(All photos were taken using Huawei Mate 20 Pro without edits) (Nobody remembered to bring an actual camera along LOL) (Kindly pardon any blurry photos)
March was super hectic with chasing deadlines at work, forcing me to work around 40++ extra hours. This month, the days leading to my departure to Taiwan got me working an extra 20++ hours that I barely had time to study the itinerary and pack my bags. Fortunately, my work was successfully completed on time and I could get a short break from all the stress and worries, at least for a little while.
Just like my trip to Bali 2 years ago, this trip to Taiwan, specifically Taipei, was pretty sudden and last-minute. The flight ticket was booked in early March, a month before departure. And since it was basically an unplanned family trip, my sister willingly took the honor and responsibility (she actually loves this kind of stuff) to prepare an itinerary for the whole 5 days we were there. The flight departed on April 9th to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, a 5+ hours journey. We reached Taipei around 2pm and headed straight for our hotel.
April 9th, 2019
We reached the hotel around evening, 3pm. After settling our bags and all, we went out for dinner. We planned to travel by car to Hui Guan, a Muslim restaurant in Songshan District. But the restaurant was closed when we’ve reached and our Uber had to turn back.
We ended up having dinner at a Halal Beef Noodle restaurant in Shinkong Mitsukashi A8, which is basically among the shopping malls located within 10-15 minutes walking distance from our hotel.
We had Beef Noodles in both spicy and clear broth, some side vegetable dishes and some sort of Pratha wraps that were eaten together with thin beef slices and stir-fried ‘bean sprouts-egg-glass noodle’. And of course, Chinese tea.
After dinner, we walked back to our hotel, with the magnificent view of Taipei 101 looming high and lighting up the night sky.
April 10th, 2019
After breakfast at the hotel, we walked out to explore the city. Apparently all the shops open at around 11am. The place we were staying at, Xinyi District is kinda like Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. The shopping malls are mostly high-end and sells branded goods. So yeah, we were mostly just window shopping our time away.
While doing so, we found ourselves some bubble tea and seafood snacks for lunch.
After lunch, we spent some time at the hotel pool.
Then my little brother (who did not join the trip) texted asking for a new jumper from Taiwan. So, we headed out to Wufenpu Shopping District, famous for its Garment Wholesale Area. We took the MRT to Songshan Station. It started to rain when we reached and the temperature dropped to 20 degrees.
After walking through the shopping district and eventually bought the jumper my little brother yearned for, we travelled back to Xinyi district for dinner, at the same restaurant as last night.
April 11th, 2019
We visited the National Palace Museum, Shilin District, travelling by the MRT and bus. The museum showcased Chang Dai-chien’s art, celebrating his 120th anniversary of birth. I bought some bookmarks for myself.
We had our lunch at the Silk Palace Restaurant, which somehow had a Muslim-friendly menu. We ordered some noodles and a plate of vegetables.
For our prayer, we headed back to Taipei Main Station, which provides a small prayer room for Muslims. Although, we had to walk to the nearest toilet for ablution/wudhu’. They provided some sort of an ablution space in the disabled toilet room so those who needs to take wudhu’ can ask the cleaning lady for the keys as that particular toilet are always locked.
After our prayer, we spent some time shopping at the Taipei City Mall, located at the underground of the Taipei Main Station. The shops sell a wide range of goods such as garments, toys & games, souvenirs, phones etc. I ended up buying some souvenir key-chains and fridge magnets from one of the shops.
For dinner, we proceeded to NingXia night market in Datong District. It rained quite heavily so we had to buy ourselves raincoats for 20 NTD each. That was the first time ever that I did my shopping in a night market in a plastic raincoat under rain (#gigih). Since it was raining, a few number of stalls were closed so there were not much choice for food. Regardless, we had our fun in the rain.
April 12th, 2019
It was super windy when we were at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. The place was crowded with tourist too. It was too packed that we could not really enjoy the marching performance in the memorial hall but to view it from another tourist’ phone, behind a whole bunch of people. We did saw the statue though, which is huge.
After taking photos like nobody’s business, we went to get ourselves lunch at Chang’s Beef Noodle in Zhongzheng District. We also bought some Taiwanese famous snacks aka the Pineapple Cakes as souvenirs from Vigor Kobo. They sell Halal cakes.
We took the MRT back to Taipei 101 to enjoy the view from the observatory. Luckily, my sister decided to buy the Priority Pass so we did not have to queue up and wait for a long time. The Priority Pass costs around RM 135.00. It’s actually funny that I’ve never set foot on the KL Tower or Petronas Twin Towers observatory, but I’ve been to Taipei 101’s.
Despite the cold weather, we went to Ice Monster in Shinkong Mitsukashi. It’s basically one of the best shaved ice dessert in Taiwan. They tasted good.
For dinner, we went to Hui Guan in Songshan District. We decided to ride the MRT so we had to do a lot of walking to reach the restaurant and back to the MRT station, in the cold.
April 13th, 2019
Packed our bags for departure. Spent more NTDs at the airport, for last minute shopping. Our flight reached Kuala Lumpur at around 9pm.
In a nutshell, I think the experience would be different if I traveled to the deeper parts of Taiwan like Jiufen, Kaohsiung etc where nature is the main attraction. Taipei is pretty much like every other city in the world. It’s a concrete jungle, with efficient public transportation system and clean streets which are also bicycle friendly. The people there are relatively nice, although some sellers were pretty ‘harsh’ with their words especially the old ones. Since we opted for Taiwanese cuisine, they dont have a wide range of Halal food, which is totally understandable.
It was fun and I got to break free from the pressure at work, even if it was just for 4 days. And now I’m back at the seemingly never-ending work load plus the extra hours in the office.
Nevertheless, here’s to more wanderings in the future.
P/S: I was really enjoying the moments with my family hence the lack of photos.