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No visit to China is complete without a visit to a night market. These markets, a Chinese tradition, offer the visitor a true taste of Chinese culture. One of the most famous of these night markets is the Hwahsi Street Night Market in Taipei.
Visitors to foreign countries want to sample the true flavor of the country, and Hwahsi Street Night Market offers the tourist an authentic Taiwanese experience. It attracts many tourists from many different countries.
This market, the longest indoor night market in Taipei, is a collection of restaurants, specialty shops and street vendors. There the tourist can try authentic Taiwanese cuisine and purchase souvenirs of all types. This is a wonderful place to pick up an unusual ornament or small religious item to bring home as a souvenir.
Hwahsi Street Night Market is also called "Snake Alley". It has earned this name because this market is famous for its snake handlers, snake soup and other reptilian foods and objects. This is where a tourist can try snake blood, which is claimed to be an aphrodisiac, while watching a snake handler tame a cobra.
Many visitors to Hwahsi say that the best reason to go there is for the food. Aside from snake soup, the visitor to the night market will find many choices of native foods. There are many noodle shops and fish restaurants to try.
Vendors sell delicious oyster omelets and chicken skewers, and their traditional custard pastries are wonderful. Stinky tofu, a dish which tastes far better than it smells, can also be found in the night market.
Years ago the area of the night market was not known as a tourist destination. It was a red-light district with pornography shops and prostitutes. After the Taipei City government banned prostitution, the market was reborn as a tourist attraction.
Today, visitors to the night market can find fortune tellers and Chinese herbalists along with the many choices for dining and shopping that abound. The sights and sounds of the market will remain with the visitor for a long time.
Taipei City is located in the northernmost part of Taiwan. This area has a subtropical monsoon climate, so the summers are hot and sticky and the winters are cool and damp. On average, the hottest month is July. Monsoon season is nearly year-round. Visitors to Taiwan should plan on warm weather and be prepared for the chance of rain.
Getting to Hwahsi Street Night Market is not difficult. Located at Hwahsi Street between Hsiyuan Road and Huanho South Road, the market is accessible from most parts of Taipei City by public bus.
There are a multitude of bus lines that run to the Lungshan Temple Stop, which is within walking distance of the market. Visitors can also take the Blue MRT, the efficient subway system, to the Lungshan Temple Stop. There are also cabs that can take tourists to the market.
It will be easy to recognize the market. Look for the large, ceremonial gateway that is lit with bright lanterns. At night, the Hwahsi Street Night Market is illuminated and is almost as bright as day.
There are many fine hotels within walking distance of the market. Visitors will also enjoy Kuanghua Computer Market, the Hsimending Market for high fashion and a walking tour of Taipei. There is much to see in this exciting city.