Filipinos travelling to Taiwan used to need to secure a Visa before going there, but since November 2017 the Visa was lifted for an experimental stage until July 2018.
This was one of the reasons I decided to visit Taiwan early this year before the free Visa expires. I also wanted to see cherry blossoms but I was a week too late coz the blossoms are now in Japan oh well. I have been planning a trip with my highschool bestfriends but none of them were able to join me because (life). And so I travelled alone again naturally (hahaha).
Anyway, I still had a great time during this solo trip. If you didn’t know I used to travel solo during my birth month until blogging came and I got invited to a lot of group travels with fellow bloggers. Not that I am complaining. Having this solo trip this year was definitely refreshing.
A lot of friends and readers sent messages as soon as they learned I was in Taiwan. They asked for travel tips and things they need to know before they travel to Taiwan. So without any further ado here are some smart travel tips I want to share to everyone based on my personal experience.
Which airline to use:
I am an avid AirAsia flyer. I’m an AirAsia BIG member. I get updated with seat sale so I get the best deals available. For low fares promo you can get a roundtrip ticket to Taipei for as low as Php6,000!!!
All International Flights of AirAsia Philippines departs and arrives on NAIA Terminal 3 and for Taiwan arrivals and departure at Taouyan Airport Terminal 1 in Taipei.
Transportation from airport to city
In case your hotel or hostel does not have airport pickup shuttle or service. Don’t fret. As soon as you land in Taouyan Airport Terminal 1 you can choose to ride the MRT or bus or taxi. The fastest to any destination is the MRT, if you have time for sightseeing you can take a bus. If you have a lot of cash for your trip you can use taxi. It all depenss on your budget.
If you are heading to Taipei Main Station bus fare is NTD135 (exchange rate as of writing is 1.7 to our 1PHP) from Taouyan Terminal 1. The bus you need to ride going to Taipei Main Station is Bus #1819 this is also the same bus you will ride going back to the airport if taking a bus. The busses has a couple of stops so make sure to make enough time to spare. if you have time then this is good for sightseeing.
I suggest you exchange your PHP to USD at the airport before you go to the immigration. Then exchange your USD to NTD so you get higher value money than exchange PHP to NTD right away since NTD is < PHP and USD is < than NTD. *NTD is New Taiwan Dollar, Php is Philippine Peso, USD is US Dollar.
In case you run out of NTD while in Taipei you can exhange currency at any Taipei banks or to the nearest Mall in your vicinity. The Shin Kong Mitsukoshi is the nearest mall in Taipei Main Station south side. Their customer service counter do currency exchange. It is located at the B2 level of the mall,use the elevator and don’t forget to bring your passport.
What to wear when in Taiwan?
It was a mistake that I did not bring any jacket or pants during my visit. Taipei weather can be very erratic, it can be warm in the mid day, raining in the early morning, windy and cold at night. Make sure to bring jacket or wind breaker, hats, caps or berret or top with hoodie. If you plan to go hiking on the mountainous sites of Taipei you might need walking sticks.
Wear walking shoes or shoes meant to endure long walks. It is easier to walk around Taipei to get to one point to another and it is very safe too. Plus you need to walk a couple of minutes going to a bus stop or to the main bus station and to go around shopping and sigh seeing. I rarely saw anyone wear heels when I was there, most are on sneakers, walking shoes and flats. It was a mistake that I was wearing heeled boots when I arrived my feet got sore!
How to get by the language barrier.
If you don’t speak Taiwanese and can’t read Chinese characters pictures will be your best friend. Have photos of things you want and need. Most locals are not fluent in English and some words are pronounced differently by locals as you read them. I observed this in restaurants I go to and even at beauty stores. The counter personel will give me a menu with photos so I can point which I want. At the beauty stores, non-English speaking staff would call on English speaking staff to talk to me or tell me that they have a buy-one-take-one promo for the stuff I bought!
At the night market, the stall sellers just show me her cash denominations to tell me how much I need to pay for her goods.
Where to Stay?
I am super glad that hostels are becoming a mainstream. Aside from being traveller friendly they are very affordable (actually cheap) . It is very cozy and intimate. If you are clausnophobic hostels won’t work for you. If you have kids travelling with you hotel is a better choice.
Hostels on the other hand are backpackers, solo travellers or group of adults travellers. You get a chance to interact and meet fellow travellers (if you are a solo traveller who likes making new friends) . I stayed at Angel’s Hostel Ximen and paid NTD 1,200 for 4D/3N stay or a little over PHP2000 !
Hostels are great for those who have a jam-packed itinerary. They’re perfect place just to sleep for a few hours, take a bath, use the toilet, and leave your things securely.
You can find one in Agoda.
Wi-Fi and Communication
You can get your Taipei SIM card at the airport via Klook. You can get a card for the duration of your stay. Or get a Wi-Fi router.
Or skip getting this one because there are a lot of Wi-Fi hotspots in Taiwan and they are free. I never got to use the SIM card I bought because I forgot my phones SIMcard ejector. I did not have any problem with connectivity anyway. My hostel has free Wi-Fi, all the restaurants I went to have free Wi-Fi .Taipei Main Station has free Wi-Fi. The beauty stores has free Wi-Fi. Just about anywhere! I was so excited seeing how fast their internet speed is. Imagine how a 17 minute video is also a 17 minute upload on YouTube! In the Philippines that would take 17 hours!
Where to go for sightseeing, shopping, and food trip in Taiwan?
To be continued on my next posts….
Meanwhile, CONTEST ALERT!
I will be giving away 3 Earthlingorgeous Mystery Boxes #EarthlingorgeousMysteryBox to 3 winners (one box each). I will be picking winners from my Instagram @earthlingorgeous, Facebook Earthlingorgeous Page and in this Travelling to Taiwan Essentials Part 1 blog post. Just make sure to be active in commenting, liking my Instagram and Facebook posts and/or sharing my vlog and blog post.
You may watch my #EarthinTaiwan vlogs at my YouTube channel.
Stay gorgeous everyone!