Taiwan & Hong Kong For First Timers
Bubble tea: the quintessential drink of Taiwan originated in Taichung and consists of black tea, milk, and sago pearls. Now, you can find many exciting flavor combinations of milk tea throughout Taiwan, including taro, green tea, and oolong tea. Be sure to try this drink while in Taiwan. Bubble tea is both refreshing on a hot day when served cold, or comforting on a cool day when served warm. Whichever way you drink it, this combination of fragrant tea and chewy sago pearls is sure to excite your taste buds.
There’s no meal that shouts “Hong Kong!” quite like dim sum. Whether you’re looking to splurge on an innovative fine dining dim sum experience or head to one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants where a dim sum lunch will cost you less than CAD$10, Hong Kong has it all. There are well over 150 varieties of dim sum to choose from and thousands of restaurants throughout Hong Kong, so giving this iconic food a try is an absolute no-brainer. Dim Sum translates to ‘touch your heart’ - exactly how you’ll feel after your first (or tenth!) bite.
As the landmark of Taipei city, the extraordinary 101-floor building is truly remarkable with its record-breaking height. This architectural gem whisks you up to the 89th floor in a mere 37 seconds, where you can soak in the stunning city views. While the daytime views from the top are not to be missed, it’s well worth coming back in the evening to witness the unique multi-colored light display, where each color represents a day of the week.
Take a ride on the Peak Tram as you watch Hong Kong Island’s iconic skyscrapers slowly pass you by - just remember to hold on tight as you ascend! Once at the top, the breathtaking views of the city are sure to leave you speechless. If you have a bit of time to spare, be sure to take a leisurely stroll along the Peak Circle Walk for some unbeatable views of the city before making your way back down.
Whisk yourself away to the serene Penghu archipelago, found southwest of Taiwan. You’ll instantly feel at ease the moment you step foot on one of the islands and find yourself surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches, fascinating basalt columns, and an array of wildlife. If you prefer more of an action-packed trip, Penghu has the perfect weather for surfing and sailing, and plenty of unique marine life for scuba diving.
In the city that never sleeps, slow time down with a relaxing ride on the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour. The reliable ferries shuttle tens of millions of people across the harbour each year in a mere 9 minutes and have been coined as one of the 50 "places of a lifetime" by National Geographic. Hop on the Star Ferry any time of day for a close-up of one of the world's most photographed harbours, but be sure to take a ride in the evening when “A Symphony of Lights” is on.
Night markets are a fantastic way to satisfy all your cravings - shopping, eating, entertainment, and more! Raohe Street Night Market is one of the largest night markets in Taipei where you can spend some time shopping for clothing and local crafts before heading to one of the countless street food stalls to get your fix of dumplings, seafood, dessert, and many other local delicacies. Don’t leave without trying a delicious bowl of lu rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork rice) - a dish that is sure to leave you satisfied.
Ignite your senses with a walk through Temple Street Night Market: a vibrant area nestled in Yau Ma Tei that comes to life as the sun goes down. Arrive hungry, and head to one of the numerous street stalls where you can dig into a bowl of piping hot claypot rice as you watch locals and tourists alike walk by. If you’re lucky, you may get a bit of a show along with your meal thanks to the Cantonese opera singers and fortune tellers. Before leaving, put your haggling hat on and bargain over an array of jade, antiques, souvenirs, and other trinkets you’ll stumble upon as you wander through..
This impressive historic cultural hub is home to almost 700,000 pieces of precious ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artwork. The breathtaking National Palace Museum offers a glimpse into the historic Chinese empire and palace; a perfect spot for history and art lovers to explore. While there’s plenty of unique exhibits to explore within the museum, be sure to spend some time wandering around the grounds - the alluring architectural style of the museum was built to resemble a Chinese palace.
Way up in the lush mountains of Lantau Island is where you’ll find the monumental Big Buddha - also known as the Tian Tan Buddha. The 268 steps up to the Big Buddha are well worth the effort as you enjoy a moment of anticipated serenity while looking out over the bright blue ocean and lush mountains. After working up an appetite, treat yourself to a comforting home cooked vegetarian meal at one of the most important Buddhist sanctums, the Po Lin Monastery.
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