Thinking of which country to go for on your next vacay? Let Taiwan be the one 🙂
Taiwan is one of our neighbor countries in Asia. It’s actually directly on top of the Philippines. I believe that you should include this on your bucketlist as well (haha, “bucketlist” seems to be an overused term nowadays), especially now that they’re going to be visa-free soon. It is very convenient to go here, even if you are a first-timer in travelling abroad.
If you have limited time, make sure you choose in advance the places you want to go. Try to squeeze in the attractions that are near from each other. Many tourist destinations are very accessible via MRT, and the stations are even conveniently named after them. You will really enjoy the different trips that Taiwan may offer – may it be nature trip, food trip or a shopping trip. Its currency New Taiwan Dollar has almost the same but a little higher rate than Philippine peso, so it is relatively cheap compared to others (Especially if you usually convert Philippine peso before buying like me. Sorry but I can afford trips because I am a budgetarian. For this trip, however, my mom will treat me. LOL. Yehey!!!!! Thanks mom! haha).
The Taoyuan Airport
When we visited the country, It was already the rainy season. I prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain so we could push through with everything in our 3-day itinerary. I was with my mom, dad and bro. When I planned the itinerary several nights before, I had to consider my mom who was not used to walking a lot, and my dad who might get “agit” if ever I’d suck big time in navigating. LOL!!! But seriously, that was the most challenging part (but you know, I was able to make them hike the elephant mountain trail! hahahaha..That is like a great achievement for me). They managed to move fast enough so we were able to maximize the time (Clap!Clap!).
These pictures that I posted were in Ximending, which is best known for its shopping and foodtrip spots in Taipei, and definitely a must-visit. This was where we stayed. It actually looked like a mini Times Square. (well, for this particular blogpost, I will focus on Ximending). BTW, it is a 40-hr drive from Taoyuan airport.
DIARY OF TAIPEI WANGUO
It is located in Hanzhoung st in Ximending. We chose this because of its proximity from MRT Ximen station exit 6. It’s easily seen because it is just beside Ximen Uniqlo and it has the same building as the Cinema.
We booked this standard quadruple room in Agoda and it cost us around 3000php for 4 persons per night (10k for 3 nights). The staff, especially the hotel receptionist, were accommodating and very helpful. They changed the linens and provided new towels everyday. They also gave us bottles of water, free coffee and tea. The facilities were clean. We also had free breakfast from KFC. They will give you coupons in the AM and you can get it there directly. They also allowed us to leave our baggage on our last day. Overall, the experience there was good.
We no longer bought a sim card to use. I think it would be wiser if you just rented a 4G pocket wi-fi. You can rent it from the airport or from your hotel. As for us, we got the one from our hotel. Its rate is NT$150/day. That is what we use for our communication there. It can accommodate 5-8 gadgets. You can also avail from klook, that was our first option but we decided to get from the hotel 🙂 Their internet is fast there (just in case you are wondering).
It is fast and easy to roam around Taipei with their MRT. It operates from 6:00 to 24:00. You just need to get a map, learn to switch to different train lines, and know which exit you are going to. The lines are also color coded with English translation Labels. You won’t get lost. If you are lost, you can just ask the officer roaming around and they will guide you. If there is none nearby, you can ask a local about it. Prepare your feet for a lot of walking. As for us, we just rode the MRT. We got an easy card, which is very convenient, and loaded it with 300 for the first time. BTW, The minimum load is NT$100.
If you are going to take the bus, just know which particular route numbers to take. Sometimes, taking taxi cabs can be more convenient or wiser depending on how many people are you in your group and your situation.
If there is one thing that you need to be concerned of when travelling elsewhere, it is verbal communication. You wouldn’t need to worry about getting lost as long as you know how to ask for directions. Before going to Taiwan, I was able to ask some of my friends who had been there before, and they said that Taiwanese people do not really speak English very well.
When I finally arrived in Taiwan, I was surprised to know that most really did not know how to use or had a hard time with the english language. Most of them spoke Chinese
As a solution, I submitted myself into a “crash course” of Chinese Mandarin while I was there. I just searched for the basics online. And just so you know, it’s not as easy as it sounds, because Chinese is a tonal language. A different tone may mean differently. So even though I read it correctly, they still couldn’t understand some of the words that I said. I hope that they appreciated my effort for trying hard though! LOL! hahaha… If you can’t relay the message, show them pics of where you want to go. Downloading google translate and Chinese mandarin app are also helpful. You can let that speak for you.
But you know what, even if there was the language barrier, I could say that most of the people I asked were willing to help. They are friendly peeps who were so willing to assist us. After the trip, I found this very good channel on Youtube – Seemile . Ohhh, If only I had known this before. So, If you still have time, try to learn the basics.
FOOD AND SHOPPING
There are plenty of street-foods to try. Make sure you allot money for this. Haha! You can also try Din tai fung, which is one of the famous restos out there and is known for their xiao long bao. We were not able to go there anymore though (sorry, I am not really a fan, so it was a little fine with me). As for shopping, you can go to Ximending. There are plenty of night markets in Taipei, such as Raohe and Shilin night market and
We changed our money while still in Taoyuan airport. Here’s our estimated expenditure.
Estimated expenditure: (some of it,I rounded off)
Lodging (quad standard room for 4) = Php10,500
International Travel Fee = Php1,620 x 4 = Php6,480
Air Fare RT = Php3,500 each x 4= Php14,000
Transpo (easy card) = NT$400/pax x 4 = NT$1,600 = (Php2,560)
Transport from airport taxi(RT) = NT$ 2,000 = (Php3,200)
Yehliu Entrance= NT$80 each x 4 = NT$320 = (Php512)
Wifi 4G = NT$150/day x 2days = NT$300 (Php 480)
Starbucks (minimum charge in taipei101) = NT$200 x 4 = NT$800 (Php 1,280)
Taxi(chartered travel:Yehliu,shifen,jiufen)=NT$2800=(Php 4480)
Pocket Money/Shop and Food(depends on you 🙂
Total: Php43,492 divided by 4 = Php10,873. More or less 10k per person for this trip:))(TAKE NOT,THIS AMOUNT INCLUDES AIRFARE.So it depends on how “Abangers” you are for seat sale tix.)
Without airfare: 43,492-14,000 (airfare)=PHP29,492 for 4person or PHP7,373/pax
We spent more than half of our day in Ximending before we hit our itinerary. We waited for the temperature to cool down a bit so that it would not be so hot. Funny thing was that when the time came that it was not too hot anymore, I worried that it would start to rain. So we hurried to go to the Taipei Main Zoo station, where the Maokong gondola was. The operations of Maokong gondola was weather-dependent, so pray that it won’t rain or that it won’t be windy. I have to say that during our whole trip in Taiwan, we did not experience rainfall until the last day. Probably, Taiwan is sad that we were leaving.
11:15pm ETD Taiwan (1 hr & 45 min)
1:00am ETA Taiwan
2:00pm Check in Ximending/Diary of taipei hostel
7:00am wake up/Prep
8:00am breakfast KFC(free coupons from accom)
10:00 Roam around ximending/Temple/Personal agenda
1:00pm Lunch at Ximending
3:00pm Visit Maokong Gondola
4:30pm Visit Maokong Station/Foodtrip
6:00pm Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
7:30pm Shilin Night Market
11pm Back to accomodation
MAOKONG GONDOLA/STATION/TAIPEI ZOO
CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL HALL
SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
To continue reading our Day 1 in taiwan, click here.
Other Experiences/Places in Ximending
Taipei Tianhou Temple/Ximending Mazu Temple
While walking along the streets of Wanhou, we noticed this temple. It may go unnoticed for the tourists because it’s between two shops. People may think that Ximending is all about shops and so, but they can actually visit this small but beautiful temple.
Since this is our nest in Taiwan,we still go out and walk at night after our day tour. (as in Super sinusulit ang place. Hahaha)
Being on the medical field, this digistamps or “trodat” booth caught my attention! hahaha. These are so cute :))
Mango Shaved Ice
This tasted sooo good. At closing hours, they usually sold 2 pieces for the price of 1. So upon returning to Ximending, we went to other places first, only to know that it was already sold out when we returned. HUHUHU The Regret!!
(Chinese name… so I forgot:( but it’s above this famous food stall)
We want to try Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle/ A Zong Mian Xian, well known for serving the best meesua in Taipei. They had no seats so we chose to go to the restaurant upstairs. We were told that it was nice there as well.
TAIPEI CITY HOSPITAL
I saw this sign here. Might help someone out there..Hahaha!!!
The streets are mainly used for pedestrians, so there is a designated parking area in the heart of Ximending–the Emei Parking lot. It’s in front of this hospital. So you know where to go just in case something happens.
Modern Toilet – We probably came very early so it was still closed when we passed by. My parents are not very cool with this though. Haha Rap and I would have loved to try.
This is near the Emei Parking lot. It was so refreshing to find this kind of bookstore here in the midst of all the RTW clothes, food stalls, etc.
I actually bought one book about human figures. It was written in chinese though. But hey, I’m for the illustrations. I should have bought the watercolor art book as well. Hahaha.. I think the prices are not that expensive if compared here. (What do you think?). There were also lots of cute stuff to be found.
Lattea is found inside eslite. we ordered the tea with cream cheese on top.
STARBUCKS – very cozy place to study. I wish we have this in Ph. Very spacious and there were lots of seats.
D M-Beef Noodles
(checking google:I think it is No. 97號, Section 1, Hangzhou South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100) It was recommended to us by a friend so we gave it a try. It was just so perfect for the cold weather 🙂 BTW, it is said to be the home of one of the best Taiwanese beef noodles. haha It was delicious, even the appetizers are also good. (Last foodtrip in Taiwan, as I’ve told you it rained during our last day).
Click here for more info about our trip:
Day 1- This blog and Taiwander2:Maokong,CKS memorial hall,Shilin
For you to visualize the destinations, I included here the map for you to see
7am wake up
9:15am MRT to taipei main station
9:54am TRA to Reifung stn(9:54am 40mins)
11:00 eta reifung
11:30am etd yehliu geopark(40mins)
2:30-3:30pm Shifen waterfalls
3:30-4:30pm Shifen old street/flying lantern
7:25pm ETD Reifung stn to taipei Main Streer
7:30 am wake up/prep for early checkout (checkout is 12nn)
11:00 Starbucks 35th floor/ taipei 101
1:30am Elephant mountain
3:20 end of hike / Shongshan temple
4:30 back to ximending/ Tidy up
6:00-8pm M Beef Noodle soup
8-10pm Eslite bookstore/Lattea
10:00 ETD to Taoyuan Airport
11pm ETA Taoyuan Airport
1:15 ETD to Manila
3:30 ETA in Manila
Comment below if you want a printable file.:)