Day 1 – The 777
It was a quick flight from Mongolia to Beijing where I had a two hour layover before heading on to Taiwan. It was a pretty routine flight other than the fact that it was my first time ever flying on a Boeing 777 - aka a double decker airplane. While they are no longer flown by any the US airlines many other carriers around the world continue to use them. It was cool to be able to finally fly on one! The experience was pretty similar to a normal flight but I could definitely tell that the aircraft was much bigger and my seat was also right near the staircase.
The flight was not too long and when I landed in Taipei I took the public transit system into the main train station. Once again it was quite easy to use! It was unique, though, in that the transit card was actually shaped like a coin. You tap the coin on a sensor to go through - pretty cool! I ran into a bit of difficulty finding the uber pickup area in the main station. It was poorly marked but I eventually found it and took the quick ride to my hotel, Inhouse Hotel Heritage. Inhouse Hotel Heritage is a uniquely modern little spot in the very heart of the city. Thank you so much to Inhouse Hotel Heritage for sponsoring my stay in Taiwan!
After a crazy few days of travel I was really looking forward to a great night of rest and Inhouse Hotel Heritage definitely delivered. I went to sleep around 7pm and was definitely well rested for day two!
Day 2 – The 101
After a great night of sleep I had a full day today in Taiwan! My first stop was Lungshan Temple. While I had seen many different temples so far in Asia this was definitely the most colorful one so far. It was filled with people and quite amazing to walk through. It was also all decorated for the Chinese New Year (year of the dog) which was cool too!
My next stop was the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall area. It is hard to describe but there is basically a giant square with massive buildings on two sides, a memorial on one side, and a monument on the other. All of which, I cannot emphasize enough, are massive. The monument was very impressive and I then walked across the entire giant square to the memorial hall. You can go inside of the memorial hall which is open to the public at the top. It was very interesting and overall very unique and impressive. I then walked back through the square and through some of the gardens along the side of it.
I had taken Uber for my first two stops for times sake, but the next few stops would be via public transit. It is a super efficient and easy system and went straight to my next destination, Taipei 101 Tower. It is one of the tallest buildings in the world and is amazing to see in person! There are no other tall buildings around so it really stands out. The bottom of Taipei 101 is home to a shopping mall while the rest of the building holds offices (and a super secret Starbucks that you have to make a reservation for - crazy!!).
I was very excited for lunch today and it more than met my expectations. Din Tai Fung is a restaurant that was founded in Taipei but now has many more locations, including in the western US. I’ve never been before and was definitely looking forward to trying it in its home city. Din Tai Fung is famous for their xiaolongbao pork dumplings. And let me tell you, I can see why! I loved them so much that if I had had time I would have ordered a second helping. They are so juicy and the soy sauce and vinegar combination that they tell you how to make at the table is so good. Definitely give them a try if you ever get the chance!
After my meal and a quick walk around the mall I headed back to the metro to head toward my next stop, the Taipei Confucius Temple. It was a beautiful Temple complex that offered a lot to learn about Confucius. It was very interesting and well worth the stop. From there I headed right nearby to the Dalongdong Baoan Temple. It was yet another impressive temple and featured a very unique park across the street that is definitely worth a visit. It has lots of unique figures and animals and was definitely fun to stroll through!
After visiting both temples I then made my way back to Inhouse Heritage Hotel to grab my bags and take the train back to the airport. At the airport there was a Hello Kitty check in area which was pretty funny, and I enjoyed checking out a few different lounges during my wait for my flight to Manila, Philippines. It was a short visit to Taiwan but I absolutely loved it! Also, just to verify, Taiwan is technically not one of the 193 UN countries but is recognized by most countries (and myself) as an independent nation. It might be small but it definitely deserves a visit!
105 countries down, 91 to go.
To learn more about Inhouse Hotel Heritage click here.