To Taiwan, Hong Kong

I’m leaving for Taipei on February 9th, the day after all the Chinese New Year’s Eve festivities. I inquired about the “direct flights” (which actually still go through Hong Kong airspace, they just don’t land), but apparently only ̨°û¡¡(Taiwanese citizens) can get those tickets. Good thing I got that info, because a clueless travel agency was trying to sell me those tickets. That would have been unpleasant when I showed up at the airport with tickets for a flight that I was not allowed to be on.

I’ll be staying with Wilson in Taipei. He’s doing some business there for his mom (who is from Taiwan). Hopefully I’ll be able to meet up with the infamous Wayne as well.

On February 17th I’ll head back to Hong Kong from Taiwan. I’ll stay in Hong Kong for a day and a half. Don’t really know anyone in Hong Kong. I was hoping Derrick would be there, but he’s not moving to Hong Kong until after the summer. Looks like Wanbro is there now; I don’t know him, but it would be cool if I could meet him. We’ll see. It’ll be such a ridiculously short stay in Hong Kong that wandering wide-eyed through the glitz all alone wouldn’t be a problem anyway.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Did you see Wilson’s letter to City Weekend lauding your website? And I see you are now writing for That’s Shanghai. Xin Nian Kuai Le!!

  2. Da Xiangchang Says: February 7, 2005 at 1:32 am

    Pretty good. I should be in Taiwan in June. I hope it’s not going to be crappy. I mean, Chinatown in Los Angeles is crappy, and I hope all of Taiwan isn’t going to look one big Chinatown. I mean, most of China’s crappy, but China at least is authentically crappy. I hope Taiwan’s not going to be artificially crappy like one of those Asian-themed malls in Los Angeles. I mean, there’s a world of difference between a pair of real DDs and a silicone-padded pair. “Kitschy” is the word I’m looking for. I just have a misconception of what Taiwan is–like it’s China but not really. I bought the Lonely Planet Taiwan guidebook, and have been flipping through it. The pics have been underwhelming. 🙁 But then my dad said Taiwan’s beautiful, though he’s never been there! Haha. Whatever the case, I’ll go check out it and decide for myself.

  3. Yeah, you should be fine in Hong Kong for a day and a half by yourself. It’s always more fun with company, but if you’ve never been to Hong Kong before, the newness of the cramped craziness should be enough to keep you company.

    Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island are crawling with foreigners so if you’re interested in seeing how many Hong Kongers spend their time head to Mong Kok to go shopping, though it might not be as packed on Thursday as it normally is on the weekend. If you really want to stay away from foreign dominated areas try Shatin (kind of far from the peninsula), though the main attraction there is nothing but a huge mall.

  4. Don’t worry, Mr. Sausage. Taiwan is just like China. Except that you won’t get nickled and dimed by every little vendor. And the beautiful scenery is a lot easier to get to from the major cities. And the temples are several hundreds years old and are an integral part of civil society instead of originally being several hundred years old then torn down by Red Guard students and then gaudily rebuilt twenty five years later solely to lure the tourist buck. And there aren’t 800 million nongmin simultaneously yelling “Hello!” at you everywhere you go.

    I’ll discuss my ideas for where to go in Taiwan and HK with you later, but for the public record, this is what you should do. After this coming CNY weekend, go down to the temples in Tainan for a day. Then either do a day or two either in Kending or Maolin (the place I wrote up in my last entry). You could also try Hualian and Taroko Gorge, but that’ll add to your travel time. As for HK, if you’ve got one night, unless it’s raining out, you absoultely must check out the sunset from the top of Victoria Peak, preferably with a decent camera and a tripod.

  5. welcome to Taiwan!

    Actually, one of the things I LOVE about Taiwan is that it is not some oversized US Chinatown. For the most part, Taiwan is not exactly on most people’s tourist agenda. So, the Taiwanese do things for their own entertainment, not for scamming a tourist buck.

    It is an interesting slice of both traditional Chinese culture, but with an high teck edge.

  6. Taiwan seems the most organic to me, in terms of sights, sounds, everything. One thing I really like about Taiwan is that everything is so conveniently near–literally everything that you could possibly need in life could be found in a half-mile radius of where you live at one of a gazillion tiny first-floor shops.

    BTW, you can find plenty of thousand year old temples on the mainland that the Red Guard didn’t get to–you just have to wander off the beaten path a bit.

  7. If you want to go for a drink or bite to eat when you’re in Honkers, drop me an email.

  8. Have a nice trip to Taiwan! You may enjoy the local night markets as well as the hotspring. Welcome to HK for short stay too.:)

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