TRAVEL: Taipei, Taiwan in 72 hours (3/3)

September 22, 2015

Hazy Morning in Taipei from Park City Hotel

Attractions

  • Taipei Confucius Temple (台北市孔廟)
  • Linsheng Garden (鄰聖苑牌樓)
  • Dalongdong Bao’an Temple (大龍峒保安宮)
  • Taipei 101 and Mall

Mascots of Confucius' Temple

During our final day in Taipei, we visited some of the major sights of the city. After breakfast, we took the subway to the Datong District– an area that has several cultural attractions. First we visited the Taipei Confucius Temple (台北市孔廟); originally the temple was built in 1875 during the Qing Dynasty.

Confucius' Temple

Confucius' Temple

The original temple was destroyed during the Japanese occupation and later was rebuilt during the 1930’s. The temple walks the visitor through the story of Confucius and highlights the principles of Confucianism, such as social rituals and human virtues. The temple’s layout is very similar to that of the clan ancestral temple and has shrines to the Confucian sages, the Twelve Philosophers, and students of Confucius who made significant contributions to Confucianism. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Day Trip to Yehliu and Jiufen in Taiwan (2/3)

September 21, 2015

Yehliu Port

Attractions

  • Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園)
  • Jiufen (九份)

Located to the north of Taipei are two destinations that warrant a visit for its beautiful rock formations (Yehliu) and historical gold mining town (Jiufen). From Taipei, one can take the local bus to either of these sights. From our hotel, we took the subway to the Taipei City Hall exit and then walked to the bus terminal. Here we took Bus 1815 towards Jinshan. It was about a 45-minute ride to the nearest stop (Gang Dong Road) to the geopark.

Yehliu

Admission to the geopark during our visit was $80 national Taiwan dollars per adult. The geopark contains unique rock formations that have been shaped by sea erosion. The first part of the park shows several mushroom rocks.

Yehliu

The second part shows rock formations that have been given names; one may see and line up for a photo opportunity with the iconic Queen’s Head.

Yehliu - Queen's Head

Yehliu - Pineapple Bun

Finally, the last part takes us over to the steep hill on the other side of the cape. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Taipei, Taiwan in 72 hours (1/3)

September 20-23, 2015

Map of Taiwan (courtesy of Nations Online Project)

Map of Taiwan (courtesy of Nations Online Project)

Attractions

  • Mengjia Longshan Temple (龍山寺)
  • Ximending (西門町)
  • Red House (西門紅樓)
  • National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂)
  • National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine (國民革命忠烈祠)
  • Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)

During the end of September 2015, we found ourselves an opportunity to visit Taipei in Taiwan for three days before heading to Hong Kong for a major family gathering. After hearing so much about Taipei from one of my classmates, I was decidedly excited to see and experience for myself the Taiwanese culture and history. September is one of the better times to go; the weather starts to cool off although there may be a typhoon.

We stayed three nights (September 20-22) at the Park City Hotel- Luzhou Taipei located above the Saint Ignatius High School subway exit. The hotel room is very clean and the hotel offers free self-service laundry facility, which we used before we left for Hong Kong on the 23rd. Upon our arrival to the hotel after the 12-hour flight on September 20th, we were too early to check in so we stored our luggage with the hotel staff. We then washed up and refreshed ourselves before heading down to the subway.

At the station, we purchased Easy Cards for each member of the family. Each card requires a $100 deposit of national Taiwan dollars and then you may add your desired monetary amount to the card. It saves time from having to buy a fare for each trip on the subway. See the Taipei Rapid Transit website for more information. On our trip, we deposited $2000 national Taiwan dollars total and this covered the entirety of our trip and the bus ride to Jiufen (side trip on September 21).

We took the subway to the Mengjia Longshan Temple (龍山寺), a temple that was damaged during World War II but renovated to its current revered state. The elaborately carved dragons guard the tiled roofs.

Longshan Temple

Inside, one can see people praying and chanting. There are also several Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian statues. There are deity charms and jade bracelets in the temple shop. It was definitely worth visiting.

Longshan Temple

 

Longshan Temple

After exploring the temple and paying our respects, we walked to the Ximending (西門町) district along the busy streets. On the way there, we encountered the red-bricked buildings of Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區).

Old Taipei Street

It was still early in the morning and some shops were in the process of opening. We were lucky that a pork and beef jerky shop had just prepared a fresh batch of jerky when we popped in to buy some for ourselves and relatives.

Fresh Jerky

We continued our trek and browsed a couple of the shops and temples, until we finally reached Ximending (西門町)— a popular district for fashion, hip bars, and other trendy shops.

Streets of Taipei

Continue reading

A Study of Cats at a Cat Café

Lounging

Imagine yourself lounging in an easy chair, trying to relax from a busy day. A curious feline jumps down onto the couch next to you and pads his way toward you purring. Stirring with curiosity, you reach out tentatively. The cat sniffs at your hand and licks it. A smile beams on your face and gently you stroke his head behind the ears. The cat purrs appreciatively and lays down enjoying the tactile sensation. An hour goes by swiftly but all worries slip away with the company of a feline.

~

Cat Walk

Cat cafés are not new. With the perfect ambiance and environment, one could pay for an hour to play, observe, or enjoy a beverage in the company of cats. The first cat café, Cat Flower Garden (貓花園), originated from Taipei, Taiwan in 1998 (see the Taipei Cat Café blog for reviews). This first introduction to Japanese tourists became the fuel that started the trend in Japan. Continue reading