Jet lagged as we were, we set out to explore immediately on a 12 hour layover, and returned for an additional week on the way back from Australia.
First thing that struck us was how incredibly friendly everyone was to us. It was amazing how many asked to help when they saw us staring at our map exhausted and bewildered.
Second thing was how easy it was to get around, considering we didn’t know the language. The MRT is great and so easy to figure out…in any language.
The shuttle buses are the answer for transportation from the airport ..only $5.00 There is a ticket counter inside the airport in the arrivals area and the buses stop in convenient locations all over the city. Not knowing where the ticket counter was we went directly to the bus . The driver was kind enough to buy our tickets inside for us solving our language barrier. Not something we had ever seen before or since!!
Since we only had the day to explore we simply took our time roaming around the area. We started by enjoying a tea house. This is a favorite pastime in Taipei and a wonderful way to relax and slow your pace. Small snacks are also served. My husband ordered peanut butter on toast. It seemed to take an unusually long time to be served. It was only later we realized the peanuts are ground and prepared fresh !
Next we thought we’d check out a hotel where we would stay on the return back. Since this was our first time in Asia we chose the conveniently located and appropriately named First Hotel . There are loads of restaurants nearby and shops for browsing. Little did we realize that most would be closed on our return since it would be The Chinese NEW YEAR!
Holiday Jade Market
The market is located in downtown Taipei beneath the Chienkuo South Road elevated highway. A cheap cab ride away. The Holiday Jade Market is open Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 6PM. This is one of the largest jade markets in all of Asia. There are nearly 600 stands. It is a really fun place to go with isles and isles of jade and lots of bargaining.
The display tables that line both sides of the market are arranged with bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, animal carvings, ornamental pieces, and figurines made from jadestones of varying hues. The colors of the gems and carvings range from dark green to emerald to pale green.
I bought a gorgeous pendant that is very unique and special to me.
You should go!!