Travelling with friends has it pros and cons. This day I discovered the con – catching their illnesses. I woke up with a sore throat and cold which immediately killed my mood and made me a little grumpy for a good part of the morning, (sorry guys)! Powering through, we visited the CKS Memorial Hall, which we actually went to the night before on a mini cycle tour around the National Taiwan University. Going off on a tangent for bit, a fun and cheap activity to do in Taipei is to hire the rental bikes scattered around the city! You’ll need a Taiwan number, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve bought a sim card for data. Then just purchase an Easy Card from the MRT stations, register and go! You can register multiple cards on one number, so you can rent bikes for everyone in your group! Luckily there aren’t many hills in Taipei so the ride is pretty relaxing, especially at night when the streets and roads are less busy!
Returning back to the day at hand, I loved the open space of the CKS Memorial Hall and because of a local festival going on at the time, we saw a lot of dance groups practising chorography which was fun to watch. Feeling hungry we went to Din Tai Fung for lunch, waiting only 30 minutes for a table! A restaurant famous for having a Michelin Star with accessible prices on their menus, it’s a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. Having been to the one in Hong Kong, I can definitely say that the branch in Taipei has much better service, if no perceptible difference in food quality! Eating there was such a mood booster and we went on to watch a local dragon boat festival in happier spirits! We took shelter under the bridge and amusedly watched as teams of varying ability competed against one another. We stayed for an hour before picking up our bags at the hostel and catching our train to Taichung. Similar to the bullet trains in Japan, Taiwanese trains are so spacious, modern and clean, it was a dream to ride! Upon arrival there was a brief moment of confusion as to what bus to take into the city, but we managed to figure it out (yay) and got to our hostel without incident.