The final leg of our ten day trip, after Bali, was a one day stopover in Taiwan, before flying home to London on a Sunday.
And so, Taipei began with a five minute check in at The Landis, a quick change of clothes, and then rushing straight out the door (having met my friend, who lives there, in the lobby) into the night. We had arrived at the airport at around 10pm and were at the Shilin Night Market by 11.30pm.
Here, we feasted on everything. Fried chicken pieces the size of my face, entire deep fried duck heads (pictured below), bubble tea (oh, so much bubble tea) made with brown sugar for a richer, slightly burnt and sweet flavour, grilled prawns that we fished ourselves into a bucket, and more.
We toppled into bed by 2am, hoping to sleep it all off in time for tomorrow.
Early afternoon was spent exploring the stunning architectural creations at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (for those who might not know, Chiang Kai-shek was the former President of the Republic of China). The main hall is the grand looking building with steps leading up towards it. It is framed on either side by the National Theater and National Concert Hall (both also pictured below).
Lunch was had on the go, at one of a hundred street stalls serving delectable delights, the smells wafting over to our nostrils from every which way. Sensory overload took hold and we queued this way and that, first for (more) bubble tea and then for pillow-y buns of heaven stuffed with freshly cooked and marinated pork.
The rest of the day we walked around the city, stopping occasionally for a coffee or a snack. So much of it reminded me of home (Shanghai), but on a much quieter, calmer, smaller scale. I'll admit, I much prefer Shanghai, still, bias or no bias - it's thriving, exciting, fascinating, happening. Taipei seems like a city more for, perhaps, an easygoing kind of lifestyle. There is a lot more greenery than other large cities, which is actually wonderful. It brings with it a sense of peace and cleanliness.
When evening rolled around and it was deemed acceptable to have a drink, we stopped off by the hotel to change and hopped in a taxi to the W hotel. Turns out we'd accidentally walked into a Gay Pride party and were surrounded almost entirely by (extremely good looking) men in large groups. Ahem, which I didn't mind. :)
The evening ended with a few hours at Sappho, an intimate underground jazz bar where the cool kids of Taipei are to be found. We watched the live performance of an awesome group, O.S.T, had a couple of G&Ts and headed back to the hotel at around 1am to catch some shut-eye before our early morning flight.
A huge thank you to Sammy for showing us around her city. We miss you here in London!