December 23, 2013

Travel Diary: Taiwan Sights

As I promised in my Taiwan food post, here are the few sight-seeing activities I did around Taipei. However, I must warn you that the food, by far, outshines the sights. I would go to Taiwan just to eat. If I could transport myself to Taiwan for free every day for a meal, that's how I would feed myself! But anyway, they do have some great sights.

Even though I've been to Taipei before, there were still a few things to do and I tried my best to view the city from fresh eyes. The best part of these sights is that they are all accessible by train, subway or bus, so it's nice to make half day trips or few hour trips of these places. And you can easily fit a few of these sight-seeing spots in one day, but if you want to make the trip less hectic, you can also hit one place each day.
Greeted at the Taipei station with Christmas cheer!
Strolling through the Ximen street market while munching
LOVE the architecture at Chiang Kai-Shek's Memorial. If you aren't familiar with him, he was one of the leader's of the Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuomintang.
More of his memorial
Entryway to Chiang Kai-Shek's memorial
Trying to be artsy fartsy with my photography. On our way to watch the changing of the guards at the memorial.
The view of the grounds. Love the landscaping!
Gorgeous ceiling. I took pictures of this instead of the changing of the guards...
Chiang Kai-Shek was actually friends of my great-grandparents who both worked closely with him politically while he was still in China. I love hearing my grandpa tell me stories about my great-grandparents and wish I could have met them since I'm sure they have even more interesting stories to tell.
Beautiful walkway in the memorial gardens.
Taipei 101. The world's 5th tallest building. They have a high-end shopping mall if you're into it. If not, there's not much to do here.
Found in front of Taipei 101. 
Giant embryo statue in front of Taipei 101.
Gorgeous view of the islands from Jiufen, a tourist city next to Keelung Mountain. Wish it wasn't so hazy out that day, but isn't it beautiful? A movie called "A City of Sadness" was shot here and won an award at the Venice Film Festival.
The narrow streets of Jiufen lined with fun decor, small shops & restaurants. I could easily spend a half day here.
The MUST EAT fish balls they serve in this town. Well known & for good reason since they are delicious & pretty unique!
One of the pretty teahouses. 
Visiting one of the hot spring spas the Japanese built when they invaded Taiwan. Pretending I'm wearing the whole geisha get-up and posing.
I love details. Beautiful banister detail in the Japanese spa.
On our way to see the hot springs
Rotten egg smells getting stronger.  
Yup, that's sulfur. 
Where the hot springs it's warm springs. 
Where I (probably illegally) touched the water, but I couldn't read the sign next to me. And then I thought..."there are probably tons of gross things in this water that will probably kill me. Oh well, the water is running so hopefully no Giardia." Ugh, seriously? School has made me crazy.
The oldest hot springs spa in this area.
Hope you enjoyed this travel diary! My advice is to also stop by the teahouses in Maokong, especially if you are a tea fanatic like me. I went on my last visit to Taiwan and the tea is delicious! Plus, you can practice your tea kung fu skills. So much fun (& a mess on my part).

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