2012 April 25 to 29 Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I was able to join the company’s President’s Club this year. Destination: Taiwan. I took Michelle with me. We were also going to take Jeanne but I was informed that the trip is adults-only because it was going to be hectic. And indeed it was.

Wed Apr 25 – The moment we landed in Taipei, we we’re met by the tour guide. We went straight to the National Palace Museum. I’ve watched a feature on National Geographic, about all the Chinese treasures that Chiang Kai-shek carried from mainland China to Taiwan for safekeeping. I was quite interested. Unfortunately, we’ve only seen a few of the famed treasures when most of the group decided to cut the visit short and go to lunch.

After lunch, we went to see the Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Halls. We had dinner then went to see Taipei 101 which used to be the world’s tallest building until Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed. The highlight was the high-speed lift which took us up almost a hundred floors in less than a minute.

Thu Apr 26 – We went to the Yehliu Scenic Area and Chiufen gold mining town. Chiufen is known for retro-themed shops that cropped up after the town was used as the setting for a movie called “City of Sadness”. Unfortunately, it was raining so we were not able to go around. We simply shopped before heading back to Taipei for lunch.

After lunch, we went to Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf, had dinner at Hai Ba Wang, and wrapped up the day with a trip to the Shilin night market. I stayed in the bus and learned the meaning of “shopping spree” when the ladies came back.

Fri Apr 27 – We were going to the Maokong tea plantation for the morning but the Maokong gondola was offline due to the bad weather. Instead, we went to the Taipei Zoo. As it was raining and time was limited, we only got to see the pandas and some flamingoes. We then had lunch at Modern Toilet. The food was meh. The place was novel but wore out pretty quickly.

After lunch, it was shopping at the Ximending Shopping District and the Train Station Under Ground Shopping District. After dinner, the ladies went off to the night market again for another shopping spree. I went with some of the guys to the Guanghua Digital Plaza. It was already closing when we got there but we did get to see some shops. Prices weren’t really much different from local prices so nobody got anything.

Sat Apr 28 – Early in the morning, I went to the nearby Xingtian Temple. There was a Buddhist service going on so I wasn’t able to go around and take photos much. I stayed a bit to observer how Buddhist worship goes then went back to the hotel to pack up, check out, and have lunch.

After lunch, we took the High Speed Rail (HSR) to Kaohsiung. We then visited Dream Mall, Sizih Bay (Sizihwan), Shaochuantou, the former British Consulate, Chi-jin island where we had a nice seafood dinner similar to local dampas, and finally Love River.

Sun Apr 29 – In the morning, we toured the Lotus Lake Scenic Area. First stop was the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. People believe that walking into the Dragon’s mouth and out the Tiger’s mouth changes your bad luck to good. I’m not really superstitious but there’s not harm in trying, right? The next stop was Confucius Temple. It was pretty quiet and there was not much to see. Finally, it was off to lunch before taking the HSR back to Taipei and then the plane back home.