Tuesday, October 14, 2014

First Anniversary Travel: Finding LOVE in Taipei!

By: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

What better way to show LOVE than with a LOVE sign! So while touring around Taipei, Taiwan, we have bonded together in LOVE quite literally and these printed photos are part of our "paper" anniversary gifts for our firs wedding anniversary.

TAIPEI 101 - Xinyi District, Taipei Taiwan
The drizzle  and sudden blizzard couldn't stop us (and others) from snapping selfie photos at the LOVE sculpture found outside the Taipei 101. This LOVE design is by American artist Robert Indiana which was reproduced in variety of formats and languages and recreated in many places around the world. As everyone needs LOVE, we truly enjoyed taking our photos by the LOVE sign.

BItan Scenic Area - Xindian District, New Taipei City
Bitan Scenic Area is a popular attraction for couples in Taiwan because of the great view of the mountain and the lake - like Xindian river where they can ride pedal boats. The place is quite romantic not only because lovers can do an 'H-H-W-W' or holding hands while walking along the river or while crossing the 75 year old suspension bridge, but also because of the Bitan's Wall that features personalized bricks art work like "100% LOVE", "I LOVE YOU Forever", and different expressions of LOVE (of the individual donors I presumed).

Taipei Zoo - Wenshan, Taipei, Taiwan
Alright we are LOVE - ful couple that we noticed even this LOVE word on Mc Donalds drink cups while at the Taipei Zoo!

Public Art - Metro Taipei

And it's really TIME FOR LOVE in Taiwan. as even the public art in several Metro Taipei stations feature LOVE and Hearts as themes of murals and artworks.

Monday, October 13, 2014

First Anniversary Travel: Taipei Zoo

By: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

Taipei Zoo is the first ever zoo that we visited as a couple and I could say that it will be a "hard act to follow" since it is one of the largest and well - kept zoos I have ever seen during my own travel world wide. It is located on the far end of Taipei City, and occupied about 90 hectares of sloping land set against the backdrop of high hills and lush greenery. The entrance is only NT$ 60 (so really very cheap!).

The Taipei Zoo is divided into different zones based on their habitats and climates - Desert and Outback, Asian Tropical Rainforest, African animals, Temperate Zone, Formosan animals, Noctornal and Bird World. The crowd favorites are the Pandas, Koalas and Penguins and these are kept in glass enclosures. The Panda crowds are managed by having a ticket and you have 20 minutes to go around following a large group. All the other attractions can be enjoyed at your leisure. Our favorites are the King penguins, red pandas, and the rare species which I have seen for the first time like macaque, emu, addax, serow, moccasin, lynx, raccoons, pumas, civet.

Red and I totally enjoyed all the attractions inside the zoo! Also, we collected another first wedding anniversary gift - pictures with the animal - themed music clock. The animals on the clock are the twelve (12) Formosan Animals like the (12) Water buffalo, (11) Formosan wild boar, (10) Formosan serow, (9) Formosan mountain dog, (8) Fomosan rock macaque, (7) Chinese leopard cat, (6) Formosan hare, (5) Mikado pheasant, (4) Red - bellied tree squirrel, (3) Chinese moccasin, (2) Formosan stripe dace, and (1) Elegant Five - lined skink.

There are two (2) strategy to be able to visit the whole zoo in 3 to 4 hours. Our group took the Maokong Gondola to the top of the hills, then took the tram to see the Giant Panda enclosure and checked all the other areas at leisure. The other way is the reverse - enter at the main Taipei Zoo entrance then take the tram to the Penguin house first, and walk up to the African, Australian, Asian Rainforest and then the Pandas and reserve the Maokong Gondola ride to enjoy the sunset on the mountain.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

First Anniversary Travel: Taiwan's "Firsts"

By: Mhe-anne O. Isidro

Since our trip to Taipei, Taiwan last October 6-11, 2014 is part of our first wedding anniversary (and my forty - first birthday celebration!), we visited sights that are "firsts" in Taiwan. Here's  what we've got:

Visited / Seen on October 6, 8, & 10, 2014

With 101 floors and a structure height of 508 meters, TAIPEI 101 is the world-renowned, quintessential Taipei landmark and the "first tallest modern architecture" in Taiwan since its construction in 2004 up to the present. Two (2) of its fifty (50) elevators ascend at a speed of 1,010 meters per minute (which is another reason why it's called Taipei 101), making it the Guinness World record's fastest elevator. It takes only 37 seconds from the 5th floor to the 89th Indoor Observatory, which offers visitors a commanding view of the city and Taipei basin in all directions. The corridor connecting 89th to 88th has a panoramic 270 - degree view of well - known scenic spots in Taiwan and the Taipei 101 Fireworks and a wind damper area which is world's biggest. For a feel of the strong winds and an expansive view of the city, take the flight of stairs to the 91st Floor Outdoor Observatory. In 2011, Taipei 101 is the world's tallest and largest green building in the world according to the U.S. Green Building Council. The TAIPEI 101 MALL is the "first international shopping complex" in Taiwan. 

Visited on October 8, 2014

WINDOW ON CHINA THEME PARK is the "first spot" to visit of all attractions in Taiwan since it is located 30 minutes from the Taoyuan International Airport. It is an amusement park with variety of indoor and outdoor amusement facilities especially designed for all ages, enchanting shows and entertainment, thrilling rides and the "first in Asia to feature majestic displays of miniature world famous architecture" as its main theme.  You can go to Taiwan, China, Asia, Europe and America in just one (1) day!

Visited on October 8, 2014

DANSHUI OLD STREETS is the "first international port" opened in Northern Taiwan in 1858. Danshui is an intensely historic town located on the mouth of Danshui River so visitors come to enjoy mountain and river scenery as well as savor local delicacies  as seafood balls, "iron" eggs, and sour plum drink. The mouth of the harbor is spanned by a white "Lover's Bridge", offering a new place to enjoy the famous sunset of Danshui.

RAINBOW BRIDGE is Taiwan's "first pedestrian large pier - less S-shaped bridge over water" which is a must - see for couples who want to leave sweet footsteps behind. At night, the bridge is a beautiful spot for couples and sweethearts since both sides of the bridge contain a series of romance - themed decorative murals featuring the words "I Love You" in twelve (12) different languages, a three - dimensional sculpture of the word "LOVE", love locks and so on.

October 9, 2014

LONGSHAN (Lungshan) TEMPLE of Manka is a Buddhist temple constructed in 1738 (and rebuilt in the 1919) by master temple builder, Mr. Wang Yi - shun, making it a masterpiece and landmark of traditional Chinese architecture of its time in Taiwan. They are two-storied buildings with a conic roof in hexagonal shape like a helmet. Each sector of this hexagonal roof in double eaves forms a slope in converse  "S" curve which is the "first example of an "S" curve roof design" introduced into Taiwan. This temple has become a center of people's religious life  and a heritage of local culture. For this reason, Taiwan's government assigned it a second class historical site and will be preserved for future generations.

October 10, 2014

MAOKONG GONDOLA is  Taipei's "first tourist gondola" for a bird's - eye view of the tea fields area and magnificent scenery of Maokong. There are 30- crystal cabins which can provide service every 2 to 4 minutes to four (4) stations - Taipei Zoo, Taipei Zoo South, Zhinan Temple, and Maokong. By the Zhinan Temple, there is a "Valentines' Sacred Ground" for sweetheart couples and "marriage line" timber boardwalk with a lover's platform in the shape of a double heart to warm the passions of couples' sweet love.

Visited on October 10, 2014
The RED HOUSE is Taiwan's "first government - constructed public market" and the most well preserved class three historical site located in the Ximen area. It is a Western - style red - brick octagonal structure built in 1908 which includes a theater, tea shop, a boutique area, and an exhibition area. Its northern square feature a holiday arts fair, while its southern square includes an open air cafe. To date, it has established itself as a major location for the development of cultural and creative industry which continued to breath fresh air into the historic architecture.

Taiwan's Tourist Offices (with the yellow colored small letter "i" icon)  in airports, train stations or Metro stations is a "must" visit for tourist as Taiwan has become the first place in the world to offer free wifi access to tourists. Show your passport to staff at tourist offices and you will then be given an account number, which will allow you to access the free basic WiFi. With a speed of around 1 Mbps bandwidth per second, you are always connected with your family and friends even on travel.