Taipei with Love {a reflection}

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I feel necessary to write a prologue before I continued with my travel post about my recent trip to Taipei. I have not written in my blog for a month, I miss to write, I had a nagging feeling and it's almost similar with my PMS syndrome, I feel I want to write and feel agigated if I can't, however  work commitment are on its peak, then follows with the recent news about the missing MH370 (the Malaysia airline which had flown the passangers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing) which is really devastated me, I have no right to say I can feel the anxiety and the sadness of the family as I never been in that position and I never imagine how I will be able to pull off my self if I am in that situation. What I and all of you the least could do is just please continue to pray for the positive news. Hope is a good things. Never been able to have closure is a regretful things.
So let's have a good hope!

Learn the culture at its best
After much thought, I decided not to write my Taipei travel post as a travel guide. Firstly, there are many wonderful travel blog that I read and give resourceful information about Taipei. Secondly, I my self barerly remember about the subway route, the road, the shop nor the places to go. I have to thank to my two travelling buddies that read maps well and dilligently browse those travel post to find information, because what I contributed during the trip was 'Oh let's stop here to have a cup of coffee because this cafe looks cozy'. Lastly, I feel that by sharing my peresonal experience might suits my blog than sharing about the city guides.

I want to share a bit about our accomodation, I shared the preview previously at this post. I am so glad that my travelling girl friends is also into BnB style of accomodation, because I always treasure those authentic and indie style of accomodation. When I stayed at Solo Inn, I feel I learned Taipei culture at its best. I met friendly, creative and positive souls. I enjoyed local food and artisan brews during breakfast. I was introduced a rooftop view from our very own room. I learned about local neighborhood where our restoration hotel is nestled within.

The first few days, we stayed in our rented roof garden apartment in Robinson Lane (center Taipei). The location is fantasic, there are many cafes, local night market and MRT station are just within walking distance. We love our stay at there too, at night we played music and bought wine to drink in the garden balcony. We normally ended our day in late evenings after early dinner then we preferred to be cozy in our apartment. Then, we moved to Solo Inn for our last day, the inn is near by the hot spring area. We want to end our journey with having a fully rejuvenate spirit by dipping in hot spring. First, it is not easy to find the inn, as seen below picture, my girl friend thought our inn is unreal and they direct us to stay in the slum area. The place is located in the small lane, we nearly half naked old men sitting with his fluffy cat and stare at us and our heavy luggage. My first impression was ackward, but when we finally enter the inn, I fell in love at the first sight as the place is sureal :).

The owner of Solo Inn, Heather, she is an avid traveller, she has a vision to restore an old hotel and  present a truly taipei culture which often forgotten to traveller. we did not meet her personally, but Teresa, I think she is the hotel manager, she is very friendly and welcoming, she explained about the general vision of Solo Inn that align with the Taiwanese lifestyle in general (you can read them here). In my personal opinion about the lifestyle that I am talking about, I think Taiwanese appreciate authentic creativity and healthy life style, I could be wrong, but I want to elaborate my points here, authentic creativity because while I strolled the city, I randomly found many indie cafes, shops and small accomodations that has original own style. They don't belong to specific design genre, but if I could say it safely, the closest style of those entities are remind me of Japanese zakka with own personal touch. Zakka Means adding anything and everythig to look pretty, indeed they are! I also love the fact that Taipei has so many great coffee shop, oh Godness, I never get enough from those coffee shops that I personally encountered. The music genre in Taipei also seem relaxing, I bought few nice CD that mostly bozza or light jazz recorderd by local singers.  And about the healthy lifestyle, Taiwanese seem has a good reading habit which I found in every cafe and also Solo inn, they emphasize on the good effect of reading, they provide the customer with plenty of book choices, I also love to visit their book store. I couldn't help but I bought few books eventhough I don't read chinese, It just because the books at the book shop majority look pretty :). Oh, another things, Taiwanese are also into organics. Salute!

{This girl think we will be homeless when we found where our hotel located :p}

The people that we met along the journey
We arrived Taoyuan airport at almost midnight, by then when we reached our rented apartment was about 1.20am, three tired ladies met a Caucasian man, his name is Tom and he is the owner of the sky garden apartment. He is so kind to wait for us and still giving us a friendly smiles, he explain about the house rules and he seems really into recycling, he has bins for everything :). I admire Taipei city for it cleanliness and good deed of recyling. He chatted with us for a while and explained how to go around the city, all seem good until my friend asked him ' so are you going to sleep here too? ' ehmmemm.. it was ackward moments that we only can rectify with smiles and that also the last time we saw him. The rest he might be more comfortable to communicate through messages :). My friend is harmless, she was just too sleepy with those

Then we met bunch of friendly people who work in our favorite breakfast place beside our rented apartment. We had breakfast there everyday, we met a decent guy that I suppose is a good to know him more, not for me but for my single friend :). So I asked my friend what is handsome man in Chinese? I think it is a good ice breaking to call him by that nickname :). She said Shuai Ke. But this what came from my mouth Hei Gou (black dog), He might think why the hell is this crazy woman call him in such a rude manner. I immediately has an urge to learn Chinese!

We also met a bunch of lovelies girls who manage the Solo Inn. Anny, the front office girl,Teresa, she might be a hotel manager and Lori, the girl who prepare the breakfast for us in Solo Singer Life. They are a very chatty girls with a cute English accent :).

We also has a casual good chat with Chris, he is a mural artist from LA- California. He is Heather's friend, and he exchanges his mural art for free by staying in Solo Inn for few weeks and explores Taiwan. So this small lanes will be a more colorful neighborhood after his work accomplished. And I thought he has the coolest profession in the world!

We also met a random people on the street that offered help and gave a warm smiles. We love Taiwanese for their hospitality.

{Lori, me and Anny}

{Lyn, Me, Chris and Celine - background; Chris's ongoing mural work}

Because when I stopped and looked around... I found beauty in everywhere.
I don't speak Chinese, I was lucky that my travelling buddies speaks Chinese well, so there were moment that we need direction, they could communicate well. As for me, while they lead the way, I wandered. Not literaly wandered and got lost from them, but wanders with my eyes and mind, explore the details that the city has to offer. I enjoyed street performers in Fisherman wharf, a random signage, coffee truck, the busy scene of traditional market, the design of the storefront. All are truly inspiring.

Thank you for reading till the end :). My next post will be about Taiwan food that blogworthy. Talk soon.


  1. So very lovely Fen! I love all your shots - especially the cute umbrellas!! Cannot wait for the food post!

  2. Hi Starlet, I miss you, hope you are well. Thank you for visiting :)

  3. Great photos and narrative about your visit to Taiwan! I hope to go someday, with my mom. We can visit family and eat delicious food, too! It looks cooler than the pics my mom always shows me from her trips, though!! Ha ha, I guess she didn't know what to photograph... or was always in a shopping center or something! Thanks for the awesome post!