Date: November 29, 2013

Breakfast: last morning breakfast at this Capital Hotel for my trip. Very content that they have crunchy radish. New things tried: guava.

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Fun fact: You’ll be fined 7500 TW for eating or drinking anything in the train or metro stations and 10,000 TW for smoking. I was tempted multiple times to chew gum; technically you have to spit it out or even drinking water?

Taipei zoo: happy to see a panda bear!!! Don’t remember the last time I visited a zoo, but it’s quite exciting to observe the behavior of animals. Saw camels, horses, pigs, panda, monkeys, gorillas, lion, lynx, zebra, rhino, hippopotamus, elephants, turtles, flamingos, penguins and more!!!

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Maokong Gondola: a must if you’re already planning on visiting the zoo or if you want to look at the view from above. Rode from Taipei Station to final destination on this gondola lifting transportation system. There are only four stops. You have two choices of cabins to choose from: regular and cat crystal eye cabin. The only difference is that the cat crystal eye cabin has glass for the bottom where you feet are, so you can also view what’s below right under your feet.

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The fares varies depending on the distance/how many stops you are taking.

  • 1 Station NT$30
  • 2 Stations NT$40
  • 3 Stations NT$50

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Maokong station/Sanxuan Temple: great hiking place; I can easily spend half to a full day here, hiking the mountains and exploring tea houses and temples that are in the region. All walks are fairly long, so we just enjoyed a delicious lunch at their market that is right where outside the station.

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Tamsui Longshan Temple: created during the Qing Dynasty, it is one of the five that are built in Taiwan. The decorations on the roof and all the wood carvings are just so intricate and mesmerizing to see. Here, you’ll see not only see tourists, but also many native Tawainese people here, making personal prayers to different Gods on a number of reasons: wealth and prosperity, fertility for child, health, etc. There are others sitting along the walls, reading religious books or counting the necklace beads.

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Taipei Huaxi St tourist night market: wish I could have came here at night, but there was no time, so I figured it’s better to go and see than to not go at all. My friend told me about snake meat, which I was excited to try, where the vendor would kill the live snake of your choosing in front of you before cooking it. Too bad the place is no longer in business and seems like it’s no where to be found there.

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Foot Massage: Other than having a relaxing time (for most people), it can also be a wake up call to notify them of what illnesses to be cautious about. I changed my shoes for slippers, and soaked my feet in hot tea, while someone massaged my neck and shoulders. After 10 minutes, I laid down on the sofa chair where they massaged each foot for half an hour, and also legs for 10 minutes. The total time was about 90 minutes. While I had a relaxing time, my dad did not have the same experience. He was in pain for most of the time, and sometimes it’s a sharp pain due to the pressure points on the feet. If soreness or sharp pain is felt, it is correlated to part of the body that has a health problem.

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Dinner at Old Chang Restaurant: it was more of a casual business dinner with friends that I was tagging along in, so I got to try some delicious food and enjoy an 18 years old Glenfiddich single malt scotch whisky.

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Novotel Taipei: at midnight, we checked into Novotel, a hotel that provided shuttle every 15 minutes to the international airport. Not cheap, it was around $300/night. I loved the modern design and how chic the atmosphere, ball shaped chairs, white symmetrical lights, and minimalistic cleanness of the lobby. Our room was not as big as Capital, but they have carefully designed the limited space for it be comfortable.

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What’s cool? The bathroom bathtub glass window that is next to the beds are transparent, and with the click of a button, it is becomes digitally tinted glass, and nothing can be seen through. I was caught by surprise of this feature.

As I close eyes to go to sleep at 1 am, I cannot seem to fall asleep, which is something that has never been a problem for me. Maybe it was hard to sleep, knowing that it is the last few moments I’ll be spending in Taiwan, marking the end of this week long trip. Tomorrow morning at 5:30 am is the wake up time to head directly to the airport, to head back to the country that I’m so familiar with.

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