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We are back from a really awesome trip to #Taiwan. In hindsight, delighted that we picked Taiwan, instead of the more common places that Indians typically go to.

Noticed a lot of things that struck us as unique in this trip, so here is a compilation #PPinTaiwan (1/n)
(2/n) How did we choose Taiwan? @AirAsia was running a sale last August when Preethika noticed a good deal, and in a spur of the moment decision, we decided to go there. Yes, the flight tickets were bought 9 months ago. #PPinTaiwan
(3/n) Firstly, getting a visa to Taiwan is pretty easy, especially if you have had a US, UK, Schengen etc visa in the last 10 years. Yes, even if it is expired, it is fine. More details here: passingports.com/taiwan-visa-fo…
Thanks to this, visa for the both of us was free #PPinTaiwan
(4/n) Cleanliness: The entire country is super clean. Clean as in spic and span all the time, to the level that we Indians have never seen/experienced. The roads are clean, the metro (Taipei MRT and Kaohsiung MRT) is clean, even the toilets in the metro is clean #PPinTaiwan
(5/n) How do they manage this? There are people cleaning all the time and they are visible everywhere. Even if there's a tiny speck of dirt on the ground (inside a mall, hotel or even on the road), there's someone or the other rushing with a broom/brush and a dustpan #PPinTaiwan
(6/n) Was shocked when we were walking on the road of #Taipei at around 11:30 in the night and there was a really small piece of paper (assume a square of 1cm side) in front of a building (on the road) and saw the watchman comes rushing out to clean it. #PPinTaiwan
(7/n) Politeness: Taiwanese take Atithi Devo Bhava to another level. Super polite all the time, extremely helpful even though they don't understand English much, but they take an effort to understand what we are trying to say and respond in the best possible manner. #PPinTaiwan
(8/n) And BTW, zero discrimination - they don't care whether you are a Westerner, an African or an Indian for that matter. Everyone is treated on par, and well. Felt so good especially after our last two trips (UAE and Thailand where they look down upon Indians) #PPinTaiwan
(9/n) Process: If we thought the Japanese were a symbol of being orderly, the Taiwanese are up there as well. Zero breaking rules. They stand in a queue everywhere, whether it is climbing up an elevator or waiting for an MRT/metro or a bus for that matter #PPinTaiwan
(10/n) And if you thought it is because their population is less, think again. Taipei's population density at 10,000 per sq km is more than New Delhi (7,500 per sq km) or Bangalore (4,500 per sq km). #PPinTaiwan
(11/n) Notice the gap pointed out in the pic? Any guesses as to why there is a gap?

Not because that gentleman forgot to move in front, but so that other pedestrians don't have a problem when they are coming through.

Would this ever take place in India? #PPinTaiwan
(12/n) Everything works like clockwork in #Taiwan. Whether it is the bus or the metro/MRT. You can literally set your watch by watching what people do. If they say breakfast starts at 8am, it will start at 8am, not at 7:59, and not at 8:01. #PPinTaiwan
(13/n) Connectivity: #Taipei is well connected by MRT/metro. We had to take the bus only on one occasion, which is awesome. It goes without saying that taxis are expensive. #PPinTaiwan
(14/n) #Kaohsiung is the only other city in #Taiwan to have a functioning MRT. We had to use a combination of bus and MRT while going around. In #Taichung, travelling by bus is free up to a distance of 10km, which is more than sufficient to get around. #PPinTaiwan
(15/n) The #Taiwan High Speed Rail (called as THSR or HSR) goes from North to South of Taiwan. Touching speeds upwards of 300 kmph, you can go from Taipei to Kaohsiung (362 km) in 90 minutes, which is awesome! If you do visit Taiwan, this is definitely a #mustdo. #PPinTaiwan
(16/n) Next up, random observations in no particular order.

Their food habits are different. Their lunch time is between 12 and 2pm, and their dinner time is between 5 and 8pm. Restaurants close at 10pm in Taipei and at 9:30pm in Kaohsiung #PPinTaiwan
(17/n) Vegetarian food is a little scarce, especially if you are picky and choosy like us. We avoid garlic wherever possible (I don't like the smell, while Preethika can bear it a little more), and Preethika doesn't like brinjal and mushrooms. #PPinTaiwan
(18/n) To top it all, the fake meat looks real, and that made us queasy.

However, there are many Italian joints and Indian restaurants. There's a chain called Mayur Indian Kitchen (@Indiafoodtaipei) or MIK with 6 branches across Taipei, so survival isn't a problem #PPinTaiwan
(19/n) We did get to watch @ChennaiIPL win the match against the @KINGS11PUNJAB at #MIK6. Thanks for that @Indiafoodtaipei #PPinTaiwan
(20/n) If you are a meat-eater, then #Taiwan, especially the night markets would be like paradise for you. Will let the pics do the talking here. #PPinTaiwan
(21/n) One rather unique thing though. All the Italian joints we found in #Taipei serve only pastas and risottos but no pizzas, which caught us by surprise.

How da, how? #PPinTaiwan
(22/n) Talking about night markets, they are super famous here, not just amongst the tourists but with the locals as well. Apparently they had died down in between (say 15-20 years ago) and are now back like never before. The key ones are Ximen, Shilin, Raohe. #PPinTaiwan
(23/n) These night markets are not just about food. You will get everything from electronic items to clothing to massages to even facial and threading. Almost everything you can think of, on the road! #PPinTaiwan
(24/n) We even found one of the street vendors had gone the #jugaad way to keep away flies from the food they were selling. Watch this! #PPinTaiwan
(25/n) #Trivia: Did you know that #Taichung was the birth place of Bubble Tea? #PPinTaiwan
(26/n) Wherever you see the locals, they have a drink in their hand. No, we are not talking of beer. Everyone is drinking tea, all the time! If it wasn't tea, it was bubble tea.

We had tea to our heart's content during this trip. #PPinTaiwan
(27/n) You will also find people making fresh juices everywhere. This orange juice that we had in #Beitou was just super yummy!
(28/n) Another innovation we noticed was this small pouch made of a material which felt like paper next to a water machine. Thought it was an awesome way to cut down on plastic use. #PPinTaiwan
(29/n) Talking about plastic, one thing we noticed is that the Taiwanese use single-use plastic a lot. Or at least feels like a lot, now that we have stopped using plastic in our daily lives. IMO, in case there’s a ban, they will figure out better alternatives fast #PPinTaiwan
(30/n) Lots of two wheelers, Activa types all across #Taiwan. Most have them have their silencers tuned to make a lot of sound. Same is the case with cars, but not as much. #PPinTaiwan
(31/n) Quite used to seeing the Swift in many countries (have seen it in Europe and Asia before), but was kicked to see the WagonR in Taiwan :) Not sure if it is the same specs as the ones that are sold here #PPinTaiwan
(32/n) Roads in #Taiwan: Roads are super wide, with most highways having 6 lanes at the very least. We found major roads even within the city having 12 lanes (6 each for either direction), which was awesome. This, apart from having plenty of space for pedestrians #PPinTaiwan
(33/n) There are a lot of things that you find wherever you go, and whatever you do in Taiwan. One such thing is @UnderArmour. At least 3 in 10 are wearing an Under Armour tee. Not sure why it is such a famous brand there #PPinTaiwan
(34/n) Another thing that one notices are these small dogs that people are carrying around everywhere, whether they are walking down the road, or trekking up Elephant Mountain. #PPinTaiwan
(35/n) And while dogs were carried around, kids were encouraged to walk and carry their own weight, which we thought was awesome. We found kids, perhaps 3-4 yrs old who were standing in the MRT. While we were wondering how they would balance, they managed quite well! #PPinTaiwan
(36/n) We’ve never noticed this in India, where it is our nature to shield (read that as take care) our children as much as possible. Yes, it is difficult for us, but this lifting business beyond an age has to stop #PPinTaiwan
(37/n) Apple is everywhere. Yes. Almost everyone around is using an Apple device. They prefer the larger screen devices (the plus series). It was difficult to look at any direction and not find an iPhone, AirPods or an iWatch. #PPinTaiwan
(38/n) We were also told that the owner of #Foxconn is a Taiwanese, and is from #Taichung. They were super proud of that fact, and were delighted when they found out that we knew of Foxconn :) #PPinTaiwan
(39/n) A trip on the metro/MRT and you will find people dragging something or the other. Remember that old luggage carrier that our parents used to use when we had to pick up someone from the airport/railway station in the 90s? We saw many of those during this trip #PPinTaiwan
(40/n) Another thing that was omni-present was those 4-wheeled hard-suitcases (is that what those are called?). So big is the fad there that they even had make up kits made in that shape. #PPinTaiwan
(41/n) Round spectacles. Yes, those Harry Potter shaped ones. There are so many youngsters who were those, to the extent that we thought that was yet another fad - wearing round glasses even if they didn’t have power. On looking closer, we realised otherwise #PPinTaiwan
(42/n) This ought to be quite scary for the Taiwanese and we are not sure what steps they are going to take but from what we noticed, the glasses wearing younger generation appeared to be quite a high percentage. Perhaps it has got to do with the fact that… #PPinTaiwan
(43/n) they are always staring at a phone, either playing a game (which was the case most of the times), or they were chatting. Hopefully better brains will prevail and they will focus on their health. #PPinTaiwan
(44/n) Another thing that we noticed is that many women were either pregnant, or had a kid or two in tow. Did appear to us that they didn’t take this leaf out of the Japanese playbook, which is a good thing #PPinTaiwan
(45/n) Talking about the women of Taiwan, another observation made was that they smoked more than the men did.

Was it just us, or is that truly the case, we don’t know. #PPinTaiwan
(46/n) The true example of “thoonilum iruppar
thurumbilum iruppar”, which translates to being truly omnipresent in English is usually a reference to Ganapathi temples (we find them everywhere, don’t we). The classic example of that in Taiwan is the 7 Eleven store #PPinTaiwan
(47/n) We found those 7 Eleven’s at every turn we took, no matter how big or small the lane was.

The next best competitor for that title was Confucius. His temples are everywhere. This one is from #Kaohsiung, on the Lotus Pond.
(48/n) Missed talking about fruits while talking about that yummy orange juice earlier. The size of the fruits here is humongous. Take a look at these tomatoes & carrots. Even the watermelons that we saw were easily twice as big as the ones available here #PPinTaiwan
(49/n) If you are planning a trip to Taiwan or China for that matter, here are two phrases for you to learn - ShiShe and NiHao. That’s thank you and hello! We got the hang of these terms by day two and the locals were truly happy that we were making an effort :) #PPinTaiwan
(50/n) While Taiwan is pretty advanced, cash is still king. Unless you walk into a big store or a restaurant, they don’t accept cards. Most of the eating/shopping is takes place in the night markets and all of them want cash. Same issue if you want to buy a metro pass #PPinTaiwan
(51/n) And if you thought Cash is King, then Change is the Emperor.

The situation is even worse if you are taking the local bus. They require exact change. On one of our trips, the journey required NT$24 and we had only NT$10 coins. The bus driver wasn’t ready… #PPinTaiwan
(52/n) … to let us in because we are required to put in exact change, and it didn’t matter that we were ready to forego NT$30 instead of NT$24, which was the fare. #PPinTaiwan
(53/n) We drank milk and that tasted funny. Saw a lot of ice cream shops and ate and they weren’t all that great.


There’s no milk in Taiwan. Only milk powder. #PPinTaiwan
(54/n) Not sure if this is true but our guide in #Taichung mentioned that the minimum starting salary for graduates is NT$ 24,000 per month. That’s more than ₹55,000 per month. Woah! That’s awesome. #PPinTaiwan
(55/n) Noticed a Q on @TripAdvisor 3 days ago asking if #Taiwan is safe. Yes, Taiwan is extremely safe. So safe that you can walk on the road with your wallet in one hand and phone in the other and you don’t have to be afraid of someone snatching it from you. #PPinTaiwan
(56/n) We were walking around late night & didn’t for a second feel afraid to walk the streets or enter a small lane. We were told that even if we left our bag on the road and we find it missing, we can be sure that it has been handed over to the cops or lost & found #PPinTaiwan
(57/n) Have been typing for too long. Guess we’ve covered most, if not everything. We had a wonderful time during this trip, went on top of #Taipei101, and Preethika and I even tried our hand at playing the piano and the drums (LOL!). We even ran into Ironman :P #PPinTaiwan
(58/n) Blog posts will follow soon, if you are thinking of going to Taiwan, go ahead. It is safe and definitely better than the usual suspects. In case you require any assistance in planning a trip to Taiwan, feel free to reach out, we’d be more than happy to help. #PPinTaiwan
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