They say be careful of what you wish for because you just might get it, barely five hours since we have landed in Taiwan I was living the trip as I have imagined it to be.
I woke up on a local’s couch who’s kindness I could not thank them enough for and I just got to know them at a bus stop! It was about 10 am when I got up, Chiang and Ching were still sleeping since we slept just a few hours ago. But for me it was time lost I panicked a bit thinking that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I want to as I might run short of time. I took a shower left and my new found friends a message.
Chiang sketched a map to the near by metro station and just like how I imagined it I was walking through alleys and side streets discovering how locals live their daily lives.
I enjoyed walking so much I didn’t realize that I passed by the MRT station about before than five minutes away, thank God I asked around or else I would have just walked further.
Navigating The MRT
After a few minutes walking back I finally found the station. Part of the metro is a subway system where the line runs underneath and the station entrances are just on one side of the road, unlike here in Manila where even if the station is beneath the ground you’d still find the entry points on both sides of the road.
This is the first time that I am using Taipei’s MRT and it wasn’t that hard figuring out how to get in and out of the station. You can choose to buy an RF card that you can use almost every where from buying stuff from stores to buying tickets for the bus or just buy tokens from vending machines located at the stations.
It was easy to buy a token since there are price matrices at all stations just look up where you wanna go, tap on the price and the number of tickets you buy put in some money get your token as it drops off at the bin and you are ready to go!
Taipei’s MRT system is made up of several lines however, if you need to change lines you don’t have to get off the station and transfer to another you just change platforms! I know that is quite normal for some countries but coming from a developing country it means luxury for me. My own city’s MRT forces me to get out of one station ride a bus or walk a bridge and get in another station meaning you have to buy another ticket. Taiwan’s MRT system is so efficient you wouldn’t mind taking the train all the time.
Going Around Taipei
On this trip there are two things that I really wanted to do that would make me say “I really did experience Taiwan”, First would be touring around Beitou and eating out at Shihlin Night Market. I originally planned to go to Danshui on my first day but it seemed not to be feasible after I got carried away dipping at the hot springs, so I just dropped it off my list
Bought a ticket to XinBeitou for just about $45 from where I was. Beitou is known for its hot springs culture which dates back up to the Japanese occupation of the land which used to be known as Formosa.
As soon as I alight the train station I walked my way looking for the hot springs area after a few minutes of walking I realized that I was a bit lost! I asked around for the road where the baths are they seem to understand what I was trying to ask them but I was the one who didn’t. I asked an old couple unfortunately they didn’t speak English though they really did a good job making hand gestures to convey what they want to say I opted to verify the information (if I understood it correctly) with someone else. Luckily the kind lady spoke English and I they the couple earlier was right.
I ate lunch first at a food shop across the police station where the tables are out in the arcade of the building. It was a noodle dish quite spicy and saucy topped with fried egg. I also ordered Nai Cha
Some of the must see spots in Beitou are
1. Lung Nai Tang Hot Springs (Oldest public bath in Beitou)
7. Plum Garden
8. Ramen Food Stop
Beitou is a good place to start with in Taipei the environment is quite relax and not jam packed with so much people you can just enjoy and walk around the lovely paved side walks of the area or dip you foot for hours at the hot spring stream at the side of the road.
After seeing the Thermal Valley my last stop in Beitou, I spent the rest of the after noon drinking Nai Cha at a local coffee shop watching people pass by.
I spent about one to two hours at the coffee shop relaxing and looking at the scenery and relaxed a bit as my feet were tired already from all of the walking. As the sun started to set I decided to go back to Taipei to meet with my host.
TRIP TIME CHECK: 1739HRS
To be continued.
This post is part of my Taiwan Series
- Taiwan: My 48 Hours In Taipei (Part 1)
- Taiwan: My 48 Hours In Taipei (Part 2)
- Taiwan: My 48 Hours In Taipei (Part 3)