Round-Island Taiwan Itinerary Part 1a on Travel Info and East Coast, Hualien, and Taroko Gorge
Part 1b on East Coast: Dulan and Taitung
Part II on South Taiwan: Kenting, Kaohsiung, Tainan
Part III on West Coast and Central Taiwan: Alishan, Sun Moon Lake & Taichung
Taiwanese fruit: looks like soursop, tastes like pear and grainy texture
Mr NGFL and my itinerary is very different from Chiobu and Yandao’s itinerary: we focus more on cultural aspect while they, shopping.
Note: Roosevelt Road is 罗斯福 (luo-si-fu).
Suggested Itinerary Day 14: Zhong Zheng District 中正区 & Wan Hua District 万华区, Taipei
From Taichung, take a HSR back to Taipei. After putting your luggage at the hotel, take MRT and stop at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station. Lunch first at Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan (金峰滷肉飯, 10 Roosevelt Road, Section 1, +886 2 2396 080) for a delicious bowl of braised pork. Then go to the CKS Memorial Hall. Japanese rule Taiwan from 1897 and it was Chiang’s Kuomintang (KMT) who defeated the Japanese in 1945. After the Memorial Hall, walk 300m north to 2-28 Peace Park and Memorial Museum, which offers a history of the 28 Feb 1947 massacre. Then for a good sense of how the modern and tradition exist side-by-side, walk east 500m to Ximending 西门订, Taiwan’s version of Harajuku, where you can shop for the edgiest Taiwanese fashion. At Ximending, watch for the Red Pavillion Theatre 红楼, one of the oldest building in Taipei. Originally used for Chinese opera, it is now a visual arts center and houses many gay and lesbian bars. On weekends, it hosts a market for local designers.
Shopping around Zhong Zheng and Wan Hua:
-Wannien Shopping Complex, 70 Xining S Rd (Wanhua district)
-Shinjuku Plaza, 72-1 Xining S Rd (Wanhua district)
Eating around Zhong Zheng and Wan Hua:
–Snow King (65 Wuchang St, section 1): Established in 1947, it has 73 flavors of ice cream, including dang gui ice cream, chilli ice cream and sesame chicken ice cream.
–Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan (金峰滷肉飯, braised pork rice, 10 Roosevelt Road, Section 1, +886 2 2396 080)
–Yong Kang Beef Noodle (17 Jinshan south rd ln 31, sect 2, +886-2-2351-1051)
–Niu Dian (91 Kunming St): beef noodles.
–Simon Tian Bu La (賽門甜不辣, 95 Xining South Road +886 2 2331 2481) is similar to Singapore’s niang tofu stalls.
–Tainan Tan-tsu-mien Restaurant (31 Huaxi St, Old Town Centre) started out as roadside peddler to this swanky seafood restaurant
–Koroke (肉丸餅, 49-10 Emei St.) is famed for its croquette.
–Ah Chung (阿宗, 8-1 Emei St., +886 2 2620 9989) sells oyster vermicelli (蚵仔米線).
Suggested Itinerary Day 15: Zhong Shan District 中山区 and Datong District 大同区
Nothing much to see in these district except may be for Confucius Temple (275 Dalong St) and Dihua Market (MRT: Zhong Shan). Confucius is arguably China’s greatest school. The 1879 temple was damaged in a rebellion against the Japanese and rebuilt in 1928. No inscriptions are found on columns and doors because who dare to think their writing is better than Confucius’? Dihua market is the best place for Chinese medicines and herbs and is festive and fun during Chinese New Year. Two museums, Fine Arts Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, are around the area but not compulsory viewing. At night, travel to the nearby Shilin night market, said to be the King of Taipei’s night market.
Shopping around Zhong Shan and Datong:
–MBmore sells art pieces (close on Mon)
–Booday, one of Taipei’s most famous lifestyle brands
–Si’enna: Artisan, handcrafted leather bags and shoes. Very exquisite.
–0416×1024, quirky tee-shirts and fashion
–Galoop: clothing and lifestyle brand
Eating around Zhong Shan and Da Tong:
–Jiaxing Fish Ball (佳興魚丸), No. 21, Lane 210, Section 2, Yanping North Road, +886 2 2553 6470
–Lao Abo (same as above, across from each other)
–Da Qiao Tou Bamboo Rice (大橋頭老牌筒仔米糕), 41 Yanping North Road, Section 3, +886 2 2594 4685.
–Hou Yi Goose (後驛鵝肉), No. 29, Lane 220, Changan West Road; +886 2 2555 0498
–Yen’s Noodle Shop (106 Anxi St)
–Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodles (林東芳), 274 Bade Road, Section 2, +886 2 2752 2556.
–Fuda Shandong Zhengjiao Dawang 福大山东蒸饺大王 No.11,140 Alley,Yi Section, Zhongshan North Road：Dumplings
–My Zao, No. 9-1, ln 100, Songjiang Rd +886-2-2522-2697, serves Taiwanese homecooked food such as braised pork with rice, preserved radish braised with pork, bamboo shoots braised with shrimps.
–Shin Yeh, 34-1 Shuangcheng St, +886-2-2596-3255, upscale restaurant serving Taiwanese food
Suggested Itinerary Day 16: Da’an District 大安, Xinyi District 信义 and East Taipei
Today is Shopping and Hipster day! Visit Taipei101 (MRT station: Taipei City Hall) and the nearby shopping malls. (We heard Taipei101 basement food court serves decent food or you can eat at Jay Chou’s restaurant as Chiobu did.) And then continue to shop at Wu Fen Pu, as recommended by Chiobu. For hipsters, head down to Da’an where live performances of indie music thrive at The Wall, Underground 地下社会, and White Wabbit 小白兔, an indie record shop and music label, with many hipster cafes and artisan crafts like leather bags. There is a large vintage item market (Treasure Hunt Flea Market 尋寶跳蚤屋, 38, Roosevelt Rd Sec 2, Taipei City, 11am-10.30pm) a farmer’s market (248 Farmers’ Market, Ln 248, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, open Fridays 2-8pm and Saturdays 10am-5pm), selling produce without pesticides using sustainable farming techniques. Organic food and second-hand jewelry: how hipster is that? After all that shopping and hipstering, you can go for dinner at either Shida night market at Hsu Ji (許記) or Lantern Lu Wei (燈籠滷味)or Rao He night market, the oldest night market in Taipei, for the stinky tofu 臭豆腐 and pepper cakes 胡椒饼. If you do go to Rao He Night, don’t forget to grab 10 boxes of the very famous pineapple tarts at Sunny Hills (微熱山丘, 1/F, No. 1, Alley 4, Lane 36, Section 5, Minsheng East Rd +886 49 229 2767) or from its rival, equally good tarts, at Chia Te Bakery (No. 88, Section 5, Nanjing East Rd).
Shopping around Da’an:
–Mooi Trove: Vintage furniture
–Chang Yi Fang: traditional wooden puppets, bags and accessories.
–Eslite: 24-hour bookshop. MRT Nan-kang line, Zhong-xiao Tun-hua station.
–GinGin’s (1/F No. 8, Alley 8, Lane 210, Roosevelt Rd, Section 3, MRT: Taipower Subway Station): Touted to be the first gay and lesbian bookshop in Taiwan but honestly aren’t all bookshops gay?
Eating around Da’an:
–Tonghua Meatball (通化肉圓), No. 7, Alley 39, Tonghua Street, +886 2 2707 8562
–Yong Kang beef noodle, 17 Jinshan south rd ln 31, sect 2, +886-2-2351-1051
–Yongkang 15 Shaved Ice (formerly Ice Monster), No.297, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road
–Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, 192 Xinyi Road, Section 2, +886 2 2321 8929: famous soup dumpings
–Tai He Gong 太和宫: Spicy hotpot
–Lan Jia Gua Bao (藍家割包), No. 3, Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3, Roosevelt Road; +886 2 2368 2060: what we in Singapore call kong bah bao.
–Xiao Li (小李), No. 1-3, Lane 136, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, ; +886 2 2368 3417 At Gong Guan night market: pig’s blood rice pudding.
–Rong Shu Xia 榕树下, no. 2 ln 382 Jiaxing St: Taiwanese cze-char food.
–Chen San Ding Bubble Tea 陈三鼎, no. 8, ln 316, Roosevelt Road Sect 3.
–Wisteria Tea House: an important place for Taipei’s intellectuals and political dissidents during marital law era.
–Kafka By the Shore: Hipster cafe
–Chiachia Hakka Restaurant 家家客家菜, 10, Ln 2, Yongkang St
–Ah Cai’s Shop 阿才的店, 17, Ln 41, Renai Rd Sec 2, +886 2 2356 9109: Taiwanese cze-char.
Eating around Xinyi:
–Hogan Bakery, B2 Eslite Xinyi, 11 Songao Rd
–Good Cho’s Bakery 好丘, 54 Songqin St
–San Yuan Dumplings 三源小笼包, Bellavita mall, B2, 28 Songren Rd: hilarious interpretation of soup dumpings including chocolate dumplings.
Suggested Itinerary Day 17: Day Trip to Shilin 士林, Beitou 北投 and Danshui 淡水 OR Jiufen 九份 and Keelung 基隆
There are two options for day trip:
a. From Taipei, either take Keelung Bus Company (NT$95) or train to Jiufen, made famous by Hou Hsiao-hsien’s City of Sadness (1989), and walk on the old streets and teahouses and visit Fushan Temple. On the way back to Taipei, stop by Keelung for the famous Keelung night market which is also at the miaokou (temple entrance) of Dianji Temple.
b. We didn’t pick option (a) because we wanted to see the National Palace Museum, which is a must-visit, and Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines. They are side by side. Take MRT to Shilin, exit Zhongzheng Rd (north exit) and catch bus #304, #255, red #30, minibus #18 or #19, or culture bus #101. After the tour of museums, return to the MRT and take it further north to Beitou station to soak in one of the hot-springs. After soaking, go even further north to Danshui because of that song. In Danshui, visit Fort San Domingo, built when the Spaniards occupied north Taiwan from 1626-1641 but it was destroyed when the Dutch attacked in 1641. The Chinese gained control of the fort until 1868 when the British came. After the fort, walk along Gongming St, where the night market is.