My favorite part of visiting Taiwan was an organized tour to Taroko Gorge. Unfortunately, my husband missed it. It’s one of the 7 wonders of Asia and it was really incredible. And this is where I would recommend a tour, cause it was a screaming deal. I flew to the Gorge, toured, got lunch, visited a marble factory and then took a train back for less than $200.
My husband had a hard time getting to Taiwan on this trip. It was a work trip for him and we had separate tickets on different airlines. Sometimes when the kids were little we did this on purpose (if one dies, they still have one parent.. that kind of thinking). Our plan was to meet up in Japan’s airport and eat dinner together, but I didn’t get any word from him when I got there. It seemed that our call to T-mobile to turn on international plan didn’t work. So second spot we would meet was at the Taipei airport. I lingered in baggage for… about 2 hours before I gave up and headed out of the airport secured area, which I wouldn’t be able to return to without having a airline ticket. I didn’t know what to do at first, I went to the information help desk and explained the situation. The calmly said, “I’m sure he’s at the hotel, waiting for you…” To which I explained, no, he would not have left the airport without me, cause he would be a dead person. Finally they told me how to buy a calling card and I called home. The kids were ready for my call and told me that Dad was still in California as he had been on TWO planes with mechanicals and had dumped their fuel and landed back in the States. Now he was going to be delayed almost 2 days! So that’s what he was doing while I was doing this amazing tour.
I went to church the first morning I got there and it was great to meet some people and I told someone about how I would be doing this tour by myself, and wondered if someone would want to do it with me. They pointed to this sweet young recently married blonde gal from the UK who they said was starving they were so poor. She was excited and so she came with me the next day. As we boarded the prop plane she said this was her first small plane ride. We had a great time.
While hubby was working I did a ton on my own.
- National Palace Museum – wonderful
- Lungshan Temple – linger and watch
- Taipei 101 – pay to go to top. Hubby was having dinner here during earthquake~! Super cool. Shopping for the rich and famous
- Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall – huge, wear comfy shoes!
- A Night Market – need cash, only deal I found were here. Many to choose from.
I did not have a car and did everything here with public subway system. Transferred to bus a couple times. Easy.
I was hoping the shopping would be like China, but I did not find that to be the case. Talking to someone, they said very little is actually manufactured there and it’s all imported, thus more expensive than China. I did enjoy just going into the stores. I love walking a department store called Carrefour. It has everything in the world in one place. Appliances, clothes, food, what don’t they have?? And it’s all different for what you’ve seen here in states. We love poking around to find interesting things at these stores. They are actually headquartered in France.
I had a funny experience at the Marriott we were staying in. Decided to try out the Japanese bath area and walked in wearing my swim suit and cover up and was told by pointing and squawking by the attendant that I was not keeping my suit on and I needed to shower. (when in Rome…) Then I proceeded to do everything wrong and was bossed around… all 6 feet of me, by a bunch of tiny Japanese ladies. Wear the hair bonnet, hang your things where they have done so, slippers for feet… etc. They stood in a cold plunge chatting and told me I had to take a break from hot to that pool, which I could handle for about 6 seconds. This all communicated in Japanese. Felt like I was in Japan, not Taiwan. They do have gorgeous skin!
Food wise – I got nothing for you. I did not have a lot of successful moments… in Asia as a whole. In Taipei I was living off of french looking pastries, which I would expect in Vietnam, but they were everywhere and very tasty. So I snacked a lot instead of eating at restaurants. Cheap to be sure and when I braved a restaurant I was usually – meh.. Waste of my money. I did get an invite to dinner at church and that was great!
My gift to the kids upon return – these were everywhere.