Hey /trv/, I'm currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and will be heading to Taiwan soon.
I'll be there for a few weeks and am pretty psyched to explore.
Anyone been before?
I'm more interested in being outside major urban areas and getting into the wilds. But I DO have a love for HK and that uber-dense urban madness. So a balance of both appears to be on the cards.
I'm particularly seeking tips regarding:
1) Accommodations in Taipei. Hostel tier def a plus... don't have much in the way of $.
2) Hot springs and hiking! Anywhere off the beaten track where I could base out of for a week or so.
3) Quaint, quiet seaside towns where I could live cheaply while concentrating on writing for a week.
4) Artist-y spots, whether in Taipei or elsewhere.
5) Anyone had success couchsurfing there?
6) How about tent camping?
7) "MUST EATS" :D
Many thanks for any info/recommendations you'd be willing to share :D
bamp. infox plz?
Was there for Xmas 2014 until early 2015.
My girlfriend was studying there, so she could speak Mandarin which was really nice (she isn't a local though).
When she arrived she couch surfed, so definitely feasible.
Hiking... we just did Taroko/around Hualien, Yangminshan and Alishan. Most of it day trips and rather tame, if I went back I would tackle Yushan for sure. Either way I enjoyed them all.
Seaside town? mmm Keelung is a short train outside Taipei. Doesn't get many tourists, really rustic, working class type city. It does have a really surreal tourist park (mostly for mainlanders) on "Keelung island" which I thought was fun. Lots of seafood at the night market.
Just make sure you try different night markets for grub. Its all good.
Any other questions ask, have fun though dude I loved Taiwan and think Taipei is probably my favourite Asian city. One thing surprised me was the abundance of public art, so you shouldn't have trouble finding places to suit you in that regard.
good advice in >>1066779, also want to include:
Artist-y spots in Taipei:
>228 Peace Park
Nice place to chill, very lovely park with lots of benches.
>Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Outside is free and pretty, also a nice place to visit for an hour and watch the changing of guards. There is a small museum, I can't remember if it was free.
Called the Shinjuku of Taipei, great to visit during the late afternoon/evening to people watch, shop, and eat.
The food in Taiwan is amazing, I miss it very much. Definitely go to a night market!
>Shilin Night Market
Biggest one in Taipei; the food area is now located underground down the street from the MRT station (right after all the game stands). Good place shop for really cheap clothes and accessories. One of the most popular night market foods is fried chicken pounded very flat and crispy. Try the grilled kebabs of meat; I personally like chicken heart and chicken butt.
Taiwan is known for their pearl milk tea. Get it with "xian nai" (鮮奶, fresh milk)for best taste; Taiwan's milk tea has ruined me forever.
>Oyster noodle soup (蚵仔麵線)
Another popular dish, I don't know the Mandarin pronunciation but the Taiwanese name is "oh-wah-mee-swah". The soup is thick and jello-y; usually they also add intestines. It's interesting and tasty.
It smells like shit, literally. Personally I don't have a taste for this but it's an extremely popular dish and definitely a must-try.
>Beef noodle soup
hot and greasy with thick, handcut noodles, it's good.
>Taiwanese lunchbox (便當)
Very filling, very cheap, very delicious.
>Green scallion pancake
Fried pancake with green scallions, exactly as it sounds, very tasty.
Oysters fried in pancake, the sauce they pour on is thick and sweet.
Located in Taipei, very popular restaurant famous for "xiaolongbao" (小籠包) soup dumplings. They make a set # everyday and sellout w/in a couple hours.
I don't know what to call this type of dish but basically you spoon it all over your rice, kinda like curry. A different kind of spicy, makes your mouth go pleasantly numb.
The fruit is seriously very sweet and delicious.
Small sweet dessert with pineapple filling and crumbly crust. Taiwan is known for them and they package and travel very well if you want to bring home a food souvenir.
A lot of very nice tea is grown in Taiwan. One famous tea growing area is accessible from Taipei (~30min to Maokong).
A couple elements here which are purchased separately: fried sesame cake which sometimes has a thin sugary sweet filling, "youtiao" deep fried stick of dough, and "doujiang" soy milk which is sweet and served hot or cold.
I can't remember if Thailand has this or not but it's good in Taiwan. Very important to find a place that properly shaves the ice so you get a nice powder.
For tent camping, you can definitely do it basically anywhere outdoors. I rode a scooter from Kenting (down south) up the east coast back to Taipei over the course of 3 days. I pitched a tent on the beach every night and made a fire, only once had police come over and they just told me to be careful. If you have the time and courage to do this then I highly recommend this, your chinese needs to be very good because most likely your scooter will breakdown (ours did several times).
I forgot to add for artist-y places:
>National Palace Museum
If you're into eastern art then this is a must-visit. They have one of the largest rotating collections of artifacts.
This is the place that inspired the bathhouse town for Spirited Away. It's very quaint and picturesque but also a huge tourist trap.
And another food to try:
>Binlang (betel nut)
it's a popular "chewing" item that people chew to get a rush, kinda like caffeine but a much more interesting experience IMO. You chew to get the juices then spit it out (do NOT swallow). Don't eat too much, it'll make you feel sick. These have also been linked to cancer.
>any specific advice for a native Mandarin who will be in Taiwan for like 10 to 15 days?
1. people are divided on their belief on whether Taiwan is part of China or separate. Generally younger people desire separation. Either way, it can be a touchy subject so be respectful if people want to talk about it.
2. toilet paper can be flushed in the toilet, don't put it in the waste basket unless there is a sign indicating otherwise.
3. queue and wait your turn to be served.
4. don't spit on the street.
>living in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hey anon, I thought of spending time in Chiang Mai when I visit Thailand.
How much time do you suggest me to spend there as european tourist?
That would be part of my Thailand trip beside the south..
I lived in Taiwan for a year, good times.
1) Expect prices of 400 NT up for a dorm. Similar in other areas of Taiwan.
2) There are some wild hot springs, two I know of. One is right in the Taroko Gorge, called Wulai I think. A couple km up from Tianxiang.
Hiking: any advanced hiking requires permits, you have to apply at least 7 days in advance. It's easily done online, the websites are all in English. It is VERY rewarding! Try the Xueshan hike - almost 4000m, spectacular scenery 2-4 days. Free cabins on the way, no tent needed.
3) Anywhere on the east coast. Try Dulan, it got an artsy, backpackerish feel.
5) Yes. Not that many active hosts, but very hospitable ones.
6) Wild camping is legal. Plenty of campsites in nature spots, too.
I have been actually thinking of doing a detour to ROC, as I'll be spending a month in the Philippines starting next month.
Unfortunaly it seems pretty expensive, at least straight flights from Manila or Clark cause there are no AirAsia routes from Phi 2 Taiwan. So probably not gonna happen due to my budget limits. Is there a ferry to Taiwan from Phi? :)
I heard Taiwan is also very white guy friendly (wink wink)?
I'm trying to set up a budget. What's a good daily budget for bare-bones travel? Bare-bones meaning: cheaper but decent hostels, eating with the locals, public transit, not much touristy stuff. I've read some sources that say 1,000 NTD/day is about as low as it'll go, and you can double that amount to have a much more comfortable time.
Thoughts? What have you guys spent or expect to spend?
2) Go to Nantou for hiking, plenty of mountains and fresh air
3) Lugang / Erlin / Hualien
4) The entire city of Tainan, Pier 2 in Kaohsiung
5) Haven't tried it here, but knowing how friendly the Taiwanese are, shouldn't be a problem
7) Guabao (Taiwanese hamburger, steam bun + pork + peanut sugar + pickled vegetables + egg + cilantro + etc)
Migao (sticky rice cake)