Even though this was my second time in Taipei, there was still so much to explore that I had not been able to on my first visit back in 2019. I was eager to see Taipei streets, parks, hiking trails, and of course get my hands on some traditional Taiwanese food such as beef noodles and xiao long bao. Taipei is a very large city and has so much to offer in terms of culture and tourism. In 2019, I had the opportunity to see the National Palace Museum and the National Theater, so I was excited to see what else there was to explore in Taipei.
Everything we did was easily accessible from our hotel at the Shangri-La Far Eastern, either by a quick Uber ride, walking, or taking the MRT. We were staying in the Da’an district, which is a bit more residential which made it a bit quieter for baby bean. It also meant it is home to some pretty incredible restaurants. I did my research on places we wanted to see and explore before our trip, relying on Google Maps to search around. There was so much on my wish list that I knew we probably weren’t going to fit it all in on this trip.
One thing I really wanted to do was hike up Xiangshan Hiking Trail, also known as Elephant Mountain. Similar to The Peak in Hong Kong, Xiangshan Hiking Trail offers several beautiful stops along the trail that overlook the entirety of Taipei as you climb higher into the mountains. The sporty, active side of me has fully come out and I was fully prepared to strap baby bean in her wrap carrier, climb the hundreds of steps up to at least the first landing, and get a picturesque view. With baby bean’s usual routine having us wake up at 6 am, I planned on doing this hike early in the morning after a quick breakfast before the day got too hot and humid. But as is common with kids, sometimes the schedule gets a bit disrupted.
Baby bean went down for her morning nap a bit earlier than usual, and then proceeded to sleep for 90 minutes instead of her usual 45 minutes. By the time she woke up, happy and squealing, it was a bit too late for me to comfortably bring her along on a steep hike so we decided to scrap the hike and save it for another visit. We will be back, of course! Instead, we decided to take a lengthy, leisurely walk around our hotel’s neighborhood in search of some iced black tea. We popped baby bean in her stroller (with her stroller fan on the highest setting), and walked 10 minutes to Freedom Wings Tea for a refreshing drink. I ordered the iced black tea latte, something I’ve become obsessed with lately.
After returning to the hotel for another quick nap, our rumbling stomachs were telling us it was time for lunch. One thing I did not get to try while I was in Taiwan last time was traditional Taiwanese beef noodles, and luckily there was a highly rated and well reviewed noodle shop within a 5 minute walking distance from our hotel. We made our way to Xiong Tian Shan Beef Noodles for some delicious noodles. The beau opted for the Sichuan version, which meant hot and spicy noodles, and I stuck to a non-spicy version since I’m still working on my spice tolerance. I did try some of his Sichuan beef noodles and they were sinfully good. We sat outside with baby bean and watched the city go by as we devoured our noodles.
Even though I had already been to the National Theater and National Concert Hall before, I decided I want to return to the site after all because this time I was with our baby bean. I really wanted her to see it, even though she won’t remember it whatsoever. But that’s not the point. The point is that I will remember bringing her there, and I will get to hold on to those memories forever. She enjoyed looking at the ducks and birds at the little ponds around the theaters, and she enjoyed the pops of red and blue on the building themselves. We took so many pictures of her here that I cannot wait to include them in a photo album for her to look back on when she’s older.
One more Taiwanese treat that I was determined to eat was xiao long bao, which is a soup dumpling. Taiwan is renowned for them, and Mingyue Tangbo Canguan came highly recommended. They have prawn dumplings, which was a big deal for me since I do not eat pork. The restaurant is located near The Linjiang Night Market, which is also just a 5-minute walk from the hotel. The market is also bustling during the day too, but at night is when it most comes alive with the street being lit up and vendors selling everything from souvenirs to jewelry to delicious snacks.
After 2 days in Taipei, it was hard to say goodbye so instead we said, “We’ll see you again soon!” With Taipei being a quick 1-hour flight from Hong Kong, it’s a very appealing weekend destination for some fun, some exploration, and some incredibly culinary delights. I’m so grateful I got to bring baby bean to Taipei for her first travel destination, and I can’t wait to bring her back for another round of adventure. Fingers crossed next time we can attempt Elephant Mountain!