Taipei- first things first…


So I’m in Taiwan. Taipei, to be exact.

My first impressions?

It’s stupendously hot, it’s humid, it’s busy, it’s fragrant…I think I’m falling a little in love- already.

The hotel I’m in is lush. Les Suites, Ching Cheng. It’s located right next to a MRT stop, across the road from a great foodie place, and the rooms are amazing.

The toilet had me gobsmacked when we first checked in last night.


Aside from the array of leads and pipes coming out of the side, it makes this strange whirring sound when you lift the lid, as though it’s warming up.

On the control panel to the side are some rather interesting options.


So far I’ve done nothing other than your basic flush- a function that is, incidentally, difficult to find and almost a disappointment after the build up of the other options available.

Plumbing is one of those things that’s always different from home. I’m not getting hung up on the hygiene factors or the toileting practices of one race or another- it doesn’t matter. It’s just one of those things that’s different. Having said that, I also encountered the opposite extreme today with the public loos down by the harbour at Tamsui…those ones that have footprints for where your feet should be and a long drop that requires buns of steel. I held on. Too much information?

As for the MRT. All I can say is wow.


I was able to convert my room keycard to a smart card for use on the MRT system. I simply allocate some credit- that I can top up as I need, and, upon check out, the remaining balance will be returned to me.

Today I travelled out to Tamsui- pretty well as far as you can go… and back again- with a number of changes and a few diversions along the way. All up, it cost me around 100NT$ today- around $3.60. More importantly, it is quick, clean and super easy to use. I don’t think I waited more than 2 minutes anywhere between trains, and the connections were well signposted.

In between I walked for miles- getting lost and finding my way again…just the way I love to explore a new city. My feet are killing me, my back is sore and my shoulders sunburnt…all in all a perfect first day.

More on what I’ve been up to and what I’ve eaten next time…

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

5 thoughts

  1. Love the pix! Makes me homesick. I have lived away fr there for 33 years and I still get that way. I cracked up at the buttocks diagrams. I imagine you wouldn’t need a seat warm at this time of the year.

    When I returned in ’08, I found some animal shaped cakes from a street vendor, started to eat them while waiting for the MRT (really yum). Someone promptly cautioned me about getting fined for eating on the subway. Perhaps that’s why it’s so clean. There is remnants of Japanese way of running things in Taiwan. Look for the clues…

    I love walking around a city. Enjoy!!

  2. Wow, love the smart card/transport/room key idea – ingenious! As for the toilet…. I saw those pics on FB or Twitter and was indeed gobsmacked!

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