My personal rule of thumb when traveling: ALWAYS GO FOR THE ICONS FIRST.
In this age, everyone tries to go off the beaten path to have a different set of photos on social media, and somehow have that gratification of being the first to broadcast something new. Of course, many people do so too for their dislike towards all things touristy. And that’s legit. While I’m one of the latter, I still always make sure to see the places that a certain destination I’m traveling is known for, because I hate feeling “so close yet so far” or “there, but not quiet.” And so our 2nd day in Taipei was all about that–being touristy. Haha
We woke up early, had our free toast breakfast at the hostel, then we were on our way to our first destination: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, was erected in honor of the former president of The Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. It’s probably one of the most popular and important landmarks in all of Taiwan, flanked by the National Theater and National Concert Hall on its left and right side respectively. But they, are sadly often left unnoticed.
Not long after we arrived, we caught the changing of the guards which happens every hour. It’s a must-see for everyone visiting Chiang Kai-shek!
I just found it fascinating how they can take standing stiff and still for so long, not moving a single muscle, or not acting on the urge to wipe the sweats that roll down their faces or necks!
Their floor routine was so precise as well. They’re so sharp it’s almost flamboyant, they could actually pass as Beyonce’s backup dancers!
It was almost 1pm when we were through exploring the CKS grounds. It had also started to drizzle so we decided to see Ximending at daytime and have lunch. I find Ximending very similar to Myeongdong in Seoul, South Korea.
We went walking around looking for some cool concept cafes where we can rest for a while and charge our gadgets, only to find out that BUDGET, was just a concept in our minds. HAHA We ended up in a more affordable coffee shop instead which does the job. Man, concept cafes in Taipei are quite pricey!
Though we had previously agreed to go to Xiangshan, or more commonly known as the Elephant Mountain, for sunset, we really didn’t have any place else in mind so we just went for that mountain hike unprepared. After exiting Xiangshan MRT Station, just follow where the other tourists are walking towards, you’ll surely find the start of the trail.
There was no sunset, but we still got no less than a grand view of Taipei as the city starts to light up at dusk. We also got rained on! What a treat!
We could see the imposing Taipei 101 from there, so that’s where we went for dinner. I couldn’t decide what to eat as there were either too many choices, or they were kinda out of my price-point. heehee I had a Mcdonald’s Big Mac meal for 119ntd and I was happy about it. ^_^
As a kid, I actually had this dislike for Taipei 101, because it trumped the height of my favorite building to draw (Ha! Childishness.), the Petronas Twin Towers, when it opened in 2004. It then became the tallest building in the world until the opening of Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.
After dinner at the basement food court, we just explored the upscale Taipei 101 Mall, indulging our eyes with high-class toys. At the top floor of the mall, we found ourselves resting, and comparing the steps we made for that day. Not one of us had less than 13,000 steps. And so we were proud of ourselves. We happily made our way back to the hostel and called it a night.
Taipei skyline at night
543.50php – Airbnb/pax/night
20ntd – Jiantan to Chiang Kai-shek Station
16ntd – Chiang Kai-shek to Ximen Station
75ntd – Lunch at Ximending
60ntd – Juice at Dante Coffee Shop
45ntd – Ximending to Xiangshan Station
16ntd – Xiangshan to Taipei 101 Station
119ntd – Dinner at Taipei 101 Mall foodcourt; Mcdonald’s Big Mac meal
24ntd – Taipei 101 to Jiantan Station
x 2 (php per ntd)
+ 543.50php (Airbnb)
Day 2 Total = 1,293.50php