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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

Embracing adventure | Backpacking in East Asia

Embracing adventure | Backpacking in East Asia

Travelling to Asia for a Nigerian is as exciting as it sounds. Asia is the largest and most diverse continent on Earth, so you'll get more than your money's worth of culture, beauty, cuisine, history, and adventure. Eloho Sido, an ardent traveller, spent 8 days in East Asia recently and we were so inspired. Her trip was extremely beautiful and colourful. As you would expect, we reached out to her and the rest as they say, is history We're so glad she agreed to do this because this post is pure adventure, the way we like it. Without further ado, here is Eloho's experience below

My 8 days trip to East Asia...

I did the count down to 2014 in Taiwan with my friends who I had met while studying in University of Birmingham. I had filled up my schedule with places and things I wanted to do with them in a place I’d never been but time went by so quickly, so I promised myself I’d visit again. Fast forward to March 2018, I visited again but this time at a snail's pace and I thoroughly enjoyed being present in my favourite country, Taiwan.

I got my visa on my Nigerian Passport, and I was set! I was bursting with excitement because from the last time I visited my friend had 2 kids, of which I’m the godmother:). I just couldn't wait to see them.

My flight left from London to Beijing; there was a 3-hour connection. The air in Beijing was really bad, I was even coughing in the airport without existing. 

 Air pollution in Beijing

Air pollution in Beijing

MY EAST ASIA TRAVEL ITINERARY

Day 1 - Explored Taipei.

My friends and I hiked up to the Elephant Mountain. Quite a steep hike but the views of Taipei are really nice especially at sunrise/sunset. On my way up, I found elderly people walk briskly past me lol. And there were stops where there was equipment for exercise and even table tennis for anyone interested in playing. We also visited Maokong mountain

 Elephant Mountain | The Ajala Bug

Elephant Mountain | The Ajala Bug

Elephant Mountain overlooking Taipei. Taipei 101 structure behind with the needle

 Elephant Mountain

Elephant Mountain

Day 2 - Restaurant hopping

We went to a ramen noodle place. It was so good! You eat in a cubicle, like the phone booths. One per person and they didn’t allow the food to be taken out. We later went to other restaurants. Taipei is such a beautiful city and the people are nice and friendly. Even though they don’t speak English they’ll do their best to help you. 

 Ichiran Ramen

Ichiran Ramen

 Buffet at the Hyatt in Taipei

Buffet at the Hyatt in Taipei

 Exploring food at Taipei

Exploring food at Taipei

Day 3 - Toured Zhinan temple & Maokong mountain then left for my friends in another City, Taichung, using the High Speed Rail

There is a saying “live an extra 20 seconds by one step you climb.” If that is true, then climbing up the steps to Zhinan Temple which has 1200 steps can add an extra 6 hours to your life!. Zhinan temple is an ancient temple devoted to one of the eight immortal Chinese deities, Lu Dong-bing.

We also went to the place (a chain) that sells bubble tea. Gosh! It was so tasty! My friends and I later attended a European themed dance play....I'm not sure what to make of it. It was quite confusing and we didn’t quite get the gist of it.. but maybe we were overthinking it. Haha! 

 Prayers in the Zhinan temple

Prayers in the Zhinan temple

 Zhinan Temple

Zhinan Temple

 Zhinan temple overlooking Taipei

Zhinan temple overlooking Taipei

 Maokong (Zhishan) mountain 

Maokong (Zhishan) mountain 

Going up to Maokong (Zhishan) mountain with my godson

 Bubble Tea in  Taichung

Bubble Tea in Taichung

 European dance play in Taichung

European dance play in Taichung

Those are flowers on the stage. The strange European dance play in Taichung

Day 3 - We took a road trip to another city, Tainan, which used to be the capital of Taiwan.

Tainan is a beautiful place with a lot of history. The people were quite fascinated by my long braids and my friend had to tell them that it was extensions and I had to explain how it was attached to my hair/head. Lol. They were so kind and intrigued by something we take no time in appreciating.

We did a mini amazon boat ride in Tainan before going to the night market. Tainan has the biggest night market in the whole of Taiwan and it was a joy for me to go through, taste and eat that day. I had freshly made almond milk, ducks blood, stinky tofu, milk papaya drink, fresh orange juice, fresh seasoned clams (Taiwan is an island - clams caught hours before).. and everything was so so cheap! We drove back to Taichung after eating all the food we could.

 Mangrove Green Tunnel Raft Ride along a mangrove-lined waterway. This was Taijiang National Park and Sicao is the hometown of mangroves, featuring the largest number of mangroves species in Taiwan. The mangroves reserve behind Dazhong Temple has the only water green tunnel in Taiwan

Mangrove Green Tunnel Raft Ride along a mangrove-lined waterway.
This was Taijiang National Park and Sicao is the hometown of mangroves, featuring the largest number of mangroves species in Taiwan. The mangroves reserve behind Dazhong Temple has the only water green tunnel in Taiwan

 Anping Castle

Anping Castle

Went for a walk at the Anping Castle, Fort Zeelandia, and it was a fortress built over ten years from 1624 to 1634 by the Dutch East India Company, in the town of Anping on the island of Formosa in present-day Taiwan, during their 38-year rule over the western part of that island.

 Anping Tree House

Anping Tree House

An actual tree house called Anping Tree House, located at the Heritage Building in Taiwan. It’s in Anping District in Tainan

 Ducks blood! I was skeptical, but it’s delicious

Ducks blood! I was skeptical, but it’s delicious

 Drinking fresh almond milk

Drinking fresh almond milk

Day 4 - We went into Taichung to buy some souvenirs and had some girls time doing pedicures and manicures.

It was so soothing and relaxing. I had my pants  on, and so I couldn’t roll up my pants, they had loose pants for clients who had such issues. I wish more spas would offer such extended services.. oh well..

Day 5 & 6 - Back to Taipei from Taichung via High Speed Rail.

I met up with my friend from Nigeria and I took her to the places I had been to when last I visited in 2014. Places like Taipei 101 (tallest building in Taiwan), about 3 temples, 2 night markets and some restaurants. We later found out that food wasn’t allowed in the subway lol. We were asked to kindly dispose of our drinks (bubble tea). 

 With my friend Ugochi from Nigeria

With my friend Ugochi from Nigeria

 Explore Taipei

Explore Taipei

 Lungshan Temple

Lungshan Temple

Day 7 - Went to Beijing, China from Taipei, Taiwan.

I had planned my trip to include a day (23hr) layover so I could do a layover tour. You can apply for a visa (free) on arrival as long as you have an onward journey ticket within (144hrs or so).

On arrival my tour guide was waiting for me to start my tour (I made a reservation with them). We went to see the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of china. Everything was a rush and the Great Wall didn’t include any hike per se. Everything was very monetized, I wasn’t impressed. Oh I had to wear a mask because of the air pollution. The people in China reminded me a great deal of Nigerians in their approach towards business or making money and the way they drove; shouting like we do in Nigeria. haha! After the tour, they dropped me off at my hotel very close to the airport.

 The Forbidden city

The Forbidden city

 The Great Wall of china

The Great Wall of china

 Wall of China

Wall of China

Going down the wall of China using the Tobogganing. We went up the wall using cable cars, that’s why there was no hiking

 Dazhong Temple

Dazhong Temple

Day 8 - The same tour company picked me up and took me to the Temple of Heaven (located in a park)

The temple of Heaven is located in a park. The architecture was really beautiful. It was all built out of wood; no nails or concrete. It is the biggest free park in Beijing. The Temple of Heaven used to be the venue for annual ceremonies of prayer for good harvest.

 Temple of Heaven 

Temple of Heaven 

And that concluded my trip to East Asia

Final words on East Asia

There is so much to do and see in East Asia. After spending a total of 8 days in Taiwan and China, I had learnt and experienced so much of a different culture that I am unable to document every single thing.  

Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen - Benjamin Disraeli

Hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did. Sincerely, before this blog post, I have been confused about the Asia continent and knowing which countries are clustered together etc but now, I have a clear understanding. Plus google to the rescue. 

"Taiwan is officially the Republic of China (ROC), a state in East Asia. Its neighbours include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the West, Japan to the Northeast, and the Philippines to the south. It is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations" - Wiki

I just can't wait to explore the Asian continent like Eloho did. Have you visited Taiwan or China before? Please feel free to share your stories with us, either in the comment section or as an article on the blog.

Many thanks to Eloho Sido, a web & media developer expert all day and an explorer every other day, for sharing her experience with us.

NB: She is Nigerian, though resident in America but she travelled on her green passport!.

Till our next adventure, be kind to one another.

Margaret.

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