Taiwan - through the eyes of a first-timer

What a beautiful experience.

I felt like a child again.

Everything felt so "weird" or alien, yet everything was familiar.

It was like I had been there before.

And I think it was mostly the people.

Departure

The plan was I would leave Copenhagen on Sunday the 17th around 19:00hrs, to Istanbul, and then onto Taipei, arriving at around 20:00 Taiwan time.

I left on time from home to be 2 hours early at the airport.

However, I saw my first delay in the Copenhagen metro at Nørreport Station, albeit it was just for 12 minutes. There was a lot of people there, since it was the day when they were running the Copenhagen Half Marathon.

When I got to the airport, the security line went smoothly.

I grabbed a bite before making it through immigration and then onto my gate. We were told there was a 1.5 hour delay.

Soon enough we were in the air, and after about 3 hours we landed in Istanbul.

My flight to Taipei was delayed for more than 3 hours.

When we finally boarded, I had to endure the almost 12-hour flight in economy, without the possibility of really sleeping. I probably took 2-3 short naps, and felt overall very tired.

In Taipei

Finally landed in Taipei. It was close to 21:00hrs.

The immigration process was smooth. I decided to use the online immigration form, instead of the paper based ones. When it was my turn, I handed in my passport, got my seal, and was on my way to pick up my bag, which was already in the belt.

I hopped on a taxi that drove for about 45 minutes to my hotel in the Da'an District.

Lovely hotel and very nice staff.

I took a long hot shower, and hit the bed. I had to be up at 06:00hrs to be ready for an early train to Taichung the next morning.

Taichung

Taxi ride to Taipei Main Station on my second morning.

I bought tickets to the High Speed Rail train to Taichung. I paid 570TWD or about 18USD for a 1-hour trip at speeds from 300-350km/h. These tickets were for reserved seat cars.

There are cheaper options if you choose not to have a reservation, but that can also mean standing for the duration of your trip (or at least part of it).

Taiwan's High Speed Rail (HSR)

The train ride was smooth. Everyone was super quiet in the cars. We stopped at a few stations along the way, to pick up passengers, but compared to Denmark, these stops were very short.

I wasn't long in Taichung, and spent all day inside the office, which is in Taichung port.

Port office view, in Taichung, Taiwan.

After a full day of work, I went back to Taipei in the HSR. This time, I didn't make a reservation and paid less for my ticket. The non-reserved cars got very full and there were people standing at times.

I bought the public transport card at the central/main station. This card would allow me to move by using the MRT (the metro)

💡
PSA: The card can only be bought with cash!

After a quick shower at my hotel, I was ready to explore one of the night markets with a colleague.

Side note about the MRT: what a nicely organised system! It was very easy to navigate. The integration with the directions from Google Maps was also great, because when exiting the MRT stations, the exit you use is important, and Google Maps tells you which one you need to take.

The night market was really nice. My only "complaint" is that the majority of foods were fried. I had the traditional Taiwanese fried chicken, and it was superb. I passed by the stinky tofu stalls, but couldn't bring myself to try it.


I was in Taiwan for work, so I only had a few hours after work to "explore". My energy levels were typically low, but my exploration was mostly food centered and it did not disappoint.

My colleagues from the Taiwan office were amazing. They went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and I can't wait to host them when they visit Denmark.

I can't wait to have a chance to visit other places in Asia.

I was supposed to visit Malaysia during this trip but some last minute changes prevented me from doing so. I will make it a point to go to Malaysia and Singapore in 2024, and hopefully come back to Taiwan again.

Thank you, Taiwan ♥️