ANNOUNCEMENT Together with RoundTaiwanRound I’m giving away 3 Free Jiufen Local Tour [Tripool Giveway].
We often hear travelers talk about Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. And these countries are the usual go-to countries even for Filipinos who travel abroad. Personally, I love Thailand and Korea to the extent that I always find myself immerse in Bangkok or Seoul every year or so. And just like you, Taiwan is not even listed in my top 10 destinations in Asia. But you’ll be surprised once you set foot in this underrated gem. All your perspective will change just like how it changes mine. Taiwan officially referred to as Republic of China or ROC, is a small island nation located in East Asia. This country offers diverse and remarkable attractions that any intrepid travelers would want to explore.
🇹🇼 TAIWAN IN A GLANCE
PASSPORT & VISA
As protocol, any foreign traveler who wants to enter Taiwan needs a passport with validity of at least six months or more upon entry. Visitor Visa for foreign nationals who need to obtain visa prior entry. I listed down below the reference (taken from BOCA official website) for foreign nationals whose eligible for visa exemption program, landing visa and those countries who can avail the Travel Authorization Certificate. Aside from passport and visa, please do prepare for the following; A confirmed return air/sea ticket and a proof of accommodation, such as booking or host/sponsor’s contact information /or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting.
NOTE: The information provided here is extracted from their official website and are subject to changes. For more information, you may visit TAIWAN’s BOCA OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
WHEN TO GO
Taiwan has a tropical climate (expect rainfall all year round) with the exception of the higher mountain which has a cooler temperature. The annual average temperature is 22 deg celsius which is very pleasant for travel. For me, The best time to visit Taiwan like any other 4-season country is during Spring or Autumn season or when the weather is dry, mildly cool temperature and not so humid. If you want to experience winter, then book your flight between January and February. If you want to catch Maple Trees or even Cherry Blossom you’ve got to regularly check the forecast. If you’re on a tight budget then travel during the lean season and avoid the crowds. Hotels and Flights are usually cheaper during the lean months by 10-30%.
|WINTER||December to February||Lowest Temp 8 °C (46 °F) January is the coolest month. December is the driest month|
|SPRING||March to May||Average High Temp about 25 °C (78 °F)|
|SUMMER||June to August||Average Temp is about 30 °C (86 °F).|
|AUTUMN||September to November||September is the wettest month.|
WHAT TO PACK/BRING
A packing list is the key to packing light and traveling light is the key to a good trip. You’ve got to believe me because I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. When packing for your stuff always consider the weather, the local norms when it comes to dressing, and the places you’ll go. Narrow down your list of things according to usage. And always bring items that you can use/wear in more than one way.
BEFORE YOU GO
Now that you’ve decided to visit Taiwan, you might be wondering how much money shall I allocate for this trip? How much to bring and where to exchange money? For Filipino, just change your PHP to NTD at the airport especially if it’s for pocket money only. You can also use your BDO debit card to withdraw in any ATM in Taiwan for a minimal fee. Credit Card is widely accepted especially in bigger establishment and restaurant. For USD and other currency, you can find banks in the Airport and you can also exchange it in any international banks in Taipei. Some Hotels do an exchange for steeper rates. Unlike Hongkong, Bangkok, Manila, and Seoul it’s hard to find money changer here. As for the budget, you can enjoy Taipei for as low as NTD750 to NTDD1500 per day. Budget really depends on your appetite and the places you want to visit. For reference, you can check out my previous trips budget breakdown as I jotted down a comprehensive summary of expenses.
Majority of international flights arrive at Taoyuan International Airport. Though there are other airports and seaport serving the rest of Taiwan like Taipei-Songshan Airport and Kaohsiung Airport. If you’re flying from Manila there are several airlines that fly regularly to Taipei via TIA, Philippine Airlines, Eva Air, and Cathay Pacific. If you’re on a shoestring and open to cheap fares and no-frills airlines choose a low-cost carrier like Cebu Pacific and AirAsia. For the cheapest rate, snag a Piso-fare or any promo fare from these low-cost carrier or visit comparing sites like Traveloka, Fare Compare, and Skyscanner
GETTING INTO THE CITY
Most likely you’re landing at Taoyuan International Airport and from there, you have plenty of options on how to get to Taipei or any part of Taiwan from Taoyuan Airport. The fastest and easiest way to the city is through the newly opened Taoyuan Airport MRT Express Train which can get you in the city for less than an hour and for only NTD160.
|Public Bus||NT$125||The Cheapest|
|Airport Train||NT$160||The Easiest|
|THSR||NT$190||For the experience of their High Speed Train|
|Taxi||NT$1000 – NTD$1500||Best for Group who can split the bill.|
Getting around in Taiwan can be both convenient and daunting at the same time especially for the first timer. However, if you know where you’re going and familiar with the options you have then it’ll be easy-peasy. Always consider where you’ll base and from there work your way to your chosen spot. Traveling in major cities is pretty easy with the help of transportation cards like Easy Pass and iPass. While commuting in certain provinces might be hard especially if you don’t come prepared. Another thing to consider is the weather. It’s arduous and equally annoying to commute either during the typhoon season and during the sweltering heat of summer. Preparation is key!
FOOD & DRINK
Taiwan is known for its prolific food culture. For a serious foodie, strolling, and feasting in a night market should be on your bucket list because there are so many tasty and unique foods to choose from. Taiwanese cuisine has a long history, you can easily notice influences from Southern, Mainland China and Japan and it’s reflected by the assortment of dishes you can sample not only in a restaurant but even on the street where you can find the diversity of modern and traditional dishes.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Choosing an accommodation where you’ll stay or where you’ll sleep is an important decision when traveling, and different things matter as per type of people. But for most frequent traveler aside from the rates, location and reputation are the most important factor. Taiwan has plenty of accommodation from Airbnb to the most luxurious hotel. I included here the place I already experienced with Guide and Review. Plus I also cited top hostel and hotels per budget. Enjoy ^_^
LOCATION TO CONSIDER
As mentioned above Taipei has a great transport system so choosing an accommodation near an MRT station is a plus. As long as your located near TMS or any central station for that matter.Taipei Main Station – Central Area and Hostel around the area. Ximending – One stop away TMS, Shopping Area with plenty of restaurants and cheap Hostel around the area. Xinyi – For Nightlife and Upscale Hotels.
WHAT TO DO &
WHERE TO GO
Like what I’ve said earlier this little country offers diverse and remarkable attractions that any intrepid travelers would want to explore. You can enjoy several activities like Sunrise Watching atop the highest highway in Southeast Asia, Feeding Sheep to Parasailing. And to understand Taiwan even better, I have deciphered this country by parts and the point of interest you might want to visit.
ON A SHOESTRING
Of course, the best way to finish this comprehensive guide is to give you more tips on how you can save money.If you plan to use Taipei MRT you can get discounted passes available in 3 days and 5 day passes that comes with Round Trip Airport Pass which is already a bargain. Get an Easy Card for hassle-free traveling. Save you a heck of a time. You can get access to Free Wifi at the following places; MRT Stations, Convenience Stores, Cafes and Buses with Wifi Logo. Just like in Japan and Korea, you can get food at convenience store at a fraction of a cost. Walk and Hike! Yes, it is the best, the healthiest and the cheapest way to see the city.
Happy Traveling and Happy Reading