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Monica Taiwan 2015

By in Asia Comments Off on Monica Taiwan 2015

In March 2015 I completed the 9 day Peregrine Adventures “Treasures of Taiwan”, which is both a new destination (for me) and a new tour this year.

Taiwan was full of surprises; wonderful food and night markets, mountainous countryside, numerous walking trails, quirky accommodation, hands on craft and local industry, Confucius temples, tea plantations, busy modern Taipei, choose your own fish for lunch markets, and picturesque Sun Moon Lake.

I encountered very few western tourists and Taiwan is perfect for anyone who is looking to travel somewhere different in Asia.  It really does have something for everyone.

These are a few of my trip highlights:

Delicious Food

There is a wide and varied choice when it comes to food in Taiwan and I have eaten many foods I’ve never tried before like lotus and day lilies, but drew the line at stinky tofu. On the first day we handed over the responsibility of ordering to our leader (mostly as menu’s were in Chinese) and we were rewarded with dish after dish of tantalising food.  Eating is very much a family affair and tables were always for 8 or more people to share a meal together.

At restaurant “35”, chicken is the specialty and they are marinated, roasted, and served whole to the table.  One lucky person is given two sets of gloves and elected to break up the chicken for everyone to eat.  We nominated our leader Clint of course (and I think he’s done this a few times before).

When not sampling restaurant delights, we visited Night Markets in many towns.  These are well known all over Taiwan and a great place to see how dishes are made and to sample them.  Two we visited are “Ludong Tourist Night Market” and “Keelung Night Market”

The array of foods on offer is stupendous and everything is cooked on order in front of you.  It’s cheap, great food, and very atmospheric.  They stay open late almost every night.

Not on the menu!  I often saw pets dining out with their owners.


We were recommended to try the Green Onion pies which are dough balls filled with shallots which are flattened and then fried.  Absolutely delicious!  People line up around the block for these at this particular stall and after tasting them I can see why.

I had been asking for dumplings the whole trip but these are a dish you can have any time.  Just when I was about to give up, on our last day in Taipei we were taken to “Din Tai Fung”, a 1 star Michelin restaurant specialising in dumplings.  It was worth the wait, steamer after steamer came out with the most tasty dumplings I’ve ever had and you can watch them make it too.

Paper Making

Around the Puli region we had an opportunity to visit a paper making factory and try it ourselves. Once there you see all the processes involved in making handmade paper and the professionals make it look very easy. When it’s our turn, it takes a few goes to get the thickness right for just one sheet, then drain the water, dry the paper and etch a print on it.  I’m really proud of my paper when it’s finished!

Also in Puli is the Paper Dome, a church/cultural centre, made entirely out of paper pillars.  The dome is set in gardens around a lake and a café and at night the Paper Dome is lit up and looks beautiful.

Quirky accommodation

One of the things I loved the most was our accommodation, a mix of modern hotels and traditional guesthouses in the countryside.  My favourite was Fanlin House in Hualien set around a lake with a riot of flowers and trees, sculptures, signs and cycles in the gardens.  It was just like a story book cottage.

The Springland villa in Sun Moon Lake area clings to the side of a hill, overlooking beautiful countryside.  The hotel is brand new and modern and yet as a contrast, the breakfast room below the hotel, was straight out of Hobbiton!

Taroko Gorge

Taroko gorge is a dramatic 18km marble wall formed by the erosion of the marble by the Liu River over millions of years.  This natural wonder is truly beautiful and immense in size and I was excited to visit the gorge and walk the Shakadang trail along the river.  It’s an easy walk through the canyon.

Lantern Festival

Taiwan is full of festivals, blessing ceremonies and unexpected sights, like the QingJing Sheep Farm in the mountains.  It’s what makes it such an interesting destination, you never know what you will see next.  In Taipei I was lucky enough to see the Taipei 2015 Lantern Festival, with lanterns on a scale I have never seen before.  Students and professionals make floats and they were all on display together in Taipei Expo Park.  It was hugely popular, very crowded, but so fantastic!

I enjoyed this trip to Taiwan immensely and it was a delight to explore the wonders of this fascinating country.  If you’re looking for a new adventure, try Taiwan, it has a lot to offer.

If you are interested in travelling to Taiwan, email [email protected] or call us on 08 8223 5905 and talk to someone who has been there!

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