Taiwan: Explore Ximending

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

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Day 6:

Read About Previous Places We Visited on the same day:

Ximending (西門町)

How We Got There :
From Shuanglien Metro Station , train to Ximen Station (西門).

Info

Ximending is a popular shopping district known for its Taiwan fashion, Japanese culture, theaters and pubs. The pedestrian area is the largest and is somewhat like the ‘Harajuku of Japan’. Due to the many theaters around the area and japanese stuff, it attracts many young people. It is also commonly filled with street performers.

Purpose

Our purpose here was to look at the shops in Ximending and have our dinner. This place is often mentioned in Taiwanese shows so we deemed it a must-visit.

Experience

We decided to return to our hotel first to put down the bags of stuff we bought from Jiufen. After doing a quick wash-up, we walked to Shuanglien Metro Station to take the metro to Ximen Station.

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As we stepped out from the underpass, we were greeted with an overwhelming crowd of people and stood there stunned for a moment. It took a while for us to take in the commercial buildings with neon lights and a wide and large area for pedestrians. Looking across, crowds of young people dressed fashionably and gathered around with friends, indeed very much like Harajuku.

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Twilight: Breaking Dawn was showing!
Twilight: Breaking Dawn was showing!

We decided to just walk along and look at the shops while finding a nice restaurant to eat. We were famished and it took us a while to find something we like. We realised there were more foreign food (western, indian, japanese) than local food here and decided on a Japanese Curry restaurant. (Incidentally, we kept eating Japanese food for dinner in Taiwan…’cos there are few chinese restaurants, mostly coffee-shops of local stuff)

Finally, ORANGE juice! Our favourite drink in Taiwan.
Finally, sitting down after one whole day and ORANGE juice! Our favourite drink in Taiwan.

201211_Ximending7The food was delicious according to our standard and the portions quite good for the price. (Unfortunately, we forgot to take a pic of the restaurant so I can’t list the name here)

We left satisfied and started looking around the shops along the street.

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Street Performers with pop Chinese Songs. Quite professional and attracted a crowd to listen!
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Magic Show by ‘Jay Chou’- look-alike.
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It was just after Halloween…

It was indeed a ‘happening’ place. These girls above were walking around with a board that says, “Answer our questions right to get free sweets from us!” and approaching people. Not sure what they did exactly but they were giggling lots.

We popped into a few shops to check out fashion for myself and Dar but nothing caught my fancy. Surprisingly, I felt our local stuff looks even more fashionable and has a larger variety than the ones in Ximending…(well, in my opinion)

We were also looking around for a cute small bag for Dar and managed to get a cute Thomas and Friends bag for him to carry on school field-trips. Also, we bought a red foldable bag to carry our souvenirs and extra food stuff we bought as our luggage is getting overloaded. This PVC bag is quite amazing as it can be expanded into a big bag, sized like a sports/gym bag. (These proved useful for our future trips…)

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There were many different paths or small streets around the entire area with long row of shops on each side of the pathway so our walk took a while. Not much to say about those shops as we are not that interested in shopping (compared to sight-seeing). Satisfied with our purchases and after exploring most of the shops, we decided to go back and rest.

At the station, we were delighted to see this special train with nice pictures of Taiwan’s attractions. It is not for boarding so we just took pictures and admire the long stretch of artwork. Overall, we felt Ximending would be a good place to shop, people-watch, dine or watch a show if one is going to Taipei for these purposes. I didn’t find any stuff that made me go ‘wow’ though (compared to HK and Japan). We enjoyed the atmosphere and welcomed the change after one whole day of sight-seeing.

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