With my immeasurable thirst for travel, I would not pass up a chance to hop on a plane and leave my all-too-familiar surroundings behind. And so when my dad asked me to accompany him and my mom to Taipei for the weekend, I immediately said yes. It was only last May though that I was able to visit the small yet beautiful and economically thriving country of Taiwan for the first time, but for this second time, my visit had been extra special.
This is because serendipitously, my boyfriend is also there at that time. Ever since we started going out together, he would describe in rich detail what his father’s home country is like. He’d bring me all sorts of delicious Taiwanese delicacies (pineapple cakes! tea! sweet lychees!) when he gets home. Even though I haven’t set afoot in Taiwan yet, for years I knew I’d fall in love with the country he calls his second home.
On this trip, I visited a new city – my boyfriend’s hometown in Taiwan. It’s called Kaohsiung, the country’s second largest city found at the southernmost tip of the island-state. I rode a High Speed Rail train from Taipei to Kaohsiung with my mom, and met up with him and his dad at the station. For the next couple of days, he toured my mom and me around some of the most popular spots in the city. With my boyfriend driving and knowing his way around, travelling with him in Kaohsiung had been exhilarating and fuss-free; I wouldn’t have it any other way.
During my last trip in May, I wasn’t able to bring my camera. This time however, his camera was slung around my neck, and I took countless photos. Here are some of them.
After having a sumptuous lunch with his dad at this place that serves all kinds of goat dishes and going grocery shopping at this huge outlet store, we went to Dream Mall, the city’s largest shopping mall – nine floors of shopping space, a parking lot that can fit about 3,000 cars, and an outdoor theme park at the topmost floor.
Red bean cakes!
Eslite Bookstore. It is named “Asia’s Best Bookstore” by TIME Magazine. This isn’t the biggest branch, but it’s already huge.
I wasn’t able buy any books here, but I did get to grab a set of Japanese brush pens on sale!
Apart from their huge selection of books (both Chinese and foreign ones), Eslite is a haven for stationery lovers, as well.
Happy 100 is an amusement park on the roofdeck of Dream Mall. Its Ferris Wheel is one of the most popular attractions in the city.
In front of the Kaohsiung Eye!
Mark + Dess. We don’t always take a lot of pictures together, so here’s a rare good shot of us.
In the evening, we went to Kai Xuan-Jin Zuan Night Market, the largest night market in Southeast Asia.
Tourists and locals flock the night markets in this country. With rows and rows of food stalls selling every kind of street food imaginable, it’s every adventurous foodie’s haven. But apart from street food, you can also find amusement park games and stalls selling an array of accessories and trinkets.
Taiwan is known for pioneering the concept of street food. These snacks that come in almost every color, texture, and style of cooking imaginable. Natively called “xiao chi” (meaning “small eats”), these are served on long lines of stalls at night markets.
Giant takoyaki balls. I think I was already insanely full from eating oyster cakes, crispy fried chicken, steak strips, wintermelon tea, and a slew of other things so I wasn’t able to try this anymore.
Toothless! I gave up on getting one of these adorable plushies without even trying. Tee hee.
Shaved ice dessert! Yet to be honest, Philippine mangoes are still the best-tasting mangoes in the world.
Watch out for Part Two of my Taiwan Travel Diaries!