Giving my blog here some boost of life :P Sharing my experience in Taipei earlier this month.
Thanks to U Hotel Taipei’s project with the tourism department of Taipei, they designed an itinerary where I got to explore the many sides of Taipei, including the less explored traditional routes as well as some of the popular must-trys and must-dos.
Here are 5 things not to be missed.
1. Traditional Market – Shop like a local
Go to the market like a local. The experience of immersing yourself in the Taipei’s day to day life is not only interesting for someone like me who love cooking and food, it would also make a great experience for you and your family. If you have children, it will be nice to introduce to them these experiences too.
Stepping into the markets, the first thing you might notice is the bander between the friendly store owners, and with the local customers trawling the market for the freshest seasonal produce.
This was especially apparent at Dongmen Market (東門市場), one of Taipei’s oldest traditional market. Resembling like a cross between the wet markets in Singapore and the markets in Japan, the tiny alleys are packed with stores on both sides, selling fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, seafood and traditional sweets or food.
For a slightly more comfortable setting, Nanmen Market (南門市場), also another old traditional market in Taipei set in an unassuming building where a maze like arrangement of stores is the best place to shop for dried goods, fruits, seafood, preserved meats and sausages and cooked food.
For the alfresco loving folks, then you will enjoy walking the streets of Binjiang Market (濱江市場). A little like their local farmers market, the homegrown fruits and vegetables, as well as locally caught seafood are plentiful here.
For a more modern and comfortable experience of the traditional market, then Shidong Market is the best choice.
As U Hotel Taipei had arranged for me to create a special bento to be gifted to a underpriviledged family, we picked out some of the unique produce along the way.
2. Hui Liu Teahouse (回留茶館) at Yongkang Street – Tea ceremony in Oasis
After stepping into this beautiful teahouse, I felt like I entered another world and time slowed down so much, all my worries were left at the door.
Pick from a menu of fine tea grown locally in Taiwan as well as homemade sweets. I picked the Da Du Ling tea and the fig cake. Once the tea arrives, Huiliu Teahouse staff will patiently show you the correct way to appreciate the tea. Starting of enjoying the aroma and scent of the dry tea leaves, warming the pot and cups, comparing the scent of the first soak of the tea leaves, the duration of each soak of the tea leaves to make your tea.
It is the sort of place I could just hang out the whole day. Not to mention the teahouse is so gorgeous and well lit by the natural lighting flowing through the windors, making this place perfect for instagrammable photos too.
3. Shang Ying Shui Chan 上引水產 – Seafood Heaven
As the name suggests, addictive? After I visit, I can see why.
Housed in a huge 1983 square meters space, there are 10 different themes such as life aquamarine products, supermarket, theme restaurants and even home aesthetics.
If I am staying in Taipei, I imagine myself coming here very often for all the fresh seafood produce in such an aesthecially plesant modern setting.
There is also a map on their website at www.addiction.com.tw
4. Taipei Fine Arts Museum – love the city, love the art
I must say, this was one of the highlights of my trip was Taipei Fine Arts Museum. We were almost late for our next appointment cause we spent such a long time enjoying the works and exhibits.
I know, this might sound boring to some? But unlike traditional museum, Taipei Fine Arts Museum showcases Taiwanese modern and contemporary art; many of which are very interactive displays and will intrigue both young and old.
5. Taipei Food – Whats life without food?
Of course, foodies all love good food. Taipei, is well known like the other cities in Taiwan for its good food. Instead of the super crowded Ding Tai Fung, we went to Si Gua Xiao Long Bao restaurant for their XLBs. They also have an array of side dishes you can pick from.
Visiting during the summer meant that shaved ice was a must! So we had the famous mango ice from Smoothie House at Yong Kang Street. The amount of mango is almost insane! Definitely enough to feed 3 ladies.
If you like cute food, did you know that Taipei has some of the highest concentration of character theme cafes, including Rilakkuma Cafe, Rilakkuma Teahouse, Gudetama cafe, Hello Kitty Steamboat and Chibi Maruko chan cafe just to name a few.
Lastly I want to say that I am so fortunate to be hosted by U Hotel Taipei this time. So super comfortable and so centrally located; I am not just saying it because it is a hosted trip. I have been to Taipei earlier in spring to a hotel which was already quite nice, but U Hotel Taipei was even nicer.
Just check out the view and the size of the rooms! The facilities in the room is also amazing, super huge bathroom with both shower and tub areas. All amenities well stocked and beyond. Ample luggage space and that huge bed was major love.
The service at the front counters and concierge was impeccable too. It was also so sweet for them to even prepare tea (night service) when you return to the room after a day out, and those little free facial masks were also such nice touches.
I also brought home a nice pack of dried mushrooms sold by the hotel, as omiyage souvenir gift sets you can bring home easily.