Solo Roaming

Feet to move, places to roam

Tickling the surface of Taiwan

I had never heard of Taiwan being a common country that travelers visit while roaming through Asia. Their feet usually scratch the surface of Thailand, Cambodia, Bali, Hong Kong, Vietnam… but Taiwan was never usually a country that had popped into many conversations as I sat around hostel common rooms and airport lounges while listening to other travelers tales. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Taiwan during the Chinese Golden Week holiday which occurs the first week of October. Since I am currently in China on a tourist visa, my 60 days were up and I had to leave the country. Weeks prior to me leaving the country, I debated back and forth between which new country I wanted to visit and where I could make the most of the 7 day break. I juggled between the options of Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines but in the end, Taiwan came out number one.

Fall was quickly approaching in China and I was not okay with the fact that my bronzed skin from summer was fading by the second. The week before departure, I was constantly checking the weather in Taiwan and it was looking promising – sun all week and temperatures above 25. Since arriving in China and traveling around the country, all my flights had been delayed, so naturally I was nervous with my flight into Taipei as well. Luckily – China Southern Airlines got me there at my expected arrival time and the week was smooth sailing from then on.

Touching down in Taipei was like arriving in California, Cuba and British Columbia (West Coast of Canada) all at once. The sun was scorching by noon and as the rays kissed my skin that had been deprived of heat the last several days, I began to burn up because as always – I was not dressed properly. My blue and red stripped dress from Zara’s fall collection did not cut it.

I Immediately tried to navigate Taipei’s metro system alone and on the first attempt was successful at getting to my final destination – Happy Taipei Hostel. For anyone that visits Taiwan, this is seriously the easiest metro system I have come across in all my travels and is so efficient! Happy Taipei Hostel is located an easy 5 minute walk from the metro station and around the corner from the Shillin Night Market. The staff employed at the hostel were outstanding. They were young,  friendly and willing to help individuals who answered all my questions about the city and gave me a detailed map that led me to Baishawan Bay Beach and I got straight to getting rid of my pasty looking skin.

420841703777679110

Baishawan Bay. Taipei, Taiwan.

I spent my first three days in Taipei City alone until I ventured off to Keelung. Keelung is a major fishing village nestled into the northeastern part of Taiwan. Similar in appearance to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco but also labeled a “ghost town” because of the quiet atmosphere. Fishermen out by the water day and night and the smell of seafood wafting across the city. If you are looking for a place to isolate yourself, be surrounded by friendly locals, and escape the hustle and bustle of Asia – this is a location I would recommend! I stayed at Pataw Hostel for one night which is along side a fishing dock and massive boats that double as decorated homes for the men on their long haul days. Given that Keelung is a smaller city, I found that major attractions and things to do were limited. If you do find yourself in Keelung, the Keelung Harbor is a scenic view in the evening as the sun sets and is located in the middle of the city near the bus station and multiple cafes.

Recommended restaurant in Keelung- Queen’s Time: Right alongside the fishing harbor, Queen’s Time offers a wide variety menu featuring coffees, delicious desserts, burgers, salads and of course seafood. With scenic views from inside the restaurant and outside on the patio, this is a wonderful spot to grab lunch or dinner and unwind from reality.

https://www.facebook.com/Queens-time-%E5%A5%BD%E6%99%82%E5%85%89%E9%A4%90%E5%BB%B3-1387741761453255/

Seaside accommodation: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Pataw-Hostel/Keelung/88439?dateFrom=2016-10-24&dateTo=2016-10-27&number_of_guests=2

102023141788499205

View outside Pataw Hostel. Keelung, Taiwan.

Once it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful fishing village, it was next stop: Jiufen. Jiufen is a scenic mountain area in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City. Winding roads lead to the top of the mountain where On My Way Hostel is plotted, night markets, paper lanterns strung from the top of buildings, and food huts scattered across the town. If you have ever traveled to Santorini, Greece, Jiufen can be described as its twin in terms of the way the town is arranged; the way it looks like buildings are one on top of the other and when you look all the way down, you can see waves from the ocean crashing against the rocks.

704988393100726277

Paper lanterns lit at night. Jiufen, Taiwan.

699182094907205989

Jiufen, Taiwan.

After spending the day in Keelung with no tourists in sight, arriving in Jiufen was the complete opposite. This picturesque town is a major tourist attraction well-known to Taiwan that brings people from all around the globe. Jiufen was used as the set for the film Spirited Away which is another reason it reals in thousands of tourist each year. Back in the day, Jiufen was first built by the Japanese and now can be made as a day trip from Taipei to check out the maze of alleyways that wrap around the town and rich culture hidden in all the local, small, shops and cafes. Jiufen offers many challenging hikes that once you reach the top, gives you a panoramic view of the city,  and has easy access to the chilly ocean. If you choose to extend your day trip in Jiufen to an overnight stay, there are multiple B&B’s, hotels and hostels such as the one I stayed in, On My Way Hostel (For you English speakers, the owner of Jiufen hostel, speaks perfect English and was very helpful during my stay).

http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/On-My-Way-JiuFen-Hostel/New-Taipei-Jiufen/66380?dateFrom=2016-10-24&dateTo=2016-10-27&number_of_guests=2

What to do – Jiufen: Hike to the top of Mount Keelung (Yes, this is still in Jiufen!) to catch the sunset or sunrise, you will not regret it. I have never been an earlier riser, but was convinced by other hostel guests that watching the sunrise from the top of the mountain was something I did not want to miss. So, I rolled out of bed at 4:00AM in the clothes I slept in and a pair of sandals (because once again, I am never prepared for anything) and spent an hour hiking to the top of Mount Keelung and watched cotton candy clouds cover all of Taiwan.

Where to eat – Jiufen: The first thing I was told when I arrived in Taiwan was “You will never go hungry”. No matter what restaurant you decide to wander inside of, the food will always score a 10/10, especially in Jiufen. Something I have noticed since moving to Asia is that a majority of the restaurants are family owned and therefore, care about the quality of food that they serve, hoping those same people will come back. The same thing applies to Jiufen. I tried the best pork steamed buns crafted with love by a local Taiwanese man, who also attempted to set me up with one of his 11 children after I mentioned how Taiwan is a country I could see myself one day settling down in.

170555050478395085

Cotton Candy Sunrise. Jiufen Taiwan.

After watching the sunrise and crawling back into bed to catch a little more sleep, shortly after it was time to get on the bus and head back to Taipei and checked myself back into Happy Taipei Hostel for one last time. I seriously get addicted to a good hostel once I find one. With my remaining time in Taipei, I went to Taipei 101 which I honestly would not suggest you waste your time on. Yes the view is cool, but not worth the time or money. Knowing I was also heading back to China in the next 24 hours, I soaked in all the easy accessible Western food and ate the most delicious beef, cheese burger and fries at Guru House Restaurant. Guru House also offers outdoor seating which is the perfect people watching spot while you spit on your fresh coffee or a handcrafted cocktail.

Where to go in Taipei:

Food – Guru House: https://m.facebook.com/guruhouse.tw/

Entertainment – EZ5 Live House: http://www.ez5.com.tw/new/

Entertainment/shopping: Shilln Street Night Market

Happy Taipei Hostel: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Happy-Taipei/Taipei/85426?dateFrom=2016-10-24&dateTo=2016-10-27&number_of_guests=2

Within a shot 6 days, Taiwan managed to steal my heart and I do not think I will be getting it back anytime soon. The upbeat vibe, the willing to help locals, the food, the culture, it is absolutely flawless and perfect the solo traveler.

4999154496932397456

Jiufen, Taiwan.

Hope to see you in Taiwan soon. xx

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on October 23, 2016 by in solo travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
sarahcarnevale

sarahcarnevale

A girl with restless feet who you will always find smiling, laughing or falling in love with something. A girl who is determined to see all parts of the world and always planning the next big adventure. Strong passion for writing and a mind always set in a dream world.

View Full Profile →

Instagram

I am a strong believer in karma, luck and timing but I also believe you are entirely responsible for how your life turns out. For the last 7 years I have been anxiously waiting to move abroad and start a whole new chapter in my life. A new home address, a new job, new relationships, a new city and new travels to look forward to. Now that graduation is quickly approaching I can’t wait for it all to unravel and become reality. I am entirely responsible for how I want my life to turn out and where I want it to go. So are you✨ #travelitaly #solofemaletravel #backpackerstory #roamtheplanet #femaletravel #procida #lovethisglobe #pinktrotters #mytinyatlas #letsgoeverywhere #sheisnotlost
It’s all messy. The bed, the hair, the words, the clothes, the heart and this life. 🌴 #mexico #cancun #islamujeres
Explain to someone how much you love them that they love you three times as much afterwards. Express to someone why you are angry and explain it so well that they themselves are angry about whatever it is with you. Tell someone how much you miss them that they cry about it. Let people know how you feel when you feel it because I promise it will be worth it 💙 #bellletstalk #procida #italy #solofemaletravel #passionpassport #lovethisglobe #roamtheplanet #backpackerstory #girlslovetravel #ladiesgoneglobal #takemebackpacking #tinyatlasquarterly #wearetravelgirls
Do you ever find yourself telling someone a story that happened to you and once it’s over think “Wow, what is my life?” Because same. 🙈 In other news, can’t believe it’s been two years since I was sitting on this boat in the sunshine over in Vietnam🌿 #vietnam #travelvietnam #solofemaletravel #southeastasia #passionpassport #backpackerstory #mekongdelta #roamtheplanet #lovethisglobe #takemebackpacking #letsgoeverywhere
Your partner doesn’t define what you do!!! Over the last few months I have heard countless break up stories and they all seem to have two things in common: 1) One person is ready to settle down and the other isn’t. 2) They all end their break up story with “Now I can travel.” I have to ask, why can’t you travel when you are in a relationship? Why do you have to wait until something bad happens? Your partner doesn’t have to come with you when you travel, leave them at home and go by yourself or with your friends if that’s what you want. You can even travel WITH your partner when you are together. Experience what YOU want to experience when you want to experience it. I’ve traveled in relationships, out of relationships, on my own, taken trips just because I want and I don’t let anyone tell me I can’t go because it’s MY life and I do what I want, when I want. If your partner can’t accept that, then I think we have found the problem ✌🏻 #femaletravel #solofemaletravel #mexcio #cancun #roamtheplanet #passionpassport #sheisnotlost #backpackerstory #mytinyatlas #letsgoeverywhere
“Home is everywhere and nowhere” - Home is more than just four walls and a place to rest your head to sleep. Home could also be your favourite spot on the beach that gets the best sunlight all day long. Home could be a place where you walk through the door of your local bar and the bartender already has your drink prepared. Home could also just simply be the idea that your favourite city of all time is a just a flight away and knowing it’s not going anywhere. Home will always be there when you’re ready for it ✨ #Paros #Greece #passionpassport #solofemaletravel #tinyatlasquarterly #sheisnotlost #roamtheplanet #pinktrotters

For questions and information, contact at:

Sarah-alexandra23@hotmail.com

Viewing the nonstop adventure:

  • 7,712 views

What readers are saying about Solo Roaming:

sarahcarnevale on I’m coming home
sarahcarnevale on I’m coming home
Julie on I’m coming home

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: