Monday, 7 May 2012

Taiwan Trip: Impressions

Well, we made it back from Taiwan! We had a thoroughly enjoyable Golden Week break, but I think we've both come back feeling more tired than when we left! Taiwan is way more beautiful than I was expecting, even Taipei is surrounded by gorgeous green mountains. The Portuguese knew what they were at when they called it Ilha Formosa (beautiful island).

Taipei, where we spent most of our time, has everything I love in a city...gorgeous setting, delicious, cheap and readily available food, a healthy dose of Asian madness, a combination of beautiful old things and fancy new ones, lots of parks and greenery...yet somehow I didn't love it. I liked it, and can well appreciate all the fantastic things about it, but neither John nor I liked Taipei as much as we felt like we should. We decided it's because it's not as polite, ordered and clean as Tokyo, but nor does it have the chaotic charm of South East Asian cities like Bangkok or Hanoi. We both likened it to Kuala Lumpur, another city that didn't grab us. But then it's equally similar to Singapore, a city we both absolutely fell in love with. It's funny, isn't it, the gut reactions you have to different places? 

But despite that, we had a fantastic week there. As well as Taipei, we spent a few days spoiling ourselves at a luxury hotel in the gorgeous Taroko Gorge. Taroko Gorge is one of the must-sees of Taiwan, and I'd go back to Taiwan in a flash just to visit there again. Lots of hiking with amazing views, nicely balanced with our swanky hotel with it's stomach-ache inducing buffet meals and rooftop jacuzzis. 

That's enough talking for the time being, I'll blog in more detail about what we did and where we went in later posts. I have almost 1000 photos, so there'll be a lot of posts! For now, here's a random sampling :D

Making new friends

"It's so green". "I love how green it is here". "I've missed green". Repeat, and there you have 90% of our weeks conversation.

National Palace Museum. Lots and lots of awesome Chinese things. Very interesting, but no photos allowed, and Museum Fatigue definitely set in!

We love the Taipei 101.

There will be a LOT of photos of this building. It's ridiculous.

I love dumplings. Buying a steamer is now very high on my to-do list.

John played a lot with the fancy settings on my camera this holiday. It made some photos ridiculous, but I love this one.

We didn't visit many temples, sorry Rurousha, but I love the dragons and phoenix(s?es?) on the roof of the Taoist temples. Apparently they symbolise the harmony of yin and yang but they don't look very harmonious to me.

Yes, that is a curry in a toilet.

View from our hotel in Taroko Gorge.

I love buffets.

So many pretty insects :)

Don't have a heart attack, Terry, that is John up there but I promise I got him back safely :D

Nothing says Taiwan like a paper mache rabbit on a bicycle.

Hiking the Caoling Historic Trail

No prizes for guessing where this was taken from!


  1. I wouldn't have spent much time at temples, either, if I were surrounded by so much ... well ... green! ^^ It's tropical? Semi-tropical? Just hot?

    PS: Phoenixii? Phoenex? "There was a phoenix and then there was another one and then there were lots."

  2. I know, the city was so busy and there was so much gorgeous hiking to do that we just kept fleeing to the hills! It's tropical and really hot. I love tropical heat, as long as I can flee to somewhere to cool down frequently!

    Apparently it's either phoenix or phoenixes. But since in most Western mythology there is only supposed to have ever been one, I suppose there wasn't much call for pluralising it!