Monday, February 13, 2017

Taipei, Taiwan: Ximending Pedestrian Zone is a Must Visit!

My base during my stay in Taipei was Ximending. The hotel was not located in the pedestrian zone though but nearby, literally around the corner on the next block. I chose this area for a few important reasons. Firstly, the hotel I found looked very nice, clean and modern. It was relatively new. Secondly, the location was not too far away from the Ximen metro station, which is just perfect. Thirdly, as a woman travelling alone, I feel safe staying near a large crowd gathering area such as the Ximending phenomenon.

Which brings me to my post for today, the Ximending Pedestrian Zone in Wanhua district is indeed a must for every first-time Taipei visitor. You cannot just miss this.

Ximending

The name Ximending is derived from Hsimenting, named after the administrative division of this place, Seimon-cho during the Japanese rule.

Ximending

Many of us probably don’t know about the history of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of Taiwan (ROC), except perhaps, which had been in the news lately, that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and a few countries do not acknowledge its legal status as a country. For all I care about political innuendos and drama, which oftentimes does not really translate for the welfare of the people, Taiwan is a country that has its own functioning legal government. That easy; end of story =)

But did you know that Taiwan was once under Japanese occupation for 50 years between 1895-1945?

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the Read more link below]

Although the Japanese have long been gone, Japanese influence still has a hand on Taiwanese culture, particularly in Ximending which was once the entertainment area of Taiwan under Japanese rule. You can say, this is the Asakusa of Taipei back then.

Ximending is the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan, and the biggest as well in the country, frequented by young local teenagers and tourists from all ages and races. This area of Taipei is the largest consumer district with shopping encouraged until midnight. One can never go wrong coming here if shopping is in mind. From the newest electronic gadget to the kitschiest (and useless) souvenir you can find, they have it here. They even have a tattoo street! It is without a doubt a bustling place that will keep visitors entertained.

Ximending is also nicknamed as the Harajuku – Shibuya – Shinjuku of Taipei, a haven for the ‘harizu’ (the Japanophile do exist). Stores sell Japanese fantasy anime and manga products here and it is not a surprise to see entertainment companies promote their new movie, game, music or product here as well. I saw 2 young pretty girls, very stunning actually, dressed in elaborate fantasy costume, although I have no idea which Japanese anime or manga mythology character these models were portraying.

Here is a quick video I made of the place:


But for foodie tourists like me, all I really cared for was the food, haha. The grub is everywhere. They have local and western fast food chains, restaurants, bar cafes and a lot of street food vendors, they are around in every corner of the pedestrian zone. Ximending is like an open-air food market, you can literally smell what’s cooking next door. Eating on the go and on the streets is a common affair, but there are also many restaurants here that offer indoor eating for a bit of privacy and comfort too.

If you don’t know yet, Taiwan is a street food country. People come to visit this country to eat!

I also read that student prostitution is a big concern in Ximending. I guess in any country if I may add? Well, I have not really seen any prostitutes there, how would I possibly know? In Tokyo though, they have the popular Maid Cafes in Akibahara with very young-looking teenagers dressed in teeny-weeny French maid uniforms, which I believe, well more like a presumption really, already borders prostitution. I may be wrong, but the whole imagery, although looking subtly naive, does come across provocative and kinky.

Because my hotel is literally around the corner, I had a Ximending overdose on my 4th day in Taipei, haha. I can for sure handle a second visit but not anytime soon, though.

It is very easy to get to Ximending. With the metro, get on the Banqiao Line (this is the Blue line) to the direction of Dingpu and get off at Ximen Station, then take Exit 6. One of the pedestrian lanes of Ximending can be seen from the station exit, and then just follow the crowd.

I took loads of pictures of course. I will be posting soon another blog entry with pictures of Ximending at night, they deserved a separate post, what with all the bright lights and amazing colours.

Ximending Tea

First things first; some lemon tea with tapioca and jelly drink. Taiwan is the inventor of bubble teas and such, so it is just apt that I start my Ximending stroll with one of these refreshing drinks. 


Ximending pedestrian zone gets very busy in the afternoon until late in the evening.

Anime Manga Ximending

Isn't she a ravishing beauty for an anime or manga character? I believe she is with a group promoting a film, show, music, game or some product.


Ximending is anime and manga land but unlike its Japanese counterparts, you do not see a lot of local young teeners hanging out here wearing fantasy outfits, well except for these models.

Bitter Lemon Ximending

The bitter lemon drink is very popular in Taiwan. I have tried it out of curiosity. Let us just say that it was not something I would like to order again =)


This is the tattoo street.

Ximending

Outdoor cooking in Ximending.


This food stall with a long customer queue is selling crunchy chicken bits. Queues are normal here; people really queue up for their favourite joint or are just curious to taste it.

Ximending

Posters of fantasy films everywhere on the streets. I am a greenhorn when it comes to this. But I am looking forward to watching 'The Great Wall' starring Matt Damon and directed by Zhang Yimou.

Ximending

This old man is selling caramelised strawberries and cherry tomatoes =)


Travel Period: January 2017
Destination: Ximending, Wanhua District (Taipei), Taiwan

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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