It was April of this year when my high school classmates (Armina and Bharbhy) informed me and Marianne (another classmate) that they booked a plane going to Taiwan. The idea of out of the country had a strong impact on me because I was planning last year to go to another South East Asian country. Of course, Marianne and I said yes! The planning of where we are going, where we are staying and how much are we going to bring was not easy. It took us even the last day before our flight to finalize everything.
Marianne and I luckily had the same flight with my other classmates. We arrived at Taiwan around one in the morning, groggy and sleepy. Yet, we were all excited to explore Taiwan! Because the MRT station would open by six in the morning, we decided to ride on a bus going to our Airbnb place. Luckily, there was an Easy Card machine in the airport so we get our Easy Card which we used every time we ride the bus and train, and you can even use it to buy things! Very accessible! It was like our own Beep card but Easy card is more amazing!
As we arrived at our Airbnb place, the usual check-in time in any hotel establishments and Airbnb places in Taiwan is three in the afternoon. You can leave your luggage on lockers (you can find it in train stations and airports) but in our case, we left our luggage in the complex building lobby. This was per advice by our Airbnb contact which was convenient for us because we didn’t need to pay for lockers.
Our first stop for our first day in Taiwan was Yehliu Geopark. The magnificent rock formation geopark is located at Wanli of New Taipei City.
How to get there: We rode an express bus at Keelung station.
Entrance fee: 80NT
What can you see? In Yehliu Geopark, you will be amazed to see a rock formation that you cannot even believe that existing and the evolution of the rocks due to marine erosion. I’ve wanted to see the Queen’s Head because it had been an inspiration to me in one of the stories that I had written.
It was raining cats and dogs and the weather didn’t stop us to visit the famous Jiufen Old Street.
How to get there: We rode a taxi because the driver promised that we would arrive at the place quickly.
Entrance fee: Free
What can you see? We had our late lunch at one of the food places in the old street. We ordered these meatballs in a soup which tasted good but our favorite was the fried squid! We tried the so-called ‘Red Vinasse Meatballs’ which was a boo for us. Our taste buds didn’t like it. If you want to have an early shopping for souvenirs, Jiufen Old Street will offer you variety of pasalubongs!
It was nearly four in the afternoon when we finally set our tired and sore feet at Shifen Waterfall Park.
How to get there: The old railway train to Shifen was fantastic!
Entrance fee: Free (Make sure to be there before 4:30 because it closes at that time)
What can you see? We walked for 40 minutes to see the strong current of the waterfall. The hanging bridge was a win for me!
Our last but the not the least stop for our first day in Taiwan was the Shifen Lantern. This very popular place where you can see and make your own sky lantern is a must have for your trip.
How to get there: If you are coming from Shifen Waterfall, you only need to walk for 15-20 minutes.
Entrance fee: None but the lantern cost 200 NTD
What can you see? If you want to make a wish and let the heaven grants it. The colors in the lantern that you chose will represent the things that you want to happen. My friends and I chose: pink (love), blue (work) and white (health). Just seeing our sky lantern up in the sky made us all happy and hopeful.
That’s it for the first day! I can’t wait to tell you where we went for our second day and what we discovered more about Taiwan.
Take note: Going to Taiwan is VISA FREE starting next month! Book your tickets now!