One of my goals this year is to go on a solo trip somewhere I’ve never been to before. I’m so happy I was able to make it happen a couple of weeks ago. My destination of choice? Taipei! I’m sharing here what I did and the cool places I visited. I’m also letting you take a peek inside my Taipei travel journal which I put together when I got back.
Kayo had been in Taipei earlier this year and highly recommended it because apart from it being charming and interesting, it is also a safe and friendly city to explore alone. Not to mention, very green and unbelievably green! I stayed four full days and three nights bunking at a nice hostel right at the Zhongzheng district called Space Inn. It is less than a fifteen minute walk to Taipei main station and only six minutes away from Ximen station so it really is quite accessible. I did take the train several times on my way to farther districts but Taipei is such a friendly city to pedestrians so I really ended up traveling on foot most of the time, even when it was raining!
While I love exploring cities, I also find the need to go outdoors and see the natural elements unique to other regions, so I made sure to book a day trip out of central Taipei via Klook. I went for the bus tour that takes you to Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Old Town plus a few other quick stops at other picturesque spots in between. This tour takes you along the coastline and up lush mountains to see the old villages and wild rivers.
It was pretty amazing and also very convenient especially because I was on my own. You simply hop on and off the bus and make sure to show up at the designated times and meeting spots. For less than a thousand pesos, I was able to see seven beautiful sites Taipei boasts of all in one day. You may check out this PAGE to find out more about the tour.
Of course, I dedicated some time to visit museums and galleries too. Taipei Fine Arts Museum was my favorite! During the time I was there, they were showing about eight different exhibits, which were all remarkable in their own ways. I was specifically drawn to Huang Hua-Chen‘s solo exhibit entitled “In Wilderness: Beam Through Dust” which spoke about aimless wanderings, progress and finding oneself in calming tones and deliberate strokes. It was both breathtaking and endearing. I spent the most time sitting in this hall, immersing myself in her work.
I also discovered, with the help of my fellow crafty friends’ recommendations, that Taipei has many art parks that house beautiful handmade markets and stationery shops. The ones I visited were Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, situated in a warehouse compound that used to be tobacco factory, and Huashan 1914 Creative Park, which used to be a winery during the Japanese rule. These places, apart from them being wonderful parks to visit and take a stroll in, are also full — and I really mean FULL — of adorable paper products and handcrafted bits and bobs. It was quite overwhelming!
Many of these things were pricey and while I would have loved to buy everything I saw, I had to restrain myself and simply admire them. I really didn’t mind because it was inspiring and encouraging to see so many independent crafters and designers push themselves to come up with high quality, world class merchandise that honor and promote their own culture.
And I think it wouldn’t have been a complete Taipei trip if I hadn’t gone to one of their night markets! So I did. I went to Shilin Night Market which turns out to be the best place to shop souvenirs because they have the lowest prices. That’s where I bought Taiwanese snacks to bring home as pasalubong. It’s also where I went on a food trip trying out all these different street fares such as grilled oysters with cheese, Taiwanese style chicken poppers, red bean pancakes and of course, stinky tofu!
To be honest, I’ve had better street food or Chinese food, for that matter, but I think the fact that Taiwan offers SO MANY food options, accessible out in the streets at a festive market setting, really allows you to have a great cultural experience. I know I had a great time and I was just by myself!
If you notice, my Explorers Journal_03 contains all these stamp prints which I collected during my trip. Every train station, museum, tourist spot and even some craft stores have their own set of stamps for visitors to use so I made sure to carry my journal everywhere with me. This absolutely made exploring Taipei extra fun.
By now I’m sure you you can tell that I did have an amazing solo trip! I enjoyed having all the time to myself wandering, getting lost, finding my own way back and discovering new things. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of three, having all this time alone is definitely a big treat (if you can imagine) so I’m very very happy I did it and thankful I had Kayo’s full support. There are a few more wonderful places I’d love to share about, too (like that fancy milk tea bar!), but I’ll save them for another post. Taipei, surprisingly, has many wonderful unique experiences to offer. I highly recommend you consider it as your next city destination!
In case you’re interested, the travel notebook I used is called EXPLORERS JOURNAL_03 by Everyday Explorers Co. You can find it along many other beautiful journaling tools and accessories like stamp sets, stickers and washi tapes in www.everydayexplorersco.ph for Philippine residents and www.everydayexplorers.co for US residents.