Back in Feb, I took a trip to visit my extended family in Taiwan. I grew up going here in the summer every few years but after university started, it was a lot harder to coordinate with my family. I finally took a trip to Taiwan with my parents after not having been back in 6 years!
My trip started off on a great start 'cause my parents surprised me at the SF airport as their layover stop from Toronto! My dad even managed to switch my flight seats to be with them. The flight itself was 14 hours so I pretty much watched an entire season of Breaking Bad.
Growing up, I had a love/hate relationship with Taiwan. It was always extremely humid and hot, dirty, and I was always being attacked by mosquitos. This time around, I felt like I was really seeing the country for its true beauty. It felt different. Maybe because I'm no longer a teenager and have also learned how to be a great traveler. I really fell in love with the country this time and felt proud to have Taiwanese roots (I'm half Taiwanese for those that didn't know!).
During my week in Taiwan, we stayed with my grandparents in Keelung, a port city Northeast of Taipei. Every morning we would walk outside our home and order soy milk and an onion egg pancake all for $1.50 per person. There was also a farmer's market every single morning too.
We revisited several scenic spots on this trip like Jiu Fen Old Village and Shi Fen's gorgeous waterfall. I also happened to visit Taiwan during the Lantern Festival which is the celebration of the first full moon after the Lunar new year. It was epic! My parents and relatives took me to light lanterns which was a really cool experience. We were given a big red lantern where we wrote wishes and fortunes before lighting it into the sky. The next day (the official Lantern festival day), my dad and I were exploring Taipei when we took a visit to Long Shan temple. It was really crowded with people paying their respects especially because of the first full moon. It was a really eye-opening experience as someone who's not religious. We also stumbled into the Ximending Night Market which coincidentally was where the big Lantern festival celebration took place. It felt like Times Sq! The crowd was amazing and I felt so grateful to truly experience the Lantern festival the proper way.
I have to say, the best things in Taiwan is definitely the food, culture, and night markets! If you've never been to Asia, please do yourself a huge favour and explore this side of the world. The amount of history, cheap good eats, and culture in these cities are worth it. :)