Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Taipei Diaries: What I love about Taipei

About this time last year, I was in Taipei for a long overdue honeymoon trip. Well, technically, just a regular trip because we've been to different destinations after the wedding. But we've planned, booked and designed our honeymoon itinerary to be in Taipei in 2012. But it wasn't meant to be; I got sick. And so we cancelled the trip. 

The following year saw us travel to Korea in Autumn, and braved the scorching summer of Cambodia in 2014. And then, we re-designed our Taipei trip. You might call it a FOMO (fear of missing out) moment but we just couldn't let go of the idea of Taiwan. 

So, we were all set to be in Taiwan in April, for seven glorious days. We wanted to hop on a high speed bulet train to the southern part of Taiwan to see the Sun Moon Lake and explore the Kenting Park. 

But it turned out that two days before we flew, I discovered that I was six months pregnant! We were ecstatic, surprised and grateful. However, it meant adjusting our itinerary. Yet, despite the tweaking, we managed to see and experience the best of Taipei. 

And so I spent the day looking at our pictures and thinking that one day we should visit again with our little Kate in tow.

What do I love about Taipei? Aside from its gastronomic offerings...So many things but what stands out is its ability to marry its cultural heritage with urbanization. The city is home to the largest technological parks in Asia yet trees abound; its forests almost have a creeping-in feel to the periphery of the city. 

And don't get me started with its wide, tree-lined avenues. 

They do vertical gardens so well. 

Very commuter friendly, too. Going around the city is so easy, you just need a tap card called Easy Card (it uses NFC- near field communication) to pay for train & bus fares, coffee at Starbucks or anywhere else, etc. 

The train system is similar to that used by the Japanese. It runs on time. Everything is connected. It's clean; well-ventillated. All coaches have bike racks. Elevators are to be used by the elderly, differently-abled and cyclists with their bikes. 

Curious that food and drinks are a NO-NO inside the train station. Hefty fines are meted out to those who violate. And so it is clean and organized. 

I love that it is bicycle friendly. It has a dedicated bike lane so wide you'd think it's for cars. And a bike you can rent using your tap card. 

Visiting Taipei for the first time? Head to its Tourist Information Office. There's one at the World Trade Center adjacent to Taipei 101 to register and be given access to Public Wifi, for life! Every time you visit, you're instantly connected!

Next posts: the sights and food of Taipei.



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