On March 2016, our family booked a last minute trip to Taiwan for Holy Week. The cheapest flight we found was via Cathay Pacific which meant a connecting flight via Hong Kong. I was excited to bring my family around especially my brother and my girlfriend who have not yet been to this country. This is officially my 5th time in Taiwan.
Since our flight was on a Holy Thursday, we left early for the airport as we were expecting heavy congestion with the amount of travelers leaving the country. When we reached Terminal 3, I was surprised to see the total opposite. There was light traffic in the airport and the check-in process was smooth sailing. Maybe we were lucky because we booked an early morning flight.
I was also surprised that half of our flights (MNL to HKG and HKG to MNL) were booked for Premium Economy seats. I am well aware that our round trip flight was priced slightly higher due to the peak season and last minute booking but it was still relatively cheaper than booking direct for that seat category. Seems to me that they opened the higher class seats for the same economy price. Lucky!
For our hotel, we stayed at Palais de Chine near Taipei Main Station. The hotel has an old French-style that is evident right when you enter the 1st floor. Their main lobby is situated in a higher floor.
Although size might be on the small side for some, the sleep quality was good for me. The down blankets were just plain awesome! The only negative might be the open style bathroom. Most notable their bathtub/shower area that is only separated by a curtain from the room. The sink is also part of the room. You need some time to get used to this setup.
I was not able to take photos but you should also try their breakfast buffet. They had a great Japanese selection when we visited which is a bonus as I love Japanese food. Our luck streak continued even after check-out as several of our breakfast meals were not charged. The hotel was fully booked when we stayed so they did not bother to look for the other receipts and gave it to us for free. Thanks Palais de Chine!
First thing we did after check-in was to head out for lunch. More like lunches because we ate twice! Our first stop was Yong-Kang Beef Noodle. (MRT Dongmen Station Exit 4, Orange Line, tel: [886-2] 2351-1051) Although I have been to Taipei several times, I have never tried any of their famous beef noodles. It was raining that time but people still lined-up at this place.
The verdict: It was okay but I was expecting something else. I have tried a similar dish in Chinatown here in the Philippines and I still do not understand what is it with beef noodles. Maybe, I should try a different place next time.
Our next stop was Kao Chi 高記 (台北市永康街5號 5 Yongkang St, Taipei City) which is located in the same area. Maybe just 5-10 minutes of walking from Yong Kang. If you are into xiaolongbao, then this is the place for you! We tried several dishes like the steamed and fried xiaolongbao as well as the salted egg bao.
We decided to try Kao Chi over the more famous Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (台北市信義路二段194 – Start of Yongkang Street) which is located in the same area. I would have gone here as well if we had more time to spare.
At sundown, we headed to our first tourist attraction. The famous Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Park. Given our schedule, I would have wanted to bring them here during daytime but seeing the memorial at night was a unique experience as well. There was almost zero tourists around and maybe just a few local students around the area.
While you are at the memorial park, go and try Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 which is widely accepted as the inventor of bubble tea. It is located in the building on the left side if you are facing the memorial.
Our next stop was supposed to be the observatory deck at Taipei 101. However, we were already 10 minutes late before their final call. You can also try Din Tai Fung here as theyhave a branch inside the mall.
We just took some photos from the outside. The rain did not stop us!
For dinner, we headed to Longshan Temple where there were also several night markets and attractions nearby.
We checked both Guangzhou Street Night Market and Huaxi Street Night Market.
Quite frankly, it was a bit of a downer as there was not much action going around. We were quite late when we got there at around 10:30 pm. It was also raining profusely the whole day. Lesson learned: Visit night markets a bit earlier the next time!
Before headed back to our hotel, we took a few photos of the infamous Bopilao Old Street. Too bad it was closed at night as well.
– The Tourist Pao