It just happens before you know it. I fell inlove with Taiwan
It just happens before you know it. I fell inlove with Taiwan

 

I don’t know. My timeline is flooded with Taiwan posts lately. SEparation ANXiety is real guys! I’ve been to many Asian countries before but there’s something about Taiwan that just captivates my heart. It’s like a breath of fresh air that I didn’t know I longed for until I felt it. And I need to express these overwhelming feelings I have for Taiwan right now.

What Really happened?

Well, I still remember we arrived past midnight at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and walk our way outside towards the bus bound for Taipei Main Station. The wind was cold yet soothing. I officially welcome myself to Taiwan!

 

Our first morning was filled with looong walks and picturesque view of Taipei I never thought it could offer. I must admit, I was blown away by Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. It’s not your average memorial hall that you can see anywhere else. At least for me. It was built to commemorate the former president of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-Shek. The place was really huuuuge guys! This president must be very special for him to deserve the love, honor and respect of the people enough to build this famous landmark in Taiwan. Therefore, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a must visit place in Taiwan. Don’t dare miss it!

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
President Chiang Kai-Shek
President Chiang Kai-Shek

So why I fell so inlove with Taiwan?

#1 Totoro and Studio Ghibli Stuff

Okay. I’M A BIG FAN of TOTORO. He is just cute and fluffy and squishy and it melts my heart 😍 No argument is allowed. And that is also one of the main reasons why I went to Japan last year, to visit GHIBLI MUSEUM. I know right? Every legit Ghibli fan is required to go there. I’m serious. Although it is prohibited to take pictures inside and I was alone (no tickets for my friends because the tickets were sold faster than Shinkansen), I was really happy. Overjoyed perhaps.

Totoro in Taiwan
Feeling 7 y/o. This is the Catbus inside Donguri Republic in Taiwan. Also one of my frustrations when I went to Ghibli Museum in Japan. Their Catbus there is for kids only and yeah prohibited to take pictures as well. Unlike the picture above, it’s for everyone!!!

And there came Taiwan. I know already that there’s a Donguri Republic (a store that sells Ghibli Memorabilias, every Ghibli fan’s must visit place) there and that is all I’m expecting. Nothing more than that. But surprise! Totoro and his friends are dominating the streets of Taiwan! I SWEAR TO GOD! First encounter was in Ximending Shopping District. I got teary eyed when I saw all the Totoro stuffs from slippers, bags, phone case, bag tags to figurines! It was too much to handle T_T

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The heat continues in Shilin Night Market to the underground mall of Taipei Main Station to Jiufen! And then I realize, there’s nothing like this in Japan.Β πŸ˜‘ I only run into this kind of excitement when we went to Donguri Republic, Tokyo Sky Tree branch and of course in Ghibli Museum itself. Thus, Japan is no longer special to me. Hahaha. Just kidding!

Totoro Lock
ISN’T HE THE CUTEST?!!! SO ADORBS πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—
#2 Shopping and Night Markets

I’m not really into Night Markets because then I wouldn’t have any excuse not to buy souvenirs for the people back home. However, the night market vibe in Taiwan is different. In Hong Kong, the vendors are aggressive. I can still remember a woman went after me, shouting after I walked out and didn’t continue to buy one of her items. I was really scared af! But in Taiwan, the vendors are chill, so far. They offer but they don’t force you to buy. Also they are kind of gentle when you start to bargain with them.

Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market

There are a lot of night markets to choose from and we chose Shilin Night Market as it was the most recommended night market in Taiwan (by the internet). In Shilin, there is a long array of interesting food stalls towards the end of the streets. And you will be amaze on how locals would line up on this certain stall waiting for the food to be served. I know that food is pretty famous but I was not in the mood to try. It’s not a regular scene for me because the line is looooonger than you can imagine. I SWEAR TO GOD. This is also the kind of line I saw in Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101 around lunch time. I can say the locals are fanatic πŸ™‚

Food Stalls at Shilin Night Market - Fell inlove with Taiwan
Food Stalls at Shilin Night Market

 

And the best part is? Well, actually the ultimate loot I got from Shilin is my new pair of Birkenstock sandals. I know it’s expensive but my God! It’s so much cheaper compare to the price in Philippines. The staff also told me that Taiwan is the 2nd cheapest Birken vendor next to Germany, where it originates. But still expensive. 😁 Birken stores are everywhere in Taiwan. I saw 2 Birken stores just in Shilin Night Market and 1 in Ximending Shopping District. This is a big deal for me because there’s no Birkenstock outlet in my place. I also tried my luck in Singapore last September but the outlet inside The Shoppes @ Marina Bay is no longer there πŸ™ So yeah, I’m broke as fuck.

Birkenstock Taiwan
I bought a White Rio Birken as seen here: http://tinyurl.com/gnmctmb
#3 The People

OMG. Here we are. I know. It’s just that I didn’t expect that the people we encountered back there were nice and gentle. Actually, I didn’t expect anything about Taiwan at all. But the people we met, I’m just thankful we met them. (Including this one incident when we arrived at the hostel fresh from the airport and we were talking and laughing so loud unconsciously in the lobby and barely notice that it’s already 2:30 AM. So the guard scolded us big time, like we were kids. hahaha 1 point! I’ll never forget that. Sorry again sir! )

Taiwanese People - Fell inlove with Taiwan
The People

*The Staff of Nihao@Taipei Hostel – I’ve been to many places before and stayed in different kinds of hostels/hotel but it never felt like home. The staffs at Nihao were a bunch of young people but they know how to connect with their guests. They were also our first point of β€œlocal” encounter, very helpful and warm. Especially Ting πŸ™‚

Squad at Nihao@Taipei Hostel - Fell inlove with Taiwan
Squad at Nihao@Taipei Hostel

Jeff Lin (The coolest tour guide ever!) – I allocated one whole day in our itinerary to spend in the countryside of Taipei. I had a hard time finding the cheapest day tour available until I came across this quite famous tour guide from Taiwan in Tripadvisor. His name is Jeff. He’s very enthusiastic and full of life. He really took good care of us during the trip and was so hands-on especially on taking our photographs and made sure our trip would be fun and memorable. He even made a short clip out of the pictures(our faces) he personally took from his tablet! Isn’t he cool? And the most important thing was that, his service was affordable. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HIM!

Taiwan Tour by Jeff Lin
The Squad ft. Jeff πŸ™‚

You can reach him at +886936129892 (viber/whatsapp)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tab186/

Starbucks Staff – As I was planning our trip to Taiwan, I stumble upon this “secret” Starbucks that people were rumbling about online, located at the 35th floor of Taipei 101. They said it’s the highest Starbucks in the world! And I love world records so it became one of our priorities. I mean part of our itinerary hihi. A reservation is required to gain access to the facility. And we weren’t able to get one because their line is so damn busy all the time. So we just tried our luck and go there even if we don’t have a reservation. Thanks to all the heavens and for the convincing skills of Yeka, the Staff let us in!!!! I’m really thankful for the chance πŸ™‚

Highest Starbucks in the World
We made it to the Highest Starbucks in the World!
Chillin at Highest Starbucks in the World
Chill

 

So those are my top 3 reasons why I fell inlove with Taiwan. I just can’t get over it yet. Help me 😭 I wanna go back 😭😭😭

Read my Taiwan Travel Guide here: http://www.laagankaayo.com/discover-taiwan/

Disclaimer: All the statements I mentioned above are solely base from my experience and feelings.

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