I have the feeling this is going to be a picture heavy post, sorry about that… But I feel like this is the only way to show all the different faces of Taipei. I was honestly so amazed and I still am. Every city in Asia I have visited so far was equally dirty, overpopulated, chaotic, somehow not very livable from my perspective. But when I went outside of my hostel in Taipei (the crazy one with the capsules!!) to explore the area, I had a totally different experience. Obviously there were no sidewalks, but in front of every store and every apartment they had all these lovely pot plants. It was good fun to just stroll around with a oolong milk tea in my hand. I’m literally obsessed with the delicious milk teas they have on every corner. It is such a good start in the morning, even better than coffee. I’m so glad we have sharetea in the Philippines, my savior 😀
In between all the craziness you will always find a little colorful temple. We were lucky to arrive at Longshan temple just in time when they had a ceremony there. It reminded me a lot of the Hindu ceremony I bumped in at Tirta Empul Bali. All the colorful offerings, lanterns and incense sticks in the middle of skyscrapers. I really liked that Taipei conserved its artistic tradition in the course of modernization. In Ximending for example you can find streets filled with stores where they only sell dried seafood, mushrooms, seeds, nuts and other delicacies. The food is nicely wrapped and kept in golden boxes. I even saw a complete jaw of a shark in one store.
Something I am kind of used to at the moment is the market life, but Taipei really brought it to the next level. We had the best time at the night market even though we did not try the famous stinky tofu which you can smell like 100m ahead. We also went to the Jade market and the flower market. Even though you cannot understand much as signs are usually only written in Chinese, everything’s so easy.
On our last day we visited the National Palace Museum. It’s like THE place to see the finest of Asian arts. They have the most beautiful buddha sculptures, porcelain vases, pieces of calligraphy and ivory. The sad thing is, that I have no clue about the different Chinese dynasties and therefor everything kind of looked the same for me at some point… But it was enough just to admire its beauty plus they had a special exhibit about the genius Giuseppe Castiglione.