Here, surrounded by water, is a beautiful island that caters to adventurers of every kind; the shopper, the foodie, the photographer, the hiker, and the budding historian. In her heart, Taiwan holds Taipei. A very progressive city that’s surrounded by beautiful mountains. Taipei holds an avenue for someone who finds themselves being a little bit of every kind of adventurer. For the shopper, you can go to Taipei 101 and spend without restraint at some of the biggest and well renowned brand name stores in the world. If you’re on a tighter budget, you may do better to hit up the Ximen district which also houses popular brands. For the frugal shopper, the night markets house beautiful clothes, jewelry, food, and trinkets some that can only be found in Taiwan!
For the foodie, the night markets are a dream come true! There’s so much to try! Not only that, but the food is cheap; $10 USD can fill you up for the night! Food overall is a lot cheaper than the US, but don’t let that speak to the quality. The food in Taipei has been some of the best I’ve ever tasted and has been some of the best quality for the price I’ve ever seen!
Tourist-y areas can be a bit more expensive than places well known to the local people, so make a friend and go explore some of the local markets where your money can really stretch! For the photographer, Taipei is a conglomerate of photo opportunities! My personal favorite is the Maokong Gondola! It is incredibly beautiful going up. The scenery outside is breathtaking and the sun hits the inside of the gondola just right for your selfies and pics with friends! The ride at night is just as beautiful with the bright city skyline. The Maokong tea garden is so beautiful and there are a lot of walkways that lead to beautiful scenes perfect for the selfie obsessed or the scenic photographer.
As for the hiker, Elephant Mountain is perfect! Your reward is an amazing view of the city. If that is not challenging enough, the island provides plenty of opportunity to go on a hiking adventure outside the city of Taipei. The historian is in for an awesome learning experience! The history of Taiwan is so incredibly rich! Because Taiwan was once colonized by the Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese, the Taiwanese culture is heavily influenced. The aboriginal influences can also still be seen. It is an amazing thing to see the imprints of those who ruled and/or governed over Taiwan. There are still buildings and houses that are Japanese styled. Food can be found that is influenced by Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese culture. Minan and Hakka are still spoken by people all over the island. Overall my experience here in Taiwan has helped me educationally and culturally because our classes are very informative, and the people are so open and willing to share every part of their culture.
By: Alexis Ingram
Program: Tradition and Modernity in Taiwan
Term: Summer 2018