WOW, I’ve never taken China Air, but now I can highly recommend it to anyone traveling around the region. However, Kel doesn’t think anyone tested out the seats for sleeping comfort beforehand haha We were served a full blown meal, dessert and all! Given some excellent movie choices for our one and a half hour flight and a personal blanket. Now that was a nice little surprise. Given the tight Budget that Kel gave me to work with, I had to shop around for some cheap flights and hotel stays and make an itinerary we could both enjoy that wouldn’t break the bank. My favorite site for finding flights is Skyscanner, which I use to compare rates, then I go through my Ebates and purchase my tickets, usually on CheapOair. I get travel points on my account with CheapOair and cash back with my Ebates, which ends up being about $20 in the end, and is a nice little bonus that I don’t account for in the initial Budget, as a little incentive for myself. It definitely takes a while, but the cashback is like getting paid 😛 I do the same thing for hotel stays, always using trip advisor as my resource and reference site, because here in Asia it’s a valuable resource to get real information and traveler opinions. Therefore, I’m always sure to leave my own personal experience after as well. I typically end up booking hotels through CheapOair after booking the flight because of the package discount, or through bookings.com which doesn’t have hidden booking fees like sights such as Expedia, who I sometimes use if the price is right. All in all, I’ve come to enjoy the hunting process and looking for affordable travel all while ensuring a safe and comfortable stay. Yes, I have learned the hard way and willing to go a little fancier than backpacker stays now (I’ve had some interesting experiences) but it’s been a fun journey along the way.
Upon arrival at our first Hotel, which we did end up switching, we checked in, dropped out bags, and headed off to Taipei 101. If you’re only staying ng a night or two, I’d most definitely say the T.O. The hotel its good value for your money. This cute coffee shop turned hotel had just enough room space underground got two tiny rooms, literally for sleeping, a shared bathroom, and a shower. Basic amenities were provided, and breakfast in the coffee shop was on point!
However, After the first night, we did decide to move since we were staying a little longer in Taiwan and wanted a bit more room to move about and preferred not to share a shower with the other guests, not having anything to use as shower shoes. We also went to a more central location with the next one, learning later that there were great shopping and local eats just in the other direction.
This actually turned out to be a good decision considering Kel was, unfortunately, a bit under the weather for the remainder of the trip, but didn’t miss too much excitement or spectacular views due to some pretty wet weather.
Anyway, after the bag drop, it was off to the famous Taipei 101 to see what it was all about. That’s when the rain started, so we decided not to go up and just enjoy a quick bite and tried to find ANYONE in the entire building that could help us at least get up to the 35th floor to the Secret Starbuck I’d heard about. Turns out you need a reservation and finding assistance to make a local phone call was proving to be quite difficult. We decided to call it quits and head back to the hotel before making our way to a local night market.
By the way, night markets in Taiwan are strictly food! They are known for their street food and exotic combos you would never think sounded the least bit appetizing but are surprisingly delicious.
Okay, so we went the intention and determination to try some of this new and different food we had herd so much about. However, we decided to play it safe, stomach wise, and stayed away from the “Stinky Tofu,” that is way worse smelling the durian. Which, I actually kind of like the smell of if you can imagine 😛 And made or pick based on which line was the longest since we obviously were having a little difficulty deciphering the options that were all in Mandarin. We ended up with grilled-breaded pepper/curry chicken sticks and Taiwanese fried noodles which were both very good. I don’t know what they do to their chicken in Taiwan, but it’s definitely the most tender chicken I’ve ever had! And got very used to eating for the remainder of our trip, due to Kel coming down with something and Mos Burger being the closest English menu option to our new hotel: City Suites – Beimen,.But hey, I’m not complaining!
We probably stayed out later than we should have not having too much sleep yet and having to check out early to switch hotels and not wanting to miss half a day of sightseeing. Nevertheless, we were up and out after a tad later breakfast (7:30) than planned, but worth waiting for the cafe to open before check in and our next adventure…