Posts Tagged ‘royal palace museum’

Last Friday we finished work for one week of Easter break so early Saturday morning we ran screaming for Hong Kong airport and got the hell outta Dodge for a five day hiatus to Taiwan.
The flight from Honkers to Taipei is only roughly an hour and a half. The amount of daily flights are staggering and I was delighted to get a 2900HKD (290Euro/375USD) return for two with Cathay via Priceline (tickets were 5900HKD on Cathay’s website), so that was a result and a half from the Colster. Priceline will be consulted for future trips. Oh yes.

So Taipei first off. Yeah, hmmm, certainly a pleasant change from Honkers in parts. A bit, um, less exciting I would have to say. We thoroughly enjoyed the wide European-esque streets and low-rise shops and apartments but wandered around a bit confused to where the action was. When we say action we mean restaurants and bars and general buzz-iness. The prior purchase of The Lonely Planet Guide to Taiwan was about as helpful and useful to me as wandering the streets pulling a dead donkey in a cart.
Seriously how do they get away with such rubbish?! Twice we went in search of bars and restaurants they recommended, twice we were faced with shutters and beady eyed dog-sized rats in dingy alleyways. Never again Lonely Planet, never again. Don’t get me started on their quirky, artsy maps they love to include in their guides. Asshats.

What is there to see in Taipei and get on with it, I hear you scream?

Taipei 101

This is a tall building in which you can go up an elevator to the top and peer out on haziness. It was the tallest on this planet until The Burj got built in Dubai recently. It’s got the fastest elevator in the world as you can tell by this video I took.

I would probably not like the girl’s job that stands in there and goes up and down all day telling everyone to swallow to get rid of the ear clogging sensation you get when hurtling with or against gravity very fast. There’s not much at the top other than the view and I hated the fact they make people walk through a vast shopping area to get the elevator back down. Shame on them. I wouldn’t mind but it was all crap you wouldn’t buy in a million years like marble earthworms and necklaces with big green elephant ears.

Taipei 101 is in the middle of nothing at the junction of nowhere and huh?. Although it has a big mall underneath selling jewelery and clothes that you would have to sell your first born to buy. We did dine royally in Subway in the food court in the basement though. Nice. Next.

Various Temples

We got temple-ized out of it when we were in Bangkok so it was with heavy hearts we set out to go to a couple of temples in Taipei and to be honest it wasn’t half bad. First up we went to a confusing temple to Confucius called Confucius Temple strangely enough. I’ve been told many times by Chinese friends that Confucianism is not a religion. Which explained why this temple was empty I suppose. It was nice though, an instant quiet and calmness when you entered.  It was small and pleasant and not too smokey with incense (which we would make up for in later temples).

Confucius would say something here like : “He who flies plane over temple; flies temple over plane”.

Over the street slaloming through the crowds gathering around Chinese Checkers playing old farts and we get to the Baoan temple which is busier and makes you cough more with incense smoke. It’s a bit bigger and has a more “Please help me!” feel to it than the Confucius Temple.

I must say it was also eerily calm and peaceful in there but had to stifle a sarcastic snigger at the offering of a Pocari Sweat to the gods.

Anyhue on to Longshan Temple which has it’s own underground stop so it must be popular. And it is. With tourists, touts and locals all there for drastically different reasons. It’s also got a public square outside it in which numerous dodgy looking people sit around glaring at passers by. Weird. Longshan has a nice little courtyard as you walk in with some waterfalls and then you get in to the temple and are gobbled up by incense. Peaceful though, right?!

Yes, we’re still alive and went to Taiwan and I became a monk.

Hee-hee hee, ahee hee hee. Silly cat. There be Koi in the ponds below my feline friend, open thine eyes!

Struggling for things to do we went to the Royal Palace Museum and blazed through their momentous collection of old stones, pottery and furniture in record time. The amount of guided tours set off alarm bells in my well oiled Spidey Tourist senses. They stood around display cases like retarded sheep, they blocked off escape routes, they listened obediently through headsets to their robotic and thoroughly uninterested tour guides and did their best to stop us but no, not us. No photos allowed inside because they said so. So here’s one from outside.

After hunting for a Veggie place that Lonely Planet bleated about from on high and found it to be as open as North Korea. We traipsed back to the MRT stop to another very friendly Veggie place called Vegetarian Kitchen so if you’re ever at Shilin MRT stop in Taipei, go check it out.

We walked, then to Shilin Night Market, got utterly confused about everything regarding it and went back to our dark but lavish hotel to prepare for our train trip the next morning.


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