Under the bright and busy city facade of Taipei lies a serene countryside which is sure to charm the hearts of many. The capital of Taiwan is such a lovely eclectic mix of the old and the new that it’s hard to get enough of it within my short 2-week trip.
The recognisable Taipei 101 mascot, thoroughly soaked in the happy holiday spirit, waves in the Christmas season at the 88th storey of the majestic building.
The awesome panoramic view of the city from the highest outdoor viewing gallery on the 91st storey of Taipei 101. I was lucky enough to encounter great weather! It was extremely windy, but no matter — the view simply took our breaths away.
For born-and-bred city kids like me, the opportunity to pet a friendly sheep at the Qingjing Farm was definitely hard to come by. People, young and old, were “ooh”-ing and “ahh”-ing when we got up close with the wooly creatures.
More sheep grazing quietly on the fields of Qingjing Farm, after a sheep-gathering demonstration by the herders.
Revel in the scenic morning view at the Qingjing Farm, but remember to put on more layers because it will be slightly chilly.
The Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village has an amusement park with an incredibly pretty garden, making for many perfect photo opportunities. It was like being transported right into a fairytale!
One of the many grotesque totems in the amusement park of Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village.
Relax, it’s not real! Visitors definitely got to have some fun at the amusement park. Rollercoasters and other park rides were aplenty.
The side of a model aboriginal house at the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village. Step into the small house and have a look at how some of Taiwan’s aboriginal people live.
Our next stop: A railway station!
A sign and some realistic props beside a stall selling fresh milk ice cream — one of the milkiest and tastiest I’ve ever tried.
Stall owners get creative with cute painted signs! The one on top is for a smelly tofu stall, while the bottom sign is for a noodle stall.
The incredibly rustic streets of Jiufen, a gorgeous and charming little hillside town in the Ruifang District. The traditional and mountaineous setting blew me away, as did the huge range of delicious local food and quirky crafts.
In Jiufen, we spent hours at this fragrance shop — it was too pretty and sweet-smelling to be true! Here you can see bags of colourful scent powders / crystels such as rose and lavender.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found out that this is the police station in Jiufen. Did you know that Jiufen used to be a prosperous gold mining town up till the 50′s?
If you can’t get enough of Taiwan’s iconic sky lanterns, you can also find mini versions of them on sale! They make for great little gifts and memorabilia.
Taiwan-style escargot: dare you try it? This stall was situated on the winding streets of Jiufen. I found that the grilled snails tasted quite unappetising, but others seem to like it, so I suppose it is an acquired taste. Regardless, I am definitely not trying this again anytime soon.
But of course, there was great food too. This is Tofu ice cream, in green tea flavour, i.e. pretty much a small packet oozing with amazingly smooth awesomeness. Oh and the tofu makes it healthy too!
Outside of Jiufen, we wandered into another town which seemed to have an obsession with Xia Hou, which can be loosely translated into “Prawn Monkeys”. Despite the strange name, these fried shrimp-like critters were full of savoury goodness, albeit a little too salty at times (if you bought from the wrong stalls!).
A closer look at Xia Hou — you can eat them whole. Yummy much?