It’s a month and two weeks before the Taipei Adventure with my Unnie — and for the first time, my travel research skills is being put to the test.
I find it hard to believe but I noticed that there’s not a lot of information source about traveling on a budget in Taiwan. Yes, there were blogs here and there but not as much when I was researching about other countries. And honestly, I find it really odd. Based from initial research, Taiwan and yes, Taipei City seemed like a very beautiful and exciting place. This early, I was already overwhelmed just thinking where we will spend the limited 4 days while there. Shall we visit first the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, or the National Palace Museum where the biggest collection of Chinese artifacts are stored? What about a trip up Taipei 101? The Beitou Hot Springs? A visit to Elephant Mountain Trail for a magnificent view of Taipei? Of course, how can I pass up the chance to see the palm-lined boulevard of National Taiwan University — the same boulevard where a bullied Shancai rode her humble scooter while F4’s sleek cars were passing by? Shall I haunt for Jay Chou’s restaurant first or should I instead look for the restaurant where Dao Ming Sui brought Shanchai for their first date? (You know, the one where they have car cases as booths).
In one of the travel blogs I read, they said that not a lot of people go to Taiwan – maybe for varied reasons. For my kababayans, it might be the hassle of getting a visa. For others, it might be because Taiwan is more subdued and quiet compared to the marketing initiatives of countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. The article states that NOT going to Taipei and NOT discovering its many beautiful places, the amazing culture and the awesome cuisine is something that all serious travelers should NOT do. Taiwan has so much to offer and so much beauty to share — maybe it’s time that we go beyond our usual comfort zones (multiple trips to HK Disneyland and Resorts World Sentosa, erm, hello?)
So, while I find it doubly hard to piece together a simple itinerary, I can’t help but feel excited. It’s another new experience, another adventure. This early, I already know where to go to mass (St. Christopher Church, a few MRT rides from Taipei Main Station. The church is called “Little Philippines” every Sunday due to the number of migrant Filipino workers attending services there.) I am also starting to get the hang of researching street names and the corresponding MRT stations near it.
I just need to tick off hotel reservations on my list, start preparing for the visa application and I am good to go.
* NOTE: We plan to stay at Keyman’s Hotel in front of Taipei Main Station. Feel free to drop me a note if you have recommendations on where to go!