The good thing about overnight flight was that I’d have a full day right away to start my tour in Taipei. The cons was that I felt like a zombie after being half asleep for less than 5 hours on the plane.
I was lucky and managed to get the Jetstar air ticket for SGD166. Hoho
Upon arrival at Taipei Taiyuan International Airport at 6am, we went to the convenient store to get some snack and coffee. Their shampoo-bottled latte (純萃喝) is cheaper than in Singapore, costing only 30NTD (<SGD$1.50). Amazing! I had it every day for 5 days.
After the 1 hour bus ride (90NTD, $4+) to Taipei central, we dumbed our bag packs with the hostel (Beimen WOW Poshtel, $20/per person per night) and started roaming the streets with our cameras. For this trip, we only had film cameras: the Leica M6 and Contax TVS. The only digitals were iPhones.
After exploring the streets of Taipei, we went to Song Shan Cultural and Creative Park because we wanted to feel cultural and creative (lol). However, it’s quite a disappointment because nothing much was on exhibition there. We ended up window-shop in the famous retail chain- 成品.
In there, we discovered a film photography darkroom. They provide training to teach people how to use a darkroom to develop and print photos from your negatives films. Too bad we couldn’t commit a few hours there. If you want to know where to develop films in Taipei film labs, click here.
I must say Song Shan Cultural & Creative Park does have a few bookstores that have very beautiful interior. If I were the boss, I would feel so frustrated because people only come in to take pictures than to look at books. This potentially caused nuisance to the real book readers as they have to make way for the camwhores and be out of their frames. Haha
Wish I had the time to pick up a book, sit at that beautiful corner and sip some coffee.
Shopping in DunHua South Road (敦化南路)
After the peaceful time spent in Song Shan, we walked down to DunHua South Road. This area is another shopping streets full of clothes. Most importantly, Lomography Taipei store is there! Besides selling their own Lomo films, they have cinestill, some Kodak cinema films and a few common ones in their fridges. Expensive than usual.
We spent the rest of the late afternoon scrolling the area, eating snacks, drinking bubble teas and took lots of photos. Because it was our first day, the streets just look attractive. We felt like we were in Japan. Except people are speaking mandarin and the road signs are in Chinese.
Previously I blog about my experience with stinky Toufu in Hong Kong. I swear I nearly puke at the smell of it. To my horror, it’s common to see and smell stinky toufu in Taipei!! I took the above picture with one hand covering my nose. Super smelly! No, I didn’t have the gut to try it, yet.
ShiLin Night Market 士林夜市
Although we had been warned about ShiLin Night Market being very touristy, we still went. Because we are tourists. The local told me to not order any street food that’s more than 100 NTD (SGD4+). We still did, on a fries with different sauces. Just because it had long Q, I assumed it to be good. It sucked.
To be fair, ShiLin is worth a visit. There are many shops selling stuff, like clothes, dolls, toys, souvenirs, etc. There are also lots of food stalls. We had our last fix of milk tea and went back to our cosy hostel to sleep.
Of the many hostels I stayed during my travels in UK, Europe and Hong Kong, Beimen Wow Poshtel is so far the best, and it’s value for money too. I am not earning any commission from them so I won’t write more. All I can say it, they are good.
That concludes our relaxing day 1 in Taipei, a city that looks like a mini Japan.