I was born and raised in beautiful Napa, California with my mom, dad, and older brother who were all born in Taiwan. My family came from Taiwan to California in 1983, so growing up we would always make trips back to Taiwan to visit my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. As I got older it was a lot more difficult for me to travel back to Taiwan because of school and work and then I realized that I hadn’t been back in over a decade! So I made plans to go visit my family in Taipei, Taiwan.
Stay: W Hotel
When I was younger I would stayed at my grandma’s house but since my boyfriend joined me we stayed at the W Taipei. This hotel was amazing, they held red carpet media events here, the service was great, they all spoke great english and our room had the most amazing view of the Taipei 101 building.
At the top floor the W hotel offered a lounge restaurant, where we had lunch and took in the beautiful views of Taipei. If you’re afraid of heights don’t look down.
And of course I checked out their spa & gym because this girl likes to get her workout on especially in places where there will be a lot of food eating.
Hello Kitty Cafe
Bucket list checked! I was super excited to go to the hello kitty cafe because I am a hello kitty fan. Always have been and always will be. We took the bullet train to Tainan and found two different Hello Kitty Cafe’s, the first stop was a restaurant that was located in the middle of a department store. There were really cute booths and hello kitty decor everywhere. I would have to say the food is photo worthy and not really edible.
The second stop was a cafe was called “Chat Cafe” and this place was a tea lounge with some little treats and many different kinds of teas. Located right next door to this cafe was a hello kitty store filled with all different kinds of hello kitty adorned objects.
The original cat cafe
I have always wanted to check out a cat cafe because I don’t own cats and to be honest I’m kind of scared of cats but when I looked up the original cat cafe in Taiwan, I had to check it out. When we arrived, we just sat anywhere we wanted and ordered some tea. There were cats everywhere, sleeping in every little corner bed, and there were dogs and birds as well.
I noticed other tables had cats at their table and no cats were coming to ours. And then I read on the menu to purchase treats at the bar for the animals. So I went and bought a bag of cookies and the moment they heard that bag they all came running over. They were all very nice and well behaved. I loved one cat in particular with a flat face, he was the sweetest. Visiting the original cat cafe was an adventure and a lot of fun.
Taipei 101 is the number one attraction of Taiwan. In 2004 to 2010, it was the tallest building in the world, with 101 floors above ground, standing at 1,671 feet tall. We had lunch at Shin Yeh 101 (欣葉) inside Taipei 101. We rode the super fast elevators that sent us from the 5th floor to the 85th floor in less than 40 seconds.
The view was spectacular, we got a seat right next to the window and the food was delicious. Checking out Taipei 101 is a must if you’re coming to Taiwan.
Elephant mountain is hands down the hardest hike I’ve ever done. The morning we decided to do the hike instead of heading to the gym, it was a little bit drizzly and overcast. Now from start to finish the hike was steep, they created rock stairs so that people could walk up this mountain. There was look out points with views of Taipei 101 building as you got higher, the view got better. Throughout the hike there were many temples set in the forest, and also jungle gyms for locals to stretch and workout. There were many elderly men and women with no shoes and a walking stick hiking elephant mountain, I was very impressed and made me not want quit till I got to the very top of the mountain.
THE FOOD - night market
Taiwan is very well know for the food because there are so many great little places to just stop and have a meal, everything was inexpensive, and delicious. During the day there are farmers markets where its like a mini version of a night market, they have fresh vegetables, baked goods, and little snacks that you can have while you shop for clothing or knick knacks.
When the sun goes down, there are night markets, set in all different locations of Taipei. I went to one of the most popular night markets in Taiwan, Raohe. The night markets stay open till midnight and is filled with locals and tourists.
Since it was Ben’s first time in Taiwan, he wasn’t so accustomed to the smell of “stinky tofu” and since there was stinky tofu on every corner of the night market, we had to walk really fast to get away from the smell. Other than food, there are fun carnival games, shopping, and lots of boba milk tea. YUM.
I didn’t have too much time while I was visiting Taiwan so there were things on my list that were not checked off. Luckily, my family lives there which will allow me to go back and visit again. I’m looking forward to new adventures next time I travel to Taiwan.
I LOVE TAIWAN!