About a month before my grandma’s birthday, I booked us a flight to Taipei, Taiwan. The only thing that comes to mind when I think of Taiwan is the famous Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden (if you’re from the Philippines and don’t know what Meteor Garden is, shame on you.)
I chose Taipei quite randomly, actually! I didn’t do any research prior to booking – in fact, I didn’t really research until the night before our flight, and I don’t regret it at all. Why? Because it’s such a great experience to be surprised by what a place you barely know anything about can offer. I didn’t expect to love Taipei this much!
Here are photos from our first day in Taipei, which we spent at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial and Shilin night market.
We arrived at our Airbnb past 4AM already, and so we changed our first day plans. Originally, we planned to head outside the city for Mama’s birthday. Since we know that we need some sleep and wouldn’t be able to wake up early, we decided to spend the day without any concrete plans. Chiang Kai Shek was just a few minutes walk from our place, and so that’s where we went!
We saw a bunch of people with serious camera gear taking photos of the cherry blossom trees. I got curious of what they were actually taking photos of and saw that there were yellow birds on the trees! I joined the fun and tried taking photos with just my 4 year old Samsung Galaxy Camera. I caught some of the photographers looking at me – I must have looked ridiculous beside them lol but hey I got a couple of decent shots!
The Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is huge. It takes 89 steps for you to reach the top. The number of steps, I learned, represents the former president of China’s age when he died.
Nearby, two orange-roofed landmarks – the National Theater and the National Concert Hall stand opposing each other. There are well-groomed trees and plants leading to both landmarks from the memorial hall that reminded me of Versailles.
Mama and I walked around the square people watching. There were fathers with kids playing with bubbles, people walking their dogs without leash (how can I do that with a jack russell?), couples spending time together. We’d hear music playing from the concert hall, finding out later on that there were students practicing some dance.
We got hungry by 4PM – we didn’t have a proper meal before heading out, and so we went to a restaurant near the square.
I loved the vibe and quaint interiors of Café Vergißmeinnicht. Although the food is nothing special (maybe I was unlucky with my choice of meal), I still enjoyed my time there, talking to Mama and enjoying a good cup of iced black tea while jazz music was playing in the background.
Walking home, I got myself a Black Tea Latte from Cama Cafe. That day was the start of my black tea fascination.
We went back to our airbnb to catch a quick nap, since we were still tired from our late night flight and not-as-easy experience going to our airbnb from the airport in the wee hours of the morning. At past 7PM, after watching a couple of Taipei foodtrip videos on YouTube, we headed to Shilin night market.
We ended the night having some matcha ice cream, torched beef with cheese, oyster omelette, and frog egg drink (which isn’t really made with frog eggs, by the way). We loved Shilin night market so much, we went there twice during our trip!
Our first day in Taipei definitely set the right tone for the rest of time in Taiwan!