Mark and I were itching to take a trip together and we were able to get really cheap flights to Taipei through Peach Air so that was that! We started planning as soon as his leave was approved and, luckily, I ran into some awesome blogs along the way that gave great guidance.
Once we arrived, after a very short flight (1.5 hrs), we grabbed a bus ticket and a Youth Travel Card from the information desk in the airport. The Youth Travel Card is cool (and free), but we didn't really use it that often. A lot of the things that we wanted to do were free already and we tried to use it on what we thought was touristy, but it wasn't accepted. Oh well, no time or money lost!
After finding our apartment (another AirBnB find) and met our very gracious "landlord," he called to make a reservation for us at a hot pot restaurant just around the corner. It was amazing! It was a hot pot buffet! Mark and I ordered the pork, lamb, and beef. Then, all you had to do was go and get all the veggies, seafood, and fixings! To top it all off, they had an ice cream bar to cool your palate after all of the spicy food. It really was genius! (Can you tell I loved it??)
Prior to leaving, Mark and I made a little itinerary and put everything on a map. So, right after we finished lunch, we headed to the train to make it to the next destination: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall! Even though the weather was crappy the Hall's beauty was undeniable. It was stunning! We were also lucky enough to make it just in time for the Changing of the Guards Ceremony.
Next up, we checked out Longshan Temple. It as pretty surreal to get off the the train in the city and there's a temple right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, but that's something I'm getting used to while traveling around Asia. What I found weird was that it had a mega-tron, scrolling electronic sign attached to the front. It kind of takes away from the religious aspect, in my opinion. Either way, it was pretty spectacular on the inside!
To wrap up the evening we checked out Snake Alley, a night market known for it's bizarre foods. However, we really didn't see anything too crazy and there was a lack of snakes. So, we did the street vendor thing for dinner and then found the only place selling beer, a cheesy American themed restaurant.
It was a great first day, but we were exhausted by the time we made it back to our room! The next day was going to be just as long so we headed to bed with plans to start the morning early.