After a short visit to Wulai in the morning, we made it back to Taipei around noon, which meant we had plenty of time to explore the city some more. We decided it would be fun to give our feet a bit of a break and explore on bikes for the afternoon. Taipei has a great Ubike rental system where you can rent a bike from any doc and return it to another one. We ended up using them for about 4 hours and it only cost $2! We were near the Taipei University, so we took a little ride through the campus which turned out to be quite nice. We stopped to sample their outside cafeteria, where we ordered a huge fried chicken sandwich for a whopping $2! As we were eating a group of students came up to us and asked if they could ask us a few questions for a school project and even asked if I could give them a “free” hug as they snapped a picture. It was a funny little encounter.
Our main mission was to bike to Liuzhangli Cemetery. We had read that it was a massive graveyard that incorporates Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist’s tombs. Turns out this place was pretty hard to find, and everyone we asked had never heard of it. But thanks 3 different tourist maps and Mike’s amazing skills we found! The ride was incredibly steep and with only 3 gears it was a sweaty workout. At the top of the hill stands the White Terror Memorial, which is dedicated to those who died during Marital Law.
I had never even heard of this before, so Mike filled me in with the sad details of how for 38 years Taiwan was suppressed because of Political corruption. As soon as we got to the memorial the sky opened up and it started raining. We took shelter underneath the shrine while we watched a funeral procession with Monks. Luckily the weather cleared up 15 minutes later so we could resume the bike ride.
Biking uphill meant we were able to get a closer look at Taipei 101 which was once the worlds tallest building from 2001-2004. The building was designed to look like a bamboo shoot. Do you see the resemblance?
We made a pit stop to try some Bubble Tea, which is a trendy drink in America where you pay up to $5 for a cup, while in Taiwan it is a staple of their country and a mere $1. You can get any variety of tea that you want, milk tea, green tea, black tea, etc…hot or cold. The highlight of the drink is the squishy tapioca balls that they put in it. SO REFRESHING!
Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As soon as we returned the bikes and headed into Taipei 101 to look around it started down pouring. I mean torrential typhoon like storm. We were so lucky that we made it inside right before the sky opened up! We decided to have a little meal at Din Tai Fung, which is a Michelin rated restaurant known for their famous dumplings. We were pretty satisfied with our dumpling selection and being that it was the first time I’d ever dined at a Michelin rated restaurant I was pleased with our choice! They have a viewing area where you can watch teams of 8 cooks prepare the dumplings in an assembly like fashion. We were told by our waiter that they make 10,000 dumplings minimum on a slow night!!
It was still raining cats and dogs so we needed to kill a couple of hours inside. AGAIN, luck was on our side because there was a movie theater inside Taipei 101, that even played ENGLISH movies! We easily walked right up to the ticket counter and bought 2 tickets to see the new Alice Through the Looking Glass movie and the movie started 15 minutes later! The only annoying part was half way through the movie I of course had to go to the bathroom and it turns out they lock the doors from the outside! I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the damn theater…so I just had to hold it till the end!
When the movie ended it was around 8pm and the rain had stopped, so we wandered over to the Shilin Night Market for some more street food and shopping. We weren’t totally thrilled with this market. It was very touristy, loud, and crowded. I did find some purple dragon fruit which is my all time favorite fruit, and impossible to find in the States, so that was deff. the highlight for me. Overall, our day was incredible and a bit spontaneous. 🙂