Taipei January 2014 Part 1

Second time in Taipei but only properly blogging about it now because the last trip was already about a decade ago. My family and I never really got around to visiting Taiwan again (together) until this trip last January. We were too obsessed with Japan. However, for the first time, I was actually glad that we didn’t go through with our usual Christmas in Kyushu tradition because Taipei proved to be such a wonderful place! I didn’t have any free time to roam around on my own the last time, so this time I was able to immerse myself and get my bearings better.

Some people who like Asian culture prefer places like Hong Kong, Japan or Korea as holiday/shopping destinations, but little did they know that they can find a little bit of each culture in Taiwan. I had so much fun shopping because aside from the awesome local brands that they had, Japanese and Korean brands were also readily available.

Things were all affordable too. You can get by with so little but still be able to experience the most awesome-tasting food and drinks! Transportation was quite reasonable as well – their train system was planned by the Japanese so it’s very efficient (even more efficient than Tokyo itself, imho) and not at all difficult to understand.

I can really see myself coming back to Taiwan more often! Mostly for shopping and food.

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After checking in at our hotel, we walked a few blocks to the nearest Din Tai Fung for lunch. We stayed at Zhongxiao (Dunhua) / Daan District area, which is, imho, the best place to stay in Taiwan if you more or less like the same stuff as me.

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Style spotting. Matching boots and coat.

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Walked all the way to Sun Yat Sen Memorial where you can see Taipei 101 in the background. Didn’t really stay long here because the place was huge, but inside you can find a lot of historical displays of Sun Yat Sen’s life and the revolution that he led.

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Snapped on our way to Eslite Mall where we geeked out on books! No photos of the place but you can find it along Xinyi Road on the way to Taipei 101.

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Outside was this Johnny Walker display that apparently spells out Happy New Year or something if you look at it from a certain angle.

I only found out AFTER I came back to Manila. Crissey was in Taiwan with her family the week before we went, and she took a picture of the same thing. Psychic #Trissey powers.

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Taipei 101 used to be the world’s tallest tower from 2004 to 2010. It looks so little in these pictures but it is actually massive! Taking a picture of the whole thing is virtually impossible unless you do it from a distance.

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There’s a high-end shopping mall on the 1st-5th floors, but we headed straight for the top to check out how Taipei looks like at night. There’s an outdoor observatory deck and an indoor one on the 88th-91st floors.

On the top floor (101st) is, as you would expect, a restaurant/club.

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Lights were relatively dim compared to other cities I’ve seen from towers at night, but it only adds to the quiet, understated charm that Taiwan has.

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The most well-lit place was this basketball court.

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The 600+ ton steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper (the biggest in the world). It exists to offset movements in the building that are caused by strong winds, etc.

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Had dinner at a restaurant called South Beauty in ATT 4 FUN, a mall near Taipei 101. Everything was so good and nothing hurt.

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Perfect strawberry shortcakes (my favorite kind of cake) on the way back to the hotel.

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Same face, different hair.

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The next morning, we had a lot of free time to kill before our tour in the afternoon. We just booked the tour the day before via our hotel concierge. This is our idea of a vacation.

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Walking to the nearest shopping mall, (Pacific) SOGO.

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Was immediately greeted by LIZ LISA.

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SNIDEL

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ROYAL PARTY

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Near the mall (which was also near our hotel) was FAVVI@hotel. FAVVI stores selling Japanese brands are all over the city but the brands they sell in each one are different.

i.e. MERCURYDUO, titty&Co. in FAVVI@hotel, MURUA and EMODA in FAVVI@party, jouetie in FAVVI@tube, etc.

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Tour time! First stop was Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

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I grew up always hearing about Chiang Kai Shek because my dad graduated from the Chinese school of the same name here in Manila.

In elementary and high school, I loved studying history, and it was never a chore for me to read about Chinese (and Asian and World history in general) history.

It helps to be a geek early in life – the enjoyment that I got from studying history and from anime/manga was the same kind of enjoyment.

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Coming to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, I felt like we were best friends already, lol. Everything was so familiar.

Changing of the guards. One of them looked like a K-pop idol!

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Red hair, don’t care!

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One of the Japanese girls from the same tour group came up to me and told me that she liked my outfit and that she thought I was pretty. Japanese standard of beauty – UNLOCKED?!

I told her I just had tons of make-up on and that anyone could look decent with the right tools and techniques, lol. #soannoying #humblebrag

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National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine.

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Hi mom.

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Just in time for another one of these changing of the guards things. My brothers were joking about how these people were the same ones from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, lol.

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Visited a temple in the middle of a residential area.

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Took this on the way back to the hotel. Sadly, I couldn’t really take photos of the National Palace Museum since it was forbidden.

Still, the place is a must-see! Watch out for the famous Jade Cabbage.

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Nighttime shopping at FAVVI@party which is about 5-7 minutes walk from our hotel.

Splurged on EMODA and MURUA! Lots of old stock MURUA were also on sale, driving a lot of stylish Taiwanese girls crazy.

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Zhongxiao Dunhua side and back streets are the best thing ever! If you see all the fashionable people from the nearest station walking in the same direction, this is probably where they’re headed. It’s like a mini Harajuku slash Myeongdong where everyone in the street is well-dressed and where all the local, independent stores are to die for.

I’m still not over this place! I went shopping here almost every day I was in Taiwan because I always found something I wanted every single time. Will post more photos taken in daylight in my next entry.

I guess the reason why I love it so much is because you can’t really find the same items in the mall? Maybe you can find some similar stuff in Ximending, but the vibe here is quirkier and more artsy. I’m a sucker for places like these.

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This store combined two coats together to create this unique two-tone look. Who would’ve thought this could work?

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Bought a fluffy pink sweater here! My mom also found some items that fit her style. Don’t be afraid to bring your parents here because they might find some things they like too.

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Lots of cute cafes and restaurants here! Don’t know if any of them are good but they all seem pretty and picturesque!

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Lots of men’s fashion here too. More than the ones you can find in the mall.

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One of my favorite places in this area is ARTIFACTS! Very reminiscent of Opening Ceremony.

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Cute window display at the Stay Real cafe.

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3 CONCEPT EYES HEAVEN! Among all Korean cosmetic brands, I believe in this brand the most. I’ve been using a lot of their lip products recently and everything works like a charm!

I found this at a beauty store that also sells Taiwanese and Japanese beauty products. Don’t count on me to give the store name because I can’t with Mandarin, haha

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Dirty Pretty! This place reminded me so much of Harajuku!

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When in Taipei, you can’t NOT try the street food.

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Miracles… in January!

Taiwan has the biggest obsession with EXO so it was fun going inside stores and hearing Growl everywhere.

Interestingly, on the day of my departure, EXO arrived from Korea! Too bad my flight was in the afternoon and they already arrived around early noon.

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3CE make-up haul. I highly recommend the lip crayons (though make sure you also buy the sharpener too) and this “More Brown” eyeshadow set. It has become an essential part of my everyday eye make-up routine.

My dream is to have a life here in Manila that is as interesting as my travels. I need to go out more so I can post more travel entries!