We never really go shopping while travelling so this was a bit of a turn up for the books. Occasionally we might replace some of our grotty worn out clothes at a market or head to the food hall in a fancy shopping mall, but generally speaking we’re not big on wandering round the shops. In Taiwan though, we stumbled across some of the coolest department stores we’ve ever seen.

We were expecting plenty of bizarre themed cafes, funky clothes shops and night markets galore, but not so much heritage buildings converted into amazing stores that had us lusting over every display. I love that places here put so much effort into their interiors, there are so many little added extras to take in! If you’re ever lucky enough to travel in Taiwan (which you should definitely do if you get the chance), make sure you make time to fit in these beauties.

First up was Miyahara in Taichung, a former eye hospital turned cake / sweets / patisserie shop with accompanying gourmet ice cream parlour next door. This was a treat for the eyes with wooden display cases that looked like bookcases straight out of Harry Potter, imaginative presentation of gorgeous looking cakes and floor to ceiling mirrored walls.

There’s a very upmarket cafe on the first floor which we couldn’t afford to visit didn’t make it to , but it was fun enough to just wander round admiring all the cakes and the amazing interiors. Whether you treat yourself or not this is definitely worth a visit, and you should definitely add it to your list of things to do in Taichung.

Staying in Taichung we found the city was full of small hipstery shopping streets that seemed to compete to have the coolest window displays and mascots adorning the front of shops. From full size mini coopers to retro television sets wandering around the streets near the night market was a treat for the eyes, even if we couldn’t afford to buy anything!

Our next stop was Tainan, the historic capital of Taiwan and a place that hosted plenty of quirky sights in between the concrete apartment blocks. From lucky dip vending machines and cute alleyways to artists painting movie posters on the streets it was full of surprises. Including Hayashi, the oldest department store in Taiwan dating back to the 1930s, which Rob discovered was one of the top places to visit according to TripAdvisor. Duly we added it to our walking tour route for the day and happened upon a building that wasn’t too impressive from the outside but turned out to be an absolute treasure trove inside. With floors dedicated to clothing and accessories as well as interiors, we could have left with armfuls of stuff! Another must visit if you ever find yourself in Tainan.

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