“There’s nothing much to see in Taiwan.”
I used to think the same way before too so, yes, like other Filipinos who’ll travel out of the country for the first time, I have Hong Kong in my mind. Who wouldn’t want to experience some legit skyscrapers and Disneyland? But thank you to social media, Filipino travel enthusiasts are starting to see that Taiwan is not just Taipei 101 but it is also rich in culture, food, and most of all, nature trails. Plus, it is really cheap and is STILL VISA-FREE for us Filipino until July 31, 2019.
P.S. This Taipei DIY Itinerary is suitable for big Filipino families especially those with parents 50s above and kids.
There are 5 airlines that offer direct flight to Taipei from Manila. Taipei, like Hong Kong, is only less than 2 hours away and because of that expect airfare tickets as low as P2,000 ($40) round trip. Just keep your eyes on those seat sales.
I got our tickets in Cebu Pacific sale for only P3,000 with the Holy Week travel dates. The only downside of this sale is that it is a red-eye flight. We left Manila at 11PM and arrived Taipei already at past midnight.
UPDATE: Dec. 16, 2019
Taiwan government has already confirmed expanding their visa-free entry to the Philippines until July 31, 2020. This no-visa extension is a way of “building closer people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and Taiwan.” This means Taiwan, like Hong Kong and Singapore, requires no visa to all Filipinos in the said time frame.
Taipei DIY Itinerary (w/ budget)
8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:30 AM – LONGSHAN TEMPLE
Longshan is a famous temple in Taiwan. It is just less than 15 minutes away from Ximending via train. Since it is still a temple, tourists are encouraged to be quiet and respectful to the praying locals. Train ride costs 16 NTD.
10:30 AM – Bopilao Old Street
Just a walking distance from Longshan Temple is the Bopilao Old Street. It is a whole street preserved by the government to remind locals and tourists of the history and culture of this street during Qing dynasty.
11:30 AM – Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
And of course, the famous memorial hall in Taipei – Chiang Kai Shek. From Longshan station (blue line), we transferred to green line in Ximen station then alight at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Station. Train ride costs 16 NTD. The place is huge and beautiful but never miss the changing of guards at 12NN.
2:00 PM – Lunch in Yongkang Street
Yongkang Street is a street full of restaurants, cafes and cute shops. It is also the home of the original Din Tai Fung. Other famous food shops here are Kao Chi, Smoothie House, 50 Lan and the spring onion pancake vendor.
From Chiang Kai Shek Station, ride a train (16 NTD) to Domen Station in red line.
4:00 PM – Elephant Mountain
Still in red line, from Domen Station travel to Xiangshan Station (16 NTD). The jump off point to the Elephant Mountain trail is a long walk from the train station. Even the trail is a little hard if you’re not into cardio but the view of the Taipei 101 above is worth it.
6:00 PM – Dinner at Taipei 101 MALL
After dinner, you can try to go up on the top of Taipei 101. Purchase your ticket beforehand with Klook.
DAY 1 EXPENSES: 364 NTD
Breakfast at convenience store – 50 NTD
Train Rides – 64 NTD
Lunch & Snacks & Dinner – 250 NTD
8:00 AM – Breakfast
We tried this famous (as in there’s long lines) flour rice noodle in front of our airbnb in Ximen and we all don’t like it.
10:30 AM – Arrival to Beitou Station
Beitou is a mountainous district in north of Taipei. We transferred two lines before we reached the MRT Xin Beitou Station (28 NTD). Just outside the station, we were lucky to witness the last cherry blossom trees in bloom.
11:00 AM – Beitou Thermal Valley
It was my first time to see a thermal valley / hot spring. The steam was so hot but with the cold weather it is just perfect. There’s nothing must to do here but just take photos.
P.S. It is a long walk from the station but the views along are great.
12:30 PM – Lunch outside the Thermal Valley
There are a lot of restaurants and food shops around Beitou Thermal Valley. And of course, milktea every meal.
1:30 PM – Beitou Public Library
This is a gorgeous library! I would love to go inside, shoot and appreciate it but my travel buddies are not fans of it.
2:30 PM – Beitou Hot Spring Museum
Entrance fee is only 40 NTD so go ahead and give it a try to learn more about hot springs and Beitou.
4:00 PM – National Palace Museum
Just like our national museum in Luneta, this museum holds their history, arts, and culture of the city. The museum itself is picturesque. You can purchase your ticket in Klook for only P578.
From MRT Red Line 2 Shilin station, walk outside the station and board Bus R30 (紅30), fare is 15 NTD. Remember: Do not cross the street. Just stay in the side of Shilin Station.
6:30 PM – Shilin Night Market
Just eat until you can. There are also some cheap clothes, but not so good quality.
DAY 2 EXPENSES: 574 NTD + 578 PHP
Breakfast – 55 NTD
Train & Bus Rides – 79 NTD
Lunch – 150 NTD
Beitou Hot Spring Museum – 40 NTD
National Palace Museum – 578 PHP
Shilin Night Market food – 250 NTD
8:30 AM – Breakfast
Have breakfast at Taipei Main Station.
11:00 AM – Yehliu Geopark
One of the famous tourist destination in the northern Taiwan is this gorgeous geological formation of Yehliu Geopark. Entrance fee is 80 NTD but with the long queue, it is better to purchase it ahead in Klook.
If you’re commuting, go to the KuoKuang (國光) window in Taipei West Bus Station – Terminal A and purchase a ticket for NT$96 to Yehliu Geopark. Travel time is 96 NTD.
12:30 PM – Lunch
3:00 PM – Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan Park is one of the national park in Taiwan. It is the most beautiful during the cherry blossom season.
You can opt to skip this if its not spring. The commute is quite an adventure. From Yehliu Park, ride a Keelung bus #790 (15 NTD) and alight at Jinshan stop. From Jinshan stop, take the royal bus #1717 (105 NTD) next and alight at Yangmingshan stop.
5:00 PM – Ximending Night Market
This is my favorite night market. This is said to be the Shibuya of Taipei, with all its street foods and good shops here.
DAY 3 EXPENSES: 633 NTD + 130 PHP
Breakfast – 70 NTD
Yehliu Geopark Entrance – 130 PHP
Transportation – 263 NTD
Lunch & Dinner – 300 NTD
8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Ruifang Station
From Taipei Main Station, we rode Keelung-bound trains and alight at Ruifang Station (49 NTD). Then from Ruifang, we have to wait for a Pingxi line train (20 NTD) bound to Shifen. While waiting, we roamed around the very provincial train station and this cute ice cream parlor got our attention.
11:00 AM – Shifen Old District
Shifen is a lovely old town with a train in the middle of the town. The famous activities to do here is to fly a sky lantern (150 NTD) with your wishes. There are a lot of shops to check and cats to pet too.
12:30 PM – Shifen Waterfall
You can try to walk your way to Shifen Waterfall but I have to warn you it is a 30 minutes walk away. My family rented a taxi (200 NTD) instead to save time and our feet. There’s a little hike from the road but it is manageable. We also ate our lunch here.
3:00 PM – Train back to Ruifang Station
Since the Pingxi line trains are just operating every hour, we waited along the Shifen station and took some photos.
4:30 PM – Jiufen Old Street
Jiufen Old Street is famous for its food stalls, narrow streets with red lanterns, mountainous view and the movie “Spirited Away”.
From Ruifang Station, ride a bus to Jiufen for 15 NTD.
6:30 PM – Ride Bus#1062 back to Taipei
Since everyone is tired already, we decided to skip the trains and ride bus#1062 (102 NTD) instead. This bus is a direct ride from Jiufen Old Street to Taipei.
DAY 4 EXPENSES: 782 NTD
Breakfast – 50 NTD
Transportation – 302 NTD
Shifen Lantern – 150 NTD / 5 = 30 NTD
Lunch + Dinner – 250 NTD
Snacks (ice cream + Jiufen snacks) – 150 NTD
** This is the most tiring day of our Taipei trip and it is better to just get a tour with Klook.
9:30 AM – Breakfast
Slept in a little longer than usual
10:30 AM – Rent a Youbike in Ximending
We discovered this late but this is the best way to go around the city. You just need your Easycard and local sim card. One sim card can register up to 5 Easycards. YouBike is priced at NT$10 per 30 minutes of usage, with Easycard users getting 30 minutes of each trip for FREE. There are multiple of kiosk where you can rent and return your bikes.
10:45 AM – Presidential Office
11:30 AM – Huashan 1914 Creative Park
This is a park where all the Instagram lovers will go gaga over.
12:30 PM – Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
There’s nothing much to see and do in Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. It just a good location to have photos with Taipei 101. We also returned our Youbikes here.
2:30 PM – Maokong Gondola Crystal cabin
From Sun Yat Sen Memorial MRT Station, we rode a train to Taipei Zoo Station, which is just beside the Maokong Gondola. We bought a one-way ticket for 120 NTD. The crystal cabin in Maokong Gondola is the same price with the regular one. For my strong adventurers, this is worth a try. The experience is nice but Hong Kong’s Ngong Ping 360 is a lot better.
From the top of Maokong Terminal, we just bought some drinks and went down via bus to Taipei Zoo MRT Station.
4:30 PM – Taoyuan Airport mrt
After we got our luggges in our airbnb, we rode the MRT again to Taipei Main Station then transfer to the Taoyuan Airport MRT. This costs P223 in Klook.
5:30 PM – Taoyuan Airport
DAY 5 EXPENSES: 560 NTD + 223 PHP
Breakfast – 70 NTD
Youbike – 10 NTD
Maokong Gondola – 120NTD
Transportation – 110 NTD
Airport MRT – 223 PHP
Foods – 250 NTD
TOTAL EXPENSES: 14,064 PHP
Airfare – 3,000 PHP
Travel Tax – 1,620 PHP
Airbnb – P18,000 / 5 = 3,600 PHP
Day 1 (City Tour) – 615 PHP (364 NTD)
Day 2 (Beitou) – 965 PHP (574 NTD) + 578 PHP
Day 3 (Yehliu) – 1,073 (633 NTD) + 130 PHP
Day 4 ( Shifen & Jiufen) – 1320 PHP (782 NTD)
Day 5 (City Tour Pt. 2) – 940 PHP (560 NTD) + 223 PHP
My family and I can’t believe how cheap we did our 5 days Taipei DIY Itinerary. I didn’t do some shopping since most of the clothes, make-ups and shoes are pricier here than in Manila. Most of our money actually went to food. This is the best thing to do here. So if you wanted to do some cheap family travel, Taipei is the key! If you’re going to Taipei soon, we can talk in the comment section below!