Category Archives : Travels

The on-and-off the tourist trail places I’ve been, most being in Taiwan.

Random Encounters: Train to Houtong Station

A couple days ago I published an article about a recent trip to Houtong Village, a.k.a. the Cat Village, which was only a 30 minute train ride away from Taipei city. I love taking the train outside of the city and to any of the smaller stations in the more rural areas of the country. While surface traffic and the evergrowing need for real estate means that most TRA stations in Taipei city are underground, rural stations are by-in-large out in the open air with minimal cover just in case the weather turns rainy.



Houtong Cat Village, Taiwan 5

What do you do if you are the village one train stop down from a very popular tourist-trail village? You come up with a hook to snag some of that tourist traffic. In this case, Houtong Village sits on the next stop past where anyone going to Pingxi to float some paper lanterns or Shifen to see the waterfall would exit.

The hook they came up with? Cats.


Random Encounters: Pictures of Ximen Market

Ximen Market (a.k.a. Hsimen Market, Ximending, ???, Hsimenting, etc…) has been a shopping center in Taipei since before Taiwan was a country. It was first designated as a shopping district by the Japanese during their rule of the island prior to World War II. For Chinese or Japanese-language linguaphiles this explains the ding character, which doesnt make a ton of sense in a Chinese context because it is a direct transfer of the same character in Japanese (cho), which does make sense. There have been shopping or entertainment venues in Ximen for over a century including the Red House Theater, which has been standing since 1908 and still stands.


Random Encounters: Beipu Old Street Market

As usually happens on daytrips out of the city, we stop briefly at a street market on the way back. As it happens, the fascinating farm of the frenzied friendly foot-feeding fish was in the mountains of Hsinchu county, the route to and from took us through the town of Beipu, which has a nice street market. Unlike last time at the Wulai city center in which we only had a few minutes, this time we had an hour to wander around before we had to hop back on the bus.

So here are the pictures of the Beipu old street market I was able to get in that time.

Doctor Fish Foot Therapy in Taiwan 2

Apparently, this is a thing. You put your feet in a pool of fish, commonly known as doctor fish, and let them munch away the dead skin cells. Not only is this a thing, but it seems to be a popular thing with many countries having their own foot-feeding-fish spas. While in some places it's cleanliness has been challenged (it has been banned in some states in the US as well as some Canadian provinces) it's popularity seems to be growing and in recent years Cyprinion macrostomum fish (the most common type of doctor fish) features have been popping up all over Taiwan.