One Last Day in Taipei

Two more peaceful days in Kaohsiung before we begin the long journey home. Peter and Rosa continued to show us all their favorite spots around the city, including day and night markets and plenty more delicious food. They even taught us how to make our own bubble tea!

We were lucky enough to be visiting during the neighborhood’s Ghost Month celebrations as well, and got to help the family set out offerings of food, incense, and “money” for the ghosts and gods (and they don’t use human currency of course).  Peter will be leaving soon for a foreign exchange program in Germany, so for our last night, we got to join the whole family for a special goodbye dinner. Before we knew it, we were on the road again, heading up north with enough time to enjoy one last day in Taipei before our flight.

It feels like ages ago that we were last here, ogling Taipei 101 and trying to navigate the MRT, we’ve seen and done so much since then! But we were excited to have another chance to explore it: one last day in the city, armed with what little is left of our savings and the expanded Chinese vocabulary we developed over the past month.

Jeff was able to put us in contact with some of his friends and colleagues through the travel industry in Taipei, and they kindly offered to put us up until our flight home. Their organization, Redefine Tourism Mixer, or RTM, has worked frequently alongside Jeff’s in the past years, placing tourists on working holidays in Taiwan into vibrant, but lesser known communities all around the country. One of their past interns even stayed in our little town in Miaoli, and worked at Lao Jia during his stay! You can read his blog about the experience here and watch a video featuring one of their other interns, Adriana, on their Facebook page if you’re interested.

Upon arriving to Taipei, we treated ourselves to dumplings and fried rice at a famous dinner spot, Din Tai Fung. With less than two days left in the country, why not hit all the hot spots? But we got back to the house before too late for a good night of rest, as we wanted to get a jump on Taipei bright and early the next morning. And boy did we get a jump: we must have seen half the city in an afternoon!

First thing, we got up and went straight to Longshan Temple, a nearby Taipei landmark. Even with the sheer quantity of temples in Taipei, it’s easy to see why this one is famous. Sprawling and lined with waterfalls and gilded dragons, the temple was overflowing with both tourists and the devout. Just as many people burned incense and left offerings for the gods as there were gaping taking pictures. A beautiful way to start the day for sure!

After that we meandered all over, wandering through a fresh meat and produce market in the west part of the city, walking through the old Red House building, enjoying the gardens and galleries at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, and inhaling the aroma of traditional teas and dried goods on historic Dihua Street, one of the oldest districts in the city. But mostly we just took in the sights and sounds of the city, squinting up at Taipei 101 from almost everywhere in the city, buying fruit from carts and following the tide of people wherever we went. Of course, we managed to make it to one last night market before we left, the famous Raohe night market, marked by another huge, beautiful temple, perhaps the last we will see for a while.

But we have one last morning before our flight, and endless possibilities. Like any good city, you would need weeks, not days, to see all that’s worth seeing here. What we have is a start, but with all the things we still want to do here, another trip might be in our near future…

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