TAIPEI METRO – SHANDAO TEMPLE STA. : Getaway Inside the City

In Taiwan, Travel Guides
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One of my Singaporean friends is coming to visit Taiwan this week. When we were discussing about her itinerary the other day, she mentioned that she would arrive Taiwan at around 6 on a Friday morning. The very first spot on her list is Fuhang Soy Milk (阜杭豆漿). She plans to go there right after leaving the airport and checking-in at the hotel. With always a long long queue, this Fuhang Soy Milk reminds me my old time around Shandao Temple Station (善導寺站), a small station in Taipei Metro System.

Shandao Temple

 

National Taipei University of Business (NTUB) is only 2-min walk from Shandao Temple Station, where I spent 5 years of my life here. Before the first semester started, I already spent a few afternoons on exploring this area. When I was a student of NTUB, I sometimes skipped classes and wandered around. The only reason I didn’t go back home and sleep directly is that there are so many worth to see and enjoy here.

Here, I’m listing a few spots of my favorite.

1. Paper St. Coffee (紙街咖啡)

I don’t usually drink coffee. Yet sometimes if I feel like having some, I come here.

Paper St.

Upper left: the view from outside
Upper right: the view from inside
Lower left: when I finished my iced americano, this is how the glass looks like
Lower middle: one time A-Chun asked me to buy some ice cream. When I came back, she added a cup of expresso on my ice cream and some coffee beans
Lower right: my favorite iced americano with great lemon cake

The coffee shop locates in the corner of the block. If you sit at the high-table area, from the window, you can see the busy traffic on the road and the Huashan 1914 Creative Park across the street. If you sit at the bar-table area, you can take a close look on how barista makes a cup of coffee. I understand the word “barista” here. When you see a barista concentrates so much to brew that cup of coffee for you, trust me, you will feel so touched. Though I don’t really understand coffee and I have a stupid tongue, barista A-Chun still shares with me a lot about coffee. One time, she showed me her notebook. A hand-size notebook with black leather cover, she writes all her coffee note there. She tastes the coffee and write down all the aromas she finds in that sip. Again and again.

Every time when I walk in Paper St., I always take a look at the menu even though there are not so many items on it and I’m quite familiar with what they have. After about 30-sec thinking, my answer is always “iced americano”.  Sometimes A-Chun laughs at me that why I always have the same coffee.  “Because I love your iced americano!” I always reply. Then she will give me a big smile, then start preparing my coffee. Like I said, I don’t understand coffee. Yet I can tell you what I find in this iced americano: a clean summer taste.

There’s one another thing I love about Paper St. It opens from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Besides some global branded coffee like Starbucks, most coffee shops in Taipei open in the afternoon. That means, it’s quite hard to find a place to sit when you skip a morning class. I asked why you close the coffee shop so early at 8 p.m. since most remain open till 10 p.m. at least. The reason is simple but good. We have our own life after work.

2. Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山藝文園區)

Please put this park on your getaway list.

I have to admit this is not a secret spot at all. In the weekend, you probably will feel it’s a super crowded place that you may not want to visit. Yet there are indeed many worth to experience here. Therefore, please come on weekdays if you don’t enjoy crowds just like me.

Yes, there are too many worth to see here yet I still manage to pick up 2 for you.

SPOT Huasha Cinema (光點華山)

SPOT Huashan Cinema

Upper left: poster of the movie “The Danish Girl”
Upper right: inside the cinema
Lower left: somewhere near the cinema
Lower right: outside the cinema

Will you see a movie when you are traveling? Hmm, I will. I’ve been to the movie theaters in Singapore and Bangkok (hope I will write about my trips to these two places soon). If you want a movie in Taipei, people will tell you to go to Vieshow. You can find most Hollywood movies there no problem. Yet, if you are interested in some European movies, then SPOT Huashan Cinema will be your good choice.

I’m not sure if all the cinemas on the world offer discount to the first movie of the day. At least most cinemas in Taiwan do. Normally a movie tickets costs NTD 260 to 320. For the first movie of the day, you can usually buy a ticket with the price NTD 200 or even less.  Since I studied in a business university, of course I should be good friend with money (though I still don’t see a good wealth in my bank account, and that’s why I write). I usually saw the first movie of the day, and after the movie, I would go back to the classroom and shared with my friends about the movie I just saw. I can’t remember how many times I skipped a class and came here to see a movie. Only I know that I’m so glad I did. This is one of the things I missed the most after I start having an office life.

Besides SPOT Huashan, you may also be interested in SPOT Taipei.

VVG Thinking (好樣思維)

VVG Thinking

Upper left: the view from outside
Upper right: the view of dining area (ground floor)
Lower left: black vinegar with cherry soda
Lower middle: it’s believed people can fly via thinking
Lower right: the bookstore/grocery area (second floor)

What’s more about Huashan? If you see the map of the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, you will find actually there are two separated areas (they are connected by a path). When traveling, you should always walk a bit more because you will never know what will be there for you in the next corner . SPOT Huashan is in the main area that you may not miss. Yet there are many hidden gems in another area, and VVG Thinking is one of them.

VVG Something (好樣本事) has been selected the World’s Top 20 Bookstores. VVG Thinking which belongs the same VVG Group also receives many complements. In the ground floor dining area, you can find fusion cuisines (South European / South French / Italian style). We came here to celebrated my dad’s birthday this year. My parents are quite satisfied with the restaurant I picked. By the way, don’t forget the paintings on the wall when you come. They are part of the free exhibition here. On the second floor, it’s the bookstore/grocery area. Though most of the stuffs here have a surprising price, strangely enough I come here often. Maybe it’s the magic power of  VVG.

***

I used to date a foreigner. Since I could expect nothing from this foreigner, I was the one who arranged where to go for dating. And the spots above were all covered on our first date. This is how much I’m connected to this area.

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