We decided to spend our 1 year wedding anniversary in Taipei and were so excited about it we could hardly sleep the night before! We took a bus from Huwei to Taipei, around 3 and a half hours. It was much to short of notice to try and get a train ticket and besides, there is no train station in Huwei. We would’ve had to ride the bus to Douliu or Dounan to get on the train, so we just decided for the more direct route. It was a nice ride, the further north we got in Taiwan, the better the sights were. There were many scenic views along the way. We arrived around 1 pm, and an older couple that had spoken to us in Huwei before boarding the bus helped us get off at the correct stop. We almost got off at a smaller suburb outside of Taipei because we didn’t know any better. They were riding at the front of the bus, while we were in the very back. So when we disembarked, they were waiting on the sidewalk. I guess they could sense that we didn’t know what the heck we were doing in Taipei.
“Where are you going, my friend?” He asked me, and it was then that I noticed his eyebrows. They were extremely long, they drooped down to his cheekbones!
“We don’t know, we need to find a hotel.”
“You should go this way,” he said, as he pointed to the right “this is Ximen. Ximen. Many young people, many things to do. Ximen. Ximen.” I think he repeated Ximen close to 10 times, it worked, the name has stuck with us now. It’s pronounced “she-men.”
We thanked the man and then set off towards Ximen. Ximen. Ximen. We were shocked at the temperature difference in Taipei. In Huwei it was cool when we left at 10 am, now it was freezing at 1 pm in Taipei. We put on an extra few layers of clothes and started walking. Luckily for us, we were very close to Ximen, but we still weren’t sure what Ximen actually was. We spotted a hotel across the street and headed inside, it looked really fancy, probably too expensive, but we tried anyway. No vacancies. I said the magic word “Ximen?” The woman nodded and handed me a business card, it said Ximen Hotel. She pointed further down the street, so we headed back out into the cold. We found 3 more hotels before Ximen, all were full. Ximen hotel didn’t actually have a sign out front, at least not one in english, so when we found it we weren’t even sure. It was on the 5th floor of a building, so we headed up. No vacancies. I asked again where we could maybe find a room, this was already our 4th or 5th stop. The lady told us the name of a street and said there were many hotels, so we headed out again.
We found the street, and 6 hotels later, we found a room! We were both a little scared by that time, though neither of us said anything. I just kept my happy face on, and we kept trying. It paid off. We found a wonderful hotel called the Ximen Citizen Hotel. We discovered that Ximen is the name of an entire area of Taipei. The hotel was perfect and we loved staying there for the duration of our trip. The breakfast was wonderful, they had a buffet spread every morning. The bed was amazing, the room was very comfortable. When we go back to Taipei eventually, we will try to stay here again, I highly recommend it. They even handed out a map of the area, and this came in handy so many times! On the back was a map of the subway lines, and I used that piece of paper multiple times a day. Without that map, we would’ve gotten lost more than a few times.
After freshening up in the room and having a spot of tea (Liz) and a cup of coffee (Cody), it was time for the real adventure to begin. We decided with it being the afternoon already, we would visit one of the iconic landmarks first, Taipei 101. So now all we had to do was find the MRT (subway) station, and ride it over to that side of town. Piece of cake.