Good Times in Taiwan – My Best Muslim Travel Experiences
Trip Date: 19 October 2019 to 23 October 2019
Being a Muslim female, I do not travel solo. This is in line with our beloved Prophet's teaching; hence I will always travel with my younger sister. My sister and I have visited Taiwan many times, and our last trip was back in 2019, before all the international travel restrictions started due to Covid19 pandemic. I shall write about the most recent trip.
Taiwan truly has something for everyone! For Malaysians, it is less than 5 hours by direct flight from Kuala Lumpur. hings to experience, we wished we had more time. But it's okay, we can always return to Taiwan!
19 October 2019
We arrived in Taipei late in the evening and our first stop is Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.
Alhamdulillah there is a prayer room for Muslims here. There was a festival going on, so we walked around and saw many interesting stalls. Soon, we are feeling famished. We had dinner at Kunming Islamic Restaurant. This is a Muslim-owned restaurant, so we do not have to worry about its Halal status. After dinner we head straight to our accommodation for the night, Horizon Inn, located in Jhongshan District. The hotel is very comfortable, we had a good rest. Horizon Inn provided prayer mat, qibla direction and a hand bidet in the bathroom for Muslim guests' convenience. We learnt that all certified Muslim-friendly hotels will provide the same facilities for Muslim guests.
20 October 2019
After a hearty Halal breakfast, we checked out and decided to visit a few Muslim-friendly backpacker hostels in Zhongzheng District. They are; Posh Packer Hostel, Apause Inn and 109 Hostel Taipei. These hostels are clean, modern, comfortable and are equipped with Muslim-friendly facilities, including a designated food preparation area. We would consider staying there as all their locations are within walking distance to Metro station.
Since we are in Zhongzheng District, we walked to North Gate, the best-preserved gate of the Walls of Taipei. For lunch, we head over to Chang's Beef Noodle restaurant. Beef Noodle is a famous Taiwanese dish not to be missed. Historically, beef noodle was introduced to Taiwan by the Hui people, a Chinese-Muslim ethnic group who fled mainland China during the Chinese Civil War.
After we filled our tummies with the delicious Beef Noodles and dumplings, we stopped by at the beautiful Taipei Grand Mosque for our prayers. We saw a group of small children having a class inside the mosque, it was very heartwarming to witness.
Next, we visited Discovery Center of Taipei, which is located inside the Taipei City Hall. We learnt a lot on Taipei and Taiwan's history through the many interesting multimedia exhibits there.
After a lot of looking at history, we head to Taipei 101; one of the world's tallest buildings. We went there to experience its latest activity; Skyline 460 Observation Deck. It was our first experience walking on an outdoor viewing platform, and what a way to start; at 460 meters in height! Armed with a safety harness, we walked around the deck and enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view of the entire Taipei City. The exhilarating experience ended with a refreshing Cloud Coffee.
After the unique walking on the clouds activity, we stopped by Taipei Main Station for a quick dinner ata Halal food outlet called Delhi Xpress.
Tonight, we are checking in at Caesar Metro Hotel in Wanhua District. Their modern-minimalist room décor was very inviting and soothing at the same time. A lovely end to an eventful day!
21 October 2019
We were invited to attend a Muslim-Friendly Certification Award event at the hotel in the morning, it was such an honour for us. We can see how serious the Taiwanese, especially the Taipei Government are working to attract Muslim travellers and residents to explore their country!
We had lunch at Silks Palace Restaurant, which is located beside the National Palace Museum. After the beautiful Halal meal, we proceeded to visit the National Palace Museum. With so many beautiful artefacts on display, we wish we had more time there.
After the museum, we head to Children's Amusement Park. Muslim visitors will be glad to know that there is a Muslim Prayer Room here, so we do not have to worry about our prayers while enjoying themselves in the park.
Dinner was at the Gaia, an upscale hotel in Beitou District. Beitou District is famous for its hotsprings, do come to this area if you are looking for a relaxing getaway. The Gaia is a certified Muslim-friendly hotel.
We stayed at the funky Uinn Business Hotel in Shilin District, just a short walk to the famous Shilin Night Market. Going to the night market is a must whenever you are in Taipei. A friend recommended buying Taiwan-made umbrella, saying that Taiwanese products have better quality compared to others.
22 October 2019
After a hot and comforting Halal breakfast at Uinn, we checked out and head to Zhishan Cultural & Ecological Garden. This park is a bird sanctuary located not too far from the city centre. We were lucky we had the chance to hold an owl there. The owl was injured and the volunteers from the bird society nursed him back to health.
Lunch was at Safranbolu Turkish Restaurant in the city. The restaurant serves authentic tasting Turkish food, which instantly reminded us of Turkey!
Next on the agenda was Keelung - Peace Island Park and afterwards, Yeliu Geopark. Both parks are by the sea we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and sea breeze very much! Yeliu Geopark was extra fun because we can get creative and pose with the natural rock formations. This was us posing in front of rock formations that resemble two kissing dogs!
After a whole day of nature, we had dinner at Hui Guan Restaurant in Songshan District. The food here is quite spicy and unique style of cooking. We love it! We were told that they serve Halal Ningxia cuisine, a Hui autonomous region in China.
For our last night in Taipei, we stayed at the certified Muslim-friendly Greenworld Hotel, in Nangang District. We love the location of this hotel as most of our favourite shops are nearby.
23 October 2019
After a big breakfast at Greenworld Hotel, we decided to walk around the hotel area since we had some spare time before going to the airport. We found a supermarket nearby and bought some local food to bring back. Soon it was time to head to the airport. We grabbed a quick bite at Middle East Halal Kitchen located at Taoyuan International Airport's food court before we checked in.
Overall, I can summarise that all the accommodations we stayed at during this trip were certified as Muslim-friendly. All the attractions we visited provided a comfortable and proper prayer room for Muslims, and all the restaurants we went to are either Halal-certified or Muslim-friendly.
Indeed, Taiwan is definitely a very good holiday destination choice for Muslims! It's time to enjoy Taiwanese hospitality. I'm sure those who have been to Taiwan will agree. I miss Taiwan very much, and I hope to return soon!
write by Irnee Norris binti Ishak ,Malaysia