My Trip in Taiwan

Day 1: Late Arrival and Exploring the city

Upon arriving at Taoyuan Airport, my family and I were excited for our trip despite the delayed arrival (we were awake at 1am for an early morning flight but was delayed to 8am). As the holidays were close, many tourists were eager to enjoy the cold weather. Despite my personal dislike for the cold and getting sick on my first trip in Taiwan , I was prepared with thicker jackets and scarves. We checked in at 3pm and found our hotel in Midtown, a 10-minute walk from the vibrant night market. We enjoyed lunch at a hot pot restaurant connected to the hotel entrance. Check-in was simple and the room was comfortable with two queen beds, a bathtub, and a bidet toilet. We then walked to the bustling night market, where we were greeted by the smells of spices and bright lights. I exchanged my bills for coins for the gacha machines I came across. I was tempted to convert most of my money but alas I didn’t want to lug around heavy coins. We went back to the hotel around 9pm since we had a planned day tomorrow, thus marking the end of the first day.

Day 2: Revisiting Chiang Kai-Shek and Taipei 101

To start our second day, we ate breakfast in the included hotel buffet, which was alright; most of the food selection was Taiwanese, leaning towards healthy and well-balanced foods. By 10 am, we headed off to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, taking the MRT which was now less confusing as we got accustomed to the route. Like the last time I visited, it was cold and raining, but at least it was less foggy so I could take pictures. Since it was also Lunar New Year when we first visited, we couldn’t see the guard change ceremony, but this time, we could. After climbing the picturesque yet exhausting staircase, we saw the ceremony. There was quite a big crowd, so I couldn’t squeeze into the front, but I still witnessed the event. Wasn’t the most entertaining thing to witness but was cool nonetheless.

After the ceremony, we returned to the station to travel to Taipei 101, another place we had already visited. Still, we didn’t get to see the iconic 89th-floor observatory. When we arrived, I noticed how lively it was compared to when I first saw it; it was nearing Christmas, and the decorations were as grand as they were, reflecting the upcoming holiday. There was already a long line to get onto the sky deck. Still, luckily, we got a tourist bundle online that included tickets we had to scan ourselves. We were initially confused, but luckily, the staff helped us with the process. As we waited for the elevator, we got a free 2024 calendar and a quick photo shoot for printed photos we could get at the gift shop ( which we didn’t get since it was more than 500 NTD). The ascent upwards felt like I was on a rocket, my ears popping from the pressure and speed of getting to the top floor in less than a minute. For an honest rating, there was not much to do on the top deck besides taking pictures and observing Taipei from above; I could barely see the buildings outside since it was cloudy. The coolest part to see was the giant yellow pendulum which was responsible for making the building stable.

Day 3: Walking through Ximen

We decided for this day not to go to Taipei Zoo like initially planned, since we (mainly I) weren’t interested in venturing past Ximen. This meant that we had the whole day just to explore Ximen. The only places we planned to go were the Sanrio 7-11 that I saw on TikTok, Animate which was an anime store and a department store for gift shopping. Google Maps was useful for our day as we could have easily gotten lost without it. The route we took started at the department store, then with 7-11 (of which we later learned there were multiple Sanrio themed 7-11), and lastly with Animate. If you’re a big fan of anime I highly recommend checking Animate to stock up on merch of your favorite series, trust me when I say they have merchandise of so many kinds, from the cheapest to the expensive collectors.

After this shopping day, we got to enjoy the night market foods trying all sorts of foods, from chopped steak to cheese balls. We even got to try the fresh fruits that were in cups. I always saw it online and we got multiple fruits all for an affordable price. The vendor gave us samples of all the fruits before we came to a decision. This was by far my favorite day since the walking exposed me to the amazing city, the streets were easy to walk and the urban scenery felt like I was in a movie.

Day 4: Exploring Taipei City Mall and Departure

This marks the last day of the trip, we had one last breakfast buffet and this marked our last day to explore Midtown and buy what we wanted, which really meant more skincare and gacha prizes. After we ate lunch we were set to checkout and stay in the hotel lobby for the remainder of the time until our boarding in the late night. My brother and I explored the city one last time, passing by and finally trying the highly rated XING FU TANG boba. The line wasn’t too long and we just got their best seller brown sugar milk tea. We got a free sticker and won 20 NTD from a poke game they had, each try for each order. The boba was very fresh and didn’t taste super artificial. Personally would recommend getting it before peak hours, which is before 5 pm.

The last place we visited before we would head off to the airport was Taipei City Mall, which we briefly saw while we were on the way to our hotel. Each corner and wall was filled with shops and gacha machines that were just asking for my money, since this was the last time I’d get to use my coins I made use of the opportunity. Important tip before buying all the cute stuff you see is to determine whether the price was worth it, since some items I noticed were a lot more pricey than what I’d see online. There was an arcade section my brother and I played at which had all the Japanese rhythm cabinets we hoped for. By 4 pm, we were on the way to board the train to the airport.

Our departure was originally scheduled for the early morning but once again our flight was delayed. Despite the exhausting wait for the flight and not showering for 24 hours I enjoyed the trip. In contrast to my first trip to Taiwan, which consisted of an efficient run through various tourist attractions and getting sick from the cold, I had a more leisure trip. Hopefully you can take my experience and apply it to when you want to visit Taiwan.

Cass Cruz is an Undergraduate Student in English of DLSU and part time writer.