A DAY TO TRAVEL IN TAIWAN, A LIFETIME TO INSPIRE
I had a great opportunity to take a one-day tour to Taipei on 3 October 2021. I was interested in joining this tour because I aimed to get to know tourist attractions in Taipei that were Muslim-friendly. The trip started at 6.30 from Hsinchu. I prepared everything quickly because I brought my baby, Ayman (I love Taiwan, so I gave his Chinese name Ài-Mǎn / 愛滿, which means full of love), who was four months old. He was so excited to go with us even I knew it would make him tired, but he always gave us his beautiful smile.
Our first destination was Beitou Thermal Valley. Taiwan has a volcanic mountain that produces hot springs and is now one of the famous tourist attractions in Taipei.
In Beitou, we can find many places that provide onsen. Onsen comes from the Japanese term for hot springs and bathing places with hot water coming out of the earth's bowels. They offered many kinds of onsen; the free onsen is outdoor, but women and men will bathe together. While the indoor is not mixed but must be naked. As Muslims, we must take care of our "aurat," which means body parts that should be covered. Luckily there is a Muslim-friendly hotel there that provides a private onsen, making it easier for Muslims to enjoy onsen in an Islamic way. Unfortunately, due to limited time, we couldn't try to enjoy the onsen. Hopefully, next time we will try to come back again!
The next destination was Beitou museum. If you want to know more about Beitou, you can see the history of Beitou, which is packaged in an interesting way here. Many photo spots tell the history of Beitou, which is still related to Japan because Japan colonized Taiwan.
We had spent the time almost two hours over there. Since it was already lunchtime, we headed to Ali Baba Restaurant. This halal restaurant belongs to the Pakistani Muslim brother; certainly, the food taste is Indian food. Luckily, they also provide a prayer room, so we can also pray Zuhur together.
Alhamdulillah, the food was delicious and, of course, halal. We were really happy, and so did our tummies. Yet we did not have much time, so we should go to another destination. We headed to the Sun Yat Sen memorial hall. Sun Yat Sen is one of the tourist centers that are worth to visit if we want to know the history of Taiwan. For those who do not know the face of Sun Yat Sen; the Taiwanese hero, you can check it out in the image printed on the 100 NTD banknote.
We are very grateful as Muslims because famous tourist destinations such as Sun Yat Sen memorial hall also have prayer rooms to do our Asr prayers together. In addition, for breastfeeding mothers like me, there is no need to worry because a breastfeeding room is also provided. So we can also breastfeed comfortably.
The next destination was Taipei 101! This is a mandatory destination for everyone who wants to visit Taiwan. Taipei 101 consists of 101 floors, a skyscraper that was the tallest building globally from its opening in 2004 until 2009. Taipei 101 has a height of almost 509 meters; this building is equipped with a pendulum weighing 800 tons to withstand earthquake shocks because Taiwan is in an earthquake-prone area. Do not forget to capture your moments in front of this Taiwanese landmark like us!
In Taipei 101, there is also a prayer room, so it is convenient for Muslims. In addition, there is also halal beef noodle on the basement floor of this skyscraper. Alhamdulillah, we can travel comfortably and happily because we can pray on time and at the same time have a halal culinary tour in Taipei 101.
Before going back to Hsinchu, I went to my favorite halal beef noodle restaurant in Ximen! This restaurant has halal certification from the Chinese Muslim Association (CMA). The owner is also very friendly. Before returning to Hsinchu, we did our Maghrib prayers there. So you do not have to worry about traveling to Taiwan because every halal restaurant in Taiwan usually provides a prayer room, too. 真方便!
Taiwan continues to upgrade itself to provide the best service for Muslims. Moreover, 280k Muslims from all over the world choose Taiwan as their place for living nowadays. Furthermore, the government of Taiwan is very welcome with various cultures and religions, including Muslims. Based on the Global Muslim tourism index (GMTI), Taiwan is ranked as the 2nd among all non-organizations for Islamic cooperation (non-OIC) that provides Muslim-friendly tourism. This achievement is evaluated based on transportation, communication, environment, and service from 130 tourist destinations worldwide. May Taiwan continue to be the best and Muslim-friendly. According to the tagline, "salam Taiwan" means greetings to Taiwan. May Taiwan always give peace to all Muslims from all over the world because Taiwan is the heart of Asia!
Well, we have finished visiting some beautiful places in Taiwan that Muslim friendly. Even our trip is only one day, but we believe that all the memories will be a lifetime, especially for Ayman.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -Marcel Proust-
Hopefully, many people, especially Muslims, will come to Taiwan and enjoy discovering all the beautiful Muslim-friendly places around Taiwan. Thus they will have the "new eyes" about Taiwan that Taiwan is a really Muslim-friendly country! Come to Taiwan and feel the beauty of traveling as a Muslim in Formosa!
Writer: Resa Syafitri
essay for Good Times in Taiwan essay competiti