Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 7

This day was definitely not the best. To be honest, it was probably the worst day of my life and I’m not being overly dramatic, it was horrible.

The day started really well! It was still rather grey and rainy, but it was meant to clear up during the day! We headed to the Maokong Gondola and I was rather excited as I love cable cars of all sorts and was really pleased when there was one in Taiwan too!! Definitely the cheapest cable car ride I’ve ever been on at only $50 for a return journey! There was also a glass bottomed option, but mum wasn’t so keen, but as it was so foggy, I doubt we would have seen very much anyway!

We managed to get a gondola to ourselves until the first stop, when two rather cute young boys got on with their mum. They provided good entertainment for the rest of the journey as one of them was clearly quite scared whilst the other was just loving life.

Since it was raining, we couldn’t see too much out of the glass, but thankfully there were windows at the top of the gondola that opened, so I managed to get some decent photos without bleary windows in the way! There were several patches during the journey when we went through some very thick fog and we couldn’t see anything or where we were going – it literally felt like I was in a horror movie and anything could have jumped out at me! So glad I was wasn’t on my own!!

We soon reached the top and it was just so drizzly! It wasn’t heavy rain (thankfully!) but I think we must have been in loads of clouds as the air was just so damp. I’d read online that there were loads of amazing street food vendors at the top of the mountain and was really keen to try one item which was a pancake with peanut brittle and ice cream, but due to the rain, it was pretty deserted 😦 We weren’t too sure where to go so just followed some signs along the road towards a tea museum. It was quite interesting to see all the different teapots and methods of making tea and we could even try some if we wanted!

Afterwards, we decided to make our way back down as we’d planned to have lunch at a restaurant in the skyscraper Taipei 101 which I was very excited about! Gondolas and dining at a restaurant with an amazing view – the day couldn’t get any better! Definitely a case of speaking too soon here!

We got a table in Diamond Tony’s Italian restaurant as my mum and auntie came the last time they visited and I was keen to go too. The restaurant was on the 85th floor and the lift whizzed us up there in no time. Unfortunately, we initially weren’t able to get a window seat, but were soon moved after our soup when a table was cleared 🙂 It was just really strange looking out of the window, as I’m used to views in London being littered with skyscrapers and cranes everywhere, whereas here, we were in the tallest building and everything else was very flat and low! Quite surreal in a way!


We opted for the set menu which provided us with a massive amount of choice! We had a choice from two soups, then a million starters, and then a large selection of delicious looking main courses. Both mum and I had the mushroom soup which was lovely and we got some really soft focaccia bread and dip too which was plus! For starter I chose the calamari rings and mum had an aubergine and courgette dish in a cheesy tomato sauce. For the main course, I was highly tempted by the lobster or duck, but after much deliberation, opted for the fettucine pasta with seafood and mum had the pasta with crab.

We had just about began eating our starters when mum really wasn’t looking well at all. To be honest, I’m not really up for reliving it here, let’s just say she ended up passing out several times and was rushed to hospital. Scared doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. You never really think things like that would ever really happen to you, so when it does, it’s even more terrifying. Being in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language made it even scarier as it made it harder to communicate with the staff at the hospital and to understand fully what was going on. Thankfully a waiter from the restaurant came with us and he did a great job of making sure I was alright and stayed with us for hours! So thank you Mr Waiter, whoever you are! After a ridiculously long 6 hours of being monitored in hospital and a few more horrible episodes, the doctors thought mum would be okay to head back to the hotel to rest. They thought it was vertigo, but it seemed a hell of a lot more severe than that! So yeah, not the best day I’ve ever had!


Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 6

Today we visited Yangming National Park, and just like yesterday, it was tipping it down with rain! Undeterred, we donned our rather fashionable rain coats and got on with it! The National Park is in a beautiful area, so it was a shame that we weren’t able to see much of the views due to the heavy clouds and rain!


We took a bus around the mountains first because we had no idea where we wanted to get off!

We then had a bit of a wander and got to the visitor centre where they advised us on the best places to visit.

On the second journey round on the bus, we got off at the Erziping stop and decided to walk down the trail. It was a bit creepy as it was totally deserted apart from a couple of stray dogs which scared the life out of my mum! We chose this trail as it was flat the whole way and easy to walk in the rain. One of the stray dogs stayed with us the whole route and back much to my mum’s displeasure! At first I thought it just wanted food, but when it kept running ahead and then coming back to us, I genuinely think that it stayed to look after us! Even mum warmed to the dog after a while! The end of the trail opened up to a large open area where there was a beautiful lake and really pretty scenery. It would have been lovely to wander around there, but it was getting windier and was a bit scary, so we decided to head back the way we came, guard dog in tow 😉


We were absolutely soaked and weren’t really in the mood to do anything else since it was already getting fairly late in the day, so we made our way back to the hotel which took a good couple of hours!

We had a rather un-Taiwanese dinner tonight and went to a pizza/pasta buffet restaurant. It was pretty funny when we first went in as we weren’t too sure on how the whole thing worked, and since we can’t speak Mandarin, but my mum can write in traditional Chinese, there was a lot of writing and gesturing before we both understood what was going on! They had an amazing selection of creative pizzas on offer such as cappuccino, Japanese Teryaki chicken, and concubine bao, and I sampled a lot of them! We were also able to order as much pasta as we liked and they also kept coming round with loads of other food like chicken wings too.



Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 5

It was such a horrible rainy day today and I really didn’t want to go outside and do anything! However, we’d come all this way and it would be a shame to just sit inside and wallow! So after a hearty breakfast, mum and I caught the bus to the Yehliu Geopark. Funnily enough, my mum visited here with her sister last year and it was also pouring down with rain so they didn’t go inside! Instead they just visited a cake shop and headed back soon afterwards! Mum and I visited the same cake shop that they went to previously, in the hope that the rain would cease, but unfortunately the rain just didn’t want to go away!

We decided that since we were already here, we might as well venture inside!


The Geopark is a collection of really interesting rock formations that have been eroded by the sea into quite interesting shapes, such as a head, flip flops, and mushrooms. Unfortunately, it meant that we had to venture out along the sea, which made it very windy and almost unbearable in combination with the torrential rain! It would have been beautiful to see if it were a nice day, but we made the most of it and battled on! We got about half way and then decided to turn back since the second half would have required us to climb some very steep, slippery steps by the ocean, and as much as I really wanted to see it all, I valued our lives a bit more!!


It was pretty late in the afternoon and we were pretty hungry, so we just decided to eat at a local place near the bus stop. We had clearly interrupted the owners’ lunch as they were sat in front of the TV munching away, but one of them quickly rustled up two plates of noodles to help fill us up, all for less than £1!

We headed back to the hotel and dried off for a bit before heading back out to Chiang Kai Sek.


We decided to head to Taipei 101 for dinner as mum said that there were a vast array of restaurants to choose from there. It was basically like a massive food court in a shopping centre and we walked round several times trying to choose what we wanted to eat. It was a nightmare for someone like me who is attracted to everything on offer!! Since we were pretty hungry and everything was so cheap, we went pretty crazy and got a lot of food between the two of us! I had a whole squid with lamb, noodles, a fried egg, and vegetables for about $170 and mum decided on food from two different places. One included drunken chicken, rice, and some veg, and the other had a Taiwanese style omelette, chow mein, and some soup. It was literally a feast for less than £10!! Needless to say, we were suitable well fed 😉