The land of idoldramas is what Taiwan is to me. Their bevy of celebrities who have made a name for themselves overseas are one too many, boybands alike and had it not been for their celebrities and variety shows, I may not consider stepping foot.
We ventured out of Taipei which was our base to other parts like Taichung, New Taipei City and Hualien. This may not be the bestest way to commute but we went ahead anyway!
List of cab drivers
Hualien - Tiffany
Requires a deposit of 30% of the cab booking upfront. Paypal recommended.
Replies emails in English. Friendly cab driver but she pretty much showed us what Hualien had to offer (Taroko Gorge and Swallow caves) but was not willing to throw in additional attractions. Ended tour earlier than expected because of the rain.
Taipei - Jiu Fen - Fisherman's Wharf 小強手機: 國際 886917941496
Slightly pricier than the other recommended cab drivers in Taipei, two thumbs up for his service though! He arranged for another friend to cover Jiu Fen with us as he was engaged. Entertained us with magic tricks and gossips.
Airport Transfer - 宋 初國
Cheaper to book online than hail a cab, saving at least half! Mr Song had someone to hold up the placard for us upon arrival and escorted us to the hotel safely. He even took the liberty to help me get a phone card as Taiwan mobile service providers are anal about having both the passport and identity card for registration. Very helpful guy!
We had one of the worst cab experiences in Taichung, just beware of this driver, Mr Tony Su (firstname.lastname@example.org). Emails were ignored and he arranged another driver in place of him. The driver was aloof and ignorant - did not know where we wanted to go and insisted that the places of interest he brought us were where we wanted when they WERE NOT!
Finally paid this country a visit and here's the chowdown;
Spread the love around
Souvenir list - Not too comprehensive but as a rule of thumb, pineapple tarts and sun biscuits are the must bring back! Mochis, nougats and peanut candies are also the way to go.
Convenience Stores - Perfect place to stock up on their instant noodles!
Yeh Liu Souvenir Market - Snacks from the sea.
Mister Donut - This Japanese snack made big in Taipei
Rui Fang Beef Noodles - These cows died for a valid reason.
六洲面线 - Oyster Mee Sua that ain't Ay Chung!
Shen Keng Tofu Street - Bringing to life TCS' Tofu Street Drama.
Melange Cafe - Brunch with to die for waffles!
Aoki Sadaharu - Swooning over macarons.
Yu's Almond Tofu - Tofu gone healthy!
Zhao Ji Wanton - Taiwanese breakfast staple next to soyabean milk and doughsticks.
Gayke - Audacity, eaten.
Jiu Fen Eats - Food street alert in Jiu Fen, the place that always rains.
Tam Shui Old Street - One of the famous night markets.
Fu Hang Dou Jiang - Arch rival of Yong He...highly recommended!~
Yong He Dou Jiang - Even the Taiwanese do not get the fuss.
Jin Shan Old Market - One bustling day market.
Liu Jia Rice Dumplings - Taiwanese rice dumplings...yummeh!
Formosa Chang - Famed franchise of braised meat rice
Sun Moon Lake Eats - This famous attraction does have some really good eats.
Banana Paradise - Hugely nostaglic eatery with more than decent food
Tian Siang Eatery - Cai Png in the mountains
Land of bubble tea - They are famous for them but are they as good as they all say?
Train Bento Set - Like the Japanese, train/rail travel is highly recommended to experience their countys and village waysides.
Modern Toilet - More fluff than substance.
Din Tai Fung - Definitely worth a try and that michelin star!
Party World - If queueing is what Singaporeans love, ktving is what Taiwnese do on a national basis.
Rao He Night Market - Encourages dinner sitting down.
Shi Da Night Market - Cheap and good place for university students. Accessories and apparel are more upmarket here.
Shih Lin Night Market - Travel guides all say must go, well go and say "I've been there, done that."
Ay Chung Mian Xian - Pig organs and meesua, perfect for winter.