Shopping at Wufenpu in Taipei: What’s the Deal?

Shopping at Wufenpu in Taipei: What’s the Deal?

This post was last updated on June 21st, 2016 I get ridiculously proud of myself when I score a good deal shopping. I know I shouldn’t be telling everyone that my designer dress was actually on super-clearance due to a defect in the zipper, but I can’t help it. If I bought that $80 dress for a whopping ten bucks, you can bet I’m going to tell you about it. With probably more excitement than is socially acceptable. Shopping in Taiwan gives me similar thrills. Racks of extremely cheap clothing are everywhere, and it takes almost all my self-control to tell myself I don’t really need another sweatshirt with college logo I’ve never heard of—even if it is a super cute hoodie for only $4. Granted, a lot of the fashion here isn’t really me. I like to think I’m quite girly, but even I have to set up some barriers against all the lace and hearts and baby shades of pink that proliferate. It’s easy to shop in Taiwan. Markets are everywhere, and virtually all of them will have racks of clothes set out to tempt you while purchasing your bubble milk tea. Heck, there’s even a cheap jewelry/purse rack at my favorite dumpling shop! But still, there’s one place that rises above the rest. It’s the place all those other inexpensive street vendors buy their products from. It’s a place called Wufenpu.     Located in Taipei, Wufenpu consists of over 100 wholesale clothing shops. You can literally find anything here, including purses, belts, women’s clothing, men’s clothing, baby clothing, puppy clothing (seriously), jewelry and shoes. Wufenpu...

From Tutus to Toilets: A Look into Taipei’s Theme Restaurants

This post was last updated on April 23rd, 2016 White and fluffy purse-sized pups. Bedazzled fingernails, t-shirts and jean pockets. Pigtails and the color pink. The name Candy. It’s all about the cute, or ‘ke ai’, in Taiwan. The cute factor is more than just fashion though; it extends into just about every realm of life, including restaurants. You mean food can be cute? Absolutely—although it’s not really the food as much as the general ambience that is essential. We’re talking theme restaurants here, and Taipei is home to some of the cutest ones around. Whether you prefer a tutu or toilet, Taipei’s got the eateries you need. Hello Kitty Sweets In a country that operates Eva Air’s signature Hello Kitty themed airplane, it’s only natural you’re going to find a Hello Kitty themed restaurant too. Hello Kitty Sweets was much smaller then we initially expected, and we found the décor to be surprisingly tolerable. A massive Hello Kitty face decorates the exterior, while the inside is decorated in baby shades of white and pink, chandeliers, and kitty cuteness everywhere. Oh, and bows, bows, bows! We half expected the waitresses to sport cat ears, but sadly their costume called a quits after the pink ruffled skirts. It can be quite pricy to eat in the restaurant; expect to pay for the Hello Kitty food design, not the food quality itself. We chose to sample a small desert, which was surprisingly good and still came with Hello Kitty’s face molded into chocolate form. Location: Address: 90, Da-an Rd Sec 1, Taipei City Phone Number: (02) 2711-1132   Barbie Café I...

Taiwan Calla Lily Festival: Frolicking Permitted

This post was last updated on October 14th, 2013Every spring, the small town of Jhuzihu is overcome by white, delicate Calla lilies, as field after field bursts into nearly two million blooms.  The annual Calla Lily Festival attracts families and lovers from all around Taiwan, producing a serene and idyllic setting. Children eagerly bounce through the fields; ladies point out their favorite blossoms for their boyfriends to fetch; small Taiwanese grandmas gossip while elbowing at strangers to access the prime flowers first. Calla lilies are one of my favorite flowers, and Dan and I sported the idea of having them at our wedding until we realized the price was outrageous, going for US$3-5 per stem. That’s, like, 10x as much as picking your own in Jhuzihu, where one stem goes for a mere NT$10! But no matter the price tag, when you get the chance to go frolicking through fields of Calla lilies there’s just no way to pass it up. The scenery was truly stunning. As per usual, the weather didn’t really want to cooperate with us; as soon as we arrived at Jhuzihu, the tenacious cloud hovering over Taiwan descended, draping the surrounding mountains in fog.  This actually added a bit of romance and mystique though, and for once I didn’t mind that the sun was hiding itself. The Calla Lily Festival is definitely a must-see if you find yourself in Taiwan during March or April. To access the blooming fields, first head to Yangmingshan National Park. From here, it’s easy to find shuttle buses to Jhuzihu. If you find yourself lost or confused, chances are you will see...
Taiwanese Hot Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taiwan’s Hottest Attraction

Taiwanese Hot Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taiwan’s Hottest Attraction

This post was last updated on July 30th, 2017 I’m not really a huge fan of hot springs. I mean, I like them enough. They’re relaxing and rejuvenating and don’t require any physical exertion. It’s mostly that I can’t manage to stay in them longer than five minutes because of the sweat that begins to pour down my face. That being said, Dan and I just got back from a hot spring hotel in Central Taiwan, and I loved it. It probably helped that we had a private hot spring bath in our room that overlooked the adjacent valley and mountains. And I must admit, even if I don’t normally get excited about hot springs, I always feel amazing afterwards. In Asia, hot springs are believed to raise energy levels while possibly treating chronic fatigue, eczema and arthritis—a pretty good reason to give the popular Taiwanese pastime a go.     There are two main things to remember before visiting Taiwan’s hot springs:   1)    If hot spring baths are separated by gender, you’re expected to bathe nude. I was bit worried it would be totally awkward sporting by birthday suit with a bunch of old Taiwanese women, but it’s not actually that bad. Plus, these “nude” hot springs are typically a bit nicer, with various showerheads, more variety in water temperature, steam rooms, and no obnoxious children splashing sulfur water in your face. 2)    You must wear a shower cap before entering the hot springs. Sometimes these will be provided, other times you are expected to bring your own. Beyond that, just follow common sense. Don’t bathe if you...