How does one celebrate their 28th birthday? The average person would go out with their friends have some drinks, get drunk. Rinse and repeat for each birthday. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with going down that route. I decided to treat myself with a vacation. When I found out from my boss that there was going to be a 3 day weekend in May, I knew I what my April birthday present to myself would be. So I went on Skyscanner to see what I could afford to travel to and Taipei was the cheapest option for me at the time.
For me, 3 days was not enough to explore and see what Taipei had to offer. And more depressing….not enough time to eat. From the friendly people to its famous architectures and lush forests, there is a lot of reasons to explore Taipei. Not to mention the ease of getting around to where you want to visit. The country of Taiwan grew on me quickly and became one of my favorite countries to travel too. I might consider teaching there in the future too. If y’all considering about where to travel this summer, here are some reasons why Taipei should be on you travel radar. All I know is, on my next vacation, I’m definitely going to go back to Taipei.
1. The FOOD Will Leave You Craving For More
What pushed me even further to go to Taipei was the food. I watched hours upon hours of travel videos on Taipei after purchasing my ticket. Every person universally agreed on how Taiwan has some of the best food in the world. And I am on the bandwagon. Taiwan took the #1 spot from Malaysia for me and I as I write this post, I’m drooling over the memory of the Fu Haung Soy Milk breakfast. Having a crispy fried doughnut between fluffy eggs mixed with green onions sitting comfortably on a warm toasty bun. All freshly made every day. Just a heads up you want to get there early or be prepared to wait in line for a hot minute. I waited about 30 minutes in line and it stretched about 2km. By far one of my favorite things to eat was the Pepper Pork Buns. I would eat this warm toasted buns at least once a day. They were that good my guy! To this day, I dream about the roasted pepper pork buns. Holding two round, toasted, brown buns and eating them like crazy………Yes I know what I wrote and no I’m not changing
2. Storage lockers Downtown was Very Helpful
If there’s one thing that I believe more countries with a metro system should install more storage lockers. They came in handy when I was pondering what to do with my luggage when riding the city bus from the airport to downtown. If you’re like me and had to wait a couple of hours to check into your hotel or your AirBnb, head to a metro station and there you can find a locker that will hold luggage’s of all sizes. Just a heads up, some stations will not have lockers for large suitcases. There are few of them and could be taken with the quickness. I paid 50NTD(roughly $1.58) for 3 hours and went to gets some food at Fu Haung. Don’t be like me and forget where the location of your locker spend almost an hour trying to look for it. If you missed your time, don’t worry your gear will still be locked away. You will have to pay a late fee.
3. Clean and Fast Transportation
Taipei has one of the cleanest metro systems I have rode in. It is fast and the maps are easy to understand. Every tourist attraction I wanted to check out, I just walked to the station, scanned my Easycard and went on my way. As mentioned before, the metro stations were always clean and someone was always working to make sure the station stays that way. Now they do have a no food or drink policy and the metro station will fine you. Even on hot day don’t attempt to drink a bottle of water. Or they will find you and you will pay a hefty fee.
4. Night Markets are a Foodies Paradise!!
Taipei by far, has one of the best night markets to expand your waistline. If you have room to eat after a day of exploring and eat, then be prepared to indulge yourself in some of the best street food in the world! I went to the famous Shilin Night Market on my first night there after resting a few hours at my hotel. It was massive and being it was a Saturday night, locals and tourist were abound. I spent the whole time looking for Hot Star Large Fried Chicken which is famous for its large fried chicken. But I ran out of time and had to catch the metro before it shut down for the night. The next day, I went to Tonghua Night Market. My first stop to eat was this little old Fried Noodle stand.
Bo let me tell you that was one of the best fried noodles I have ever eaten! It seems as the owner has been cooking the same menu for years and all the practice showed in them noodles! While I was enjoying these delicious noodles, a group of tourists asked me where I bought them and I showed the group where the shop was. When I get back to Taiwan, the first evening meal I want are those damn Fried Noodles!
5. Go shopping in the narrow streets of Juifen
One stop you must take time out of your schedule to do is to visit the village of Juifen. This former gold mine of a town is home of many temples to worship the gods and goddess there. Now if you love to shop, this is the place to be. There are many shops to take you money and look around. With its very narrow streets, its hard not to run into an interesting shop. Or find something tasty to eat. Not to mention the various food stalls and restaurants available. But for any fan of anime, I recommend you check out some of the famous tea houses. There have been claims that the A Mei Tea-house helped inspire the classic animated film Spirited Away. While this may only be a claim, it hasn’t stopped the locals from hustling and profiting off it. You couldn’t run into a shop without seeing some merchandise from the movie. I wanted to check it out but was going to run out of time. On my way to the tea house, here was a parade stretching the entire route of Old Street. It was hard for a 2 meter black man like yours truly to get through the parade of dancers, trucks playing music and the volunteers in the costumes.
As you seen in these photos, it was definitely hard to get around. But it was lit to observe the festivities. So that was some of the reasons why you check out Tapei from the perspective of a black person. I had no problems with the locals. All I got were the usual stares about my height. It was safe fun place to have fun and gorge yourself on food. This post is for any black person considering traveling there and had some concerns. You don’t have to worry about anything. Go there eat some amazing food and as always, use common sense and you’ll be fine.