Sugary Train Ride to Nowhere

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In Taiwan, it’s common to see something old turned into an attraction. Cultural creative centers and old streets are good examples of this. Some of these attractions, though steeped in history, are a bit odd. Photo from Wikipedia Case in point, the Suantou Sugar Factory (蒜頭糖廠 / suan tou tang chang) is a curious attraction located in Chiayi county. It’s a…

Taiwan in the Winter

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Knowing Taiwan to be a tropical place with hot and humid summers, I was surprised at how pleasant Taiwan was during the winter (冬天 / dong tian). For starters, the weather was pretty temperate. The average high and low is around 69º/59º respectively. I was actually in Taipei on one of the coldest days during the winter and it was…

Flying JAL Between Taiwan and Japan

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Going between Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND), I had the chance to fly Japan Airlines (JAL). Hearing stories about how my parents flew on this airline long ago, I was excited. I didn’t have very high expectations as the flight was both short and economy class. Consequently, I was happy about the overall service and attention…

The Colonial Harbor Town of Tamsui

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One of many fond memories in Taiwan is strolling along the Tamsui River (淡水河 / dan shui he), taking in the sights and sounds of an area that seems so different from most of the Taiwan. Whereas most of the architecture around the island seem “Taiwanese,” many of the buildings in Tamsui, including Fort Domingo sport other influences. Not surprisingly,…

Rest and Relaxation at Beitou Hot Springs

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Next to the night markets and Taipei 101, Taipei is best known for the hot springs in Beitou District (北投區 / bei tou qu).What was once a large center of sulfur production, now features one of the highest concentrations of hot springs in the world. Being in Taiwan in the winter, it seemed like a perfect occasion to check out…

Taiwanese Bakeries: A Sweet Blend of Cultures

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One of my favorite ways to explore a region is through its baked goods. Taiwan has some of the cutest, softest, and sweetest baked goods I’ve encountered. Many Taiwanese baked goods have a relatively recent history, beginning with the occupation of Japan (85º C started only in 2004 in fact). Here, a variety of cultural traditions combined to produce delicacies…

The Quest to Taste the Champagne of Oolong

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Having experienced tea picking in the hills of Nantou, my interest in tea only grew. Taiwan is, of course, known for its tea. It’s everywhere, served almost at every meal and at drink shops. It wasn’t too long ago when I learned about a particular type of tea, uniquely grown in the Hsinchu (新竹 / xin zhu) area with a…

Exploring Tokyo Haneda

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Stopped by Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) on the way to Taiwan. It was everything I thought a Japanese airport would be and more. It was clean, cute, and cold (outside). If you have a layover here and have some time to kill, I highly recommend exploring the public area of the international terminal. The 4th and 5th floor, EDO KO-JI…

Experiencing The Best Restaurant in Taiwan, Raw

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After many failed attempts, I recently got to experience RAW in Zhongshan District, a stones throw from the Miramar Ferris Wheel in Taipei. It’s hard to think of a meal in Taiwan that’s been bad. More of it has been surprisingly good and even amazing. For what it’s worth, I feel like I have to put RAW in a class of…

On a Quest for the Best Papaya Milk

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One of the drinks I was told I needed to try in Taiwan was papaya milk (木瓜牛奶 / mu gua niu nai). After a mediocre experience at Raohe Night Market, I sought better. Hearing that some of the best papayas come from the eastern part of the island near Hualien, I was excited when I learned that I would be…