Taipei Travel Journal – 3D2N Itinerary Details, Guides and Tips

Travelling to a foreign land for the first time makes you wanna go for package deals by travel and tours, being afraid of getting lost if you rely on your own. However, if you have properly researched about the why’s and how’s of your destination, everything will come easy-peasy! (Just make your plans flexible enough for you not to get frustrated when things didn’t go as planned.)

Everything I did in Taipei was made possible by the informative features of the internet. Blogs, tourism sites, travel guides from hotel booking (sites) were really helpful. I compiled information, may it be big or small and made my Taipei D-I-Y itinerary.

DAY 01:

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

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A national monument and landmark commemorating the former President of the Republic of China (ROC), Chiang Kai-shek. The hall where the monument is located is part of the large complex that includes the Chiang Kai-shek Park, National Concert Hall, and the National Theater.

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The park. Where I enjoyed doing nothing. Well, not totally nothing. I had a local sitting beside me reading that day’s newspaper then there’s me watching the koi fishes in the pond while eating my skyflakes. Haaayyy, the beauty of living. ❤
  • How to get there: MRT Red or Green lines, Exit 5 then turn right. *Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and C.K.S. Memorial Hall are the same.
  • Open: 9:00 to 17:00
  • Hours spent: 1-1.5 hours
  • Fee: FREE! 🙂
  • Tips: There’s changing of guards every top of every hour. Make sure to reach the top of the hall minutes before it starts or more earlier to be in front of the crowd. To witness the synchronized marching of the guards was really amusing.

 

Taipei Zoo

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The most famous zoological garden in Taiwan is the largest zoo in Asia. The current site encloses 165 hectares, 90 has. open to the public. The main purpose why I wanted to be here was to see the two (2) pandas donated to the zoo by China. Who doesn’t like pandas? Gaaaaahhhhh! They’re so adorable!!!

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Flamingos

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  • How to get there: MRT Brown line – Taipei Zoo.
  • Open: 9:00 to 17:00 *last entry at 16:00*
  • Hours spent: Halfday 
  • Fee: NTD$60 (Easy card holders have discount)
  • Tips:  (1) Avoid visiting on Mondays; some exhibitions are closed on Monday once a month for cleaning and maintenance. Avoid also weekends; as a zoo, there will be more children during weekends than weekdays. (2) If you would like to visit Maokong, there’s the Maokong Gondola Taipei Zoo South station accessible by the internal shuttle bus (NTD$5) from the Bird World Station.

Maokong

Love teas? (am not!hehe) Maokong, a suburb of Taipei is home of Taiwan’s tea culture. It has become a popular tourist destination because of the food, tea and scenery.

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  • How to get there: Maokong Gondola, a lift system with 4 stations (Taipei Zoo – outside the Taipei Zoo; Taipei Zoo South – inside the zoo; Zhinan Temple; and Maokong) The fares for the gondolas are NTD$70 for 1 station; NTD$100 for 2; and NTD$120 for 3 stations.
  • Open: 9:00 to 21:00 (up to 22:00 during Fridays, Saturdays and National holidays)
  • Hours spent: 3 hours or more
  • Tips: (1) To save on fares, use easycard as they have discounts. (I cry again ‘cos what I had was iPass.)  (2) My route taken was Taipei Zoo South –> Maokong –> Zhinan Temple –> Taipei Zoo.  (3) Go and take the crystal cabin! Even I’m an acrophobic, I had still enjoyed though. 🙂 (4) If the weather is fine, the place is famous for a beautiful sunset view overlooking Taipei City.
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Crystal Cabin

A) Maokong Station

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Tianen Temple

 

B) Zhinan Temple Station

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Zhinan Scenic Spot
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Zhinan Temple. Incorporates elements from Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism. It has magnificent carvings and decorations. It’s been under renovation when I got there, though.

 


 

DAY 02:

NATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY MARTYRS’ SHRINE

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Overseeing the Keelung river, the Shrine is built in dedication for the war dead of the Republic of China. You will notice that the Shrine’s architecture has similarities with the Hall of Supreme Harmony in Forbidden City of Beijing. It houses the spirit tablets of 390,000 persons killed during different China revolutions.

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  • How to get there: MRT Red line – Jiantian Station, Exit 1. Go straight ahead to the bus stop as you wait for Bus 267, 556, 902, or I3 that have quick stopover at the Shrine.
  • Open: 9:00 to 17:00
  • Hours spent: 1-1.5 hours
  • Fee: FREE! 🙂
  • Tips: (1) Martyrs’ Shrine has also changing of guards every top of every hour until 5PM. (2) I would like to share to you the how’s of riding a bus in Taipei. (3) How to get back to the MRT station.
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Changing of guards

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Entrance view from the bus stop.

How to Ride a Bus in Taipei

[I think I get to share with you here how I walked the streets of Taipei just because I missed to alight the bus in the Shrine’s bus stop. I was Gaaaahhh! walking for like a kilometer or so, or I don’t know if I’m just exaggerating or not. But with body not being too well that time due to flu and some stomach pain, google map came to rescue to save me from panic and annoyance to one’s self. 😀 ]

  1. Go to the bus stop and look for the bus numbers I provided that goes to the Martyrs’ Shrine. Again, Bus 267, 556, 902, or I3. Look for the shortest time (in minutes) which bus no. will come first.

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2. Board the bus and look for the signs ↑ or ↓, or the Chinese characters 上 or 下 above the driver. When the sign shows ↑/上, you should pay or swipe your easy card as you board the bus; and pay or swipe as you alight the bus when the sign shows the opposite – ↓/下. I actually didn’t know this rule until I rode the bus in Tamsui, as I look for it in the internet. What save me from shame of not paying first in my first bus ride was observing what the locals were doing. So yes, you’re welcome, as I lay this information down here for you. 🙂 Basic fare is NTD$15 when you don’t have the easycard.

3. Listen to the announcement or look at the screen in front which indicates the name of the bus station for the next stop. (Don’t get me wrong, the bus I rode for the Shrine was actually thru a prompter and I couldn’t understand it thoroughly because it was announced in chinese. Haha! Defensive lady here! :D)

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See the arrow above the driver’s comfort zone? That’s what I’m referring in no.2; and the screen in front is for no.3. This bus is in Tamsui; the one I rode from Jiantian has no screen (maong nalampas ko, bes!)

 

How to Get Back to the MRT Station from the Shrine

I won’t say to Jiantian station ‘cos I don’t know how, too. 😀 As I searched for the right bus no. that stops there, I can’t find a specific one. It’s not that there’s none, there were many actually but I was hesitant which one I will take (time constraints and doubt). If you are traveling in a group, you can take a cab back to the station for about NTD$100. But since I was in a solo mode, I opted to ride any bus as long as it will stop with an MRT station nearby to save some dollars, of course.

What I did was: I boarded a coming bus (I forgot the bus no.) and just keenly observed the google map as the bus ran. When the bus stopped near Minquan W.Rd Station, I simply alighted the bus and walked to the station. (As if not lost and in panic mode. But I actually was.) How happy I was realizing that the station still belongs to the red line as I had planned to go to Thermal Valley next.

Thermal Valley

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One of Taiwan’s 12 Great Sites, the valley has the highest temperature in the Datun Mountains area, giving off a sulfuric steam that rises from the surface of the pond. The area around Thermal Valley is home to a rare kind of rock (hokutolite/ Beitou rocks) that contains Radium and can only be naturally found in Beitou and Akita, Japan.

  • How to get there: MRT Red line – Beitou Station, then change to Pink line – Xinbeitou Station. Walk out of the station along Zhingshan Rd., after reaching the Hi-Life Store, take a left onto the lane to reach Thermal Valley.
  • Open: 9:00 to 17:00 (closed on Mondays)
  • Hours spent: 1-2 hours
  • Fee: FREE! 🙂
  • Tips: I will share to you the directions on how to get there through pictures.
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Outside the Xinbeitou station.
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Follow the arrow for the Thermal Valley.
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Hi-life store. Cross the street as you take a left turn on this street.

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DAY 03

TAMSUI – FISHERMAN’S WHARF & LOVER’S BRIDGE

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Tamsui/ Danshui’s Fisherman’s Wharf is known for beautiful sunsets, seafood and some party boats for young generation.

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  • How to get there: MRT Red line – Tamsui Station (also called Danshui), Exit 2, turn right. Ride I26 or R26 towards the Fisherman’s Wharf. The Wharf is the last stop and the bus is a loop bus; so board the same bus no. back to the station at the same area (but across where you alight) where you alight. Fare is NTD$15.
  • Open: 24 hours
  • Hours spent: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
  • Fee: FREE! 🙂
  • Tips: (1) Lover’s bridge is adjacent to the Wharf, as seen on pictures. (2) You can visit the Danshui Old Street as you go back to the station. It’s on the left side of the station. You can find souvenirs and unique Taiwanese street foods there. (3)Fisherman’s Wharf is one of Taiwan’s best sunset spot. The Bridge also illuminates comes night time.

 

TAIPEI 101

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Formerly known as Taipei World Financial Center, Taipei 101 ia a supertall landmark skyscraper in Taiwan. It was the world’s tallest in 2004 until the completion of Burj Khalifa (Dubai) in 2009.  It has the fastest elevator fro 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds,  at 60.6kph. Taipei 101 comprises 101 floors above ground as well as 5 basement levels.  It was the first building in the world that breaks the half-kilometer mark in height.

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  • How to get there: MRT Red line – Taipei 101 Station.
  • Open: 9:00 – 22:00 (Observatory)
  • Fee: FREE for picture-taking outside; NTD$600 for Observatory
  • Tips: (1) You can buy tickets for the Observatory at 5th floor at NTD$600; but can have it at NTD$510 if you purchase it online through klook(2) The basement of the building has a wide range selection of restaurants; and a mall from 1st to 5th floor.(3) Have Taiwan’s famous xiao long bao in Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101 branch.

 

Elephant Mountain

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Trail’s entrance

“There’s no glory without sacrifice.” is always true if you want to experience an amazing view.

Make a hike to the top of Elephant Mountain (also called Nangang District Hiking Trail or Xiangshan) to get the best view of Taipei City. Warning: It includes lots of stairs! *I thought I couldn’t make it but thank God for the providence of strength and endurance.*

  • How to get there: MRT Red line – Xiangshan Station, Exit 2 – left side. Walk straight at the edge of the park then turn left as you go for the entrance of Xiangshan Trail.
  • Open: 24 hours
  • Fee: FREE! 🙂
  • Tips: (1) You can walk from Taipei 101 to the entrance of the trail, if you prefer. However, I may suggest that you should save your energy for hiking because the mountain trail’s stairs will take a lot of your stored sugar and carbo. (2) The best time to visit is during weekdays and from 4PM.  Sunset view here is one of the best, if the weather permits.
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Climb the giants rocks to have an amazing photo souvenir.

 

LONGSHAN TEMPLE

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Built in 1738, The Mengjia Longshan Temple, a Buddhist temple, is the most well-known temple in Taiwan. The temple is dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of mercy – Guanyin.

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  • How to get there: MRT Blue line – Longshan Temple Station, Exit 1.
  • Open: 7:00 – 22:00 
  • Fee: FREE
  • Tips: Visit the Guangzhou Night Market, located at the west of the temple and try the snake soup at snake alley. I have read that the taste is exactly what it sounds like and the experience is not one to be forgotten. (I’ll never know ‘cos I’ll never really try. :D)

 

So there they are, where my  3 days in Taipei were spent. You can squeeze other sightseeing spots as mentioned in my previous post in your itinerary. (Click here.)

If you have questions or clarifications, or updates and corrections, I would be glad to read your comments. Just send me an e-mail or you can type your comment below. Thanks for reading!

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Enjoy and have fun!

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