Taiwan Travel Guide | Taiwan Easy DIY Itinerary | 2018

Taiwan is a great place for a vacation. The food is great and relatively cheap. Transportation is very easy that you can even go to the southernmost part of Taiwan under 3-hrs with a train.

I especially love how nice and thoughtful the people are.

We took advantage of the Visa-free entry to Taiwan for Philippine passport holders. It was available only until July 31, 2018.

Where to Stay in Taiwan

Hotel MEZI

Hotel Mezi is a modern and hip hotel close to many of the famous attractions. What we like about it is it only takes about 10 minutes to get to Taipei Main Station and other railway systems which is very convenient if we want to go to another attraction.

Room: Deluxe Park View King Room

Cost: USD 59 per night

Hotel Mezi Amenities

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Elevator
  • Pantry (The internet speed in the pantry is 5.22 Mbps on Upload and 2.91 Mbps on Download)
  • Meeting Room
  • Laundry Room (Coin laundry costs NTD 50 per 1 washing machine cycle, NTD 50 per 1 dryer machine cycle)
  • Computer (free use at the lobby)

Here are the amenities inside Hotel Mezi’s Deluxe Park View King Room

  • It’s amazing that the sink, bath tub, shower and toilet have dividers in between.
  • There’s a huge TV.
  • The room has its own wifi connection (http://www.speedtest.net/ results: Download: 4.89 Mbps, Upload: 3.50 Mbps)
  • Mini bar with free juice and soda.
  • Electric Kettle with free tea and coffee sachets
  • Travel guides, magazines and Chinese books
  • A desk for some work space
  • Towels (Bath, floor, hand, face)

Giveaways

All are replenished when used (except for room slippers)

  • Bottled water are available in the room. They will also give you at the lobby if you ask.
  • Sanitary Kit (cotton buds, female napkins, comb, tooth brush and tooth paste, razor, shower cap)
  • Shower essentials (Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Lotion)
  • Room slippers

This is a list of attractions close to Hotel Mezi:

Other nice things about Hotel Mezi

  • The staff are very nice and thoughtful! When it was raining and we were about to head out, the receptionist chased us and offered us an umbrella.
  • The room is sparkling clean!

[Todo: add photos here]

 

Hotel Mezi’s location on Google Maps

Hotel Intrendy

Room: Deluxe Queen

Cost: $89

Hotel Intrendy Amenities

  • Gym 12/F (Towels are available for your sweaty workouts. There is also a minibar full of bottled water)
  • Laundry room 12/F (Free use of washing machine and detergent)
  • Restaurant with Indoor and Garden area 1/F
  • 3 Banquet Halls 13/F
  • VIP Room 12/F
  • Computer 1/F (Free use at the lobby)
  • Elevator
  • Lobby 1/F (The wifi speed at the Hotel Intrendy’s lobby is [todo])

Here are the amenities inside Hotel Intrendy ‘s Deluxe Queen

  • I like it very much that the bathroom is so huge! There’s a shower, toilet, sink and a bath tub.
  • There’s a huge TV
  • There are 2 wifi connections on our floor that reach our room (http://www.speedtest.net/ results: Download: 17.7 Mbps, Upload: 10.4 Mbps)
  • Minibar with free juice and soda
  • Electric Kettle with free tea and coffee sachets
  • Chinese books
  • A huge desk for workspace. My boyfriend and I could use the desk at the same time. That’s how spacious it is.
  • Towels (Bath, floor, face)

Giveaways

All are replenished when used (except for room slippers)

  • Bottled water are available in the minibar. Also available at the gym 12/F, VIP room 12/F and lobby 1/F
  • Sanitary Kit (cotton buds, female napkins, comb, tooth brush and tooth paste, razor, shower cap)
  • Shower essentials (Shampoo, Body Wash)
  • Room slippers

Other nice things about Hotel Intrendy

  • Hotel Intrendy is a fancy hotel and is very much comparable to 5-star hotels like Marco Polo or Shangri-la

Comments

The location. Hotel Intrendy is perfect for events like weddings or company seminars. If you come to Taiwan for tourism or sight-seeing, I would not ever recommend Hotel Intrendy.

The closest MRT station is A6 Taishan Guihe Station which is part of the Jichang line (purple line). The Jichang line is the most expensive among all the MRT lines as it is connected to the Airport.

Even walking from the MRT station to Hotel Intrendy is highly discouraged. It’s close but the walking area is right beside a busy and dirty street and there aren’t many shades to protect you from the hot sun.

The closest bus station is as far as walking to Taishan Guihe Station. During our stay here, we usually would go to the bus station to ride a bus to MRT Danfeng Station. The whole ride would usually take about an hour just to get to the city center.

There aren’t many shops around Hotel Intrendy. The closest night market is Banqiao Nanya Night Market and going there would still take about an hour.

[Todo: add photos here]

Hotel Intrendy on Google Maps

Where to Eat in Taiwan

This list just keeps getting long. There’s a hella lot of good restaurants in Taiwan!

Banqiao Nanya Night Market

Banqiao Nanya Night Market is more of a street food area rather than a shopping area. The food and drinks here are superb and relatively cost half compared to other markets.

Taipei Fish Market

 

泰獅 泰式料理 – Tài shī tài shì liàolǐ (Thai)

The food here is so gooood!

Here are the food that we ordered from 泰獅 泰式料理:

[todo: images here]

  • Pad Thai – NTD 150 [todo: translation]
  • Papaya Salad – NTD 130
  • Stir-fried water spinach – NTD 100

The people are extremely nice! Be aware though that they don’t speak English and they don’t have an English Menu. Luckily, I was learning Chinese for the past 6 months so I was able to converse with them even with my broken Chinese. I was extremely happy when I said while pointing to the photo on the menu and the other table’s food, “这个菜和那个桌子的菜一样吗?” Which translates to: “Is this one here the same with the food on that table?” and the waitress understood me! ❤

If you can’t understand them, try asking the other diners if they speak English. When we were asking for directions from the waiters and they couldn’t understand us, but the other diners were overhearing our conversations and they jot in and tried to help us. They can speak a little bit of English enough for us to understand.

 

泰獅 泰式料理 Location:

Muragame Udon (Japanese)

大阪王將 – Dàbǎn wáng jiāng  (Noodles, Asian)

Smoothie House (Ice bowl desserts)

THANH KY (Street-food and Vietnamese Meals)

Peter Better Cafe (Coffee and Sandwich)

Located at Namyang Street

Sushi Take-out (Japanese)

The selection of food is amazing! Not to mention, the salmon and tuna that they serve are all fresh!

Cost NTD 40 to NTD 150

Sushi Take-out has many branches (even in Hong Kong) but the one we tried was in Taipei Main Station.

 

河內美食館 – Hénèi měishí guǎn (Vietnamese)

 

Duan Chun Zhen – 段纯贞 (Chinese Beef Noodles)

Cost: NTD 150

 

 

 

Where to go in Taiwan

Taiwan is famous for the abundance of its night markets. You can also indulge and learn about Taiwanese culture by visiting palace, museums and temples. There are also a lot of nature places like parks, mountains, farms and beaches. There is no need to join a tour. With their convenient means of transportation, you can just go wherever, whenever you want.

Here is a list of interesting places in Taiwan:

Flying Cow Ranch

If you like being with animals and seeing a vast green grassland then Flying Cow Ranch is the place for you! This is also perfect for kids if you want them to get closer to nature. There’s a lot of fun activities that you can do here, like:

  • Feed or give water to the sheep (NTD 20 and NTD 10 respectively)
  • Milk the cows (free)
  • Rabbits feeding (NTD 10)
  • Goats feeding(NTD 10)
  • Baby sheep feeding (NTD 50)
  • Baby ducks feeding
  • Have a milk drink (free with the ticket; choice between regular or malt)

Among other things to note is that Flying Cow Ranch has a hotel, a restaurant, a souvenir shop and a produce shop. Having their own restaurant is perfect it was just in time for lunch when we arrived.

Actually, we wouldn’t have made it to Flying Cow Ranch without a lucky situation we’ve been in. Upon arriving at Tongxiao station, we were supposed to take the 11:30 bus which we missed. So we wanted to get a taxi but there was nowhere to be found. We were just outside the Tongxiao Station when suddenly a woman with her husband (who also seems to be lost) approached me and asked me directions in Chinese. I told her “对不起,我不说中文” (translation: “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Chinese”) “我们要去这里” (translation: “We want to go here”) then I pointed Flying Cow Ranch on my phone. Immediately she said “Ohhh! We are going there too!” But of course in Chinese. “Come! Let’s go there together.” Then they took care of asking the locals around. They found a taxi and we split the bill with them. The taxi driver showed us all how to use Google translate to make conversations. The next thing we know, we spent most of our time with them and it was a very lovely one! We got to know each other. We told some stories each other some stories. They treated us with some ice cream! It turned out to be a great day!

An adult ticket costs NTD 220

Their site can be found on this link: Flying Cow Website.

How to get to Flying Cow Ranch

  1. Take the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) from Taipei Main Station going to Tongxiao Station. You can either use the Easy card which does not guarantee a seat (just tap and go without ticket, no assigned seat number, to cost is NTD 175) or pay with cash through the cashier to have a sure seat (have a ticket with an assigned seat number, the cost is NTD 232). It takes 2 hours and 30 mins. Important note:You have to be at Tongxiao Station at 9am sharp or even earlier (as early as 7am) so you have a lot of time to spend on Flying Cow Ranch.
  2. Take a taxi right from outside Tongxiao Station to Flying Cow Ranch. Make sure that you saved the Chinese name on your phone and show it to the taxi driver. It takes 20 to reach Flying cow by taxi. The metered taxi cost about NTD 275

How to go back to Taipei from Flying Cow Ranch

  1. Go to the restaurant in Flying Cow and ask them to call a cab going to Tongxiao Station for you.
  2. Ride the TRA going to Taipei Main Station. It usually leaves at 4:55pm. So you have to be at the Station by 4:45pm and be at the platform at 4:52pm.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

It was the first place we went to in Taiwan and I must say that I’m shocked about the grandeur of this place.

Admission to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is free.

 

 

 

 

Daan Park

Admission is free

2/28 Peace Park

Admission is free
There are surprisingly a variety of animals here! Among the animals that you can encounter are pigeons, ducks, squirrels, koi fish, turtles. It was my first time to see a squirrel! They are crazily cute!

The Lin Family Mansion and Garden

An adult ticket costs NTD 80 per person.

 

Yangminghsan National Park

We started the hike at Xiaoyoukeng. The buses that go to that area are bus 1717 and bus 108. I would recommend taking bus 108 rather than bus 1717. Riding bus 108 will take you to Xiayoukeng recreational area. If you take bus 1717, you will have to walk an additional 350 meters.

On our hike going down, we took a break at a bench along the trail. A local (about 40-to-50-year-old uncle) who was going to the peak broke a conversation with us. He asked us our name, where we are staying in Taiwan and which country we are from. We came to know that his name is Jinte (as in “jeans” as he would say) and that he lived before as a student in Germany for about 10 years. He knew that Philippines won last year’s Miss Universe competition and joked to me “It wasn’t you?”. He also noticed that I look too Chinese to be Filipino. We fount it interesting that he was walking barefoot. He said that one shoe fell off the mountain and he kept the other shoe in his bag. I really love Taiwan! They are very friendly people.

Jiufen Old Street

How to Get to Jiufen Old Street without going to MRT Taipei Main Station

If you want to know how the local people

 

 

Shopping in Taiwan

Shilin Night Market

Ximending

 

Transportation in Taiwan

Google Maps is your best buddy in Taiwan. You can search for every MRT and bus station in Taiwan. You can get from one location to another just by using the “Directions” function. One down-side of using Google maps is that it doesn’t consider the route for the TRA and HSR.

MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)

MRT is the fastest and a very convenient way to get around the center city of Taiwan which is Taipei.

 

BUS

Download “Bus+: Taiwan Bus Tracking” app on your smart phone to get the live update of the bus you are trying to catch. It’s as easy at putting the bus number and clicking on the bus direction.

DOWNLOAD “Bus+: Taiwan Bus Tracking” HERE

TRA (Taiwan Railway Authority)

Foreigners might confuse TRA with the MRT or HSR. Do know that these are not on the same rails! MRT is only available in Taipei where most business centers are. On the other hand, TRA connects the whole of Taiwan. You can basically get to the most southern part of Taiwan just by riding the TRA.

The TRA schedule is available on this link: Taiwan Railways Timetable Information

HSR (High-Speed Rail)

HSR is like TRA in way that it connects the northernmost part of Taiwan to the southernmost of Taiwan. The only difference is that HSR is really quick. To give you an idea of how quick it is, riding a TRA from Taipei to Taichung may take you 3 hours while riding the HSR will only take 1 hour. Of course, HSR will be a bit more expensive that TRA.

The HSR schedule is available on this link: Taiwan High-Speed Rail Timetable

 

Currency Exchange in Taiwan (Where to buy NTD or New Taiwan Dollar)

Currency exchange are available in the International Airport, Local Banks and Department Stores. Unlike most countries small kiosks for currency exchange are not available anywhere in Taiwan.

Upon arriving at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, we exchanged USD 60 and got NTD 1786. That time (July 24, 2018), the exchange rate was 30.26 so the equivalent was 1816 but there was an additional exchange charge of NTD 30.

When we asked the receptionist in our hotel lobby, we learned that we can also buy NTD from Department Stores. We went ahead to Q Square Mall where we the exchange rate was 29.76 with no additional exchange charge. Surprisingly odd that it’s more expensive to buy NTD from the Mall instead of from the Airport.

Q Square Mall is located here:

[Todo] We exchanged at Land Bank of Taiwan, Tongxiao Branch

Taiwan Easy Card

It’s almost a must to have an top-up card in Taiwan. You can use it anywhere from buses, trains, restaurants, bike-sharing services, convenience stores, etc. There’s a shop at the airport where you can buy a top-up card. They are selling 4 different cards. I asked the attendant what the difference in the cards are and he said that all are just the same when used but are sold by 4 different companies. He adds that the most popular card is the Easy Card so that’s what we bought. The top-up cards last for upto 20 years. The card purchase fee is NTD 100 and the default top-up is NTD 400 so in total it costs NTD 500.

Buying Local Sim Card in Taiwan

I do not recommend what we did at all but I will share it anyway. You can buy a sim card ahead of your arrival in Taiwan and claim it on the airport. The cost for that will be much cheaper than what we did (I wish I had done my research on this!).

This is not available just anywhere. After asking around, we found out that we have to go to a telecommunication’s shop to get a Sim Card. We went to this shop called Myfone Taiwan Mobile.

Myfone Taiwan Mobile has branches almost everywhere in Taiwan especially in crowded areas like Ximending and Shilin. Here is the location of Myfone Taiwan Mobile where we went to:

Since we were staying in Taiwan for 12 days, the guy at the shop offered us the option of getting a 15-day unlimited data package that costs NTD 1000. I asked if they have around 6-day package because I thought we have a “handy phone” in our next hotel. He offered us the 5-day unlimited data package which costs NTD 500 and that’s what we got.

He borrowed my phone and inserted a sim card to check if it is unblocked and if my phone accepts the signals in Taiwan, which it did.

I find it funny that the procedure of getting a sim card in Taiwan is much like the procedure in the immigration. The procedure is required at any shop where you can buy a sim card. He asked for my passport then I had a photo and e-signature taken using their computer.

He inserted the new sim card on my phone and gave the phone back to me. Then he wrote my local number on the sim card’s case and gave it to me as well. And that was it!

Results from speedtest are download 29 Mbps and upload 31.7 Mbps

Apparently, our second hotel does not have Handy. As our first sim card expired, we searched for a new one in Banqiao Nanya Night Market. We found a Myfone Taiwan Mobile store. The staff at this store showed me a menu, like that of a restaurant menu, and it made things absolutely easier to decide which package we will get. To my shock, Myfone Taiwan Mobile also has a 30-day 1.2GB data package that costs only NTD 280. We only need the data to use Google Maps, to not get lost, and to know which buses to take wherever we are. Had I known this sooner, we would have gotten this in the first place.

12-day Taiwan Itinerary

You can easily choose the days below that you want to follow. This itinerary is a relaxed and chill. Our work is all online so we usually roam around in the morning and then work in the evening. Apart from that, we don’t like to run around like chickens and sweat under the hot sun. We like stopping to look around and enjoy the places we go to. Don’t travel for the pictures. Travel to gain experience and knowledge from every culture. Before coming to Taiwan, we didn’t really have a definite plan. We just saved the places that we wanted to go to and every night we would say, “Let’s go to this place tomorrow” 🙂

Day 1

2/28 Peace Park (Sight seeing)

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Day 2

Daan Park (Sight seeing)

Shilin Night Market (Shopping)

Day 3

The Lin Family Mansion and Garden

Day 4

Flying Cow Ranch

Day 5

Taipei Fish Market

Day 6

Mt. Qixing, Yangmingshan National Park

Ximending

Day 7

(Hotel Transfer)

Banqiao Nanya Night Market

Day 8

Rest day / Work day

Day 9

Jiufen Old Street

Day 10

Rest day / Work day

Day 11

Day 12

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