Taipei Journals

Taipei – Home of the Neon God

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A March 2001 trip to Taipei by Scubabartek

Neon Bonanza! Photo, Taipei, Taiwan More Photos
Quote: Vacation in Taipei, although often overlooked by tourists, can be a wonderful experience (once you adapt to the weather). The city bustles with nightlife and culture (if you know where to look) and whether you’re looking to buy pirated CD’s or eat a snake, it can all be found here.

Taipei – Home of the Neon God

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Overview

Hanging out in Tamshui Photo, Taipei, Taiwan
Quote:
Taipei has a dual-personality disorder. A city that is wet and moldy, quite smelly, and filled with few old people during the day, it turns into breezy, young and crowded neon-lit Mecca during the evenings. Teens and yuppies come out of work and schools, street vendors set up their stalls, store signs light up and Taipei becomes the city that I’ve grown quite fond of. Anyone visiting Taipei should plan on visiting some of the numerous night markets here. Taipei Hwahsi Tourist Night Market (known affectionately as the Snake Alley) is a good starting point, but there are countless others you can drop by. Also, no visit to Taiwan would be complete without visiting some temples: Lungshan and S...Read More

East Dragon Hotel

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Hotel

Quote:
East Dragon Hotel (Dong Long Da Fan Dian), is located in central Taipei, very close to the famed ‘Jail’ café. It is quite easy to miss the hotel, as the building numbers there are not very well marked and the signs are way above the eye level. Taipei TRTC and train stations are about 10 minute walk from the hotel. The hotel itself was quite unremarkable. Our room was clean and pleasant, but rather small and without windows. Bathroom was quite nice, and as in most Taiwanese hotels, was provided with a shaving set, toothbrush and a toothpaste. The rate (I believe of 2400 NTD for our double room) included breakfast, which was also unexceptional. Over-easy eggs, ham and toast (all a bit...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

East Dragon Hotel
23 Hankou Road
Taipei, Taiwan
02-2311-6969

Sean's Irish Pub

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Restaurant

Quote:
Sean’s Irish Pub is located in the first floor of the Taipei Westin. In a typical Irish pub style it has a cozy, dark atmosphere and is open until the wee hours. If you get in early enough (before 9pm, I believe) there is no cover charge. The pub has live music that just didn’t seem very Irish to me (Aretha’s Respect? It’s Raining Men??), but was nonetheless very enjoyable. Watch out though: if you get too jolly and distracted, you might be entrapped by band’s lead singer and made to sing karaoke style. It’s not easy after a few pints! Beer? Thank God for Guinness! But in all honesty, the selection was rather pathetic: narrowed down to Harp, Killian’s and our favourite Irish ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2001

Sean's Irish Pub
133 Nanking East Road, Section 3
Taipei, Taiwan
(02) 2544-3883

Taipei Night Markets/Snake Alley

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Attraction | "Taipei's night markets"

Taipei Night Markets/Snake Alley Photo, Taipei, Taiwan
Quote:
Night markets are a very enjoyable experience for a tourist and a part of everyday life for the Taiwanese. You can get everything here: great food, cheap clothing, trinkets, souvenirs, electronics, etc. They usually open around dusk and close up shop at around midnight. Don’t be surprised if you see stalls with no vendor around (usually with music CD’s or DVD’s). Some of the vendors operate illegally, and quickly disappear when cops show up. Hwahsi Jie a.k.a. Hwahsi Tourist Night Market or as it is affectionately known as Snake Alley is a good bet for starters. You can dine on barbequed rattlesnake here, have turtle soup or munch on a stir-fried mouse (or two). Funny enough, this type of fo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2001

Taipei Night Markets/Snake Alley

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei Temples

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Attraction | "Taipei's Temples"

Taipei Temples Photo, Taipei, Taiwan
Quote:
I’ve always believed that if you really want to know a country and its people, you need to learn about three things: food, sex and religion (in no particular order either). Temples fall very much into the third category. But before we go on, here is some background on religion in Taiwan. The two main religions in Taiwan are Buddhism and Taoism, but Christianity and native folk beliefs are present as well. One goddess who is particularly venerated is Matsu, the Goddess of the Sea (I suppose she has a very special meaning to the locals, since Taiwan is surrounded by the sea). Religion plays a very important part in daily life of the Taiwanese; worshipping one’s ancestors, praying for good...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

Taipei Temples
Throughout Taipei
Taipei, Taiwan

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

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Attraction

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Photo, Taipei, Taiwan
Quote:
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is located in downtown Taipei across from the National Central Library. It is a large, white, octagonal structure with a blue roof that houses a statue of Chian Kai-shek ( http://www.bartleby.com/65/ch/ChiangKa.html): Taiwan’s first leader. There is also a gallery and an exhibition center inside of the hall. Like in many places of honor around the world, you can watch a ceremonial changing of the guards here during the holidays, or a regular guard change during the rest of the year. Don’t get too close to the guards or step on the red carpet though: the guards will startle you by raising their guns and bangin...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Zhong Shan South Road
Taipei, Taiwan 100
+886 2 2349 1635

Martyrs' Shrine

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Attraction | "Martyr’s Shrine"

Martyrs' Shrine Photo, Taipei, Taiwan
Quote:
Martyr’s Shrine, which is a wonderful example of Ming dynasty architecture was built in 1969, to honor the memory of people who lost their lives during the establishment of the Republic of China (the capitalist China, as it once used to be). The site is composed of several structures while the central building houses the actual memorial with plaques around the building describing the history of the Republic of China. Spend a few hours at this site, and you will be getting a pretty thorough lesson in Taiwan’s history. The changing of the guards is performed hourly at the main entrance of the shrine, with a more ceremonial one happening on Sundays and national holidays. The parade starts at the m...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 2, 2001

Martyrs' Shrine
139 Bei-An Road
Taipei, Taiwan 104
+886 2 2885 4162

National Palace Museum

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Attraction

National Palace Museum Photo, Taipei, Taiwan
Quote:
If you’re going to see only one museum in Taipei then see the National Palace Museum. It is by far the most worthwhile. The museum has several permanent exhibitions on Chinese paintings, bronze artifacts, Buddhist sculpture, pottery and porcelain, jade jewelry, curio cabinets and history of Chinese calligraphy. It is not very large (at least compared to Paris' Louvre or Moscow's Hermitage) and it's varied enough, not to make you fall asleep. Entrance fee is 100NTD and the museum is open between 9AM and 5PM everyday. There is a wonderful Chinese garden next to the museum (entrance fee is nominal, I believe it was 10NTD) in which you can relax and enjoy feeding carp or let your kids (if you have an...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 2, 2001

National Palace Museum
221 Chih-shan Rd. Sec 2
Taipei, Taiwan