Who has not been to Taiwan?
For some reason, Facebook has this way of letting me know that my family and I are the only ones who have not been to this country and that we are missing out. :))
So, in around August of 2019, we planned a trip to Taipei to celebrate New Year.
We started the holiday with the ungodliest hour of departure – 3:40 AM (shoutout to the Obligacions whom we saw at the airport hahaha). I was telling Andre that although I could no longer remember why we chose such a schedule, surely we had a reason for losing sleep and arriving in NAIA at 1 am haha. It was crazy, and it was definitely something we have not done before nor an arrangement we will repeat in the near or distant future (ang hirap eh! haha sobrang aga.)
DAY ONE was for pen searching, as it specifically said in my planner. Taiwan, very much like Japan, had a penchant for all things writing! They had a wide collection of fountain pens and brush pens that will make a hobbyist go insane. I know my dad just went out of his mind over the tools that were laid out before him. On the other hand. I enjoyed flipping over journal pages! There were a lot of nice notebooks to purchase out of whim, but I had to exercise self-control haha. I mean why would you need 10 journals or more? (or do I? :)) )
Here’s a list of the stores we went to, and all of which we recommend:
BUT, if you can only go to one, we highly suggest visiting TY Lee Pens.
It was a quaint shop along a narrow street. Its store stood beside an equally trendy-looking salon. Here you can buy a lot of quirky and cute things! What I noticed was that they had a lot of stickers and school paraphernalia (i.e paper clips, Washi tape etc). They had a fewer selection of pens but if you are into adorable paper and office supplies fit for your planners and journals then this is the place for you!
Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (4-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: we tried Gingin Coffee! It was good (additional post for this) | Store Time: weekdays (except Tuesday) – 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM, weekends: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Encountering this store was a happy accident! We did not know of its existence until we found it in the corner of Linyi Street. This place has a number of calligraphy instruments and fountain pen inks. What was unique about this shop was that it also had various stamps, Lomography cameras and photo equipment.
Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (4-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: This is a walking distance from Plain Stationary | Store Time: Everyday (except Tuesday) 12:00 NN – 9:00 PM
THIS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL PEN STORES.
Nearest station: Daan Park Station (9-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: TY Lee served us free coffee!! my husband and I felt so privileged since we did not really buy anything from the store hahaha. THANK YOU FOR THE FREE COFFEE, MISTER!! <3 Andre and I were joking that if dad did not acquire anything, he might have thrown us out of the store haha, I am kidding, the owner was a very nice and friendly person. He engaged us in a conversation for a good 10 minutes before entertaining the rest of his other customers. Oh, and he also gave us a small token – a metallic bookmark shaped like a pen nib that had engraved Chinese characters. | Store Time: everyday (except Sunday) 12:00 NN – 10:00 PM
It’s a very chill looking store with yellow mood lights and vibrant music to set you off into a jazzy vibe. It was gorgeously set up with wooden display tables filled with pens and notebooks, plus recycled journal pages hung from the ceiling. It had a very artistic feel. It was very – as Andre would describe it – hipster.
Nearest station: Liuzhangli (5-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: We have not tried anything when we visited the store but there is an interesting cafe nearby – Pachamama Cafe | Store Time: Tuesday to Saturday (12:00 NN – 9:00 PM), Sunday (12:00 NN – 7:00 PM)
This is very near Tools to Live by so be sure to check this out as well. The shop is owned by David Chan and he also sells a collection of Japanese made pens and stationery among others. This is funny because I do not have a single photo of the shop – Andre and I decided to take a rest in Louisa Cafe while dad explored the store hahahaha pagod na!
Nearest station: Liuzhangli (3-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: We took a quick break in a nearby Louisa Cafe. I presume this is a local coffee chain? nothing fancy but they have good coffee and a broad selection of food|Store Time: Tuesday to Friday (4:00 PM – 8:00 PM), Saturday (2:00 PM – 8:00 PM), Sunday (2:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Eslite Xinyi Store
Considered to be Taiwan’s largest bookstore. This was actually a department store so they had a separate floor for the pens then another level for stationeries and journals. I remember this establishment had the biggest selection of Lamys and Twsbis (apart for Ty Lee’s); ironically though, I did not see a lot of Twsbis (Taiwanese made fountain pens).
Nearest station: Taipei City Hall Station (2-minute walk from the station) \ Possible cafes nearby: This is quite near Taipei 101 (again, we did not try any cafes at this point hahahaha caffeine overload na!) | Store Time: Monday to Thursday, Sunday (11:00 AM – 10:00 PM), Friday and Saturday (11:00 AM – 11:00 PM)
This day was mission accomplished – it resulted to happy and satisfied customers! Below is a photo of everything we purchased from the stores above.
There are a few more shops you could check out, but for us this would suffice! I hope you found this list useful!
Till my next guide!