February 9th–12th, 2018

Aug 19, 2018 · 7 min read
Photo by Marina Perez on Unsplash

This note is part of my travel series, Giant Leaps: a collection of my experiences from across the globe. You can view all of my trips on here.

Find me on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

I flew from Hong Kong to Taipei just days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck central Taiwan, leaving 9 dead and dozens of headlines on the news. Western media blasted out a version of the following: WARNING —avoid the region and beware of aftershocks.


Taiwan is in a “seismically active zone,” on the Pacific Ring of Fire. “According to the Central Weather Bureau’s earthquake monitoring service between 1900~1990, the average number of earthquakes in Taiwan is approximately 2,200 per year, of which, approximately 214 can be felt.”

While admittedly a bit nervous, my friends and I elected to venture into the region, ignoring the news, and arrived in Taipei City on February 9th.

The flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan was quick, roughly an hour and a half. We arrived late at night, and had to sneak into our Airbnb (supposedly the service is illegal throughout the city ). We stayed near the city-center.

Unfortunately, we were greeted by gloomy weather that persisted throughout the weekend. I have been told that hiking in Taipei is some of the best in the world — Teapot Mountain looks amazing — I’ll definitely be back for that.


Nonetheless, we woke up excited to explore the city and wander around.

I was surprised by just how densely populated the city was.

As you walk the city streets, you will find numerous small alley-ways and little nooks full of people. We met lots of friendly locals!

Politically, Taiwan is quite a confusing place.

Another historical anecdote is that Taiwan was under Japanese rule throughout the early 1900s. This, mixed with Chinese influence as well as the budding ex-pat” community in Taiwan, which makes for a very interesting blend of cultures.

You will find this “blend of cultures” well defined across numerous components of the city. There are really unique museums, impressive architecture, and amazing amazing foods.

We visited the National Palace Museum on our first day in the city:

Overall, touring the palace was “eh.” From a historical perspective, there was lots to learn of course and the architecture was very interesting…but I would probably never go back.

Taipei 101

“The building was officially classified as the world’s tallest in 2004, and remained such until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.”

It still stands as one of the world’s tallest buildings, and you pay something like $20 to go up to the top. It was a bit anti-climactic once we got to the top, though, as fog covered the city.

Photo by Remi Yuan on Unsplash
The elevator is really fast!

There are tons of things to do in and around Taipei 101. I really enjoyed the night-life — nothing too outrageous — but there were several fun bars/clubs with great views of the city. We were out really late a few of our nights there.

Probably the most memorable component of my trip to Taipei was the food. We ate and drank lots.

Taiwan is well-known for its “bubble tea” (also known as boba or milk tea). While I am not personally the biggest fan, we stopped often to try out the different flavors.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

This drink has recently become extremely popular in the states.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung, now with locations outside of Asia (in NYC and LA), was started in Taipei. We ate there twice during our trip and did not regret it for a second. They have really tasty “soup dumplings” — that are impressively challenging to make.

We also visited a few night markets that had tasty snacks (and some disturbing ones).

If all of that was not enough eating for one trip, I have to share perhaps my favorite experience from all of abroad (at least top five):

My two friends and I took a private cooking class:

The food was amazing. I will tell you that Ivy is even more amazing.

And that was our trip to Taipei. The summary: lots of eating and lots of aimlessly exploring. Cannot really complain about the trip — definitely happy I went and will be back to Taiwan soon!

Thanks for reading!

This note is part of my travel series, Giant Leaps: a collection of my experiences from across the globe.

You can find me on Twitter.


Giant Leaps

i travel to feel small — more: @jrdngonen

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