Dec 24, 2016

Taiwan Trip For December!

Six months ago, going on a trip to Taiwan this December was never on my plans. Six months ago, I already had a plan in mind for December but fate had something different in stored for me and I'm reminded again of how God works in His ways. God made sure that if my first plan doesn't work, I will have an alternative and it was Taiwan. Me and coworker friends have this annual trip during December and it was just usually around the Philippines but this time, we decided to do an out of the country for the first time.

Taiwan reminds me a lot of F4, the phenomenal boyband that rose to fame because of their hit drama, Meteor Garden. I can still remember how addicted I was to the drama series, I would do my best to go home early from school or find a nearby TV in school to watch the show. I collected a lot of Meteor Garden stuff, from magazines, to posters, to CDs and DVDs. My favorite F4 member was Vic Zhou.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, I'll share my experience before and during the trip. Once the tickets were booked last September, the next step was to acquire Taiwan visas. Fortunately for me, I still have my valid US visa which makes me visa-exempted. I only need to fill up a form online which will be printed and presented to the immigration. If you have an existing visa, please check in Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines website: http://www.roc-taiwan.org/ph/ if your visa qualifies for visa-exemption. For my other coworker friends who don't have any visa, they applied by following all instructions on the same website and we have a friend who processed the Taiwan visas in Manila on their behalf.

When the visas were ready, we planned our itinerary. We had five days to explore Taipei. Since there are spots that are far from the capital, we booked a van to take us to those spots for a day and a half. The rest of the days, it was all do-it-yourself traveling and exploring.

Our first two days in Taipei were chilly and cold but the rest of the days were surprisingly warm. We expected a very cold weather for December that we even have our many coats ready. Oh well, I was just glad that it didn't rain throughout our stay in Taipei.

There is definitely a language barrier. All we can say was "xiè xie". Some restaurants though can speak English. I really wished I learned some Mandarin before. My trip in Taiwan made me want to start learning Mandarin. And oh, thank God for Google translate, we were able to communicate a little with our driver!

So here are some of my photos during the trip:

Taipei Main Station

Longshan Temple

Bopiliao Old Street

Ximending Shopping District

Presidential Office Building

National Taiwan University

Taipei Confucius Temple

National Palace Museum

Yehliu Geopark

Keelung

Golden Waterfalls

Ying Yang Sea

Jiufen Old Street

Shifen Sky Lantern & Old Street

Thousand Island Lake

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Park

Taipei 101 Observatory

Taipei 101 with the gang.


Maokong Gondola (that's Taipei 101 on the upper right)

Beitou Thermal Valley

Elephant Mountain

The trip was truly a blast. I enjoyed it a lot especially because I was with my awesome coworker friends. Even though everything didn't go as planned and we kind of got lost one time and walked for over 2 km but it was still fun and worth it. I didn't expect that Taipei can be at par with Tokyo in terms of transportation convenience and tourist spots. By the way, I'd like to give a shout out to Sunny Hostel for the warm welcome and hospitable receptionists.

Sunny Hostel

Before I end this post, I'm also sharing my co-traveler's video of our trip (I'm going to create my own video but I still need to find a good music.) See below video:




I highly recommend Taipei for your next travel adventure. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them on the comments section below. Until my next adventure! ;)

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