It’s official, we’re crazy. Just prior to leaving for the airport, my good friend Sara, The Flying Pinto, asked me how long the flight to Ho Chi Minh City was…and I didn’t know. What I did know, is that we had an 8 hour layover in Taipei, and that I was more than a little interested in leaving the airport to galavant around town for a bit, rather than spending that time in a boring airport. makes sense, right? Sure…if you hadn’t already endured the travel olympics, it probably would.
Travel olympics you ask? Well, yes. You see prior to said layover in Taipei we had left our house at 10pm to make the 15 minute walk to BART (subway), we road BART 1 hr to get to SFO, we then waited (flight delayed an hour) until 2am in the airport, at which time we discovered that the mystery flight (part 1 to Taipei) was 12 hours and 55 minutes, of which we proceeded to sleep about 4 hours…maybe? Now you know I didn’t do this math prior, so let’s review shall we? That’s roughly 17 hours and very little sleep since we left home. What to do?
Hello Taipei! We got off the plane, went through immigration (1 month free visa upon entry!) left our backpacks at a baggage storage desk in the airport, hopped an express bus (1 hr) into downtown Taipei, and walked past the sea of Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc., and into a beautiful park to kill some time before Taipei 101 opened. What’s Taipei 101? THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD. And because we hadn’t had our fill of transportation, we hopped on the subway to get there.
We don’t usually go out for the ultra-touristy sites of a city, but when you’re talking about THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD and about 2 minutes to be in town, then well, okay. And I have to say, it was really great!
We enjoyed ourselves so much we nearly missed our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. We hopped in a cab to take us to the bus station to take the express bus, that would take us the 1 hr. to TPE (airport) so that we could rush in, grab our bags from storage, go through customs, security, and finally…get on the other mystery leg (3 hrs., 25 minutes) to Ho Chi Minh City. At which point we could take a rickety old city bus 1 hr. to the “backpackers ghetto,” hop on the back of a motorbike to check out a guesthouse, walk to another, more pleasing guesthouse, and finally…up the 4 flights of stairs to a room where, after spending 30 hours on the go since we left home, we would sleep for the next 10 hours. Crazy, yes, but worth it!