I had been planning to go back to South Korea for quite some time. While I love revisiting my favorite destinations, there’s something magical about a completely new one! I booked tickets with a layover in Taipei, Taiwan. A 12 hour layover to be exact.
What do you do with all that time? Go on the Free Taiwan Half-Day Tour. I got a lot of info about the tour at the Taiwan booth of the New York Times Travel Show last March. So, was it a good decision to book such a long layover?
I signed up for the tour a month before my flight. I definitely recommend doing this. They limit the number of spots. After arriving at the Taipei (Taiwan Taoyuan; there are two airports in Taiwan) airport, I went to the tourism booth. There was a booth in each terminal. Try to go to the terminal where you asked to be picked up from when you signed up (we made the mistake of not doing that).
If you are able to, sign up for the morning tour, which is for flights leaving in the afternoon/evening. It seems that the afternoon tour is more bus-riding and less actual exploring Taipei.
Sanxia Old Street
The first place on the tour was Sanxia Old Street. It’s a popular tourist destination and has historical significance. Brick buildings lined the street. The tour website says that the buildings date back to the “late Qing Dynasty/early Japanese colonial era.”
Shops and bakeries filled these buildings. I can’t forget the ice cream shops as well. Don’t think this is a quiet little neighborhood. I had to constantly try to not get run over by motor scooters racing by.
There was something everywhere I looked. Further down from the brick buildings were taller buildings.
Shop owners sold lots of different foods. All kinds of fruits were on display. Butchered meats hung from posts. The smell of local food was in the air. Hoards of people walked back and forth. Scooters buzzed by constantly.
If you are flying to Asia, consider a layover in Taipei, Taiwan. It was such a great experience. I want to visit again and stay longer. The tour was a nice taste of Taiwan.