17.01.2006 - 31.01.2006
Shilin night market in Taipei is huge and nice. The prices are higher than those in mainland China but stylewise there's more diversity. It took me two nights, 3 hours each to explore it. The food alley across from the subway station is absolutely fantastic. Taiwanese food is delicious.
My favorite site in Taipei was Hulai aboriginal village. The waterfall, mountains, river, bridges and apartment buildings were stunning. There are also trains and cable cars to take you to the top but they were unfortunately closed for Chinese New Year. I couldn't find a real hot spring; the advertised hot springs in the local spas were only pools and Jacuzzis inside luxurious bedrooms, something you'd rather do with a partner!
Taipei 101 is nicely designed; especially the first 5 floors are like art-deco, loaded with upscale boutiques and designer shops. I heard that the other floors are still empty and not yet rented out. Too bad, what a waste of view and space!
On my last day in Taiwan, I joined a tour to Yehliu, the hill with seawater-eroded rocks. The most famous rock is the queen's head, took us some time to get a clear shot with no tourists in the frame! The rocks were amazingly eroded in strange shapes, the sea was clear blue, and the clouds were dazzling.
Taiwan is so not Chinese! And Taiwanese people don't like to be called Chinese. There is a strong sense of unique identity and desire for independence among them and they sure deserve it. The culture's totally different and the social structure felt to me very different.