This is the first in a new travel post series all about Taiwan. While in Taiwan, we stayed in Taipei, Kaohsiung, Hualien, Juafien, and back to Taipei again.
Our first stop in Taiwan was Taipei. Highlights included hiking Elephant mountain, the Taipei zoo, eating scallion pancakes from Tianjing Chong Zhua Pancake, eating soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, eating traditional Taiwanese breakfast at Yong He Soy Milk King and one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life thus far: the Maokong gondola line.
Hiking Elephant Mountain
Elephant mountain is a broadly appealing must-experience attraction in Taipei. Not only does it offer exceptional views of Taipei but it does so from multiple vantage points in a choose-your-own-adventure type of hiking experience. There are levels of staircases to work your way up to the top of the mountain. Each level offers some type of opportunity to rest and appreciate the view. While many people choose to stop climbing the mountain at around the halfway point, it is worth the effort to ascend all the way to the top.
The Boa’an temple is the first temple we experienced in Taipei. The ornateness and overall presence feel significant — bordering on overwhelming.
Yong He Soy Milk King
Soy Milk King, eh? The Taiwanese are serious about their breakfasts. We enjoyed warm soy milk with all the fixings: egg, pork floss, and fried dough.
This was all a hearty and heavy meal to prepare us for a long day at the Taipei Zoo and hiking around the Maokong Tea Village.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited zoos around the world — mostly around the United States, but of all of those I have visited, Taipei has one of the best. Not only is it expansive, but it’s also diverse in its animals — to my knowledge not many zoos have both Asian and African elephants. Orangutans are a species I have not been seen in person until Taipei — what beautiful, quirky, muppet-like creatures they are. Below are some of my favorite captures from the zoo.
Maokong tea village
The gondola ride from the Taipei Zoo to Maokong is incredible and one of the most breathtaking and amazing experiences I’ve had. The sun was just starting to set as we made our way back to Taipei from Maokong. The mixture of light and fog was absolutely perfect.
Taipei night walking tour
We found some well-reviewed free walking tours in Taipei by a company called TourMeAway. We joined the Longshan Temple Tour. Overall, it was well worth the ~3 hours. Below are some captures from our experience.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall & Square
Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall honors Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China. The entire venue houses the Memorial Hall, Memorial Square, National Theater, and National Concert Hall.
Tianjing Chong Zhua Pancake (scallion pancakes)
These scallion pancakes are absolutely delicious. While in Taipei we enjoyed variations on their scallion pancakes several times — with egg and cheese, with egg only, and plain. Each was delicious, cost-effective, and they filled us up. The cooking and crafting process is fascinating in its rhythmic and well-honed workflow.
Exploring Taipei at night
May 8th – May 11th, 2019
We ended our trip by going back to Taipei for three nights before flying back to Minneapolis.
To be continued… (as soon as I finish editing photos)