Monday, October 6, 2014

Goodbye Taipei

Some snaps from my last day.

And guess what, I am headed back to Taiwan for a proper solo adventure this October. I am finally NOT going to Taipei but heading to Kaohsiung in the south. Travelling solo is a goal I set for myself this year and I am very excited that I am making it happen!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

One Moment, Taipei 2014

Something struck me the other day, I share so many photographs on this blog (and sometimes travel tips) but I don't share very much of myself. Blame it on the fear of social media over-sharing. Many of these photographs were taken during my travels, where, arguably, many interesting moments take place. So this is a little exercise in me trying to be more reflective and sharing a little more.

On my second last day in Taipei, we stopped by the NTU campus for some last-minute shopping and we found a little market happening on the school grounds. Browsing through the shops, we discovered an awesome little preserved plum stall (so good!) and this cyanotype postcard stall. Incredibly, I had came across this same stall before at Simple Market two years ago! I love coincidences like that. Think about it, as you go about your daily life, how often do you even bump into your neighbours, people who work in the same building or campus, who take the same trains or bus? But yet, in a foreign country, I have managed to come across this little stall and its owners twice in two different locations! Needless to say, I bought quite a few more postcards that day.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cycling Through NTU

Even though I spent my first few days in Taipei on campus at National Taiwan University, I realised I never actually fully explored the campus, what with the busyness of attending the conference, stressing over my presentation and staying indoors with the heavy rains. So after my time at the riverside, I took the bike through the campus, winding and wending my way down paths, discovering little nooks and crannies across the various schools, faculties, sports and recreation grounds. It was also fun to see how the campus is rejuvenated on the weekends by families strolling around and youths playing sports.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cycling Through Gongguan

Most people think of Taipei as an urban jungle and so did I until I found out that Taipei has developed riverside parks, an extensive network of cycling paths and a new city bike rental service. I was intrigued with this new way to explore the city and I knew I had to squeeze it somehow into my schedule.

At first, I was unsure whether the YouBike rental service would be accessible to foreigners. The English website wasn't as comprehensive as I remembered and there were barely any information on blogs for single-use riders. My inital game plan was to rent a bike using my EasyCard but as I was struggling with the rental terminal, I realised I had to register the card first. In the end, I used my credit card and in no time I was breezing through the streets of Taipei. Finding a rental terminal was easy, in fact, it will probably be one of the first things you notice about Taipei now, all these adorable orange-yellow bikes standing in a row outside train stations. You can also search for your nearest rental station via the website, it even tells you how many bikes are supposed to be available, whether are there any parking lots or if the station is closed. It might not be the most accurate though, the first rental station I went to was supposed to have bikes available but there were none.

Anyway, the little problems aside, I had so much fun riding through the streets and sidewalks of Gongguan (my 'hood in Taipei yo!). I cycled without a map but I knew the area well enough to head in the direction of the riverside park, the area is also pretty well sign-posted and it's hard to get lost. Once I hit the park, I just followed the trail around the river together with the rest of the Sunday morning crowd. I can't believe that this expanse of greenery have been hidden behind Taipei's concrete facade all this while. I only biked a small stretch between Jingmei, Fuhe and Guting Riverside Parks but it's totally possible to bike all the way up north to Danshui or down south to Xindian. That's how well developed the riverside networks have become! I think the next time I visit Taipei again, I might earmark an entire day to just ride along the river!

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