Following on from Part 2, we had just left the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial and were on our way to the Taipei Zoo.
Our route via the MRT
We returned and boarded the convenient MRT above ground light rail and made our way to the line which led to the Taipei Zoo.
This took us across a cross section of Taipei’s sub-tropical landscape and (if memory serves) through a tunnel with the tall silhouette of Taipei 101 visible off in the distance (from time to time).
The Zoo was not far from the MRT station, and as time was ticking on quickly, we paid for admission and then hastily made our way around the zoo. The zoo was wide and well maintained, the animals were in some cases quite hard to see – perhaps we were there at the wrong time – but the animals we did see were quite exotic.
There was a Formosan bear with an amputated leg, who was rather strenuously looking for some food, trotting (as best he could) around the perimeter of his enclosure, well separated from the tourist concourse by a not insignificant moat.
We tried to get as far as the penguin enclosure (“Penguin House”) but we ultimately ran out of time. Our main concern was that we had to return to the Hotel where we had left our bags at the reception desk.
Bidding the Zoo farewell after a whirlwind tour (I have select digital video footage, but few photos as a consequence) we returned to the MRT and made our way back to the hotel.
We collected our bags and then decided it was time for lunch. As per part of our standard policy on layovers, we located a nearby McDonalds and rested for a while nursing our many bags.
Our next stop was north from the hotel, the direction we’d originally intended to go first thing in the morning. Our destination was the Bao’an Temple, a Taoist temple dating from 1760 AD.
Across the road there was a very large centre for religious studies known as the Taipei Confucius Temple which also boasted some amazing wooden buildings with bright blue highlights on the older style tiled rooftops. This temple was rebuilt in the early 20th century, and remains in excellent condition.
Across from the Confucius Temple was some sort of neighbourhood park (?) which unfortunately the maps don’t lend a name to. Here we found a large and colourful statue of a Chinese Dragon and some curious scenes of monkeys carved out of stone.
After a bit of a break (remember, we’re hauling around a fair amount of luggage) we found our way back to the MRT to head to our late afternoon destination: the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.
By the time we reached the hall, the sun was setting rapidly. When we arrived the hall had predictably shut, but we could still observe the large statue sitting and watching us from behind closed doors.
At this stage we made a semi-concerted effort to navigate our way to the tallest tower in the city – Taipei 101 – but with so much luggage and with too little energy, we resigned ourselves to returning and finding our way back to the bus for the return trip to the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport.
Our next stop was Vancouver, Canada and the beginning of our time as residents in that great northern country.