It was in 2014 when I made a pact with myself that every year I should at least have one solo trip here in the Philippines or abroad. For 2016, I booked my solo trip to the place which introduced to us Filipinos the series that made us crazy over Meteor Garden and the boy group F4 - Taiwan! Sorry but Meteor Garden and F4 are the only images that come to my mind when I think of Taiwan.
Anyway, here's a little back story why I booked a trip to Taiwan: Days before I booked the trip, I was going through some depressed moods and one of my coping mechanisms when I am stressed or depressed is by traveling (besides eating LOL). I wanted to book a Japan trip but it was too expensive for my travel budget so I ended up choosing Taiwan since I am a fan of F4 before and oh, the movie #WalangForever shot some scenes there too! Pffft here goes the hopeless romantic in me again..
On the day of my flight, I had a funny encounter with a ground crew because she was surprised I was traveling alone and asked me what am I gonna do in Taiwan? Work there? Grabe naman si ate judgmental. Haha. Pwede naman magtravel mag-isa dahil gusto mong i-enjoy yung me time mo diba? :-p
I arrived in Taiwan in the afternoon and I had that day as a free time before I went on guided tours in the next few days. If you know me too well, you know how I will spend my free time whenever I travel. I am not the type who will just stay in the hotel. I maximize my time as much as possible so I go out of the hotel, explore the streets and places nearby, and ride public transportation like MRT even if I am lost in translation. Woooh language barrier problems! It's quite challenging to talk to random strangers and ask for directions especially when you're alone but the key things here are confidence and bravery. Naku wala kang mapapala kung hindi malakas ang loob mo at nahihiya ka.
But eventually, you'll get the hang of a foreign country's transport system. It feels good when you finally figured out how their transport system works. Ang sayaaaaaaa! Feeling ko Taiwanese local na rin ako (minus the chinky eyes hahaha).
On my second, third and fourth day in Taiwan, I booked guided tours via Smartway Travel and Tours. I already trust them because my friend and her family booked several local and international tours with them. Plus, their office is just right across Ateneo so it's very accessible from my work.
Below were the places I visited in Taiwan.
1. Chung Ching Park in Keelung (a port city in Taiwan)
2. Yehliu Rock Formation (if you're a geology enthusiast, then this place is probably for you)
- several rock formations like resembling a Queen's head, Fairy shoe and elephant can be seen here. Also, trace fossils of sea creatures like sea urchin are found in this Geo-park.
3. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
4. Wen Wu Temple in Nantou County, Taiwan
- a temple for Confucius, a Chinese philosopher
5. Tse-En Pagoda
6. Sun Moon Lake
7. Lukang Town, Taiwan
- a town located at the outskirts of Taiwan's capital city
Oldest street in Lukang
Traditional Taiwanese house