Taiwan has been one of the underrated tourist destinations in east Asia. When I told some people about my plan on having my first solo travel there (it’s one of my travel goals to fly solo before i reach 25), all seem to ask, “Anong gagawin mo sa Taiwan?”, “Anong meron dun?” But having an enough time to research for what can I do in Taiwan, my mind went wild on how I’ll gonna squeeze everything I wanted to do there in a span of 3 days. Well, I decided instead to spend all those days in Taipei.
How to get there
From Philippines: Cebu pacific, Air Asia and Philippine Airlines offer direct flights from Cebu and Manila to Taipei. Just look and wait for seat sales to save some bucks for your plane costs.
From Nagoya, Japan: There are lots of airlines that offer direct flights to Taipei. China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Jetstar and TigerAir are to name some. However, the last two offer minimal costs and promos if you book at the right time and the right schedule.
-My plane fare costs JPY7,118 and JPY15,890 from Manila (Cebu Pacific) and to Nagoya (Tigerair Taiwan), respectively. These could still be lowered though if I haven’t booked my flights late.
NOTE: Taiwan requires visa for Filipinos. However, I entered Taiwan under a visa-exempt category since I have a valid visa for Japan. (For my Japinoy friends, you can get your authorization certificate to enter Taiwan through filling up here.)
Taoyuan Airport to Taipei/ Taipei to Taoyuan Airport
The most convenient is to take a bus from Taoyuan airport to Taipei Main Station, which is the gateway to High Speed Rail if you are heading to other major cities in Taiwan & the Taipei MRT red and blue lines. Kuo Kang Bus have regular bus schedules and only costs NTD$125, one-way fare. The official bus route number from/to Taipei is 1819. The ride usually takes 50-70 mins depending on the traffic.
Getting Around the City
One of the reasons why I chose Taipei was the convenience of their transportation services as you roam around the city. Major attractions are just walking distance or one-bus-ride away from MRT stations. Their MRT map is also easy to navigate and understand. Don’t worry if their main language is mandarin since most of the signs, directions or instructions are also written in english. 🙂
I booked a 2 nights stay in Star Hostel Main Station through booking.com. I personally chose this one because of:
- Distance/ Accessibility (walking distance from taipei main station)
- Free breakfast
- Luggage storage ( I arrived and departed earlier and beyond their check-in/out time),
- Reviews and ratings.
I stayed on a single private room so I expected it to be a bit more expensive (NTD$3,150); but they also offer dorm types to those who want to pay less and that are still comfortable to sleep into, but with other people (it’s actually an opportunity to meet new friends from other parts of the world).
Click and book through this link https://www.booking.com/bmp to have a special discount of 1,800yen (more or less Php800) off from your total amount due. If you have travels plans and have not yet booked for accommodation, this one is a big saving from your expenses.
You’re welcome! 🙂
What To See/ Do
Few of Taipei’s major attractions that I visited are the following.
- Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
- Taipei Zoo
- Maokong Gondola (Ride gondola and visit tea houses and temples)
- Martyrs’ Shrine
- Thermal Valley
- Tamsui’s Lovers’ Bridge and Fishermen’s Wharf
- Taipei 101
- Elephant Mountain
- Longshan Temple
I will have another blog entry to share some details on each spot. So stay tune! 🙂
[Update: Detailed itinerary is posted.]
There are also other places I planned to visit yet I hadn’t since I’m not feeling well during my entire trip. To name some:
- National Palace Museum
- Sun-Yat Memorial
- 228 Peace Memorial Park
- Shilin Market (or other night markets! Taiwan is home of many famous night markets that can satisfy your cravings for different taiwanese food.)
- Yehliu Geopark
- Currency exchange. I exchange my Php to NTD in NAIA Terminal 3 at P1.61 per NTD$1. There are also exchange centers in Taipei particularly in the airport and taipei main station.
- Transportation, etc. Passes. Please do purchase the EASY CARD pass upon arrival in Taiwan. It is a reloadable card that can be used for MRT tickets, city buses and even purchasing from stores that allow easy cards. Take note that it is different from iPass. Learn from me that hadn’t keenly noticed the kind of card given by the 7/11 cashier and was given an iPass instead (before I could complain, it was loaded already so I left with no choice! 😦 ). The former has wider use than the latter. Though both will be given 20% discounts for MRT fares, I couldn’t use my iPass for my city bus transpo and Taipei Zoo ticket. 😦 It could have been easier if you’ll have the EASY CARD. I promise! I loaded my iPass for NTD$300 and all were used for my 3 days MRT fares, left with just NTD$4. [Correction: Only NTD$200 were loaded to my card even though I paid 300; 100 was somehow the payment for the card itself since I bought it from 7/11. I suggest that you buy the easy card from easy card stores in the MRT station ‘cos all the amount you’ll pay will be loaded to the card directly.]
- Internet Connection. Taiwan has many free wifi spots especially in major tourist destinations. However, I intentionally rented a portable wifi through klook.com to have a convenient and stable connection during my stay there. It was very affordable that I had it for JPY833 (Php375) for 5 days. The device can be booked online but be sure to have the credit card information you have entered as you booked. That will be needed upon claiming in the airport. The rent will be more sulit if you are traveling in a group ‘cos it can actually be connected to 10 devices and the connection is fast and reliable. The battery also lasts long. 🙂
- Souvenir Items. You can buy pasalubongs from night markets (which I’ll really visit when I get back) or stores in the malls connected to taipei main station.
- Travel Insurance. Some may say that travel insurance aren’t actually necessary; but you’ll never know. I got mine since I only got myself to rely during my Taipei travel. I feel I have to get one for a worry-and-hassle-free vacation. I got mine for JPY2,608 good for 5 days from World Nomads. World Nomads is a well-known and established travel insurance provider for different kinds of traveler. Famous travel bloggers also recommend to get yours from world nomads. Already departed or already on the road? You can still get one and feel safer on traveling than ever before! 😉
Enjoy and have fun!