Day 4 in Taiwan – Rainbow Military Housing, Taiwan High Speed Rail, Taipei City Mall, National Memorial hall, Taiwan Travel Blog
After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we headed to the Rainbow Military housing which is a village created by a former soldier. He painted the houses in colourful patterns to save them from demolition. It has become one of the major tourist attraction in Taiwan and is a perfect place for camera lovers. Their is beautiful artwork which include birds, animals and people on the walls of the houses and even on the street and the city looks like a pretty fairy tale.
After spending an hour at the rainbow village and going shutter crazy, we moved on to our next big experience which was the Taiwan High Speed Rail. Commonly called as HSR , Taiwan High Speed Rail is a high speed rail line that runs approximately 345 km along the west coast of Taiwan. At the time it was built, this was one of the world’s largest privately funded rail construction schemes and the system was based on Japan’s Shinkansen technology. It took us approximately 1 and 1/2 hours to reach Taipei from the Rainbow Village. The ride was smooth and we felt nothing once the train started to move. It was as if you were sitting in a plane and within no time reach your destination.
We landed at the Taipei main station and walked towards the Taipei City mall which is an underground market connected to the station. The entire walk way has shops lined up on the sides and there are number of eateries through out the walk way selling all king of exotic food. I loved the variety of bakes on display at the bakeries and could not resist from picking up a few to taste.
Taipei City Mall is the first underground markets in Taipei City. parallel to the civic street above, with a total length of approximately 825 meters, this boulevard is divided into 4 different sections – fashion, sundries, electronics and food. The food court at the Taipei City Mall boasts a huge collection of world cuisine and I was quite relived to find an Indian outlet there. Although I love to experiment with different flavours and always ready to sample world cuisine, Indian cuisine is close to my heart and given a chance, I cannot miss eating it. The Indian food at the food court was fabulous and to be frank I did not expect it to be so good. In fact the food was much better than many Indian food places in Bangalore. I had my fill of Dal Makhnai, Tandoori chicken, Naan and kheer and was ready to explore Taipei City.
Our bus was waiting at the station and we drove to the National Memorial hall. National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial hall is a national monument and tourist attraction made in the memory of the Chiang Kai-shek, the former president of the republic of China. It was raining quite heavily when we reached the memorial hall and so we sat at the covered courtyard for a while and then headed to Taipei 101.
Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building since 2004 to 2010 and with a height of 1667 feet, it still boasts to be world’s third tallest building. The design of the building is inspired by bamboo plant and the pagoda shapes are also evident. You can visit the observation deck and experience the world’s second fasted elevator. the view from the observation deck is breath taking in the evening the entire city looks like a jewelled piece.
Dinner that night was at Din Tai Fung, a Michelin Star restaurant located in Taipei 101. The restaurant specialises in steamed dumplings. The food is phenomenal and everything that came to the table had perfect flavours. Dumplings were cooked to perfection and the filling inside was juicy and very slightly flavoured with mild spices, making the meat shine through. We got to taste dumplings stuffed with pork, chicken and prawns and I loved them all and would have loved a second helping of each but there was more to taste. The egg fried rice, a dish as basic as this one has something very special about it. I am not sure of the cooking method but after tasting the dish, I could feel the freshness of the ingredients. The dish was very light on the palate too. The stir fried greens were so fresh, I could have gone on and on eating them. This place is highly recommended if you are in Taipei. Make sure to make the reservation much in advance as there was a long wait and people stood in queue for hours to get their turn.