Taipei Travel Tips

Thursday, November 01, 2018

I started preparing for our Taiwan trip two months before our flight schedule. From the planning of our itinerary to deciding which hotel to book, restaurants and night markets to try and activities to pre-book. It can be time-consuming, but I always preferred to be well-prepared for a trip.

View of Taipei 101 and Taipei from Elephant Mountain

Thanks to the Internet, it's now very easy to plan a travel. Personally, I don't like package tours because you'll be limited with their itinerary and schedule (Ugh, I hate rushing!). Also, a DIY trip is usually cheaper than package tours (value for money, yey!)

Anyway, let me share with you some tips I have gained while exploring Taipei ❤️❤️❤️.


Internet


We were supposed to avail Unite Traveler 4G SIM Card via Klook, but our friends from Cherry Mobile gave us Cherry Roam, including Php 3000 voucher. Thank you, Cherry Mobile! The Cherry Roam is pretty reliable in Taipei, we didn't encounter any problems with connectivity. We availed the Php 350 unlimited plan good for 1 day. However, fair usage policy is applicable; after 1GB, Internet connection will be slower. 


Cherry Roam

If we don't have Php 3,000 voucher, we'll surely avail the cheaper option. Php 1,750 (Php 350 x 5 days) pesos is a bit expensive for Internet expenses.


Transportation

Ximen Station

Taipei has a very reliable transportation system. Most of the time, we used the MRT to get from one place to another since most tourist destinations are situated near the MRT stations. Please make sure to download the Taipei MRT app to easily navigate from one MRT station to another. I highly recommend Metro Taipei Subway app by Wu Quiping. It works even when offline. 


Metro Taipei Subway app by Wu Quiping

Google Maps will also be a big help in locating a specific place when you get off the MRT. If you're not confident with your Internet's reliability, download Taipei map from Google Maps, and navigate offline. 

It is also convenient to take the bus, however, I'm more comfortable with MRT. 

Riding a taxi can be expensive especially when destination is far. For popular tourist destinations, there are also car pool taxis available. For example, in Maokong, instead of riding the Maokong Gondola again back to Taipei Zoo station which costs around 120 NTD, we rode a carpool taxi instead. It costs 70 NTD per head - 50 NTD cheaper than the latter option.

Avail EasyCard through MRT stations or convenience stores. We availed ours at 711 in Taoyuan International Airport. This prepaid card can be used for both bus and MRT, and for paying entrance fees (i.e. Taipei Zoo entrance fee, Yehliu Geopark entrance fee, etc.). For a 5-day trip, we consumed around 700 NTD. This includes fare for airport express train already.

Accommodation


Taipei's train system is very efficient. Some say that it doesn't matter where you stay in Taipei, as long as it's walking distance from an MRT station. True enough, we didn't encounter any problems commuting from our hotel to different tourist destinations as most of it are accessible via MRT and bus.

I would recommend to stay at Ximending - a neighborhood and shopping district in Wanhua District of Taipei. We stayed at One Plus One Hotel, and the nearest MRT stations are Beimen and Ximen. We paid Php 5,475.94 for 4 nights.


One Plus One Hotel, Ximending

Food

Shilin Night Market

1. Night Markets 

Night markets can be very crowded in Taipei, so make sure to take care of your belongings. 
- Mostly, food in Taipei comes in huge servings. If you want to try a variety of food, a single order can be shared by two. That's what PJ and I did!
- According to a Taiwanese friend, you don't need to visit all night markets in Taiwan, as it mostly offers the same kind of food. On our first night, we went to Shilin Night Market - the most popular night market in Taipei. For the rest of the days, we tried different restaurants for dinner. 

2. Utensils - If you're not that good at using chopsticks (like me), you may bring your own spoon and fork with you. Most restaurants we've tried don't have spoon and fork, I had no choice but to practice my chopsticks skills (Sorry, I'm working on it haha!). 

3. Hotpot - We originally wanted to try Mala Hotpot as it is highly recommended in several posts I found online. A Taiwanese friend took us out for dinner, and we told her that we wanted hotpot. We initially mentioned Mala, but she told us that she'll bring us somewhere else way more special. 

Ding Wang Hotpot is HEAVEN!! I'm glad we went there instead! Thank you so much! ❤️❤️❤️

Money Exchange

When it comes to exchanging peso to another third currency, I am also confused TBH. Some of my friends would recommend me to exchange my peso to USD first, then exchange it to NTD. Some would say that straight conversion is better. 

I opted for straight conversion because I find it less hassle. Also, BDO offers competitive exchange rates. Just make sure to make a reservation to your branch of account ahead of time. Reservation can be done conveniently via a phone call. Upon claiming of NTD, you'll be required to present your passport and ticket.

I made a reservation on first week of October, and received the NTD during second week. Conversion rate that time was 1NTD = 1.76PHP.

Pre-booking Activities

1. If you want to pre-book some of your activities, go ahead and check Klook or Kkday. For example, the Taipei 101 Observatory Ticket in Klook costs Php 879. Its original price in Taipei is 600 NTD (around Php 1,037). That's 158 pesos difference.

One of the cons of pre-booking via Klook or Kkday is that the ticket can only be used for a specific date. During our trip in Taipei, we had to reorganize our itinerary and move some activities to different days. Good thing, I didn't pre-book the ticket via Klook, or else it would be a bit difficult to adjust our schedule.

Pros - rates are usually cheaper, you can avoid long queue of line, etc.


Taipei 101 Observatory

2. For Northern Coast Tour (Yehliu Geopark, Juifen and Shifen), I think it's more convenient to avail a shuttle bus. We availed one from Klook, check out this link. A lot of my friends told me that it's difficult to commute to and from these places, so I guess this is the best and most cost-efficient option. The shuttle bus and tour guide were okay, but the time allotted for each destination is too tight. We wanted to enjoy each place more, but due to time constraints, we weren't able to do so. That's the only sad part.


Northern Coast Tour

Take time to plan your itinerary!


There's so much to do in Taipei. With limited time, it's best to plan your itinerary carefully so that you'll be able to maximize your stay in Taipei. Check out my 5D4N Taiwan Itinerary and Budget.


Other tips:
1. Bring umbrella. During our stay in Taipei, it's mostly sunny or cloudy, but we also experienced occasional rain showers.
2. Bring moisturizer and lotion. It's already autumn season in Taipei, and temperature is around 17 to 25 degrees Celsius. Dry skin can cause breakouts, you don't want that right? haha!
3. Bring sunblock.


If you have other tips, let us know in the comment section below.

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