taiwan itinerary

A First Timer’s Guide and Itinerary to Taipei, Taiwan

“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. It is also rich in culture, food, and most of all, nature trails.

Plus, it is really cheap and is ALREADY VISA-FREE this Nov. 1, 2017, for us, Filipinos.

Taipei 2017

FIRST, Let’s talk about the AIRFARE.

There are 5 airlines that offer direct flight to Taipei from Manila. Taipei, like Hong Kong, is only 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.

For a 2-hour travel, I think P2,000 to P4,000 is an acceptable price. Anything more than P6,000 is expensive. Here are the estimated airfare of some airlines:

Cebu Pacific
P4,000estimated RT
  • Promo Fare:
  • P2,500 / $50
  • Regular Fare:
  • P5,000 / $100
AirAsia
P4,500estimated RT
  • Promo Fare
  • P3,000 / $60
  • Regular fare
  • P6,000 / $120
Philippine Airlines
P8,000estimated RT
  • Promo Fare:
  • P4,000 / $80
  • Regular fare:
  • P11,000 / $220
Eva Air
P8,500estimated
  • Promo Fare:
  • P4,500 / $90
  • Regular fare:
  • P10,000 / $100

Taipei 2017

VISA APPLICATION

UPDATE: Oct 18, 2017

Taiwan government has already confirmed expanding their visa free entry to the Philippines this November 1, 2017 until July 31, 2018. This is 9-month trial period at “building closer people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and Taiwan.” This means Taiwan, like HongKong and Singapore, requires no visa to all Filipino employees in the said time frame.

**************

But for those who will be going this Oct 2017, you can get a ROC Travel Authorization Certificate (AKA visa-free certificate) only if only:

  1. Your passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan.
  2. You must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket.
  3. Never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.
  4. You must possesses at least one of the following documents issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States:
    • Valid resident or permanent resident card
    • Valid entry visa (may be electronic visa)
    • Resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan
taiwan roc

Sample ROC

If you have met all 4 requirements, then you are eligible to enter Taiwan visa-free (say good bye to the P2,600 visa processing fee) by just securing a ROC in this site. If you need a detailed post how to secure one then head to Poor Traveler’s Taiwan Visa-Free Post.

It might be hard to believe it by YES, EXPIRED VISAS are accepted. My family and I used our expired Japan visa last year and we didn’t had any problem in the immigration. If ever the expired visa you declared in your ROC is in a different passport then DON’T FORGET TO BRING IT WITH YOU TOO.

If you don’t have any visa from the country above, then you need to process your visa. Poor traveler’s Taiwan Visa and e-Visa for Filipinos will help you.

WHERE TO STAY

Taipei has an efficient transportation system so it’s okay to stay anywhere the city as long as it is near a train station. But I recommend to get an accommodation near Taipei Main Station or Ximending. Taipei Main Station is the center of all buses and trains; while Ximending is the shopping center. My family chose to stay in a tenement building in Ximending via Airbnb for P18,000 for 5 nights.

There are some budget hotel/hostels I found:

Hostels
P700 - P900per night
  • Here There Hostel Taipei - P831
  • Ximen Wow Hostel - P804
  • Taipei Backpacker Hostel - P784
  • I Play Inn - P801
  • Work Inn TPE -P871
Hotels
P2,500 - P4,000per night
  • Hotel Puri Ximen - P3,179
  • East Dragon Hotel - P3,184
  • Cho Hotel - P3,262
  • Green World Zhonghua - P3,641
  • Tomorrow Hotel -P2,979
Luxury Hotels
P4,500 - P7,000per night
  • Hotel Papa Whale - P4,524
  • Hotel Midtown Richardson - P6,524
  • Via Hotel Ximen - P5,373
  • Palais de Chine Hotel - P6,806
  • Citizen M Taipei - P4,045

**All prices are the cheapest bed/room that the hotel offers in Agoda.

 

Taipei Metro

TRANSPORTATION

VIA Taipei Metro/MRT

Taipei Metro is the easiest way to go around Taipei. It is convenient, fast, easy and cheap. Basic ride starts with 20NTD (around 35Php) so I advised you to get an EasyCard. The fare using EasyCard is 20% lower than the single ride ticket. It costs 100NTD which is consumable.

The Airport MRT is also one of the best way to get to Taipei from the airport. It costs 160NTD one way. Make sure to ride the express service, which is only a 35 minutes train ride from Taipei Main Station, than the commuter service who stops at all stations before the airport. It is also just available at 6AM to 11PM.

Taipei 2017

VIA Bus

If you are going to New Taipei City or any other northern province, it is better to ride the bus. I usually use Google Maps to know where the bus stop and what bus number should I ride. EasyCard can also be used here.

VIA U-Bike

I didn’t know about this at first until I was in Taipei. It is a bike sharing system and it is all over the city! This is definitely recommended if you wanted to save time and energy from long walks. All you need is an EasyCard and a local mobile number to be able to register in the kiosk terminal. One mobile number can register up to 5 EasyCards. When already registered, you just need to tap your EasyCard on the bike terminal you wanted to use and return it on the next kiosk you see by taping your EasyCard again. The first 30 minutes of each trip is free then the following 30 minutes will cost 10NTD.

Taipei Ubike

VIA Private Car

If you wanted convenience and comfort, then it is advisable to rent a private car. Some traveler I know prefer to rent a private car when going to the northern cities of Taiwan because travel time is a lot faster than the commute. Klook offers some Private Car Charter.

5-DAY ITINERARY

This itinerary is suited for families with little children or parents who can’t walk a minimum 15,000 steps a day.

DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4
DAY 5
DAY 1

8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Travel to Longshan Station (blue line) – 16NTD
9:15 AM – Longshan Temple – Free entrance
10:15 AM – Walk to Bopilao Old Street
11:00 AM – Travel to Chiang Kai Shek – 16NTD
11:30 AM – Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall – Free entrance
12:00 NN – Watch the changing of guards
12:30 PM – Lunch at Yongkang Street  – 200NTD
2:30 PM – Rest in a cafe in Yongkang  – 80 NTD
4:00 PM – Travel to Elephant Mountain – 16NTD
4:30 PM – Start to ascend Elephant Mountain – Free entrance
6:30 PM – Start to descend
7:00 PM – Travel to Ningxia Night Market – 16 NTD
7:30 PM – Dinner in night market – 100NTD

TOTAL: 660 NTD

**Guide to Yongkang Street Restaurants and cafes here. I recommend Din Tai Fung, Smoothie House & Together.

DAY 2

8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Travel to Yuanshan Station (red line) – 16NTD
9:30 AM – Confucius Temple – Free entrance
10:15 AM – Travel to Xin Beitou Station (red line) – 28NTD
11:00 AM – Arrived at Xinbeitou Station
11:15 AM – Lunch at Man Lai Ramen Noodles – 150 NTD
12:00 NN – Walk along Beitou Park
12:30 PM – Beitou Hot Spring Museum – Free entrance
1:00 PM – Walk to Beitou Thermal Valley
1:45 PM – Beitou Garden Spa – 40 NTD
3:00 PM – Taipei Public Library
3:30 PM – Travel back to Shilin station – 20 NTD
4:30 PM – Bus to National Palace Museum – 15 NTD
5:00 PM – National Palace Museum
6:30 PM – Bus back to Shilin Station –15 NTD
7:00 PM – Shilin Night Market (street foods overload!!) – 250 NTD

TOTAL: 540 NTD

**We didn’t enter National Palace Museum, but if you’re into museum stuff, the entrance fee is 250NTD. And in Shilin Night Market, don’t miss the grilled cube steak. It’s the best.

DAY 3

8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Travel to Yehliu GeoPark – 96NTD
10:30 AM – Yehliu Geopark – 80NTD
12:00 NN – Travel to Jinshan (Keelung Bus#790) – 15NTD
12:15 AM – Lunch at Jinshan – 150NTD
1:15 PM – Travel to Yangmingshan (Royal Bus#1717) – 105 NTD
2:30 PM – Yangmingshan National Park
6:00 PM – Travel back to Shilin Night Market (Bus S15) – 15NTD
7:30 PM – Travel to Ximending fro Shilin – 16NTD
7:45 PM – Ximending Night Market
8:00 PM – Dinner – 150NTD

TOTAL: 627 NTD

**If you wanted to save time and energy, you can rent a private car. Most of your this day will be spent in transit and waiting for the bus.

DAY 4

8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Travel to Ruifang Station – 49NTD
10:00 AM – Transfer to Pingxi line – 20NTD
10:40 NN – Shifen Old District
11:00 AM – Fly a sky lantern – 150NTD (can be shared)
11:30 AM – Start walk to Shifen Waterfall
12:00 NN – Lunch at Shifen Waterfall –200NTD
12:45 PM – Trek to Shifen Waterfall
2:00 PM – Train back to Ruifang Station – 20NTD
2:45 PM – Bus to Jiufen outside Ruifang Station – 15NTD
3:15 PM – Jiufen Old Street
5:00 PM – Ride Bus#1062 back to Taipei – 102NTD
6:30 PM – Raohe Night Market –150NTD

TOTAL: 706 NTD

**Based on my experience, it is better to see Jiufen first than Shifen so that you can enjoy the sky lanterns at night but be sure to be in Shifen before 5PM so you can see the waterfalls.

DAY 5

8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Rent a U-bike in Ximending
9:30 AM – Bike to Presidential Office
10:00 AM – Huashan 1914 Creative Park
11:30 AM – Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
12:00 NN – Return U-bike outside Taipei 101 – 15NTD
12:15 PM – Lunch at Taipei 101 – 200NTD
1:30 PM –  Train to Maokong Gondola
2:00 PM – Maokong Gondola Crystal cabin –120NTD
2:30 PM – Chill in a cafe in Maokong Station –100NTD
4:00 PM – Go back to hotel – 50NTD
4:30 PM – Airport bus (Kuo Kuang) outside Taipei Main – 125NTD
5:30 PM – Taoyuan Airport

TOTAL: 610 NTD

**In order to use the U-bike services around the city, you need to have both EZ card and Taiwan sim card. More on that below. And unlike in HK, the crystal cabin in Maokong Gondola is the same price with the regular one. For my strong adventurers, this is worth a try.

TOTAL = 3143 NTD or around 5,500 PHP

** But I spent around 10,000 PHP including the accommodation and shopping expenses. 

Taipei 2017

OTHER THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Where to change New Taiwan dollar?

It is higher to change your pesos here in the Philippines. 1NTD costs around 1.67PHP (according to Google which is basically my basis) and I got a rate of 1.75PHP in NAIA. When we arrived in Taiwan, there is only one money changer in the airport (1.85PHP =1NTD) and has very long queue. In the city, you can only change your money in the banks since there are no money changers around. And there are only specific banks who buy Philippines pesos.

How to have internet connection in Taiwan?

I bought a tourist sim card in Chungwa Telecoms for 300NTD (around 525Php) for 5 days unlimited internet and 50NTD voice calls. It is cheaper than renting a pocket wifi here or activating your international roaming. They also offers 7 days and 10 days unlimited  internet here.

When to go?

I prefer you go to Taipei around November to May since this is the dry months and somehow cold. Summer can be really hot and oh they have Cherry Blossoms too around March.

Taipei 2017

We went on the first week of April and the weather is nice. There are rain showers mostly at afternoon.

What apps to download?

I recommend Maps.me, Google translate and Go! Metro Taipei. This are life-saver apps.

Is it cheap to shop in Taipei?

Nope. Clothes, make-ups and chocolates are almost at the same price here in Manila. But medicines are a lot cheaper there.

What to expect?

Taiwan is a laid back Hong Kong. Their skyline is not as beautiful and wild as Hong Kong’s but what I love about Taipei is its people and nature trails. Taiwanese are friendlier and warmer than the Chinese in Hong Kong and China. They are more disciplined and has better customer service. You don’t have to worry about being yelled at. And if you love nature and outdoor activities, then you’ll definitely enjoy Taiwan.

Taipei 2017

Taiwanese are nicer than the Chinese.

 

There are still a lot of place to see in Taiwan like Taichung and Kaoshiung. I planned to go back someday to see the provinces. But this travel guide and itinerary is recommended for the first timers. So, are you heading to Taipei? Or planning to go soon? We can talk to the comment section below!

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30 Comments. Leave new

You always provide the best travel information!
I really want to go back to Taiwan 🙂

Reply

Very timely post! And I love that you cleared that if people are flying to Taiwan before October or November 2017 they still need the ROC. Though, I haven’t been to Taiwan in person but base on your photos and insights I do agree, it’s a laid back version of Hong Kong. Hoping to visit Taiwan soon!

Reply

I couldn’t wait for the day or time comes that they will already declare it visa-free! Those prices for the hotels are also quite a shock! I mean, their luxury hotel accommodations are so affordable than the ones we have here, right? But anyway, it’s the first time that I encounter that expired visas from other countries or continents are considered. I do wish to witness those cherry blossoms soon!

Reply

Ive been seeing a lot of friends going to Taiwan and ive been wanting to see the place myself. I like the cleanliness of the place. Been to Hong Kong already so more or less I get a picture of Taiwan in my imagination, though a little laidback.

Reply

Seeing your post is a fresh air to me. I miss traveling and I also miss my cmera. Your post made me feel the urge to get a new camera or just let my old one be fixed so that I can prepare it for future photos. Especially when travelling. My friend went there few months ago and until now, he would talk about it. I guess the place is really unforgettable which makes him to decide on going back again.

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Taiwan is truly an underestimated traveling location but that makes it a bit mysterious. I have always wondered how different Taiwan is from China. Unfortunately. it is quite difficult to reach Taiwan from my country but my desire to visit it is higher. Thanks for such a detailed and useful review though.

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I can use this! I am traveling in oct 5. Yey thanks much

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This post is really packed with all the information needed to plan a Taiwan trip.It is nice that Filipinos don’t need visa to enter into Taiwan.Our most trip planning are affected by visa requirements.Some embassies need more details and in person visits for visa applications.So,we cannot arrange last minute tours.It seems you enjoyed your Taiwan tour much!

Reply

I would actually love to visit Taiwan one day soon. I have been to Hong Kong before and I can imagine it doesn’t compare but hearing that there are more nature trails and that the people are friendlier make me want to go and visit. I would like to explore Taipei by bike, I think that cycling is a great way of seeing a city.

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Bf and I are planning to visit Taiwan since it’s now VISA free for us. Haha! Knowing that hotels and airfares are pretty affordable, we might go next year! Do you have suggestions for shopping destinations? Thank you!

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What many people don’t know is that Taiwan can be so much better than the overpriced HongKong. This guide and itinerary you did are truly helpful for first-timers. I hope more Filipinos will be encouraged to visit the country. It’s the first country I’ve stayed at for a month away from my parents and I loved it. It’s also the first country I stayed the longest with Lloyd because we stayed for almost two weeks. I feel like it’s my second home. We did’t really wander too much. Just stayed there to enjoy the food and their culture.

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Oh my gosh Bookmarked!!! This guide is really comprehensive and this is exactly what i need. Honestly I have never traveled outside the country yet (i just wish I have enough courage haha) but I am planning very soon.. I don’t know which country yet but Taiwan is a great place to consider.
I love to see how you guys managed to utilized your 5 days and explore all great places in this country!
Thank you for this detailed guide! I’m pretty sure you had a blast here and hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit Taiwan too

Reply

I’m showing this one to my husband! We’ve prepared a bit for our family trip to baguio but I think with your itenerary and everything need to know about visiting taiwan… I can make kulit to him about going to taiwan instead.

After all, this is where the F4 madness started and I’m a big fan of them.???

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Beaa!! I really love how informative your blogs are. Thanks for sharing the details, and will definitely take note all of these haha! And, ang ganda ng pics!! Thumbs up! ???

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Hi Bea,
I have my Korean and Japanese Visa, but my husband and mother don’t have? We have a round trip ticket to Taiwan May of 2018. Do I need to get them a certificate in TECO office? Thanks

Reply

    Hi Mylene,

    NOT ANYMORE. Starting Nov 1 until July 31 2018, Taiwan is totally visa free like HK and Singapore. 🙂 Will update this post.

    Reply

I want to go back to Taiwan! I just realized how much more it has to offer when we were already back in Manila. Haha. This is an informative guide, Bea! Funny thing is we never used an EasyCard on our trip.

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Hi! Any recommendations where to exchange PhP to NTD here in the Philippines? Like money changers or banks? Some money changers don’t accept as they said that it is quite hard to find NTD. Thank you.

Reply

    Hi Cams, I changed my money in the airport money changers since I also can’t find money changers outside the airport who sells. You can try on your bank dahil you can only change sa bank na may savings account ka. 🙂

    Reply

I’ve stumbled upon this post right on time! My parents and I will be going to Taipei next year and I’m soooo glad you added a sample itinerary that’s suited for families. It’s perfect fo rmy parents kasi for sure, they can’t walk more than 15,000 steps a day haha

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Hi Bea! Do you think I can pull off a 4-day itinerary and include Taichung? I really want to visit the Zhong She Flower Market. ?

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Hi we are planning to visit Taipei on this coming April 26-29, How many hours travel from Taoyuan Airport to Linsen North Rd. No. 131 4F?

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Thanx Bea! you have posted such a nice blog thank you for sharing.

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Thank you for sharing such a nice blog, keep sharing

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Hi! did you reserve your sim card online? Or you just went straight to chungwa kiosk at the airport?

Reply

    Chungwa kiosk is already closed when we arrived in the airport. I just went to their store in Taipei City (using google maps). I didn’t reserve anything online.

    Reply

What a fun time and fascinating place. We laid over for a day but Taiwan is on my travel radar, for a longer term trip. Excellent post.

Reply

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