The vibrant Taipei is always the first pins when anyone visit Taiwan. After explore Inside Taipei, let’s visit other alluring destinations a little further away.
Take the Metro Taipei to the northernmost neighbourhood 40 minutes away and you’ll arrive at Tamsui – or Danshui in Mandarin Chinese – the gateway to Taiwan’s scenic North Coast. Aim to arrive in late afternoon to enjoy Taiwan’s most stunning sunset landscape. Tamsui is also home to an endless line of food stalls specializing in seafood, lending to wonderful moments along the waterfront enjoying the twilight and spoilt-forchoice take-away dinner. When the night comes, head towards the Old Street to delight in traditional local handicrafts and performances.
Shifting away from the sea to the mountains; you can take a bus or a taxi to Jiufen, the former gold-mining town which inspired the popular Studio Ghibli film: ‘Spirited Away’. This town was originally built by the Japanese and its alleyways reveal the layers of rich history and culture that has accumulated over time. Now lined with magnificent red lanterns, the alleyways burst with souvenir shops and food stores offering wooden postcards, traditional masks and prestigious teas as well as interesting, mouth-watering snacks.
Here is a must-try list of snacks: peanut ice-cream roll, fish and taro balls, vegetarian meat rolls, grilled king mushrooms and snails,and traditional golden pineapple pastries. Tea-lovers should not miss a traditional tearoom experience at, for example, Jioufen Teahouse or Jiufen A Mei Tea House, where you can rest and sip a selection of premium teas in a nostalgic, cosy ambience.
If your family is looking for a day of active fun, take a comfy bus-ride to Sun Moon Lake, one of the National Scenic Areas. Spend a fabulous morning on the bike trail as it leads you through many scenic spots around the lake. Then take a short ferry-ride to Ita Thao village, where you can enjoy some street food before taking a leisurely walk along shady trails to a ropeway station. From there you can take a cable car to The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, an amusement park of rides and shows with an Aboriginal theme.
Wrap up your day with the grandeur of Wenwu Temple – easy to notice with its two vermillion lions out in front – and ascend its Year of Steps, or ‘Stairway to Heaven’, to pay respect and ask for celestial blessings.
Text and photos by Goongging Thanisara