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Things to do in Taipei and Shanghai


skylee
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I will visit Taipei and Shanghai again during Christmas and New Year holidays respectively. Any good suggestions on what to do?

(Shanghai is a reluctant choice as I couldn't get a ticket to Bangkok at a reasonable price, whereas It was very easy to redeem a free ticket (!) to Shanghai. When I told my friends about my travel plan, I got replies like this -> "嘿,妳就風流快活啦, 不過又係上海??我已覺悶,北京亦勉勉強強.", which I tend to agree. :wink: )

Oh if anyone has suggestions on what to do in Tokyo in mid-February (Lunar New Year holiday) please also share with me.

Thanks in advance.

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In Taipei, I'd start with the Palace Museum. The exhibition changes several times a year, so worth going to even if you've already been there, and they have truly beautiful things.

Also in Taipei are hotsprings, mountains to climb (Yangming shan and others), nice villages to see just on the outskirts, nice temples (Longshan si and others), Yehliu is a car ride away and gorgeous. The nightmarkets are also great, but I think they have that in HK as well so that's probably not that interesting for you. Same goes for Snake Alley, where you can eat snakes and other interesting animals. And there is the 101 of course, highest building in the world.

Are you going to be there for Western New Year? Because around Chinese New Year Taipei, like other Chinese cities I know, is mostly deserted and very boring.

Hope you'll enjoy your stay!

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I am going to Taipei during X'mas. Will go to the Palace Museum but it is getting boring (same for Shanghai Musuem) as I went there every time I was in Taipei. Hope the renovation works etc have been completed. I've done Danshui, Beitou, Yangming Shan and 101 before. Yehliu seems to be a good idea.

Will be in Tokyo during lunar new year.

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Taipei:

I enjoyed tea houses mostly when I was in Taipei. In Japan there are no tea houses, just modern coffee shops blasting pop music and what not. So the tea house was my favorite. I also enjoyed trying different types of Chinese food which I can not eat in Japan (Hunan, Sichuan, Xi'an) very easily. I really enjoyed taking a bus over the mountain and seeing what a quiet city in Taiwan looks like compared to Taipei. The scenery in the mountains is really beautiful too. If I were you I would look into day-trips since you have seen Taipei before. If I even go back to Taiwan, I will definately go on one of the tours for a tea farm--but I guess that doesn't interest so many people.

Tokyo:

Japanese do nothing on the lunar near year, so it won't be any different from ordinary days. They celebrate on the Gregorian new year, and it is largely a family thing anyways so you can't really see much except that streets are empty(nice for driving), stores are closed, and at night people line up at the shrines. If you come from a big city, then Tokyo will probably not be that interesting (I came from the countryside so it was amazing to just see a big city for the first time). To be honest, there is not really that much to see and do in Tokyo that would make it stand out from other big cities in Asia. I guess the best thing about Tokyo is that it is easy to find places to try different types of Japanese foods. I recommend miso foods, so you might try things like miso hotpot, miso pork cutlet, etc. Oh! You should try Okinawan food while in Tokyo. Okinawan food is one of my favorities. They use a lot of fish and products of the sea, and it really tastes good. Tokyo and the surrounding areas are famous for making really salty food (heavily use soy-sauce), but Okinawan food is much lighter in my opinion.

Ah, perhaps you should go see Tsukiji fish market? I hear by 5 AM all of the interesting things are sold, but my Taiwanese friend said it was a remarkable sight to see. Many places are closed off to tourists now, however, because many tourists try to touch the fish and it makes the sellers upset. You might also try to see a sumo match at Ryogoku in Tokyo?

I recommend some day-trips, however:

Nikko: there are several beautiful temples, and the famous "hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil" monkies carving is here. You can probably see live monkies crossing the road if you walk down a road with few cars. Also, there is a beautiful lake and waterful in this area.

Kawagoe: (I lived here for two years) If you arrive there from 10 AM to 4 PM, there are some traditional style shops, as well as many small traditional candy shops. This place is nicknamed 小江戸 because many of the original building from the Edo era are still standing. It did not get leveled in the war like Tokyo, so there are lots of old houses and places. It is just nice to walk around this city if you have free time.

Kamakura: The place of the outdoor bronze buddha (supposedly tallest in the world). Besides this there are several small boutiques and interesting shops. There are many small temples and shrines as well, so it is just best to walk around this area.

Yokohama & Minato-mirai: home of Chinatown (serving Cantonese food adjusted for Japanese tastes), ferris wheel on the bay, and ramen museum. Someone used to real Chinese food would probably not find anything they like in Yokohama though.

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Thanks for the ideas, novemberfog. I choose Tokyo for lunar new year exactly because there will be no celerbation etc.

I've been to Nikko, Kamakura and Yokohama before. Actually I went to Nikko more than once. Kawagoe and sumo are good ideas. Thanks.

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If you have extra time to spare outside of Taipei, there is Xiaowulai in the town of Fuxing (in Taoyuan County). It's not too far from Taipei. Few people outside of Taiwan know this place. This thread at forumosa has the details: http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=23615&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0

There is also the town of Wulai about an hour drive from Taipei. Wix went there and took some pictures. http://flickr.com/photos/davidonformosa/page10/. The water in those pictures looks like the water in some of the pictures taken of Jiuzhaigou.

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There are lots of suggestions about places to visit on my website. See day trips around Taipei and interesting places in Taipei for a start.

The Xiao Wulai waterfall and the area around Fuxing is certainly interesting. If you go to my blog and search for "fuxing" or posts in the category Taoyuan County you can find some more information.

Xiao Wulai shouldn't be confused with Wulai. The latter is easily reached by bus from Taipei while the former is in Taoyuan County and a little further from Taipei.

For photos of Xiao Wulai see http://flickr.com/photos/davidonformosa/tags/xiaowulai/

I think the place bhchao said has water colored like Jiuzhaigou is the Neidong waterfall near Wulai (not the same as Xiao Wulai). See this photo: http://flickr.com/photos/davidonformosa/256126379/

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  • 2 months later...

I've written about my trips to Taipei and Shanghai here (in Chinese).

As to the trip to Tokyo, my plan is (more or less) like this -> a day trip to Kawazu for the Kawazu sakura fesitval (in Feburary (!) ha ha); one day to Kawagoe; one day wandering around, last day in the Ueno area for the musuems and the winter peonies at Ueno Toshogu (thanks for the idea Hashirikata). I always spend the last day in Ueno before taking the train to the airport.

BTW, I am thinking about taking a longer trip (about 20 days) after Easter. Am thinking about going to warmer (but not hot) places in Southern Europe like Italy / Greece / Portugal / Spain etc. If you have any good ideas, please share with me.

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Am thinking about going to warmer (but not hot) places in Southern Europe like Italy / Greece / Portugal / Spain etc.

Thanks to global warming, everywhere will be hot this year!!

Don't forget to wax and bring along your bikini. :mrgreen:

I went to Northern Italy in late summer in 2004, it was so hot! :(

Last year, I went to Monaco (Southern Europe) in early spring, it was like a furnace. :cry:

Do you like Singapore? If you do, you might enjoy Monaco too.

I am a winter person anyway. :wink:

K.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi. Just a follow-up for my #10. Any suggestions for good places to go during/after easter holidays? Boss has agreed to let me have the vacation so I really need to decide on the destination(s).

Someone mentioned Croatia today and I wonder if it is easy to travel there alone and if it can take up about 2 to 3 weeks. And how is the weather in Britain and Ireland in April? And how about Germany?

Any advice will be much appreciated.

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Croatia is really beautiful!

Did you know that it was voted for the most beautiful country in the world by the National Geographic in 2005? It's not so easy to travel outside Zagreb, if you do not understand Croatian. But Croatian coastal lines and islands are fantastic!!

April is getting warmer in Britain, but it can rain a lot as well. You will get to see lots of lambs in the countryside! I find both Scotland and Ireland are quite similar especially if you enjoy walking. Rent a car in Dublin and drive all the way to Galway, and then down to see the Cliffs of Moher! Have you been to the Fringe in Edinburgh in August?

Germany? I find it quite industrialised but Bavaria is worth a visit. The Black Forest is in there.

K.

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I can't tell you much about Croatia, only that it is indeed a beautiful country, with a sea that's so warm that it's a pleasure to swim in it, and that they have really good beer there. I hope someone else can give you more useful information...

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  • 3 months later...

Hello.

I am spending this weekend in Kyoto. Have just bought myself a new Kyoto guidebook but having read it found that I have been to almost all the places in the book. So any good suggestions on what to do in mid-June? I will spend a day in Kanazawa so will have about two days to spend in Kyoto.

I am also going to Taipei again at the end of this month. Also have problems figuring out what to do. I did go to Wulai last time and visit the NPM dutifully. Any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

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