! There were plants and mobile-phone chargers everywhere, and even boxes for you to take a free umbrella!

If that isn’t service, I really don’t know what is!

There are underground trains, mainline trains, high-speed rail, and bus lines connect Taipei with other parts of the Taiwanese island!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Taiwan’s famous xiao chi (small bites)!
Taiwan’s famous xiao chi (small bites)!

One of the biggest pulls to Taiwan is the food that you can find there at Taiwan’s famous xiao chi (small bites), at the many department stores, kerbside restaurants, hawker carts, bubble tea stalls, and the famous daytime and night markets, so here we go.

Enjoy!

THE TAIPEI HUAXI STREET NIGHT MARKET

The Taipei Huaxi Street Night Market in Taipei.
The Taipei Huaxi Street Night Market in Taipei.

Located near the Longshan Temple, the Huaxi Street Night Market is the most well-known international tourist night markets in Taipei, and has been in business for more than 60 years! Traders sell Chinese herbal food, crafts, commodities, gourmet snacks, Chinese herbal cuisine cooked with snake and other exotic meat, foot massage shops, spas, and seafood!

Fish head soup!
Fish head soup!
Squid on a stick!
Squid on a stick!
Deep-fried squid!
Deep-fried squid!

Specialities include such delights as fish head soup, and deep-fried squid, with a variety of sauces such as spicy pepper and mind-blowing wasabi!

  • Cost of fried squid: NT$10 or €0.30!
Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan!
Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan!

And now for something completely different…chewy balls of tapioca bubble tea at the street market. A boon for me as bubble tea is actually banned in Germany!

  • Cost: NT$10 or €0.30!

Nearest station: Longshan Temple

Opening Times : 16:00-24:00

RAOHE STREET NIGHT MARKET

Roast pig! ©House of Hao's
Roast pig! ©House of Hao’s

The Raohe Street Night Market is one of the oldest night markets in Taipei, and just across the street from my amba Taipei Songshan hotel! It’s also quite traditional, packed with snacks, quaint shops and stalls, and carnival games with prizes, and is considered to be the largest garment wholesale market place in Taiwan!

Getting lost in the Wufenpu Fashion Area of Taipei!
Getting lost in the Wufenpu Fashion Area of Taipei!

In order to get there, I found myself getting lost among the maze and alleys full of racks of clothing, and discounted fashion shops at the Wufenpu Fashion Area!

Snails in sauce!
Snails in sauce!
Noodle soup. I did have dumplings too, but I have no idea where I put them!
Noodle soup. I did have dumplings too, but I have no idea where I put them!
  • Cost of noodles: NT$8 or €0.25 per piece
  • Cost of soup: NT$15 or €0.45 per bowl

Nearest station: Songshan

Opening Times : 17:00-24:00

SHILIN NIGHT MARKET

A local tradesman at the Shilin Night Market, in Taipei!
A local tradesman at the Shilin Night Market, in Taipei!

The Shilin Night Market is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taiwan! It was built in 1899 and is famous for great food!

Taiwanese students and young people, outside the Cicheng Temple, having a good time!
Taiwanese students and young people, outside the Cicheng Temple, having a good time!
Fishing for live shrimps at the night market, in Taiwan!
Fishing for live shrimps at the night market, in Taiwan!
Having a meal at a kerbside restaurants, with mates in Taiwan!
Having a meal at a kerbside restaurants, with mates in Taiwan!
The Shilin Night Market is popular with Taiwanese students because of it's cheap, attractive prices!
The Shilin Night Market is popular with Taiwanese students because of it’s cheap, attractive prices!

The Shilin Night Market is famous for local Taiwanese cuisine, and spills out into several bustling streets with more than 500 stores and vendors! The night market is divided into two parts. One part is in the Shilin Market building with a food court on the underground floor. The second part centers on the Yangming Cinema and the Cicheng Temple, and consists of a cluster of shops and stores popular with Taiwanese students and young people.

Exotic vegetables for the hotpot inTaiwan!
Exotic vegetables for the hotpot inTaiwan!
Exotic Taiwanese meatballs at the night market in Taipei!
Exotic Taiwanese meatballs at the night market in Taipei!
A hotpot for me, and a hotpot for you, at the Shillin Night Market in Taiwan!
A hotpot for me, and a hotpot for you, at the Shillin Night Market in Taiwan!
Shanghai Buns at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei!
Shanghai Buns at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei!

Not to be outdone – Taiwanese Afters and desserts!

Some sort of shaved ice!
Some sort of shaved ice!
I've no idea what it is exactly, but it looked pretty! Any ideas?
I’ve no idea what it is exactly, but it looked pretty! Any ideas?
I had this really nice fresh cherry drink, but due to brain freeze, I had to throw it away!
I had this really nice fresh cherry drink, but due to brain freeze, I had to throw it away!

Ha! Ha! Stinky tofu!!

Ha! Ha! Stinky tofu in Taiwan!!
Ha! Ha! Stinky tofu in Taiwan!!

No thanks!

Nearest station: Shilin, but get out at Jiantan train station instead!

Opening Times : 17:00-24:00

LOCAL FOOD AT TAIWANESE RESTAURANTS

Vegetables and mountains of tofu in Taiwan!
Vegetables and mountains of tofu in Taiwan
A selection of sauces, condiments, and spices. In Taiwan!
A selection of sauces, condiments, and spices. In Taiwan!
Rice and noodles with the steaming hot pot in the background!
Rice and noodles with the steaming hot pot in the background!

I went to a local restaurant late one night and had a hotpot of noodles, beef, and tofu. I went with two Americans and we didn’t really know what to do with all the stuff, so I asked two visitors from Malaysia!

You put all the stuff in the steaming hotpot, and eat with rice, noodles, or both!
You put all the stuff in the steaming hotpot, and eat with rice, noodles, or both!

You put all the stuff in the steaming hotpot, and eat with rice, noodles, or both!

Wash it all down with cider or beer!
Wash it all down with cider or beer!
Ice cold German imported beer!
Ice cold German imported beer!

German imported Blue Girl beer!

‘Nuff said!

ORGANIC TAIWANESE FOOD & DRINK

Enhanced fresh juice
Enhanced fresh juice
Sweet potato fries with spicy chipotle mayo dipping
Sweet potato fries with spicy chipotle mayo dipping
House caesar salad
House caesar salad

I wasn’t feeling at all well when I arrived in Taiwan, so I started my day at the amba Taipei Ximending with fresh organic food, a salad, and some chips, to make me feel at home!

  • Cost of fruit juice: NT$170 or €5.70!
  • Cost of potato fries: NT$160 or €4.80!
  • Cost of salad: NT$220 or €6.50!

MY VERDICT:

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part II
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

I really liked Taipei.

It’s lovely. It’s old. It’s got history, art and culture, and looks really modern. It’s not as cheap as South East Asian (SEA) countries, but is certainly reasonably priced.

If you’re looking for the next best East Asian city that’s safe, quiet, and away from the tourist throngs, you’ve found it.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Utterly!

Because Taiwan has the feel of being Chinese, but itsn’t!

Let’s do it!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the steaming hotpots that I plunged into, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about Christmas, and then returning to the Philippines later!

I’ll be joining the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, to celebrate Christmas on December 12th! I know! I’ve totally made it!!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

December is going to be sharp!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part II
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

Have you ever been to a night market? What do you think of bubble tea? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

 

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part I

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part I
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part I

So last week, I wrote all about why I went to Taiwan, and as I previously told you, one of the main reasons that I did so was because quite frankly, nobody knows where it is!

I’m going to change all that!

If you missed my post last week, not to worry, here it is:

If you ever want to search various destinations all over the world, all you need to do is to go to the countries that I have recently travelled to tab on top of this page or go to the link here!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

I really like Taiwan.

I might even return sooner than you think…!

I went to Taiwan for the first time and truth be told, there’s not a lot of information out there. In fact, I went searching for British bloggers living there, and ended up with just one fellow, from whom I heard of Taiwan in the first place, but sadly, he recently  deleted his blog, and now there are none!

As a result, it’s left to me to take over the baton!

Oh, by the way, I went to Taipei!

TAIPEI

Taipei, otherwise known as Taipei City
Taipei, otherwise known as Taipei City

Taipei, otherwise known as Taipei City, is the capital city and a special municipality of Taiwan.

It’s 25 km (16 miles) southwest of the northern port city Keelung and located on the Taipei Basin. Taipei has been the capital of the Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC), since 1949!

Taipei has a population of about 2.7 million people and is and one of the major hubs of the Chinese-speaking world!

It’s considered to be a global city and is part of a major high-tech industrial region in conjunction with Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Taipei is a bustling city with a unique cultural landscape & jelly-like bubble tea!
Taipei is a bustling city with a unique cultural landscape & jelly-like bubble tea!

And let me tell you, I found Taipei to be a bustling city with a unique cultural landscape, splendid creativity, designs and aesthetics, coupled with hidden lanes and exotic alleyways. A city with local markets of varying character offering handicrafts, clothing, tattoos, music, entertainment, people-watching opportunities, and food!

Smashing!

HOW DO I GET THERE?

How do I get to Taiwan?
How do I get to Taiwan?

As you know, the only reason why Taiwan even came up in the first instance, was because I was in the Philippines, and thus in the region! And you know me, if an opportunity strikes up, I’m bound to choose it, and it did!

If you’re coming from Europe or the Americas, then of course you’ll be flying. Since I was already in the Philippines, I decided to fly from Manila after the TBEX jollifications, and then fly back to Manila again, before returning to Germany.

I flew with EVA Air!
I flew with EVA Air!

I flew with EVA Air!

I had heard good things about the airline especially about it’s Hello Kitty jet airlines, and I wasn’t disappointed!

The flight took just 2 hours and 20 minutes and cost a mere $102.37, making it a little over $50 USD each way!

A pretty decent airline meal on EVA Air. If only I hadn't had diarhhea, picked up in the Philippines...!
A pretty decent airline meal on EVA Air. If only I hadn’t had diarrhea, picked up in the Philippines…!

We were even given a full meal of rice and pork, some fruit, dessert, and a box of orange juice! I wasn’t feeling well, and I had the trots, so I nibbled at the rice and veg, and drank the juice!

My flight left at 04:00 and arrived at 06:20! I’m not a lover of wandering around strange cities in the early hours, so I booked a hotel car! It might be pricier than a conventional taxi but when you’re arriving in the early hours, you still need to get money out, get a sim card, or whatever, but you don’t feel the pressure of the clock ticking, when you’ve already paid a fixed fee! However, do tell your hotel that you would prefer a non-smoking driver.

Tell your hotel if you prefer a non-smoking taxi driver!
Tell your hotel if you prefer a non-smoking taxi driver!

My taxi smelt like a chimney, and didn’t make the illness that I had picked up in Manila, any better….!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

Not really!

It’s not China you know!

Truth be told, I was there at the tail-end of their typhoon season, and you could pick out the Westerners who were visiting. In fact, you could hear them…!

Everywhere was pretty OK except for the markets.

They were packed!

With everybody! And so after about an hour, I felt it was more than enough, as I didn’t have the energy for it, and I left!

WHAT IS TAIWAN LIKE?

Making new friends in Taiwan!
Making new friends in Taiwan!

It’s nice!

I was there for five (5) days and had to use two (2) of them to recover as I was starting a new job once I got back…! However, Taiwan definitely made an impression on me.

I knew that Taiwan would be modern but I wasn’t expecting it be squeaky clean! Not in the way that Singapore is bland clean, but surprisingly, it could give many Western cities a run for it’s money.

It isn’t as cheap-as-chips Thailand, but neither is it let’s-sell-our-children-cos-we-can’t-afford-it Korea or Japan!

Signs and instructions were in both English and Chinese, pretty much everywhere!
Signs and instructions were in both English and Chinese, pretty much everywhere!

Signs and instructions were in both English and Chinese. The trains were easy to navigate and use, and were cheap, costing just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey!

The trains weren’t crammed or packed, and the floors were clean. I used my finger, and checked lol! There were plants and mobile-phone chargers everywhere, and even boxes for you to take a free umbrella!

If that isn’t service, I really don’t know what is!

Making new friends with the locals in Taiwan!
Making new friends with the locals in Taiwan!

The people were great. Nobody stared at a darker-skinned visitor (me!) in fact, it was quite the opposite. Everybody was helpful and cheerful, some high-school kids came with me to the Taipei 101 building, and one local shop-keeper actually ran after me ‘cos I was walking in the wrong direction!

Taipei is sort of Chinese, but it isn’t.

Everyone went about minding their own business either reading, fiddling on their phone, listening to music, or eating!
Everyone went about minding their own business either reading, fiddling on their phone, listening to music, or eating!

It’s a country eager to welcome tourists, and there were heaps of them from neighbouring Japan and other Asian nations.  Having said that, it’s also quieter than expected, which I equally noticed in Manila. There was no honking of cars, or the shouting of tradesmen and pedlars, in fact, everyone went about minding their own business either reading, fiddling on their phone, listening to music, or eating!

I DON’T SPEAK CHINESE.

If you can speak a little Chinese (of any kind), it certainly helps!
If you can speak a little Chinese (of any kind), it certainly helps!

If you can speak a little Chinese (of any kind), it certainly  helps!

But if you can’t, don’t panic! If you can speak English, people tend to be able to understand you, even if they can’t respond back. My fail-safe was my iPhone iTranslate app. It came out very useful, if people couldn’t understand what I was referring to.

And if you’re really lost for words, go to the nearest train station which has an information window. They’re able, and happy to help.

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

Taiwan might be from a developing nation, but as one of the Four Asian Tigers, you're definitely not going to be living in a cave!
Taiwan might be from a developing nation, but as one of the Four Asian Tigers, you’re definitely not going to be living in a cave!

Of course not!

Taiwan might be from a developing country referred to as the Republic of China (ROC), but as one of the Four Asian Tigers, you’re definitely not going to be living in a cave!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

A kitchenette is necessary if you're on a budget, so that you can have.....noodles!
A kitchenette is necessary if you’re on a budget, so that you can have…..noodles!

Hostels are not well-known in Taiwan, but there are plenty of cheap hotels to be had.

I can’t give you any details, but catering to the more budget conscious traveller is certainly available. But remember, you’re not going to find anything going for under €20.00! If you’re really stuck on a low budget, you’re either going to have to fly to Bangkok or travel to Lithuania instead!

I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY, IS THERE SOMETHING FOR ME?

Introducing amba Hotels & Resorts, in Taiwan!
Introducing amba Hotels & Resorts, in Taiwan!

Hell yeah!

I stayed at a rather intriguing 4-star art design hipster-style boutique hotel called amba Hotels & Resorts.

In fact, I stayed at two of them!

The first one was called amba Taipei Ximending!

amba Taipei Ximending, in Taiwan!
amba Taipei Ximending, in Taiwan!

Amba Taipei Ximending is Taiwan’s first homegrown international-standard art design boutique hotel, created by some of Taiwan’s hottest architects, artists, music stylists, and mixologists! The hotel has a sleek, artistic, industrial-steel, loft-style look. It’s located in the young, trendy Ximending location, and is slap-bang in the middle of the Asian hipster shopping and cool entertainment district!

If you’re young or like happening vibes being in the centre of everything, you’ll love it.

In fact, not only is the Ximending district a bit like London’s Trafalgar Square, it’s also the movie-film district, and indeed, there was the Taipei Golden Horse film festival actually taking place on the ground floor of the hotel building!

The amba Taipei Ximending hotel is within walking distance of Taiwan's youth culture!
The amba Taipei Ximending hotel is within walking distance of Taiwan’s youth culture!

The amba Taipei Ximending is within walking distance of Taiwan’s youth cultures, combining cultural heritage, with an emerging design and lifestyle scene.

Merely steps away were atmospheric streets and alleys, curbside restaurants, hawker carts and bubble tea stalls, department stores on the pedestrianized Wuchang Street offering Western designer brands, and night markets. In fact, I almost fell on top of a British guy who was conducting some sort of street theatre performance!

The local Taiwanese kids seemed to be impressed!

This is where the cool kids hang out in the Music Lounge of the amba Taipei Ximending Hotel!
This is where the cool kids hang out in the Music Lounge of the amba Taipei Ximending Hotel!

The amba Taipei Ximending Hotel had 160 contemporary rooms and I was put in the Loft Room, which was pretty marvellous.

My loft was huge and consisted of two sofas, a large king-sized bed, a trunk (the type which my grandmother used to have to store clothes) in the middle of the room, an open closet, a writing table, a large-screen TV, a huge American-style sink section, free coffee, free Taiwanese tea, free daily bottled water, a kettle, a mini-fridge, a separate toilet, a separate rain-forest type power shower, fluffy towels, lots of power outlets (thank goodness), and free high-speed WiFi!

I was put in the Loft Room, which was pretty marvellous.
I was put in the Loft Room, which was pretty marvellous.

Included were amba-inscribed flip-flops (which were yours to keep), and a wonderful selection of ginger bath toiletries.

I usually bring my own shampoo and conditioner for my hair, but for the first time ever, I could use theirs, and feel the difference!

Marvellous stuff!

Breakfast at the amba Taipei Ximending Hotel!
Breakfast at the amba Taipei Ximending Hotel!

Breakfast was also included, on the 5th floor, in a loft-like space that had pop-culture album sleeves on bookshelves, as well as marvel comic memorabilia, and stuff like Harry Potter, & Star Wars dolls! And not to be outdone, there were loads of box games and manga books that customers could read.

Teenage heaven!

Cost: from NT$3,500 or €105.00 per night. For two people that’s easily €52.50, a pop!

Glitz & glamour of the amba art-design-boutique-hotel brand!
Glitz & glamour of the amba art-design-boutique-hotel brand!

After two nights I transferred to the second hotel.

This hotel was called amba Taipei Songshan!

Welcome to the amba Taipei Songshan Hotel, in Taiwan!
Welcome to the amba Taipei Songshan Hotel, in Taiwan!

The amba Taipei Songshan hotel, is an urban oasis in eastern Taipei. In comparison to amba Taipei Ximending, this 189 roomed hotel was situated in the financial districts of Xinyi, Songshan, and Nangang, with direct access via a private walkway bridge, to the Songshan underground and mainline train station!

The amba Taipei Songshan Hotel is smart, sharp, and has an affluent look.
The amba Taipei Songshan Hotel is smart, sharp, and has an affluent look.

In fact, access was so easy and accessible that I soon became a pro. at navigating my way from one sort of train to the next!

I would say that the amba Taipei Songshan hotel is smart, sharper, and has a more affluent look than that of the amba Taipei Ximending. It’s more professional and sleek with fabulous panoramic views of both the Taipei 101 building and the Keelung River.

You know how much I love river destinations in Taiwan, and everywhere else!
You know how much I love river destinations in Taiwan, and everywhere else!

You know how I love river destinations!

I was given one of the extra large rooms.

Yep! My room was gorgeous and can be described as urban living with a twist!

Look at how huge my room was & look at the view. Gorgeous!
Look at how huge my room was & look at the view.
Gorgeous!

The window was floor to ceiling huge, with a stunning view of the Taipei 101 skyscraper! It consisted of a large king-sized bed, a divan with huge comfy cushions which I enjoyed very much, an open closet, a writing table and chair, a wireless bluetooth vintage speaker, a large-screen TV, a huge American-style sink section, free coffee, free Taiwanese tea, free daily bottled water, a kettle, a Nespresso machine, a mini-fridge, a separate toilet, a separate rain-forest type power shower, fluffy towels, lots of power outlets, wooden floors (yes!) and free high-speed WiFi!

My amba-inscribed flip-flops. I don't usually wear flip-flops, but I kept the larger ones as I have huge feet!
My amba-inscribed flip-flops.
I don’t usually wear flip-flops, but I kept the larger ones as I have huge feet!

It included amba-inscribed flip-flops (which were yours to keep), a wonderful selection of ginger bath toiletries, and a free shuttle service to the Taipei 101 and the trendsetting Xinyi shopping and business district, which I should have taken, but didn’t!

I opted to walk to the Taipei 101, went through all the backyard nooks and crannies, and systematically got lost!

I went through all the backyard nooks and crannies, & systematically got lost!
I went through all the backyard nooks and crannies, & systematically got lost!

It took me 3 hours to find my way back again, but I didn’t mind too much as I saw a different part of Taipei, and also chatted to some of the locals while doing so.

I was exhausted when I finally reached the Taipei 101 building though, but it was worth it in the end!

Damper Baby at Tapei 101 - one of the tallest buildings in the world!
Damper Baby at Taipei 101 – one of the tallest buildings in the world!

In both hotels, a generous buffet breakfast of Chinese, Korean, and Continental origin, was included.

Note! Watch out for the sliced duck eggs. I was excited to try them and happily popped them into my mouth. Until I heard this crunch!

Can you see the duck egg? Eeek!
Can you see the duck egg? Eeek!

The shells were still on them! Eeek!

Cost: from NT$4,000 or €120.00 per night. For two people that’s easily €60.00, a pop!

Note! Don’t forget the 15.5% service charge and tax, added to the bill. That really hurt. Ouch!

That’s it for now. Part II coming up next week!

That's it for now. Part II on Taiwan, coming up next week!
That’s it for now. Part II on Taiwan, coming up next week!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a part-complimentary stay at amba Taipei Ximending and amba Taipei Songshan, all opinions and the trendy bubble tea experience that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing Part II of what I did in Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

I’ll be joining the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, to celebrate Christmas on December 12th! I know! I’ve totally made it!!

In December/January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

November is going to be wintry!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part I
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part I

What do you think of my first experience in Taiwan. Would you choose the more trendy amba Taipei Ximending or would you choose the smart, sharper amba Taipei Songshan? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

So last week, I told you that even though I have a lot of future posts coming up about my FAM/Press Trip to the Philippines, I was going to divert to writing about Taiwan!

Taiwan?

Yes. Taiwan!

Aha!

?/%$!!?%$§!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

Now let’s be honest. A fortnight ago, I told you that western travellers tended not to choose the Philippines when travelling to Asia, and with Taiwan, it gets distinctly worse because.

Nobody knows where it is!!!

There are murmurs of:

Taiwan?

Do you mean Thailand!

or

Taiwan?

Is that in Turkey or something!

In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipai - the capital of Taiwan - was somewhere in Korea!
In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!

In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!

Yes. Korea!!

Was it any wonder that when I decided to add another Asian destination to my trip, I opted to choose Taiwan!

But if you’re just following my blog, and you haven’t a clue why Taiwan even came up in the first instance, here are a couple of links to remind you:

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Gosh!

So let’s do some history.

TAIWAN

Taipei 101 Observatory - The world's tallest building in 2004!
Taipei 101 Observatory – The world’s tallest building in 2004!

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. It was founded in 1912, making it the first democratic republic in Asia!

Neighbors include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous non-UN state and the largest economy outside the UN boasting a per capita income of over $45,000!

Despite its contentious relationship with China, Taiwan has thrived over the last four decades as one of the strongest economies in Asia, a population of just 23.4 million people, and a GDP of over $1.1 trillion!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

The history of Taiwan can be traced back to at least 7000 years!

Between 7000 and 400 years ago, Austronesians, (the ancestors of the island’s indigenous people), arrived in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan.

Taiwan was initially colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by an influx of Han Chinese, including Hakka immigrants from the Fujian and Guangdong areas of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.

The Spanish built a settlement in the north for a brief period, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1642.

Taiwan became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years!
Taiwan became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years!

In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were also defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan.

The island became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years, during which time it evolved from a traditional society into a modern one.

In 1945, following the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan.

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).

The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s.

During the post-war period, Taiwan experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth, and was known as one of the Four Asian Tigers.

Wow!

How intriguing!

Singapore is also known as one of the Four Asian Tigers!
Singapore is also known as one of the Four Asian Tigers!

I was enormously impressed by Taiwan and here’s why:

16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
  1. Taiwan is an island country boasting abundant natural resources
  2. A great collection of landforms have been carved out of the Taiwan landscape, such as majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other natural landscapes
  3. There are 8 national parks and 13 national scenic areas to preserve Taiwan’s best natural ecological environment, and cultural sites
  4. Taiwan has invaluable rare and endangered wildlife such as the Taiwanese land-locked salmon, the Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkeys, Formosan black bears, Swinhoe pheasants, blue magpies, Mikado pheasants, and the Hsuehshan grass lizard
  5. Taiwan boasts excellent infrastructure, a convenient transportation system, and high-quality communication services
  6. It’s utterly and completely clean! I couldn’t believe that there was no litter or trash on the underground train. And if it’s raining, you can pick up an umbrella at the train station. For free!
  7. The fabulous food, and the Night Market. I’m going to say no more about it, until next week!
  8. So that you can pay a visit to Taroko National Park
  9. Get all sweaty and energetic with a hike up Jade Mountain
  10. To experience the wonderful ambience of Sun Moon Lake
  11. So that you can hang out where the cool kids do in the hip neighbourhood of Ximending – the  first pedestrian zone built in Taipei and the source of Taiwan’s pop subculture, cool Japanese trends, cultural-creative goods, food, and entertainment, as well as unique avant-garde fashion and style. In fact, I stayed in this region for 3 days before I moved to another part of town. More about this next week!
  12. To discover and explore a bustling modern metropolis sprinkled with quiet lanes and alleys in corners that you would never expect, as well as a unique cultural environment filled with creativity and design. One evening, we bumped into a film company making a Taiwanese soap-show, based around a red-brick cultural building, constructed in a historically preserved heritage warehouse!
  13. So that you can hop on a high-speed train and experience the Taiwan Railway Journey across the country island!
  14. Get in touch with authentic Taiwanese life by visiting the mountain region of Pingxi where you can write wishes on a sky lantern, before letting it go into the sky!
  15. Be fascinated by the beauty and serenity of the Shifen Waterfall
  16. Because Taiwan has the feel of being Chinese, but itsn’t!

That’s all for now!

16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a part-complimentary stay at amba Taipei Ximending and amba Taipei Songshan, all opinions and the magnificent time that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about what I did in Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be attending the Berlin-Premiere and the 10th anniversary of British musical comedy duo – Carrington Brown at Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin.

On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be joining my American friends to celebrate Thanksgiving!

On November 27th, the Berlin German Christmas Market will open, and the furore of mulled wine, German sausages and green cabbage, will begin!

In December/January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Fillm Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

November is going to be compulsive!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

Would you like to visit Taiwan? Have you been there? Did you know that Taiwan was not a part of Thailand or Korea!! Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com