Prior to my trip to Taiwan I researched extensively for some local or unique experiences. No different to planning any other trip really. However this time, I also unearthed a bit of info, that for me personally was really quite exciting….. stamping in Taiwan is a ‘thing’.
Let me put this into perspective, particularly if you’re not a ‘crafter’ like myself, as otherwise I just sound a bit odd.
As a card maker/scrapbooker I’m always on the lookout for anything crafty or creative. In fact I think I’m a little unique in the travel blogging hemisphere in this sense?!
Rubber stamps have long been featured on my handmade cards, scrapbook pages and wherever I can use them. So being able to collect unique souvenir rubber stamps whilst on my travels was of course going to be a highlight.
I’ve struggled to pin down exactly when the souvenir stamping in Taiwan originated. The Taiwan Railway released 100 stamps at selected stations in 2011, as part of the Discover Taiwan Railway project. Then a Railroad Stamp Rally took place in 2015, which gave collectors the opportunity to get special souvenir presents. These were then awarded to the first 2,000 customers.
There have also been official collectors notebooks for these railway stamps, but during my visit I couldn’t find any still available, disappointingly.
Many of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) stamps have been developed in recent years, with each station now having its own design which incorporates local scenes from that area. For example see the website Taipei MRT stamps for details.
I felt a little bit like a Pokemon Go addict… thinking I’ve gotta catch/get ’em all. I even carried my own ink pad around, which definitely came in handy.
It turned out that every single sight or landmark had its own souvenir stamps, not just the MRT stations; even shops and information counters had some. Often they had more than one! Although sometimes I had to ask for them as they were hidden away in a drawer.
So, of course, everywhere we went in Taiwan during our visit, we had to allow extra time to find stamps. It was easy at the MRT and train stations as they had little tables near the exit and sometimes you could just reach over the barrier and get the stamp without swiping through. We did stop at a few extra stations when time permitted, just for the stamp!
In 2 weeks I collected over 350 individual stamps from across Taiwan. I could have filled my smash book with mostly these, but instead I picked up a little notepad and grabbed every stamp I could.
Even Phill got into the hunt for stamps. By the end of the trip we had one of the best collection of souvenirs from all of my travels. At least in my opinion ;).
We stayed in 5 cities in Taiwan. More about some of those in my last post ‘10 reasons to visit Taiwan‘. So, I’m keen to consider a return visit to see more places. Of course there will be more stamps!
We also picked up a few geocaches too – something perhaps more appealing to others. Have you tried it? More about that in my post Geocaching on my travels.
I’ve since read that there are several other places in the world with souvenir stamps like in Taiwan… I’m making a list. Another reason to travel there :)!