Tapei was an accidental visit. I call it accidental as it was never planned. We were supposed to only go to Japan. Like usual I booked miles in advance just in case. And well when that tsunami came I still haven’t bought travel insurance as yet thinking I still had plenty of time and in turn had no flexibility with my tickets.

The airline refused a refund. They did give us the option to change our destination with a fee attached. In the end we opted for Taipei which wasn’t on their list of destinations and copped out an extra $2,000 for flights for the 5 of us . I wanted South Korea but it was $5,000 extra to fly from Japan to Seoul and back. Talk about thievery.

I didn’t want to fork out another $5,000 since I only paid $6,000 for return flights to Japan for the family.

Our itinerary was such. Originally we were supposed to spend a week in Kyoto then make our way to Tokyo for another week before flying home. When I heard about the tsunami and the nuclear fiasco I opted out the week in Tokyo.

From Kyoto we flew into Taipei for the week and then back into Tokyo to catch the flight home.

Needless to say every time we went overseas something bad happened so it’s nothing new when I heard about the tsunami. I was like not again?

In Kyoto we did so much that when we got to Taipei we were all buggered. The endless walking, the endless temple visits thus we didn’t do much in Taipei. It was altogether a relaxing week. We ate and ate and ate. That’s all we ever do . We didn’t end up doing day trips. We just walked around, explored the city and did what the locals did. We visited markets and of course ate and ate and ate.

One thing about Taipei, if you love street food then it’s a place to be. You can find food anywhere and everywhere. As for things to do? When I was drafting up the itinerary there wasn’t much unless one ventured out of Taipei. Especially if one is adventurous there was mountains to hike etc etc. I found enough things to keep us occupy for the week we were there. We could have done more but with the state of tiredness that we were in we were glad to just take it easy.

The hotel we booked was supposed to be a 4 star yet more like a 3 star. For $140 AUD a night it served us well. It was clean, service was good and was near the station.

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This was our lunch. It costed 280NT roughly less than $10 AUD (October 2011). I wrote that it was expensive but it’s not as it could easily feed two people.

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Kids dancing in the mall (MRT)

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We went up in the gondolas to see the Pandas.

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The pandas were oh so cute but I felt sad for them. Since it was raining that day they were stuck inside a very tiny enclosure. Either that or they were there for the amusement of us tourists.

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Street food vendors. Lots of carts around. This one had sweet potatoes roasted on charcoal.

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Photos didn’t turn out. A photo of Taipei at night from the Taipei 101 building that wasn’t blurry. Apart from the view of the city Taipei 101 was just a shopping complex full of brand names. Nothing much to see unless you want to go up there to take photos.

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A shopping strip near a train station.

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Working out our meal. 30NT is roughly $1AUD. It’s a funny set up. The menu had photos but the ordering sheets were in Chinese characters thus we were still stuck. We had to show the waiter the photos to order. The meal costed us $15 AUD for the whole family. Roughly $3 AUD each.

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It was very easy to use public transport. They had English translations. We didn’t get lost once. The lines were coloured coded thus you just have to remember the colour of the line as to which line you were going on.

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The old and the new.

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I wasn’t conspicuous enough.

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Our kids at the Puppet Museum.

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The puppets were very intricate. Some were down right creepy. Especially the bad guys.

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The trains are very clean for the mere fact that you cannot eat in the stations or on the train.

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Look at the AC units and the scooters!

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It rained and rained and rained. We got there beginning of October.

Our itinerary whilst in Taipei (5 days)

1/ Pandas-though great to see it’s very sad. I wanted to see them free roaming around. The zoo was tiny compared to other zoos we’ve been to.

2/ Gondola-there’s a temple up there but we were all templed out in Japan. We found pizza in a cafe for the kids. Fancy that, the best pizza was to be had in Taipei. We were dumbstruck.

3/ Science museum-took half a day. Something to do with the kids when it’s wet.

4/ Taipei 101-saw city lit up at night.

5/ Markets-we went to a lot of markets and ate and ate and ate

6/ Daan Park-a lovely oasis in the middle of Taipei.

7/ Water Puppets-we were lucky as they only let in groups. On the day we went there was a school group in there so they let us in. We made a donation afterwards. The kids loved it.

8/ Stinky Tofu and Beef noodles (traditional foods)

9/ Street foods-we went wandering the streets and of course ate and ate and ate.