Sunset at a beach just outside of Taipei
We recently had a 5 day weekend and my friends and I decided to capitalize on it with a trip to Taipei. All in all I only ended up having about 3 1/2 days in Taipei but I loved every minute of it! Taipei was a wonderful refresher from Korea. First of all, it was way more green. Now, don't get me wrong, Busan is a pretty green city, but that is primarily because we are surrounded by mountains, not that the city itself houses a lot of greenery. In Taipei it was like walking into Princess Mononoke, anywhere there wasn't a building, there was the jungle. I also saw a lot more house plants decorating balconies, roof-tops and shops than I do in Korea. I hadn't realized how much I missed that. Taipei also had a more international feel about it than Busan does. There were more foreigners scattered about town and the general populations level of English seemed to be higher. The aspect I found most refreshing however, was how much more socially progressive Taipei seemed. Our hostel was situated in an openly gay community, something Korea doesn't even seem close to. Scratch that, if I am being completely honest, their transportation system might have been what I loved best. They had proper queuing lines for the subway, here you are lucky if you get off the train before people start pushing there way in. The sides of the escalator were also respected, one side for walking, one for standing. Loved it! It is amazing how much little things like that can influence your trip or overall impression of a country. Oh, and of course the people were incredibly friendly. I'm not even kidding when I say you just have to put on your puzzled face for a second before someone will offer to help you!
I am lazy and also don't wish to bog you down with a ton of information so I will save the sights for another post. I would be curious to hear what has impressed you most about countries you visited. What are some turn-offs?