Taiwan Holiday 2015: My Favorite Sights

As I was backing up my photos to my computer, I realized that I had lots of photos from last November’s Taiwan trip, and I didn’t even get to blog about it! This post is waaaay too late but I think it would still be interesting to share with everyone the places I visited. I spent most of my time in Taipei, and it’s a great city to visit with lots of things to do and see. Here are some of my favorite places from my last vacation:

1. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

For our second day, we headed to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Taipei. Besides the magnificent architecture, there’s also an exhibit inside which details the life of Chiang Kai Shek and even displays some of his belongings and writings. It’s a great place to start with if you want to learn about Taiwanese history and its prominent historical figures.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall entrance
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall entrance
The square is also home to the National Concert Hall and National Theater, shown beside the entrance arch!
The square is also home to the National Concert Hall and National Theater, shown beside the entrance arch!
How the main hall looks like from the side. It looks easy to climb all the way up to the main hall, but in reality it's really tiring!
How the main hall looks like from the side. It looks easy to climb all the way up to the main hall, but in reality it’s really tiring! The number of steps (89) corresponds to Chiang Kai Shek’s age at the time of his death.
You will be greeted by Mr. Chiang Kai Shek when you get to the top! And if you're lucky, you'll be able to witness the changing of the guards too ;)
You will be greeted by Mr. Chiang Kai Shek when you get to the top! And if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to witness the changing of the guards too 😉
Here I am posing with one of Chiang Kai Shek's cars!
Here I am posing with one of Chiang Kai Shek’s cars!
Replica of Chiang Kai Shek's office
A replica of Chiang Kai Shek’s office

2. Danshui (Tamsui)

Danshui (Tamsui) is a sea-side district in Taiwan and a very charming place to visit. The moment you get off the train, you will be greeted by a nice open area outside the station and signboards pointing you to great destinations nearby. There are quite a few, some of them historically significant sights, so take your time and just go around the whole place! We made a huge mistake of arriving late so we weren’t able to fully explore the area, so when you’re here make sure that you have lots of time to spare so you can enjoy the sights. You can enjoy strolling around the Old Street and looking at the interesting stores and Japanese-style architecture. Try the seafood and their food market too, Danshui is well-known for it!

Tamsui used to be connected to Taipei through the old TRA Tamsui Line, but it already closed years ago and has been replaced by the Taipei Metro Tamsui Line.
Tamsui used to be connected to Taipei through the old TRA Tamsui Line, but it already closed years ago and has been replaced by the Taipei Metro Tamsui Line.
The ice cream is indeed as tall as it looks in the photo! Too bad I wasn't able to take a picture before I started eating.
The ice cream is indeed as tall as it looks in the photo! Too bad I wasn’t able to take a picture before I started eating.
I tried to resist all this good food but I eventually gave in to temptation XD
I tried to resist all this good food but I eventually gave in to temptation XD
So, so good! I already miss this!
So, so good! I already miss this!

You can also find the Lovers Bridge (named because it was launched on Valentine’s Day 2003) here in Danshui. It is a popular date spot and a great place to view the beautiful sunset.

I got lost and boarded the wrong bus, but I arrived just in time for the sunset!
I got lost and boarded the wrong bus, but I arrived just in time for the sunset at the wharf!
The Lovers Bridge looks really pretty at night and glows in different colors. I do wish I crossed the bridge with a lover though...
The Lovers Bridge looks really pretty at night and glows in different colors. I do wish I crossed the bridge with a lover though…

3. Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo is a large park for all animal lovers located at the end of the Taipei Metro Brown Line. It’s an amazing destination for all ages and I absolutely loved it because of one word: PANDAS!

I have never seen a panda in person so I was very excited to go to this place. I made sure that I went on my 22nd birthday to make it even more special, lol! The pandas were so cute and big, and I learned a lot about them during my visit.

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I've never seen a panda climb trees before! I was astounded when I found out that they can do that, lol!
I’ve never seen a panda climb trees before! I was astounded when I found out that they can do that, lol!

Besides pandas, I also saw some new animals for the first time. For instance:

We don't have these in the Philippines!
We don’t have these in the Philippines!
We definitely don't have camels there as well. And I never knew camels could also have two humps!
We definitely don’t have camels there as well. And I never knew camels could also have two humps!

Flamingos at Taipei Zoo

Mongoose at Taipei Zoo

This play cage area is an exhibit that shows visitors how difficult it is for animals to thrive in small cages. It encourages guests to go inside the cage area and move around. I tried it and it was very difficult, I couldn't imagine being locked in here the whole day.
This play cage area is an exhibit that shows visitors how difficult it is for animals to thrive in small cages. It encourages guests to go inside the cage area and move around. I tried it and it was very difficult, I couldn’t imagine being locked in here the whole day.

4. Taipei 101

Taipei 101 is the tallest building in Taiwan and was the tallest building in the world until 2009, the year of the completion of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa building. Through the years, Taipei 101 has become an icon in Taipei and is a famous landmark in the city. For a fee, you can ride on Taipei’s fastest elevator and look at the view of Taipei City from the top of the building’s observatory.

The Taipei 101 building view from Xiangshan Station
The Taipei 101 building view from Xiangshan Station at sunset
Taipei's stunning night view!
Taipei’s stunning night view!
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Taipei 101’s wind damper which helps stabilize the building during strong typhoons and earthquakes.
With their Damper Baby mascot
The building’s wind damper is already a major tourist attraction in itself. Due to its popularity, Damper Baby mascots were created. Stores have Damper Baby merchandise and the observatory even has videos of the Damper Baby explaining to guests, especially the young ones, the purpose and advantages of the wind damper.

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5. Houtong Cat Village

I absolutely love this place. This village used to be a mining town, until the coal mining industry died out and the residents of the town eventually moved away to seek other opportunities. Years later, the town was filled with cats and volunteers came to the town to feed and care for the cats that lived in the area. The volunteers posted photos of the cats online and the public fell in love with them. Now, the town is home to hundreds of cats and has been revived as a tourist destination for all cat lovers.

This statue will greet you as you exit the station!
This statue will greet you as you exit the station!

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One of my favorite cats in the village! I find it funny that she even has a pink collar around her neck!
One of my favorite cats in the village! I find it funny that she even has a pink collar around her neck!
Some of the old mine carts in Houtong. They're still in use, of course, as playground for the cats!
Some of the old mine carts in Houtong. They’re still in use, of course, as playground for the cats!
The town does feel a bit deserted, but it's relaxing at the same time.
The town does feel a bit deserted, but it’s relaxing at the same time.

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Houtong Cat Village

I absolutely loved Taipei and everything about it; the people, the sights, the food… I really just loved living there for a week and wherever I went, everyone made me feel welcome. I hope I get to visit Taiwan again and visit other places outside the city so I can experience more of what the country has to offer. Soon! *fingers crossed*

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Till next time, Taiwan!

18 Comments

  1. Till next time, indeed <3 All these pictures tell a story and what a story. Love all of this post, seriously! Thanks for sharing this. I know much more about the world!

  2. That’s really neat that they matched the number of steps to Chiang Kai Shek’s age. I think those details are so fascinating and really make the places you visit even more special. Everything is so beautiful!

    Oh my goodness, that ice cream cone is awesome! I would have been the same way! XD Half the time whatever I’m eating is already half gone before I even think to snap a picture of it, haha!

    The Lovers’ Bridge looks so cool. What a beautiful sight at night! I can see why it would be a popular dating spot – it looks very romantic!

    I love that list picture of you! It looks like it was an awesome trip, Claudine! Take me with you next time, haha. 😉

    1. Hahaha, that last paragraph! 😛 Let’s go Becca, I’m coming back in August and will be living there for a while. You can come visit me then 😉 Lol!

  3. Claudine!! I am into Asian countries and would consider going to this country if given a chance. Your post was very informative! I don’t know where to start haha. So all along I thought Chiang Kai Shek is a Chinese but turns out he’s a Taiwanese lol. Im quite interested about his life now since you told about this Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and yes architecture was really enthralling.

    Oh my goodness, you saw panda in real life? I can’t resist pandas in videos how much more if i see them live. Waa!!! Good for you!!

    Oh, that Lover Bridge looks romantic at night, don’t worry you’ll get to cross the bridge with someone you love someday. Who knows?haha

    That Taipei 101 building looks scary to look at. I’m quite afraid of heights and I don’t know If I can survive looking down from the top haha.

    1. You really should come to Taiwan, Jean! There’s lots of places to explore. Besides Taipei, you can come to other cities as well! 😉

      Oooh and the pandas are reason enough to come, tbh. Heehee <3

  4. I want to go to Taiwan one day! I’ve been to Hong Kong and many cities in China, but I haven’t been over to Taiwan yet.

    I like the architecture of the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and I’m amazed at how huge it is! Danshui also looks like a fun place to check out.

    Aahh I love zoos, and I especially love pandas. I saw them live when I visited China, but I haven’t seen them since! I think it’s funny that there is a cat village because in Japan there is a cat island that has more cats than humans. I’d want to check out both places 😀

    I think Taipei 101 is such a cool building, and I like that it has a very recognizable shape. The night view is beautiful! I’m glad you had such a great time in Taiwan!

    1. Hey Cat! Taiwan is a really fun place with lots of good food and sights everywhere, I think you will enjoy yourself 😉

      I like Taipei 101 as well! I heard that its appearance was based on the bamboo, so that’s why its shape is very distinct 🙂

  5. Oooh, Taiwan’s never been a place I’d wanted to visit, but I may need to reconsider that.

    And pandas and cats! Those photos made me smile a lot.

    The bridge also looks neat, and I enjoyed seeing the marketplaces :3

    Thanks for sharing your trip 🙂

    1. Taiwan is a great place! It wasn’t on my must-visit list as well, but after going around Taipei I really wished it would gain more attention from tourists. 😀

  6. The visuals in Taiwan are beautiful! I like how uniquely detailed every building is! An eye for detail definitely went in designing everything there. It’s pretty cool how they even preserve one of Shek’s car. The food in Taiwan looks delicious~

    It’s pretty cool to see the different types of animals in the zoo. Having a big enough room for animals to roam around is definitely important.

    The cat village sounds like a place I’d like to go to!

    1. Hi Nancy!

      Yeah, the zoo is pretty huge because they really did their best to provide a large enough place for every animal they’re keeping. The animals look pretty happy and active, so I guess that means they’re doing a good job.

      Oooh you’ll love the cat village! All of the cats are so friendly (well, not towards dogs. HAHA!)

  7. Oh my gosh! It seems like you have had quite an adventure and saw so many great things! I loved reading through and looking at all the photos you have taken! I really enjoyed the odd different things like the wind/hurricane damper which I had never even known about. It is crazy how technology has developed over time and how we are slowly learning more and more to defense against the weather.

    I never would have thought someone would have never seen some of those animals before! I guess it does depend on the area and if zoos would be able to take care of them in their habitat. It seems like you learned a lot and experience tons of new things as well! I hope you get to go on another adventure soon as well!

    1. Thanks so much for the great comment, Ashley! 🙂

      Like you, I didn’t know anything about wind dampers until I saw one in Taipei 101. I agree that technology is moving at a really fast pace, and it’s amazing how we are using it in things like this. The damper itself is a great piece of technology and the engineers really put a lot of thought into the building’s design.

      I guess some of the animals are pretty common in many areas, but here in my tropical country we have relatively few of those. Heehee 🙂 Overall, it was nice seeing and learning about lots of new animals. I hope to see and experience more adventures like this too! 😀

  8. Omg! Look at that, it’s a real panda! D: They’re adorable, I’m envious you got to see one so close! I have a friend from Taiwan, we’ve been planning a trip there and she always shows me how amazing it is and it truly truly is! :”) Thanks for sharing your experience, I had fun reading it 🙂

    1. Oh, you will love Taiwan! I hope you get to spend a lot of time there as well! When are you coming? Blog about it when you make that trip, you’re going to enjoy every minute of it 🙂

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