My Top Ten for Taiwan

Posted: April 11, 2011 in St. Lucy, Taiwan
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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.

CKS Memorial Hall Taipei

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!

  1. Nadine says:

    The flower market looks wonderful! Of all the places you listed we only went to the Handicraft Market but it was a great place to get some things to bring home. Great tribute to St. Lucy Center. They are caring and devoted!

  2. so excited for you I am the same about SLC! LOVE those people! I think about them all the time. I am wanting to send a care package soon! They have touched our lives forever! We had hours and hours with them at Jeremiah’s gotcha day and it was amazing 🙂 and then the next day with a few of them at a dr. appointment we all went to together 🙂 Can’t wait to follow your journey! when i s the date??

  3. Future Mama says:

    LOVE this! Can’t wait to show my husband tonight!!!

  4. Tonya says:

    I also loved the Taipei zoo! It was soooo big and soooo beautiful and only cost about $3.00 (US dollars)!! It was a great deal, very clean, and beautiful!!

    Also, we took a tour of the northern coast and Chiufen Village. The village is amazing!! It is built right onto the side of a mountain..beautiful scenery and it has a great shopping reputation. Rows and rows and rows of shops to get locally made trinkets and other souveniors at a great price–and of course lots of interesting food vendors. (And of course there was a 7-11)!! Our hotel sold us the tour…it picked up in the lobby of several hotels. In all it lasted about 3-4 hours and was worth every second. I was concerend at first b/c it picked us up in a van with a driver and a guide, then we went to a few other hotels to get some other people. But then I really grew to love it…there were only about 6 of us total in the van so we were able to ask lots of questions and learn so much.

  5. Cindy says:

    Hi Tami. . .we don’t have a date yet, still waiting 🙂

    Tonya, I’ll have to check out the Chiufen village tour. I just pulled up some photos of that area and it looks gorgeous – thanks for sharing that!

  6. sally says:

    I didn’t get to see much of Taipei in 1997-98 when we adopted our son. Since we did our adoption totally backwards I only got to go to St. Lucy’s once and that was the day we signed the release papers. Is Carmela still the director? I remember her fondly as a kind, caring, very efficient woman. If one wants to really travel, SunMoon Lake is a wonderful destination and is absolutely beautiful – an easy day trip.

  7. Cindy says:

    Hi Sally – Did you take a tour bus or group tour to Sun Moon Lake? We considered a trip there but I am not a fan of buses or group tours. . .and get carsick easily (unless I’m driving), so I was hesitant to even ride in a van with others. . .we looked at ways we could get there via High Speed Rail and a shorter bus trip, but without speaking the language, it seemed like it would be more challenging. I am not sure about Carmela – I think she may have passed away and her daughter is the director now, I think?? Not sure, though.

  8. Terri says:

    Thanks for sharing this! We are traveling somewhere around June 9-20 ourselves to pick up our daughter who is in foster care, but we are adopting through Cathwel. This really helps a lot. I’m going to your hotel reviews next. We have to stay several days in Taichung…do you know anything about that city?

  9. Angela Hayostek says:

    Totally agree about Din Tai Fung- we ate their twice when we were there just over a year ago. There’s a great little book store next to the original restaurant that we enjoyed as well.
    This may be the same village as mentioned in the comments- but we took the subway as far north as you could go and there are shops next to the water and on the streets just up one block from the water and had a fabulous time checking out all the shops and trying lots of authentic food and snacks.
    We loved the Jade and Flower market as well. Now I look at orchids and their prices here and I just shake my head-if only there was a way to get those beautiful flowers home! We did buy some garden decorations there and tons of bracelets at the jade market.
    Enjoy your trip! We loved it there and wish we could have made it to Taroko.

  10. Tisra says:

    I spent 2 years thinking I’d get to see these sights before we ended up adopting from India. Needless to say, I still would really love to go to Taiwan some day, and you’ve highlighted it all so well! I can’t tell you how happy I am for your family that you get to experience the blessing of adoption again. I pray that your son bonds easily, adjusts well, and that you all have the grace of God upon your family through travels as you uncover the “new normal” you’re stepping into. What an amazing ride! Can’t wait to see photos!

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