|Travel in Asia||Taiwan||Travel in Europe||Belguim|
To see the Chinese characters in the text set your Document Encoding Option in the Options Menu of Netscape to Traditional Chinese (Big5). Some travel information, links and my personal opinion about those places I've been to recently.
It seems that Asia is the place to go to for a holiday. It is still possible to find nice, unpolluted and almost deserted beaches here, the people are kinder than, say, Europe, and, on ave- rage, it is cheaper than most other places you can visit, especially if you happen to live around. Besides, even going to a dirty, crowded and noisy city (it seems all big cities here are like that) can be a thrill, although for a day or two only.
I have been living in Taipei since December, 1993. I shall admit that I hated the place at the beginning, and I am not absolutely fond of it even now. But a short trip to the island could be real fun. For general information refer to the Master Tw site. For places to go to, see below. Have a nice time on the island!In Taipei:
- Visit the night markets, if they don't make you a bit sick, then nothing will. There are two or three that are big -- Shi Lin (士林) is probably the biggest. - If you want to try Chinese cuisine in a traditional setting (noise, crowds, stink and other externalities), try the Gong Guan (公館) area near the National Taiwan University main campus. - For stairclimbers there is Xiang Shan (象山) -- a hill near the World Trade Center with a nice view of the city. (Take a bus to Hsin Yi Rd. sec. 5). Here is a picture. - If you are risk-lover, you can take the Rapid Transit train to Mu-Cha (木柵) and visit the Zoo. Again, not on Saturday or Sunday, especially if the weather is nice.Around Taipei:
- Ji Long (基隆) nice, dirty, stinky, noisy market, excellent nigiri there! - Wu Lai (烏來) go there during the week. Nice scenery, not many people, an aboriginal village with weird statues; take the road 9 jia up the hill from Wu Lai if you are driving. - Liu Fu Cun (六福村) go there during the week; the only amusement park in Taiwan, it seems. Not very interesting, but better than nothing. - Yang Ming Shan (陽明山) you can sometimes see the whole of the North coast from the mountain. If you go there, take the hiking tracks and forget about the "national park" and the "nature park." Here is a view. - Jin Shan (金山) nice beach, about 40 minutes on a bike from Taipei. Take the road via Yang Ming Shan, and be sure to stay away from the two nuke stations that are on the beach. - Zhu Wei (竹圍) nice seafood market -- the place to watch sunsets if you find them amusing. Take road No. 2 to Tan Shui (淡水) and then take road No. 15. Turn right at the fork to the International Airport.The rest of the island
- Kenting (墾丁) This is the beach in Taiwan. Unfortunately, the government has built a power station just next to it. Well, nothing is perfect. The National Park is also a nice place to go, especially on a scooter at night. Drive with your lights off! - Tou Cheng (頭城) Is located to the East of Taipei. Take road No. 9 from Hsin Tien (新店) and go all the way to the sea. Nice beach, but bring your own food. - Hua Lian (花蓮) Althoug most of the Taiwanese will tell you it is a must see, Hua Lian is actually quite a bore. Taroko valley (some 30 km to the North) is a nice contrast to the city, as is a small lake to the South-West.Malaysia
When I went to Malaysia for the first time it was to make a plane transfer. But what I saw from the plane was impressive -- a bunch of islands, beaches visible from an altitude of 10 km, little development. So, I decided to check it up from the ground. It was not bad, not bad at all! For official information check this link. For my opinion, read below:Penang, Penang, Penang ...
- Batu Ferringi -- the beach. If you go to Penang, don't look for a place to stay in town, go straight to the beach (a bus from the central station will take you there for half an hour) and rent a bungalow there. - Places to eat: check out all those small Indian diners scattered along the main street, around the Oriental hotel. Excellent. The two Thai restaurants I went to were good, too. The Chinese food was also quite good. - Places to see: grab a map at the airport. All are interesting. Still, the main point, the key point, the strong point of Penang is Batu Ferringi. The Beach!Kuala Lumpur
- You take a taxi, the bus or a pick up at the airport. You get downtown KL. The next thing to do is get on a BAS Mini and go up north. Once you pass the Sogo (the collosal Japanese department store), you can start looking for a hotel. I found that what's offered in the China town, close to the train station is more expensive and poorer in quality than what's offered in the Northern part of KL - You go and see: the gardens (the Bird, Butterfly, Orchid and Deer gardens), the mosques, the train station, the Puduraya Bus Station (it's worse than in Hell, especially on weekends -- the experience is unforgettable), take a Bas Mini, stroll the Malaysian Street Market and, if you have the time and energy, take a look at the Chinatown, too. - Things to eat -- Indian, Malai, Arab restaurants are all fun. I don't recommend the Chinese, though. Food was acceptable, but the way it was served to us was not, at least in the few Chinese diners we tried.Japan
- Why Kobe of all places in Japan, you may ask. Well, cuz it is where my girlfriend happens to live. Then, it is a nice, quiet city, clean despite lots of construction work following the quake in 1995 and full of nice candy shops. - The part of the city I like best? Well, of course, the suburb Tsukimiyama (watch-the-moon mountain). Here is a view of what it looks like - well, a nice suburb, that's all. - The fun is not in but near Tsukimiyama - a big marine life park, a park on the top of a hill with a ropeway up and paths for the walkers. - What else to see in Kobe? The Sorakuen, a nice garden, near the station of Motomachi, the amusement park on the Port Island, the Tanaka carpentry museum. Then the many restaurants in the Sannomya (三宮) area. Nara - Kyoto is the famous old Japanese capital, but Nara was the second capital of Japan. In and around this peaceful small town are several places which display ancient Japanese temples with the additional advantage of all the crowds going to Kyoto. A must see. Kyoto (京都) - Way too crowded for my taste. However there are many beautiful things to see there. Osaka (大阪) - Not much better than Taipei, I'd say. Big, overpopulated, stiffling. Stay away. Japanese say there are some good shops, but if you go to Holland, the prices are better, and so is the quality. :-)