Last weekend was my first trip out of Taipei since I got back to Taiwan. Side note– if I didn’t say it enough, I really loved being home. It was a much needed trip to see love ones and be reminded how amazing my home life is. I feel extremely privileged, and have never felt so grateful for all the blessings in my life.
This past weekend I had a 3 day weekend which meant it was time to explore more of this diverse island of Taiwan. I headed out of Taipei with a lot on the to-do list. It’s always really risky traveling during holidays in Taiwan because EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE travels during this time. It can get stressful if you don’t plan accordingly. Which meant a 4:30am departure for me on Saturday. In just two days I saw and did a lot, which was much needed.
Eagle rock tip: Beautiful peak at the top of a mountain on the east coast of Taiwan. Luckily it didn’t rain, and the view was breathtaking.
Temple: I then headed to check into my hotel for the night. Yes, I did in fact sleep at a temple where my fee for the night was actually a donation. Pretty cool experience.
Jiaoxi: This town attracts travelers for the hot springs.There are free hot foot pools peppered throughout the entire town for visitors to soak in at any moment. The water is warm and the minerals seep through your skin and put you in a state of relaxation. There apparently is even a noodle shop that allows you to soak your feet while eating! Another popular thing to do is get a foot “massage” from fish. Yes fish. Little tiny gold fish will eat the dead skin off your feet while you soak your feet for 30 minutes. It’s very popular by both locals and foreigners. I however did not like it. I found out last year while swimming in a waterfall that I hate fish (if Heather and Claire are reading this right now, I know they’re laughing). Fish are weird and I having them eat my feet was even weirder and extremely ticklish.
Luodong Night Market: In Taiwan, night markets are popular spots for both locals and foreign visitors alike. In Yilan, there are two night markets, the bigger and more popular one being Luodong night market. I LOVE the night markets. It’s something that you must try if you’re visiting Taipei and it’s something that I don’t get to do often enough now that I live here. It’s usually the case right? There are tons of people who live in DC that don’t go to see the monuments or even the White House. How often do we get to play tourist in our own city? It’s something that we should do more often.
Luodong night market is quite large with lots of food vendors, and one section that has rows of numbered stalls. At the center of the night market is the Luodong Chungshan Park, which some people take their food to sit and eat at. Night markets are heaven to me. With a plethora of new food to try, my mouth starts watering as I smell all the exotic foods. It’s fun wandering around trying new foods and getting lost in a maze of Asians. I’ve been to a few night markets thus far and this one was by far my favorite do to the yummy food. My favorite new food I tried was this one;
A fried ball, stuffed with chopped onions, and meat. Absolutely delicious.
Pingxi Old Town: The next day I hopped on a train and headed to Pingxi. This town I’ve been wanting to go to for weeks. The town is known for a waterfall in Shifen. I googled imaged pictures and I wanted to go asap. Well apparently so did everyone else. People everywhere!!! But it was okay cause the weather was 70s and sunny so I wasn’t going to let a big crowd ruin my mood. The waterfall was awesome. Easy to hike to, and definitely worth the trip. Next I went back into the town. This town is one of the oldest, and you can definitely get an old school vibe from the layout of the buildings.Back when the town was being used for civilians, the houses were built on a slope; now they have become the stores where visitors can purchase souvenirs and locally flavored snacks. There are also traditional rice stores, pastry shops, and daily use grocery stores for residents. Moreover, there is a famous old mailbox which was preserved from Japanese Colonial Ear. It is the oldest mailbox in Taiwan and is still being used now.
Pingxi District is world renowned for their sky lanterns. The annual celebration of the Lantern Festival (which was the weekend before I visited) releases the flying lanterns to attract many tourists every February. Visitors can write their wishes on a sky lantern and release it to the sky in various places in town. Thousands of people travel here to see the superb scene of innumerable sky lanterns rising into the sky. People may still release a lantern if you miss the festival (like me); by means of lanterns’ glowing and rising may your wishes come true. Unless your this guy… His lantern never stood a chance. Power lines and fire don’t mix well, glad everyone was safe!
Needless to say, it was a busy yet awesome weekend. I really enjoy getting out and seeing more and more of this beautiful country I’ve come to love. Taiwan is starting to feel like home to me, and I feel very grateful with where I am right now in my life!!