Planning this trip to Taiwan will be a little different for us. We know a little better of what to expect, and there are some things we know we would like to do and see again. This trip will be a little shorter, so we won’t be able to do everything we did last time. . .but I wanted to share my top ten for Taiwan. There is much more to explore in Taiwan, so if you have recommendations or suggestions for our next trip, please post a comment and let me know.
1. Taroko National Park: Beautiful. To read more about our trip to this area, visit this post and this post.
2. Din Tai Fung: Best dumplings in the whole wide world as far as I am concerned. At the restaurant we visited, we watched through the window as the dumpling chefs rolled out the dumplings, filled them and quickly pinched them together.
3. Taipei 101: At the time we visited this building in 2009, it was the tallest building in the world. It held that title for six years before the opening of the world’s newest skyscraper in Dubai. Taipei 101 is designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquakes, common in Taiwan. The design and views from this building are all impressive. (We also loved the food court at Taipei 101.)
4. Flower Market: This market in Taipei (and the Jade Market, see below) are only held on the weekend. The plants and flowers are beautiful. . .I just wish I had a way to bring home some of the beautiful orchids. There are some great photos of the Flower Market and the Jade Market at this website of Neil Wade Photography.
5. Jade Market: When we arrived at the Jade Market, it was just opening so some of the vendors were still setting up. It is across the street from the Flower Market. We bought some teacups at the market. I’m a better negotiator of price when I speak the same language – it did help our negotiations to use the expression “Tài guì le” a few times (“too expensive”). In the photo above, I asked permission before taking this picture of two men and a young boy playing Chinese chess at the Jade Market.
6. SOGO Department Store: This department store is a mall in itself…but like nothing we have in the United States. We had fun just walking through the different sections. It does help to know the expression in Chinese for “I’m just looking” because the attentive sales clerks are often standing close by ready to help (“Wǒ zhǐshì kàn kàn, xièxiè”).
7. Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center: This is where we picked up many of the souvenirs and gifts for family and friends. It is a multi-story building with thousands of authentic Taiwanese gifts, everything from embroidered purses and clothing to beautiful jewelry and decorative art and furnishings. Prices are marked on the items, rather than negotiated like the Jade Market. I was skeptical at the Jade Market whether some items were authentic, and felt a little more comfortable buying some higher-priced items at the Handicraft Mart.
8. National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: This is an impressive tribute to the former president of the Republic of China.
9. Traditional Market: I’m not sure if this is the correct name. When we were in Tainan, we walked through a morning market where vendors had brought fresh food (meats, vegetables, etc.) to sell. It was so interesting, and I wish we had been able to spend more time exploring the market.
10. St. Lucy Center, Tainan: I can’t leave this one off of my top 10 list. This is the orphanage where our sons have lived until we could adopt them and bring them home. The caregivers are wonderful and it was obvious from our brief time at the orphanage, the women bond with the babies in their care. They rejoice with the families coming to adopt the children, but I have to wonder how hard it is for them to say goodbye to the children. I’m grateful for the love and care the staff and caregivers give to the children. They are doing their best to prepare the children for their new families.
I would love to hear the places and things that would be on your top ten list for Taiwan!