A week is a long time in Taiwan
But a fun time. And we are in Taiwan for a full month! We arrived in Taipei on the 15th of November to be greeted by our son Joe who is studying in Taiwan. Our plan is to go clockwise around the island which I have roughly divided into the populated side that is the west side facing mainland China, and the east side that is the more sparsely populated part of the island.
Both sides have wonderful natural scenery. The eastern side has more farming and indigenous tribes with accompanying culture. Check out the comic style album below.
Just briefly, our first week has seen us visit waterfalls and release wishing sky lanterns in Shifen, wander through Jiufen’s old street with so many types of artisan local foods for sale, sample great street food in Ruifang, the train station and town that is splitting point between the two aforementioned destinations not to mention simply enjoying the scenery, welcoming nature of Taiwanese and the culture.
In Taipei we ticked off visits to the Botanical Gardens, Elephant Mountain, Songshan Temple, and Chiang Kai Shek’s memorial with exhibition halls inside. We met Joe at his university and learnt how easy it was to negotiate the local MRT train system as well as the regional TRA rail system. We purchased an unlimited data sim for a month that cost us $50 AUD (bargain) – Having a local phone number then enabled us to register on the “Youi” bike system which has bikes everywhere and are so cheap to hire via your phone and the easy-card which is a cash card that you can use in so many places and load up with cash in any 7-11 (and other locations) but the 7-11 stores are everywhere. The “Yo-Yo” card can be used on trains, buses and to buy food in many stores. It saves you from fumbling for cash as you board the bus or train. Just check that the mode of transport (especially trains) uses the “Yo-Yo” card before jumping in the line or attempting to pass through a train tap on the gateway. You can purchase standard tickets using cash or credit cards but this genuinely makes your life as a citizen or tourist easier.
I plan on writing a post where I discuss tools, systems and features we encounter in other countries that could have a place in Australia. Some of the systems like the Youi bike system beats any I have seen in Australia hands down. Taipei can get pretty hot and sweaty during their summer, like Darwin – so weather is no obstacle. Anyway more on their ingenuity later.
For this post I have included a number of graphic panels in a kind of comic story. Although our adventures are not the same as the Phantom or Tin Tin (two comics I loved as a kid and still do), I do feel that the comic style needs to be included in my posts, even as an experiment. Although the story telling needs some work, I would love some feedback on how I can better include this format into a blog post that also has words, separated pictures or albums and even videos. Click the first picture below to view.
Should I have created the panels in portrait rather than landscape? is the text readable or annoying needing to be zoomed in? I should be able to get stats on the percentage of phone viewers compared to desktop/laptop viewers.
As these posts may not match the order of the map above, eventually I will complete a summary/index post with links to each destination’s post (using a rather cool scalable vector graphics code).
In summary I would thoroughly recommend you add Taiwan to your travel bucket list, even if you don’t speak Chinese. Kind, tolerant people living in a Garden of Eden with a world class transport system and affordable food, accommodation and transport.