Amba Hotel, Ximending

We had a 15 hour flight with a 5 hour transit in Singapore. By the time we got to Taipei, it was 6am in the morning. We had a lack of sleep, tired and were cold. We were expecting warm weather, but Taipei was overcast with a slight chill. Apparently we brought the rain in the midst of a mini drought.

The streets were lacking of human/motor vehicle traffic that we thought we are in the wrong part of town. By the time we got to our hotel at Ximending, it was about 8am. Too early to check in so we left our luggage behind.

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During the previous trip, we stayed in a 4 star hotel. I think it was the Fullerton, probably built in the late 70’s. Large rooms, carpet that screams – renew me please, close to transport etc. But it was too much of a standard, almost sterile, dated hotel. This time around, we decided something smaller and found Amba. The room was only 30 square metres, but refurbished recently, so everything was spotlessly clean and modern.

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Small and tight but it felt good. It also included daily complimentary toothpaste. The lobby and bar/food area was very open space and had great atmosphere. Most definitely a good find and reasonably priced as well.

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The extra bonus is that it is located right in the heart of Ximending. This area is fantastically and busily populated by youths. The many gridded streets are narrow and shut off to traffic during the weekends. You will find shops of all sorts – fashion, mobile phone, food stalls, cinemas (I counted seven), tattoo shops and many more.

It was a Sunday, so we thought we could have a quick snack, catch the metro and visit one of the many Sogo department stores. We got there by about 10ish and found out they weren’t open until 11.30am.

This is not Sogo, but I found this building interesting.

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It was cold and we were tired. We were hoping to randomly walk into a love hotel and hire a room for an hour for a nap – “Yes, sir, just 2 soft pillows and eye shades.”

This is Sogo. 12 floors of branded merchandise of nearly anything you need. We were one of the first customers and phalanxes of neatly uniformed staff stood in line greeting our arrival as we went from floor to floor. Impressive, by Australia standards.

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At the top of Sogo, there is a Vivienne Westwood café (interestingly decadent) and a small observation deck.  View looking down…

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Once you get tired of visiting this Sogo, you can pop over the street to visit the other Sogo.

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We got back by about 3pm and Ximending ahhhhhhhhhh…..  people people everywhere….-  definitely crowded.

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This reminded us of Shibuya.

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