Saturday, March 20, 2010

36 Hours in Taipei, Taiwan

No, this is not part of the 36 Hours series from the New York Times. And yes, they already wrote a guide called, “36 Hours in Taipei, Taiwan.” But my trademark attorney assured me that “36 Hours in Taipei, Taiwan” is a non-trademarkable, descriptive term that I could use without an unacceptable business risk as long as I was actually in Tapei for 36 hours, which I was.

Taipei 101 tower is, was, or will be the tallest building in the world—depending on what publication you read. This was the view outside the United Hotel where I stayed.


My primary destination was the hot springs district of Beitou. It remind me of Beppu, Japan because the whole area is steamy and sulfury.


If you get off the subway and walk to the left of the park, you’ll come to the Beitou Hot Springs Museum, which was built by and the for the Japanese when they occupied Taiwan. IMG_3192  It’s a nice old building that blends European and Japanese style.IMG_3201With roman arches, bath, and stained glass windows on the bottom floor. IMG_3216IMG_3220Keep walking up the hill and follow the hotspring river.  


IMG_3286I saw about a dozen little bath houses along the road, but couldn’t decide which one to try.IMG_3258

This is the Villa 32 hotel, which is like a traditional Japanese ryokan hot spring hotel. I wanted to check it out but they had a big sign that said “hotel guests only no trespassing” and a scary security guard that didn’t speak any English. But they actually do have a public hot spring that non-hotel guests can use. I definitely want to check it out if I ever return.
I ended up going to the Sweet Me Hotspring Resort, which is very close to the train station. It was like a modern Japanese sento bathhouse. They have private rooms and a public area, I was the only one in the public bath so I got the best of both worlds. Before I went in the attendant told me, “no pictures!” even though it was empty, so I don’t have any pictures but you get an idea of what it looks like here.

They also had a nice restaurant where I had my first Taiwanese food, fish soup and seafood fried rice.

IMG_3298IMG_3294 I also checked out the Shilin Night Market, which is on the way back from Beitou.


I tried the “stinky tofu” which is not as bad as I thought it would be.

IMG_3320And I had an oyster omelet, which was not as good as I thought it would be.

The best thing I had on the whole trip was this mango shaved ice with fresh pineapple inside.  IMG_3356

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