Taiwan was a shocker for us, not knowing much about the country before we arrived, it quickly became one of our favourite places in Asia. A truly beautiful place which is a bit like Korea, Japan and China combined. Whilst we did lots of fun things whilst we were there, the two excursions below (in my eyes) are activities that you simply cannot miss when visiting Taiwan.
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When you arrive in Taipei, I highly recommend checking out a couple of areas just outside the main city. Jiufen for street food, beautiful tea houses (they have the tea house that inspired Ghibli’s Spirited Away!) and souvenirs; Pingxi is another great choice, as it’s the only place in Taipei where it is legal to release sky lanterns. It is worth noting that Pingxi also has an eco process in place, which ensures that the lanterns do not harm the environment.
We were so happy to take this trip with My Taiwan Tour, as it would’ve been incredibly tricky to visit both areas in the same day, if relying on public transport. Another plus was having an air conditioned car to take us to and from each location, along with meeting the most genuine tour guide and translator we’ve had the pleasure of meeting (her name is Ting). Ting really made the experience for me, as she kindly pointed out all the vegetarian street food when we stopped for lunch in Jiufen.
Another unexpected highlight of the trip was getting to visit another local town on our way, Jinguashi. Jinguashi is home to the Yin-Yang sea (something I’d never heard of before), you may be thinking ‘Oooh an ocean? What’s so exciting?’ but this particular ocean is a bit of a cultural phenomenon, due to its yellow and blue colouring. It is said that the colouring is a direct result of metal exposure from the large once-active goldmine, a couple of miles away. Intriguing eh?
As lovers of public transport when abroad, we were surprised at how much we loved this trip and would definitely recommend to others. If you are considering visiting Taiwan, I urge you to look at the tours that they offer. And on that note…
My Taiwan Tour have kindly given me a promo code for my followers, use code BECCA19 for 5% off their tours. See the link here
Want to see the behind the scenes of our day with them? Watch my IGTV video on our day with MyTaiwanTour
When falling down a YouTube hole one evening, when researching our Taiwan trip, I found a video from a vlogger on the number one thing to do in Taiwan: Taiwanese knife massages. Curiosity got the better of me and I started to watch, fast forward a couple of months later and I had come to the decision to give knife massages a go.
After watching the video, I set about researching places near our AirBnB in Taiwan and saw a lot of nearby malls offering the famous knife massages, but alas, lots of foreigners had left online complaints about bruising. Five more minutes of falling down the internet hole, I then found an article from a Taiwanese blogger reviewing a colourful knife massage place, a mere 5 minutes away from us. I didn’t waste any time and set about messaging Light Project Ximending to see if they had any available appointments that week, and by luck they did!
Light Project Ximending is ran by the lovely, Olivia Wu. I already knew a little bit about Olivia’s back story from my internet crusade, but Olivia kindly delved into her history a little bit more at the beginning of my session as I said I’d love to write a little blog on her practice.
Olivia was born in Los Angeles, and it was during a travel to Taiwan where she met her mentor and began practicing the ancient wisdom of I-Ching and the knife massage, which grew into Light Project Ximending 10 years later.
If you’re in Taiwan and want to give knife massages a go, then I’d recommend going to Olivia’s place as the team are super friendly and the massage was very relaxing. Did I mention that all of the team speak English? I feel that this is a serious point to consider if you have any reservations about being massaged with knives (I feel that the majority of people would have their reservations about this!).
Still not too sure on whether you’d like to take the plunge? Watch my IGTV video on our knife massage at Light Project Ximending
Want to see what else we got up to in Taiwan? View my Instagram highlights on Taiwan