Friday, June 10, 2016

Ximending, a Good Place for an Evening Stroll (Taipei Trip Day 3)

Ximending (or Xi Meng-Ding) is located in Wanhua District. It is the first pedestrian shopping zone assigned in Taipei. We continued our trip to Ximending after Taipei 101. Ximending MRT Station is located between Taipei Main Station and Longshan Temple Station. Gate 6 of Ximending MRT Station led us to the pedestrian street area on our right, while the Red House of Ximen (some refer it as Ximen Red Theater) could be seen on our left on the other side of the road. We decided to start with the Red House of Ximen.

The Red House was build in 1908 as a public market. It was the first public market of its kind in Taiwan. Interesting facts- the market was designed by a western architect, Kondo Juro, from the local government department. The building has a very strong European influence with the main structure resembling a cross, connects to an octagonal entrance that resembling "ba-gua" design with a balance of yin-yang.

The Red House is now built with a theater, a shopping area, an exhibition area, with food stalls and bars at the surrounding area. We spent around 15 minutes to walk through the exhibition area. The information was massive, but mostly in the form of photos and articles. The shopping and food areas were not interesting for us.

We went back to the pedestrian shopping zone- the main attraction of Ximending. The pedestrian zone consists of several main streets which crisscross each others, with smaller alleys branching in between. To avoid getting lost, we used KFC at the junction of Emei Street and Watson Store at the junction of Wuchang Street as reference points.  

Compared to the night markets that we had visited the nights before (Huaxi and Raohe Night Markets), Ximending is filled mostly with shops and boutiques selling clothes, bags, wallets, souvenirs, IT gadgets, and several cinemas. Restaurants are aplenty but with lesser road side stalls around the area. There were several street artists performing as well. There was only one issue there- many signage were written in Mandarin only. We were not shopping materials, but amazingly spent almost 3 hours at Ximending. We found a low price souvenir shop there and took our dinner at a western buffet restaurant.

 The Red House of Ximending.

 The shopping area in the Red House.

6:30 pm, crowd was gathering at Ximending. Photo taken from the Red House. The MRT entrance can be seen on the opposite side of the street.

A panorama view of Ximending from the Red House. The photo is a little bit blur due to the low shutter speed. Please click the photo for a larger view.

There were many people there, especially at the main entrance to the pedestrian street (upper left). The pedestrian street (upper right), smaller alley (lower right), and the junction at Ximending. We can use the shops at the junction as the references, to avoid getting lost in the area.

We took our dinner at Ba-Fei Restaurant (upper left). The food were nice with reasonable price (upper and lower right). Once we ordered the main dishes, the soup, appetizers, side dishes, and drinks were served as buffet. By the way, we couldn't find the retaurant's English name. 

We bought some souvenirs with bargained price at Pingi (upper row), and tried the bitter gourd drink at San Xiong Mei (lower row).

Queueing is inevitable for some famous eateries in Ximending, but we didn't waste our time there. We rather choose the same food from other shop with shorter queue.

We left Ximending at around 10 pm. The crowd was still huge, and shops were still opening. Yes, it was Friday night, TGIF! It was an enjoyable experience strolling around Ximending, and we could easily spend whole evening there. Combining good variety, clean environment and nice walkway, it is a must visit place in Taipei.

Coming up next in our forth day itinerary- Yangmingshan National Park, Gugong Museum and Shilin Night Market.

More about our experience in Taipei:

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