Our Last Day Abroad

by Michael

After nearly a year of traveling, we were down to our last day. Rather than do something big, we wanted to do the things that made us happy. So we opted for three tried-and-true activities we had done before: we went to a cat cafe, a puzzle cafe, and a brewery. Then we retreated to our capsules to sleep.

The Original Cat Cafe

After three cat cafes in other countries, we were finally in the land of the original cat cafe. This is a somewhat odd claim, since I’m sure there are various cafes around the world where one or more cats hang out, but it appears this was the first place to officially make it a business. And they also have a couple of cat-friendly dogs. It is called, appropriately, Cafe Dog & Cats.

The tea was ok and the cats were friendly. There were over a dozen cats, so plenty of lazy fluff-balls to pet. The dogs were nice too, even if they did seem confused why cats get more attention. We showed up just after noon (opening hour) and the place was empty at first. Eventually more humans visited.


This cat with the tiny bent ears was very friendly.

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Hot Springs, Baseball, and Cats (in Taiwan)

by Michael

Taiwan spent about 50 years as a Japanese colony. This allegedly is the origin of developed hot springs and professional baseball in Taiwan. Taiwan also loves its cats. While Japan often gets credit for its cat culture, the original “cat cafe” (a cafe with beverages and cats) is in Taipei. And Taiwan even has a “cat village” — rather than euthanizing strays, they neutered them and release them in a carless hillside town that is now a tourist attraction. Of course, we had to see hot springs, baseball, and cats!

Hot Springs

Our first (and successful) trip to hot springs was at Guanzihling, a motorbike ride from Chiayi City. The area is known for its mud hot springs and is a popular tourist destination (luckily we visited on a weekday morning). There are no photos allowed inside so we just have a photo of the front of the King’s Garden Villa. You’ll have to trust us that it was awesome. You do not need to be a hotel guest to go to the resort’s hot springs, you can just pay a reasonable day-use fee — which worked well with our plans.



They didn’t say that we couldn’t take a picture of the brochure though. And yes, we tried out “exercise” machines similar to those pictured (but without the straps).

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Sightseeing in Taiwan, Part 2: Taipei

by Michael

Taipei itself has numerous worthwhile sights, though our experience was that it is often rainy and cold. We still enjoyed several days in the city as we decompressed from our 11 months of travel.

Sun Yat-sen Redux

The “father of the nation” and first President of the Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen has at least two memorials in Taipei. These are the third and fourth Sun Yat-sen sights we have visited on our trip. We also saw museums to Dr. Sun in Hong Kong and Penang, Malaysia. Dr. Sun is celebrated quite a bit in Taiwan, and is on the money:


Dr. Sun Yat-sen on the hundred dollar bill (New Taiwan Dollars)

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Sightseeing in Taiwan, Part 1: Tainan and Lukang

by Michael

After 11 months of travel, traditional sightseeing is less appealing than it was at the start of our trip. But we still like a good walk around sights from time to time. In Taiwan, we took walks, bus trips, and metro rides to sites in Tainan, Lukang, and Taipei.


As Taiwan’s former capital, Tainan boasts some interesting temples. Most are within a short walk, so we visited several.


Chihkan Tower

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Hiking in Taiwan

by Michael

In case you haven’t caught on yet, we like to hike. And with only about a month to go before starting on the PCT we were on the hunt for good training hikes. In many countries, we found that hikes were often too short and required a guide. Taiwan is more known for hikes, and we had some good outings, but it was still difficult to find good long hikes. Ultimately the best hikes we found were around Taipei.


We were unable to hike in the high mountains during our visit. The notable hikes require permits obtained weeks in advance, and the weather/snowpack was not conducive to our visiting anyway. So we did shorter hikes around Taipei, Taroko Gorge, and Alishan. We also did long walks on bike paths in Hualien on the East Coast and Tainan in the West.

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Time for Taiwan

by Michael

We spent over three weeks in Taiwan, so we were rarely in a hurry. But as I write this, we are about to set off hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, so I figured I’d try something new since I don’t have the time to blog in as much depth as our last few countries. This post includes our itinerary and some general comments; later on I will post photos from our favorite activities. There’s a table of Taiwan posts near the bottom of this post.


Photo from the hike between Jiufen and the Houtong Cat Village.

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