My 48 Hours in Taipei

Well hello everyone! It’s been almost a year since I last posted on here. Trust everyone is having a mint time! If not, believe that this year is the year of recovery. As Marilyn Monroe would say,

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

I had a quick visit to Taipei recently and all I can remember is the smell of broth and milk tea. Yum! I literally ate my way since I got out of my flight to my departure!

I was coming back to Asia from one of my US trips and due to some flight mishaps I was stuck in Taiwan for 48 hours. While I was mulling on how to spend this wisely, I went into the airport food court and was assaulted by the smell of broth. My mouth started watering and ordered a beef noodle soup. Boy did I not regret it! I then decided that I am on a mission to find more beef noodle soup for the rest of that 48 hours! So there I was, left the rest of my luggage at the airport, carried my essentials and took the train to the city.

Having no map or data access, I walked out of Taipei Main Station and wandered around for a place to stay. I have to say this train station is a ginormous shopping mall. You can find stalls and stalls selling anything from fruits to those plastic rain ponchos to luggage bags and all. I even saw a stall that is only selling stockings! I wonder how much socks/stockings are being bought on a daily basis…?

There was even a gallery exhibition happening in one part of the train station.

I walked out on one of those exits and by a stroke of luck ended up on the street where the hostels are. I checked myself in one of them and since it was only before noon, they were pretty strict about check in times. Fine by me. I took a shower and went exploring my neighborhood instead. I counted about 6 stores/cafes selling milk tea, more noodle soup places and a smattering of other restaurants and a ton of camera stores. On some occasion, when you are spotted as a tourist you will be handed samples of baked stuff, fried stuff as you pass along. When I headed back to my hostel slightly before 2PM, I was super stuffed.

When night time came I was told to go to the night markets. I decided to inspect Raohe Night Market. I expected to find something like what you see in Hong Kong – clothes, fake Rolex, the waving cat etc. Boy was I mistaken. It was a food market! Sure there are stalls that sell clothes and herbal medicines and jewelry but the main attraction is the food. Grilled squid? Check. Stinky tofu? Check. Pork buns? Check. Pork ribs soup? Check. Oh yeah, don’t forget the milk tea in between the sessions. That was dinner by the way. On my way out I checked out the temple before I headed back to the hostel.

Songshan Ciyou Temple right beside Raohe Night Market. It is real stunning when well lit at night.

The next day, I skipped the hostel breakfast and went for another round of beef brisket soup nearby. I ran into another traveler who was also spending a day transit and just like me, refused to buy a data sim and decided to just roam around directionless. We agreed to go to check out Taipei 101 together. That is after stopping by in one of the milk tea places.

There were buses and buses full of tourists when we arrived at Taipei 101 so we decided not to climb the tower. It was still impressive from the ground but the incessant loud chitchat of the tourists was driving me crazy. We ended up checking out the food courts below it. Heaven!

We proceeded to spend the rest of the day on what we call the ‘train tour’ (most of the tourist places can be reached by train) and checked out as much as the tourist sites we can do. Before we know it is time for my new friend to head back to the airport.

Next, I ran into a friend of a friend who is a local and invited me to an underground rave party. Sweet! For the next 6 hours or so I danced like my life depended on it. Talk about how to burn those calories! I then went back to my hostel in the wee hours of the morning, took a shower and took the train back to the airport. Of course I had to take one last beef noodle soup before I boarded the plane.

View from my train tride
My last beef brisket before I boarded my flight.

Taipei, I will be back again for sure.