Did you sing when you read the title? hahaha If you’re a ’90s kid, you probably know this song from backstreet boys!
I wanted to share my first international trip with my family! We waited for a Cebu Pacific’s Get Go sale to be able to book 6 RT tickets for a total of only ₱11k +. They have great anniversary sale on March so you better watch out for it. We stayed in Taiwan for 4 days and 3 nights. I’m telling you, 4 days is not enough! I suggest that you stay for a week at least. Our first 3 days were all DIY. It was fun getting lost, learning their culture and trying new things to eat/drink. Writing this made me really miss Taiwan. I’ll be back I promise.
Let’s talk about the preparations for your trip: Clothes, Weather, Money, Itinerary, Hotel, Internet.
USD,NTD, Peso? What is the best currency to bring to Taiwan?
*November 2018 Conversion*
CRAMMING PLANNING! Like us, we had no time to order NTD so we bought it for a value of 1.85 at Sanrys (Glorietta/Robinsons Pioneer). This is considered higher because the normal conversion was at 1.65, if you order beforehand. So that’s our first “Lessons Learned”.
- If you have ENOUGH time to order (like 2-3 weeks or preferably a month before your trip) – Best be prepared to order NTD as early as possible at Czarina Foreign exchange Glorietta (Conversion was 1.65 – November 2018)
- If you have NO time to order – Have your Peso converted to USD and have it exchanged in Taiwan Bank at Taoyuan Airport. (Conversion was 30.48 last November 2018).
|Czarina Foreign Exchange||Php 1.00||1.65|
|Taiwan Bank at TW Airport||1 USD||30.48|
Rent a Portable Wifi Router! Most of our phones are locked to our service provider so we have no choice but to rent a WiFi device. And using a phone for hotspot is very inconvenient because it will eat up your battery.
NORMAL RATE: Php 569.48/4 days = Php 142.37 per day
SALE PRICE: Php 178.53/2 days = Php 89.27 per day (11.11 SALE)
- You need to choose which Airport and Terminal you’ll pick the WiFi device. Check your flight details to know where. Choices you have are: TPE Terminal 1, Terminal 2 ; Taipei Songshan Airport ; Kaohsiung International Airport
- Choose the number of days you need to use the device. The payment is per day.
- Select the return date and complete your payment details.
On the day of the pickup, show the voucher code to the personnel. He/She will ask for your passport and the credit card you used to book in Klook. If you used cash, you need to surrender a certain amount of money as a collateral. This is to ensure that if you break/lose the device, they can charge you for it.
In terminal 1, The booth can be easily found. Once you’ve passed immigration and got your baggage, you can find it on the rightmost side. Just beside the escalator to the Bus Station/Convenience store.
APPS to INSTALL
- Google Maps – basic necessity.
- Xe currency – for money conversions.
- Uber – Only accepts credit card payments.
- TP Metro – This app lets you know which station you’re at when circle light up on the station. It also shows you the minutes of travel and the earliest/latest departure time. Supports only blue, yellow, green, red, brown line. It doesn’t support the Old Rail Way, High Speed Rail and Maokong Gondola Stations.
- Taiwan Rail – Map of all Taiwan Railway stations.
For a large group, it’s better to book an airbnb. There are a lot of nice airbnbs that are cheaper rather than booking hotels. We booked an airbnb in Shilin district, with a budget of Php 7000.00 for 6 pax for 3 nights.
The room is on a mid-rise apartment and it’s very neat and pretty. It has 3 beds, complete with towels, air conditioner, heater (a bit downside because their heater is really hard to control), shampoo/bath soap, refrigerator, water heater, hair dryer & even humidifier. I also love how close it is on COSMED/Watsons, Mcdo, MRT and Shilin Market! We were able to maximize our shopping down to 1am lol.
Address: Hougang St Corner Jiantan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei
Near OK mart (Jiantan Road, Shilin District, Taipei.) / Mcdonalds (Chengde Rd) across Watsons/COSMED. A 5 minute walk to Shilin Night Market and 3 mins walk to MRT Jiantan Station.
PHP 2390.43 x 3 = PHP 7171.29 (with -1600 coupon)
3 NIGHTS – PHP 6460.54
|Summer: June to August|
|Fall: September to November|
|Winter: December to February|
|Spring: March to May|
Check accuweather so you’d know what Clothes to bring! It was the end of November when we visited so the weather is cool and rainy. Ber-months as they say is rainy. The weather was moody when we got there. Our first day was sunny and the next days were mostly Rainy! I only brought a cardigan so I was a bit under-dressed! Lol.
- Nov 21 – (Taipei) First day, 23-26 C- Shorts, Dresses
- Nov 22 – (Taipei) Second day dropped to 14-19 C – Coats! Warmers!
- Nov 23 – (Shifen, Jiufen) 14-19 C – Coats! Warmers!
- Nov 24 – (Taichung) – Sunny and hot 23-36 C – Shorts, Dresses
If you are not sure which station to go to or the best transportation to use, you can always visit Visitor Information Centers in the metro stations. They are the most helpful person to go to. They will tell you the best route and give pamphlets. They have one in Taipei Main Station.
For the list of visitors centers, please refer here.
Get FREE maps in the metro!
|24 Hour Customer Service Hotline (02) 218-12345|
If you’re on a DIY, it’s better to use an easycard to pay for your train, bus, bikes and Maokong Gondolas.
EasyCard works like a beep card/stored value card that you can reload and spend. When you use easycard on some rides, you get 20% off.
*We asked if we can refund the load we had for the card, the personnel said we can only do that if we bought the ticket in the station. Since we bought our card in a convenience store, we weren’t able to refund it.
Buying of EasyCard
Where to buy? MRT Station service desks Convenience Store (There’s a convenience store [7-11] at the airport just right beside the bus station/waiting area.
|Costs? You need to pay for the card for NT$ 100 and then reload.|
|Where to use? MRT Stations (including TRS- The Railway Station, HSR-High Speed Rail) Buses, YouBikes and Convenience Stores.|
There are 2 kinds of cable cars: Crystal and the regular one. They cost the same so I suggest you pick the Crystal one so you can see the view below.
- 100 NTD/trip (Taipei Zoo Station to Maokong Station) – We used easycard so we received a discount of 20NTD.
- 50 NTD/trip – Discount Ticket for Children, Seniors, and Disabled.
- EASYCARD holders receive a NT$20 discount on weekdays (no discount on holidays and deferred holidays).
- EASYCARD holders who use their card to enter the Taipei Zoo receive a NT$20 discount on one subsequent trip on the Maokong Gondola
SHOPPING / FOOD
where to shop for skin care in tw?
- Cosmed – I saw some great deals on the store located inside the Taipei Main Station.
- Tomod’s – It’s best to check the 4 floors building they have in Ximending.
- Watsons – It’s best to check the 4 floors building they have in Ximending.
- Opal Hair Treatment – THE BEST hair care. I will definitely hoard this when I get back.
- Masks! My Beauty Diary, Naruko Tea Tree (My fave), Dr. Morita Masks (HG), Neogence – There are great deals like Buy 1 Get 1. Buy in boxes, it’s much cheaper.
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost (Fragrance Free) – we have the water gel version in the Philippines but we don’t have the fragrance-free one. This is my HG Moisturizer, check out my review here.
must try foods/drinks
Zhongchenghao Restaurant in Shilin District
- Braised Pork Rice
- Oyster Omelette – My favorite!
- Stinky Tofu
Clothes & Shoes
this site is very useful ON WHERE TO GO IN TW: rtaiwanr.com
Day 1: Taipei City Tour DIY
- Chiang Kai Shek
- Presidential Building
- 228 Peace Memorial Park / National Taiwan Museum
- Longshan Temple
- Red House Theater
- Ximending Night Market
- Shilin Night market
There is a Carry-On Baggage Center near Taipei Main Station where you can drop your bag/luggage. It’s just a 2 minute walk near East Exit 3 across the taxi stand. We arrived early in the morning and our airbnb check-in is at 3PM so we decided to drop our luggage here and go straight to the city tour. Take note that they are open from 8AM – 8PM. The price for 2 luggage is NT$130.00.
chiang kai shek
Change of guards happens every hour.
228 Peace Memorial Park
Red House Theater
ximending night market
Shop for skin care here!
shilin night market
more places in taipei city here.
Day 2: Taipei Zoo, Maokong Gondola, Taipei 101
- Taipei Zoo
- Maokong Gondola / Maokong Village
- Taipei 101
- Elephant Mountain
- Raohe Night Market
We started late (10 AM) and it was raining so we decided not to go to Taipei Zoo and just go straight to Maokong Gondola.
maokong gondola ride
To get there, you have to ride a train to the Brown Line to Taipei Zoo Station. From the MRT station, walk 3 minutes and you’ll see the Taipei Zoo Station of the Gondola.
There are 2 kinds of cable cars, crystal and regular. Both costs the same so I suggest you take the crystal so you’ll see the view from below.
Costs: NT$ 100 to Maokong Station
From Maokong, we just had tea at a restaurant called 3 brothers. Their Iced fruit tea in Summer is the best! Perfect for the rainy, cold weather.
more places to visit around new taipei city here.
Day 3: Yehliu / Shifen / Jiufen
- Yehliu Geopark
- Wanli UFO Village
- Shifen Old Street – Sky Lanterns, Shifen waterfall
- JiuFen old street – Spirited away vibes, 100-year old A-Mei Tea House in Jiufen
I suggest you book a tour especially when you have your parents with you. Commuting from these places is really tiring. And if you plan on doing a DIY, please start early! And the distance from each place is far when you check the map.
Shifen old street
Pasalubongs here are the cheapest I saw from the night markets we visited! You can buy whole sale for a discounted price. (5pcs or more)
jiufen old street
The street is a bit narrow and there were a loooot of people! Just a tip: Don’t go here on weekdays! It’s jump packed.
Day 4: Taichung City
- Zhong She Flower Market
- Houfeng Bikeway / Mujiang Bike – tunnel biking trail
- Summit Resort – Xinshe Castle
- Rainbow Village
Taichung’s weather is hotter compared to Taipei City. So I suggest you wear summer/light clothes. It’s a bit hard to commute in Taichung so we opted for a private tour from our airbnb to Taichung and back to the airport. I recommend “Jerry Jinky” on Facebook – A filipino who lives in Taiwan. They offer private tours! (You can customize your itinerary) You can contact him via messenger to inquire. He’s very friendly.
Zhong She Flower Market
Bike rentals – NT$ 100.00 (unlimited hours/day)
Summit Resort – Xinshe Castle
Entrance is NT$ 250 and NT$150 for Senior Citizens. You have NT$100 of consumable food/drink voucher at the restaurant inside the resort. This place is massive and has a lot of scenery.
More PLACES TO VISIT AROUND taichung city here.
I promise myself I’ll be back. There are still more places to visit and foods to try! I NEED to see Chiayi University because I’m a Meteor Garden fan since forever. See you soon Hua Ze Lei!
You can download our itinerary complete with expense and tips 🙂
That’s it! I hope you’ll enjoy your visit in Taiwan as much as we do. Drop comments below if you have questions. I’ll be happy to assist you.