SUPER Aesthetic Adventures in Taiwan

taiwan

On the first day of 2020, I have decided to fly to Taipei from Tokyo and embark on yet another wild adventure!  A year ago I was at a Full Moon Party in Thailand, but this year I have decided to focus on hiking and photographing the various destinations in this country.  Fortunately the western new year isn’t widely celebrated in Taiwan due to the country honoring the Chinese New Year (which occurs later in January), so everywhere I want to go to will be open.  The dates I have chosen are 1/1 – 1/9 which should give me enough time to see everything I want.

Taiwan has been on my radar for a long time because not only is it cheap to fly there (I only paid $250 for a roundtrip flight), but also it has great hiking destinations and a number of my favorite Tokyo producers have played there.  The weather is much warmer than Tokyo, and it has a high speed rail so it’s much faster to get around places compared to other Asian countries.  I am super excited to try the delicious food, meet both new and old friends, and also try out the GoPro Camera that I just bought!

My planned itinerary (so far) is listed below:

Tokyo → Taipei → Jifuen → Hualien (Taroko Gorge) → Taipei (Laomei Reef & Beaches) → Kaoshiung → Taichung → Taipei ↺ Tokyo

December 30th & 31st

During the last week of December there are an endless amount of parties going on in Tokyo.  On December 30th I am watching my friends of Trekkie Trax play at THE BASS, and the 31st I am watching them play again at ageHa Countdown 2020.  My flight leaves around 11:30am on the 1st which I booked through Scoot airlines.  I’ll have just enough time to run back to my apartment to get my luggage at 7am and make it to the airport.  There is no better way to go out than seeing the homies play twice.  Japan is usually quiet during the first week and a half of the new year, so overall this is a power move.

January 1st

I will arrive to Taipei around 3pm and begin exploring as much of the city as possible.  There are a number of places I wish to see such as the Songshan Ciyou Temple, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, and Confucius Temple.  I also wish to eat at the Modern Toilet Restaurant and try some street food.  I noticed that there are a number of vegetarian and vegan options as well.  I will be staying at Come Inn Hostel for around $15 a night.  All accommodations in Taiwan are quite affordable so I will be spending most of my money on traveling around the country.

There is also an infamous bar called “The Fucking Place” (操場) where I am super excited to drink at.  It became a meme on my timeline when a Tokyo DJ got really lit there and I am stoked to experience it myself.

January 2nd

I booked a really cheap bus tour to Jifuen and Shifen (the famous lantern-filled village that inspired Spirited Away), and Yehliu Geopark through Get Your Guide.  Every website I’ve read recommends these places so I’d like to tackle them the first full day I’m here.  I’m sure they will be breathtaking and amazing!  I’m excited to light a lantern and see it burn bright in the sky.

At night I will be taking a two hour train ride to Hualien Station and staying in a cheap hostel called Cave.  I will be waking up at 7:30am the next morning to explore the famous Taroko Gorge.

January 3rd

One of the most famous national parks in Taiwan is Taroko Gorge, so I have decided to spend a full day hiking here.  There are a number of tours available, but a lot of the private ones are super expensive.  I decided on the highly-rated Better Taroko Gorge Tour, because it starts very early to avoid the crowds and you have the option of paying in cash.  It’s a group tour but I think I will enjoy it since the tour organizer that I’ve been corresponding with is friendly.  If I don’t like the people I can always just use my headphones to ignore them.  I am very stoked to see the Eternal Spring Shrine, learn about the culture of this region of Taiwan, and have some delicious Aboriginal food.

At night I will be taking a train back to Taipei and seeing Night Tempo at Club FINAL.  By coincidence, he and Neon City Records will be having an event during the same time that I’m here.  I haven’t seen senpai in almost a year, so this will be a lovely reunion!

January 4th

When I wake up I plan on heading straight for the beach.  I was informed it may be too cold to swim, but I’m not opposed to trying.  I am planning to see Laomei Reef and Baishawan Beach since they are two of the most photogenic places.  I will likely be tired from hiking and partying the previous day, so this will be my recovery day.  I will also check out the night markets in Taipei if I have time.

January 5th

After spending a day recharging, I will be taking the high speed rail to Kaoshiung City and exploring all of the famous sights.  First I want to see the street art and warehouses at Pier 2, then I will take a boat to the scenic Cijin Island that is only 5 minutes away from the port.  I plan on renting an electric bike (like I did in Jeju, Korea) and traveling along the island to the Rainbow Church and doing photography.  This island is very long and rectangular, so seeing it in one day is doable.  I will be staying at Legend Hotel Pier2 which is right near the beach too!

At night I plan on seeing the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and stopping by J.C.co Art to try their realistic-looking dog cakes.  Kaoshiung is in southern Taiwan so I’m sure there will be a number of interesting things to see.

January 6th

When I feel satisfied with my sightseeing in Kaoshiung, I will head to the nearby Taichung City via train.  I’m most looking forward to seeing the Rainbow Village here.  There’s also a Sea of Flowers in Xinshe, the Cultural Heritage Park, and numerous hiking spots around here.  I’m going to play it by ear and see how energetic I feel.  I may end up just going to the Rainbow Village and a couple of breweries.  I will be staying at Loosha Hostel which is once again central and affordable.

January 7th

On this day I will be traveling to the lovely Sun and Moon Lake and taking the ropeway up to the mountains.  I will also be spending the majority of my day at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.  This has the tallest free-fall ride in Taiwan and also has a waterpark.  I’m not sure what the weather will be like, but I went to a similar park in Sentosa, Singapore and had an absolutely lovely time.  Regardless of how warm it is, I should be able to get some amazing shots while I’m here so I’ll be happy.  The lake is very large and also has frequent cruises.

January 8th

This will be my last full day in Taiwan, so I will head back to Taipei and resolve any unfinished business I have here here.  I plan to hike up Elephant Mountain, take a bus trip to the cat village, and also see the Golden Waterfall.  After this time I should feel extremely satisfied with all the places I have been.  Hopefully I get some good GoPro footage too.

January 9th

I will be heading back to Tokyo very early in the morning.  January is filled with amazing events in Japan.  I will be traveling to Nagoya the same weekend for another Pasocom Ongaku Club / in the blue shirt event, and also seeing Madeon in the same week.  I am excited for what 2020 has to bring!!

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