LookNookHook Travels Solo – Taipei (Part 1)

I’m jumping the gun here with a post on my recent 4D3N trip to Taipei! I’m sorry but the post on Seoul will have to wait just a little while more.

After Seoul, i was really itching to go on another solo trip. Due to a shortage of leave days, i narrowed my selection down to 2 places which weren’t too far away – Hong Kong and Taipei. Since i’ve been to Hong Kong a few times now, i went with Taipei since i’ve never been there. The process was really quick; upon deciding where i was going, i bought an air ticket on the Tiger Airways website (SGD398) the next day. This price includes the add-ons for seat selections and 15kg luggage for both ways.

Post-Seoul and pre-Taipei, i was getting a lot of comments from family and colleagues alike about how this travelling solo thing was becoming a bad habit. I suppose they don’t really understand why i want to do it, or they simply don’t want to.

Travelling solo was a decision that i came to, for a few reasons.

I’m married, as most of you know. I don’t have any children. I go to work, Monday to Friday, and most weekends are spent at home catching up on reading, blogging, housework etc. On Sundays i have lunch with my parents and siblings. Sometimes, i catch up with friends for drinks or coffee. That about sums up what i do with my life. I needed to do something different, something that would bring meaning to the 33 years that i’ve lived. Mid-life crisis perhaps? ;p

I’ve never travelled alone before, and when i do travel, i usually leave most matters to my husband. So I believed travelling alone would push some boundaries, and force me out of my comfort zone. If i don’t do it now, when can i do it? I knew it was now or never, and i was determined to make it a reality. If i allowed my fear or laziness to take over, it would never happen. Besides, travelling alone would truly be a different experience. Your pace is different, your agenda is different.

Some things happened this year, and that left me tired and frustrated. I very much wanted to spend some time alone to be by myself, to reflect on things and life in general. And what better way to do it, than far away from home…?

Initially, i was quite nervous about doing it. I worried about getting lost, getting bored with myself with no one to talk to etc. But those worries didn’t stop me, and nor did they make me regret my decision. Getting lost is part of the beauty of travelling alone, and not even for a minute did i get bored with myself. I did not crave conversation with others or anything like that. I was happy to walk alone, sleep alone, eat alone, have coffee alone, take pictures alone, take the train alone. It certainly did wonders for my self-confidence.

My mother says i’m selfish by travelling alone. It is true. Because i like that i can go wherever i want, do whatever i want, take however long i want, leave whenever i want etc. It is so liberating. I’m not really a fan of travelling in groups, and my husband knows this very well. I get grumpy when i’m tired, and i hate it when people are indecisive. And it shows on my face. But i don’t feel bad for being that way, it’s just the way i am. The only person i feel bad for is my husband, i’m very thankful that he is super easy-going. ;p

So, as you can see, there are endless possibilities and benefits of travelling alone. And i love it. People can say whatever they like, question whatever they like. At the end of the day, i don’t think i need to answer to anyone other than myself.

Sorry for the digression. Just wanted to share some thoughts on how i came to the decision to travel alone. 🙂

So anyway, back to Taipei. I  won’t really be doing a day-by-day account of my time there, but more of a haphazard, general sharing of my experiences through photos. I will talk a little bit about some of the places, but it’ll mostly be the pictures doing the talking. 🙂

Upon exiting the arrival area in the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, i went to look for a telco kiosk to get my local data SIM card. I managed to find  Chung Hwa Telecom, and purchased the pre-paid 3 day unlimited data plan. It cost me something like SGD14. If i had gone the Singtel route, it costs SGD15 a day! I saved a ton of money by getting the local SIM card. Easy access to the Internet is  important while travelling alone – you’ll need Facebook, Instagram and of course my best friend Google Maps. Do download the Tripadvisor app too, so you can plan your itinerary on the fly and reference the subway map. Super useful!

Once that was settled, i took a cab to the hotel. I decided not to take the bus because i read somewhere that the journey is something like 2 hours. I was tired from the early morning flight, and just wanted to settle in, rest for a bit and then head out to explore the neighborhood. I stayed at the CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending (Xin1 Yi4 Jiu3 Dian4 Ximending), the cab fare cost me TWD 1,100 (~SGD45). The hotel location is great, and the service was wonderful. I would definitely stay there again! The day before i departed for Taipei, the hotel even called my Singapore mobile number to ask what time i would be arriving, and if i had any special requests. They also asked if i needed a car service to pick me up from the airport (It costs the same as my cab fare, but this is a private car) My only gripe was that there were no windows in the room. But other than that, i had a great stay! The staff are wonderful, and very attentive. Service really does make all the difference. 🙂

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending

Let’s move on to food shall we? For some reason, i was constantly hungry and i was always on the look out for different things to eat. During my time there, i hardly had any proper meals. With the exception of a bowl of beef noodles, i was always eating street food. And because i was on my own, just eating a little bit of this and that made me really full already. Most of it is fried, as you will see from the pictures below, so it wasn’t a total surprise that i came back with a cough and sore throat. ;p

Food in Taipei

Sweet Potato Balls, Green Tea with Pearls, Grilled Fishcake (Ximending)

Food in Taipei - Cheesy Potato (Veg version)

Cheesy Potato (Veg version) (Shihlin Night Market)

Food in Taipei - Grilled corn

Grilled corn (Shihlin Night Market)

Food in Taipei - Ginseng Chicken Soup

Ginseng Chicken Soup (Shihlin Night Market)

Food in Taipei - Beancurd with Pearls

Beancurd with Pearls (Danshui Lao Jie)

Fried Chicken (Danshui Lao Jie)

Food in Taipei - Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken (Danshui Lao Jie)

Food in Taipei - French Fries

French Fries (Danshui Lao Jie)

Food in Taipei - Softserve ice-cream

Softserve Ice-cream (Ximending)

Food in Taipei - Beef Noodles

Spicy Beef Noodles (Ximending Area)

This apparently is a pretty famous beef noodle in Taipei. The beef was very tender, and the noodle was well cooked. However, the broth was a tad salty for me. You may want to give it a try and judge for yourself if you are in the area. I’m pretty sure the queue forming outside the shop was no coincidence!

Taoyuan Street Beef Noodles/Old Wang Beef Noodles 桃源街牛肉麵/老王記牛肉麵大王
Address: No. 15, TaoYuan Street, Jhongjheng District, Taipei City
地址: 台北市桃源街十五號
Walking Directions: Ximen MRT Station, Exit 3. Go straight along Baoqing Road, turn left on Taoyuan Road and you should see it on your right just before a minor T-junction. Click here for google map

Food in Taipei - Dorayaki

Dorayaki snack i bought from some random bakery at the subway station

Food in Taipei - Almond Beancurd with Pearls

Yu’s Almond Beancurd with Pearls (Ximending Area)

Address: No. 101 Hengyang Road | Zhongzheng District, Taipei
MRT: Ximen Station – Exit 4

Food in Taipei - Huge Fried Chicken FIllet

Hao Da Fried Chicken Fillet / 好大大鸡排 (Right in the heart of Ximending)

The 好大大鸡排 in Ximending is located right opposite the Rainbow Hotel.

There are lots more variety of food to try in Taipei of course. What you see above is a small representation of that. I will continue with my Taipei adventures in Part 2. Stay tuned! 🙂