Taiwan is probably one of our closest neighboring country. It’s only 218km away from our farthest islands of Batanes. It’s so close I even saw the island when I was in Itbayat on a clear sky morning. It was with excitement I had a chance to explore Taiwan through Taiwan Tourism Board for their campaign Panahon sa Taiwan. Recently, Taiwan recently extended its VISA-Free visit for Filipinos allowing us to enjoy this charming country again. For this trip we went to central areas of Taichung and Nantou County, the north mountainscapes of Yangmingshan and of course the main capital of Taipei.
It’s always fun to allow yourself to be touristy at times, especially when new to a destination. And since it’s my first time in Taiwan, I was interested to see the famous spots that makes Taipei distinctive. The significant attractions that iconize and built the country throughout the years. Here’s a visit to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, Taipei 101 and Ximending.
After exploring adventure-filled destinations in the outskirts of the main capital, we’re excited to wander finally through Taipei, Taiwan’s metropolitan city. And what better place to start than Dadaocheng, where some of the country’s oldest streets are found. There are more than a 100 year old culture and businesses that still thrive until this day. We had a full afternoon to experience the dazzling array of sights, sounds and even taste as we walk through the lively and charming Dihua street.
With only an hour’s drive from Taipei, Yangmingshan is one of the favorite getaways from the city, especially during summer time. Yangmingshan National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan. It is the only national park in Taiwan that has a volcanic geography and hot springs. The elevation may be low at 200-1100 meters above sea level but is endowed with magnificent landscape, breathtaking valleys, scenic hills, waterfalls and hot springs. If one does not have much time to go around for adventurous hikes, these places below can be enough to fill your Yangmingshan experience for a day or two.
Tucked at the highlands of Northern Taiwan, Yangmingshan Tien Lai Resort and Spa offers a luxurious stay while enjoying top-notch outdoor hot springs, pools, spa facilities and refreshing mountain views.
From one cool location to another. Coming from the serene Sun Moon Lake, we took a speed train to Taipei, then transferred to our all-familiar tour coaster up to the slopes of Yamingshan north of Taiwan. With elevations up to 1,120 meters above sea level and and just an hour’s drive from Taipei city, Yamingshan is a popular national park for people to enjoy cold weather, lush environment, natural wonders and hot springs. So fitting that our home for the night is the Yangmingshan Tien Lai Resort and Spa, a favorite destination to enjoy Japanese style indoor and outdoor hot springs in the Jinshan District.
Setting off to a distant island across rough seas and under intermittent weather in the wee hours of the morning aboard a large fishing vessel may sound like a romanticized adventure. But that’s exactly how our journey to Seco Island began. Well not exactly, it’s actually a clumsy ride on a flat boat that held everyone’s breath as we grope for balance to transfer from the shore to the big boat. I’ve only seen flat boats used here heavily in Antique, but these outrigger-less, flat surfaced geometrical boat is a challenge to balance on water especially with a number of people inside. But it did wake us up under the starry night sky and kept us alert as we boarded the shipping vessel for a 2-3 hour ride.
Work travels can be taxing and my regular yoga teaching demands a lot of my body. As a bodyworker, I practice self-care and take time to pamper myself as well. Spas is a common place to ease those tense muscles. It’s nice to know there’s a new Bluewater Day Spa in Ortigas, quite accessible to my place. I’ve tried their services before and can attest to their quality and consistency.