TAIPEI

We flew to Taipei with China Airlines, the official airline of Taiwan. The flight has a short layover in Bangkok, but starting in 2016 you can fly straight from Amsterdam to the Taiwanese capital. 

We did not know much about Taiwan and used the Internet to orientate ourselves. It is a small country, not much bigger than the Netherlands but with a population of 23 million, it is more densely populated. 

It is a tropical island with high mountains where it can be humid and hot, as well as rain, which allows for the country to have so much vegetation. Even the big city of Taipei has lush greenery. 

Taipei is  published in the KLM Holland Herald Magazine and Elle Decor Italy

TAIWAN

taipei - yangmingshan national parc -  taroko national parc  -  donghe / dulan - kenting - pingtung - tainan

It was surprising to see so much green since we know “Made in Taiwan” from cheap plastic products.

For die hard coffee drinkers like us, Taipei was a true delight. Coffee is taken almost as seriously as tea is. You run into countless numbers of coffee shops, so you never have to find a Starbucks for a good cup of coffee. 

Treisure Hill is a project where a whole neighborhood of old laborer houses are refurbished and now offers a place for young artists to set up studios and exhibition spaces. It was pleasant to walk through the narrow streets and look inside to see artists at work. It has a very relaxed, small town feel to it

www.artistvillage.org

Taipei Artist Village-Treasure Hill 

台北國際藝術村

No. 2, Alley 14, Ln. 230 Dingzhou Rd.

Sec. 3,

 

Songshan Cultural and Creative Parc

松山文創園區

No.133, Guangfu South Road

Xinyi District

 

Creative Parcs

Several former factories have been given a new purpose – they have been turned into ‘creative parcs’. They are dispersed throughout the city in the form of museums, exhibitions spaces, and workshops. One place is more alternative than the other. 

RAW restaurant

We found the interior of the RAW restaurant impressive. It turns out that the Dutch architect Camiel Weijenberg designed it. 

The famous Taiwanese cook Andre Chiang is the big name behind the restaurant. Assisted by his crew, he quickly made RAW ‘the place to be’, so it is advised to make reservations ahead of time. 

It is a set menu so the cost for a wonderful mean is quite reasonable. Expect a sophisticated arrangement of seasonal dishes that in addition to being delicious also look nice. 

www.raw.com.tw

Lequn 3rd Rd 301

Zhongshan District

 

 

Another culinary ‘must’ is the dim sum mecca Dim Tai Fun. A large, nearly fast food-like place in the 101 tower city center. 

It is a very popular place to eat. You have to take a number and wait your turn to be able to eat. Do not forget to look out of the windows into the kitchen where the dim sums are prepared in a futuristic way. 

www.dintalfung.com.tw

B1F, No 45, Shifu Rd

Xinyi District

 

Xinyi District

 

Between modern high-rise buildings, you can find the neighborhood of Xinyi District, which seems to have been forgotten when the new city was built. 

 

The streets there are cluttered with old-fashioned shops and market stands, but now also has a few trendy coffee shops and stores such as Sunset and Bike Shop. For us, these are the best places to endlessly wander through. 

www.sunsetsunset.com

No. 157, Lane 417, Guangfu S Rd

Xinyi District

Siu Siu - Lab of primitive senses

At the edge of the town, amidst the tropical greenery, Cha Cha and his team started this project. 

It is a greenhouse-like open structure built out of black mesh that separates inside from outside. When you are inside, you get everything that goes with the tropical green, but because of the mesh it becomes mysterious and its makes you more aware of the surrounding nature.

For catering, there is a small kitchen separated from the rest of the space by a wall of stacked metal crates. 

 

 

Siu Siu is published in RUM magazine, Happinez and Openhouse magazine

The top of the structure has a plastic layer between the mesh that is used to stop the rain. The bottom consists of only mesh through which the wind can easily move, and thus providing the necessary cooling, which in this humid tropical climate is no unnecessary luxury. 

 

The project was created on Cha Cha’s own initiative when his office here did not have much work. He wanted to do something where nature and architecture could come together in a beautiful way. Nature is actually really close to Taipei but it was not until recently that modern cities acknowledged it. 

This project is so immersed in the green that it allows city inhabitants to reconnect with nature.

 

It is a multi functional place where workshops, lectures, and exhibitions are organized. But it is also a place where people can gather to celebrate or commemorate something. 

TAIWAN

taipei - yangmingshan national parc -  taroko national parc  -  donghe / dulan - kenting - pingtung - tainan

Do not only expect clear blue skies during your trip to Taiwan. Fascinating cloud formations crawl over the mountains and make the landscape even more rugged and mysterious.

yangmingshan national parc

The Yangmingshan national park is located just above Taipei, which is famous for its hot springs. We found on the internet, and believed it to be quite appealing. 

We parked the car and walked for half an hour until reaching a “no trespassing sign”. It quickly became clear that we did not have to pay much attention to the sign when we came across a bunch of Taiwanese families all relaxing in natural pools. 

The water from the hot springs mixes with the cool water from the mountains. The pure natural mud is what made it feel like an overall spa experience. 

Bayan Wild Hot Springs

Fish Village Seafood Restaurant

 

A nice way to continue the trip is to continue going north. You’ll reach the coast, which is where we had a great lunch at a local seafood restaurant.

No. 64-2, Yuao Rd., Wanli

District Xinbei

About Cafe

 

On the north east coast just above Jjiufen we accidentally came across this cafe. We found the cluttered interior to have a poetic beauty to it, and as you continued to look, more details would display themselves. 

 

It is an intimate, small house. 

The bathroom is a prominent place. As much as the entire ground floor, where an old fashioned copper bath is placed in front of a big window which has trees growing against it. 

 

jiufen

shu shu house

Shu Shu House is a weekend house belonging to Ivy and Tsung Chen Yung in Jiufen. 

Yung Tsung is a florist known for his botanical installations he made for public spaces and hotels. 

We met Ivy and Tsung Ysung in their store/workspace in Taipei, and had a short but sweet visit where we had a nice conversation in a very short amount of time about our passion for nature and love for our profession.

taroko national parc

We never associated Taiwan with untouched nature, but nothing is less true. The center of the island consists largely of prominent high mountains, which are not easily accessible. 

One of the highlights is the Taroko National Park, where jagged stone and marble formations are formed by fast flowing rivers.

taipei - yangmingshan national parc -  taroko national parc  -  donghe / dulan - kenting - pingtung - tainan

TAIWAN

East Coast

 

We had rented a car which ended up being a perfect way to explore and experience the island. The roads are maintained and important signs are in English. One of the most beautiful routes is the Eastern coast road. 

Trails

 

There are several trails that you can hike. The most common ones are quite busy and therefore give you the feeling that you are talking in the park. Next time we are there, we hope to take a more rural hike that will last a couple of days.

Dulan Sugar Factory

In the middle of an old village there is former sugar factory which has been transformed into small studios and restaurants. On the weekends, music festivals and art projects are organized.

 

 

TAIWAN

taipei - yangmingshan national parc -  taroko national parc  -  donghe / dulan - kenting - pingtung - tainan

We arrived at our hotel late at night. The hotel was located right on the road that has the night markets. Once we got into Kenting we were met by a very different atmosphere. It was busy, noisy, and full

of bright colors. 

TAIWAN

taipei - yangmingshan national parc -  taroko national parc  -  donghe / dulan - kenting - pingtung - tainan

Travelbox cafe & bed

We came across an extraordinary place called Travelbox. It is a small coffee bar B&B along the road next to the beach.

No.234, Nanwan Rd. Hengchun 

Pingtung County

After Kenting we went back north along the west coast. If you go with your own car, you can ‘get lost’ or stop along the way. 

donghe

dulan

The road takes you through rough mountains to the charming places of Donghe and Dulan. Two coastal towns with a pleasant atmosphere and moderate surf culture.

We continued our journey south. We got off of the highway and continued on route 199 to Kenting. It is a beautiful road that goes through lovely mountain scenery with very limited traffic.

 

This road emphasizes the reputation for being a place to discover by bike that Taiwan has.

kenting

Kenting has the most popular beaches on the island. Tropical with a turquoise sea where the snorkeling and scuba diving is excellent.

 

The town really gives you a tropical feeling with trendy coffee shops and colorful hotels.

Baisha Beach

Because of the movie ‘Life of Pi’ directed by the Taiwanese Ang Lee, Baisha Beach has become even more popular. 

tainan

Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan. We found it it surprisingly young and creative. It is a very pleasant city to wander around, especially in the area around our hotel. It was located in a tangle of alleys where you can find amazing restaurants and quirky shops.

Jia-Jia-at West Market Hotel

11 Zhengxing Street West Central District

 

My Way House

A former house has been renovated into a hotel with 10 different colorful rooms.

Old buildings are made to look more modern in subtle ways.

TAIWAN

taipei - yangmingshan national parc -  taroko national parc  -  donghe / dulan - kenting - pingtung - tainan

Chinese paper offering, also known as joss paper, is sacrificed in the over in the courtyard of the temple. 

We Love Apartment

No.10 Lane 77, Zhengxing Street

Zhongxi District

We also visited a couple of temples. The temples in the old city, especially the Tiantan Tiangong Temple, were most appealing to us. This temple is an extensive complex with various outbuildings with lively activity during the service of the rituals. 

No.16 Alley 84, Sec 2, Zhongyi Road

© 2016 by Mirjam Bleeker and Frank Visser / all rights reserved