During some extreme road trippin’ with my good Vancouver buddies Peter and Irvin, I realized that there’s a lot to love about this yam shaped island. It’s got everything: cosmopolitan, remote, tradition, modernity, nice people and whatever else you can think of. Whether you want to call it Taiwan, China, Formosa, Republic of China, whatever, there’s no denying it’s a place that defines itself.
While I was planning to make this a lengthy post, I feel there’s probably enough visual proof here to convince you to check out Taiwan without too many words. I’ll leave a bit of commentary on each city, and hope you enjoy the snaps. I definitely enjoyed taking them.
One of my favourite cities in the world. People are somehow still friendly even with crazy work schedules and seem to be able to eat at any time of the day, which is great given the delicious (yet inexpensive) food all around the city. There’s always a perfect blend of modern and tradition in anything Taiwanese that inspires me. For example, even if you look at inside the Taipei 101, at first, you might mistake it for some overpriced shopping centre, but if you look closely, you’ll see that every architectural piece within is steeped in culture and purpose.
Technically Keelung is still a part of Taipei, but it feels like a different city that’s defined by its port, which makes sense – it’s the second largest in Taiwan, after Kaohsuing. It’s worth the bus ride up just to take in the Keelung market, one of the coolest night markets in Taiwan, in my opinion. If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be in heaven.
Ruifang (瑞芳) & Jiufen (九份)
Ever see Spirited Away? Miyazaki’s masterpiece is an Academy Award winning animated movie and it’s also Japan’s highest grossing movie of all time. A large part of the movie’s beauty is in its, animated backdrops, locations that look dreamt up and fantastical. The incredible thing is that the locations are actually based on Jiufen and look just as jaw dropping and almost as surreal as in the movie. It’s the equivalent of taking a trip to Narnia. When you need a rest, you can head to Ruifang, an area full of hostels and bed and breakfasts deep in the woods, surrounded by nothing but ancient Chinese graveyards and miles of rolling hillside.
Surf’s up… 兄弟?! Kenting is one of the surf capitals of Asia. Even when we visited, there was a huge surfing competition going on with hundreds of other surfers from all around Asia in town. It’s like someone took the best parts of Hawaii and Thailand and put it all in one place. Go to Kenting and forget about all the bulls**t that’s going on in the world right now. Pop open a beer and let the sounds of the waves take you to serenity. Ignorance is bliss.
*兄弟 (sheng di) = bro or dude in Chinese Mandarin