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Mar 20

January 2015: 12 Hours in Taipei

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After spending a month on our India – South East Asia trip, we started our journey back home from Bangkok. We had a long 12 hour layover in Taipei and I wanted to make a trip out of it. I had researched earlier that the Taiwan Tourism Bureau operates a free half-day tour out of Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) for passengers connecting through this airport. The morning tour covers the Sanxia and Suzhi Temple while the afternoon tour covers landmarks such as the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Taipei 101 (Tallest building in the world from 2004 – 2010 and currently the 6th tallest building in the world).

We arrived at Taoyuan International Airport just before noon and after clearing immigration and customs walked over to the Taiwan Tourism department desk. We were told that the afternoon tour had no other travelers except us and we would have the whole van to ourselves along with the guide and the driver !! After a few minutes our guide came by and introduced himself to us and we got in the van and started our drive towards the city.

In the van on the way to the city of Taipei from the airport

Our first stop was Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, a Taiwanese national monument named after former president of Taiwan.

Gate leading to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

There is a Changing of Guards ceremony inside the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and we arrived just in time for it.

Changing of Guard @ Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

After watching the Changing of Guard ceremony we walked around taking some pictures.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall grounds

After spending a couple of hours there we got in the van and our next stop was Taipei 101.

Taipei 101 in the distance

In front of Taipei 101

In front of Taipei 101

There were a lot of Falun Gong protesters outside the Taipei 101.

Falun Gong protesters outside Taipei 101

We decided to have our lunch in the food court inside Taipei 101. Karen and I shared some fried chicken, fishball soup and noodles.

Dining in Taipei 101 Mall Food Court

Dining in Taipei 101 mall

After lunch we wandered around the mall a bit. Our guide wanted to drive us back to the airport and drop us off as it was late afternoon by this time. The drive back took around an hour and a half and when we arrived back at the airport, we went straight back to the lounge to take some rest before our long flight home.

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