I first set sights on Taiwan after watching the movie #WalangForever way back 2015. I thought it was going to be my next destination but it was only this year (2019) that I was able to go to Taiwan.
Taiwan is currently visa-free for Filipinos. I did not actually worry about Taiwan not extending the visa-free status since I can enter Taiwan with the use of my Japan Tourist Visa.
Let’s explore Taipei, do-it-yourself style 😉
Below is the summary of my expenses:
|Roundtrip Airfare (Pisofare)||2026.79|
|6D5N Accommodation at One Plus One Hotel||2489.75|
|Airport Bus Roundtrip||408.58|
|Taichung Bus Roundtrip||829.26|
I scored another pisofare deal from Cebu Pacific Air way back last year. PHP 8107.16 for 4 persons equals PHP 2026.79 roundtrip airfare to Taipei!
Below is the screenshot of the payment details 😉
For the accommodation, we stayed at One Plus One Hotel which costed PHP 9958.99, divided by 4 equals PHP 2489.75 each for 6D5N.
To be honest with you, my tour in Taipei was incomplete. There’s so much missing, so many places we didn’t get to visit due to the rain. My heart is longing to be back as soon as possible. Despite the rain and missing pieces – we were able to enjoy Taipei.
Day 1 – Touchdown Taiwan!
Taoyuan International Airport
Taipei Main Station
Cebu Pacific Air welcomed us to Taoyuan International Airport as we touched down the sunny Taiwan. Our lansones was confiscated at the airport. Just a reminder, if you’re heading to Taiwan, do not bring fruits and vegetables. Good thing there was no fine at all. Meanwhile, bringing meat products could cost 1 Million NTD.
My nephew was so energetic and is taking the lead. We decided to take the bus to Taipei and had lunch at Taipei Main Station.
We bought 4 EasyCards with 400 NTD each for use in our train rides in Taipei. Ximen (my nephew calls this X-Men Station) is our home station and is just next to Taipei Main Station.
We had hard time finding our hotel, we went to the opposite end of the road and that the hotel is on the other end, as usual, charge to experience. We were so exhausted with all the baggage and heat. We checked-in and stayed for a bit (AC finally!) and went out for dinner. I was surprised to see Ximending especially during the night – it feels like I was teleported to Tokyo! Huge billboards, overwhelming crowd, bright lights, it’s like a city that never sleeps.
Day 2 – The Cable Car Ride and The Great Panda
My nephew is a big fan of Panda and this is his main quest in Taipei – to see for himself the Great Panda. We woke up early and left the hotel just around 8AM. The owner was very helpful and guided the shortcut to Ximen Station as well as the train route to take. We reached Taipei Zoo Station and my nephew was already hungry so we ate biscuits at the benches before heading to Maokong Gondola.
I loved the Cable Car in Singapore and I’m not letting the chance to ride the Maokong Gondola pass me by. I was about to use my credit card to buy tickets but the staff told me to use the EasyCard for $20 discount ($40 discount roundtrip). Great deal! We opted for see-through Crystal Cabin.
It was very windy up top and we had lunch at Hi-Mart. I also loved the sweet potatoes outside the station. We grabbed some fruit drinks and sat by the stairs for about 30 minutes before heading down the zoo.
The little guy was so hyper for the zoo, this is his first time. He has tons of energy and goes ahead of us. He kept yelling once he sees new animals and drags me to see them too lol. And finally, his dream to see the Panda came true.
All of us were exhausted exploring the zoo and it was scorching hot too so we decided to go. My nephew was the only one who disagreed saying there are more animals to see. It’s 3 vs 1 so he lost – and he gave in to his hunger so he agreed to leave as well lol.
The Taipei 101 was our last destination for the day. We took groufies outside the station for the tower and headed inside to look for food. For pasalubong, check out Jason’s Marketplace – there are mark down items and some are on Buy 1 Take 1 promo. One more thing to note is that they offer $50 OFF on $500 purchase (this offer may be for a limited period only). We grabbed some chocolates and Taiwan’s famous Pineapple Cake for pasalubong.
We went back to Ximen and explored the area a bit before heading back to the hotel.
Day 3 – The Failed Trip to the Flower Farm and a Mini Reunion
Taipei City Mall
We woke up very early for Taichung! My cousin works in Taichung and we haven’t seen her for like 3 years now. The goal was to meet her and we’ll go together to the Flower Farm and Rainbow Village.
It was a sunny morning in Taipei and we headed to Koh Kuang Bus Station to board a bus to Taichung. The weather gradually changed as we travel to Taichung. We reached Taichung Station just in time for lunch and it was raining hard.
My cousin Rose was already there waiting and we braved the rain and headed to Taroko Mall for lunch. My mother and my cousin had a lot of catching up to do. From time to time, we were checking if we can proceed to the Flower Farm but unfortunately the weather was not cooperating.
We headed to RJay Supermart, a Filipino grocery just a few blocks away from Taichung Station. They sell cheap pasalubong and we grabbed some chocolates and goods. The ladies there liked my chubby nephew and they were teasing him that he can eat everything he want but he should stay there.
5PM and still it was raining, we failed to see the Flower Farm and Rainbow Village. Too bad I know. Good thing we got reunited with my cousin so the trip there wasn’t a waste at all.
We boarded the 5:15 bus back to Taipei and arrived around 8PM. We saw another Jason’s Marketplace and hoarded more pasalubong before going home.
Day 4 – Very Lazy Rainy Day
Guanghua Digital Plaza
National Theater and Concert Hall
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Alarm was set for 7AM. We had coffee and bread for breakfast and even prepared. It was still raining and we were all tired from the trip to Taichung (and probably down because we did not see the Flower Farm lol) so we decided to take a nap first.
My nephew woke us at around 1PM nagging he was hungry. We left the hotel at around 2PM and had lunch at the Japanese restaurant in Ximending Walking District.
I am currently looking for a PlayStation 3 controller so I Googled the best place for electronic gadgets in Taipei. Our next destination was Guanghua Digital Plaza, a massive cyber zone in Taipei. My nephew immediately saw the Nintendo Switch and he wanted me to buy it for him – reminding me it was his wish for his birthday last August. He was throwing tantrums and we were not in good terms during the entire exploration in Guanghua. I wasn’t able to find a PS3 controller though since most stores are on PS4. It was past 4PM when we left Guanghua.
We next headed to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, one of Taipei’s famous landmark and tourist spot. This was shown in the movie #WalangForever as well. We were lucky to witness the changing of guards here.
If you could stay until around 6PM for sunset and the night lights, here’s what you can expect to see:
Day 5 – More of Taipei
National Taiwan University
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
Technically our last day in Taipei, we set the alarm for 6AM so we could maximize the day. We will never leave without visiting the National Taiwan University which was home to the hit Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden so it was the first in the itinerary for the day. We had lunch at Yoshinoya which is located just across the university.
The next stop was Longshan Temple which is located just outside Longshan Temple Station. They say that Longshan is the most loved temple in Taiwan and I felt that during our stay. People are solemnly praying and somehow I felt like being in ancient Formosa. We had merienda near the bakeshop and my mom got tired from all the walking and told us she’ll return to the hotel and call it a day.
We all went back to Ximen and rested for a bit. Originally, our next destination is the Elephant Mountain but my mom did not want to hike due to the injury and decided to just stay at the hotel. My nephew wanted to go with us but we told him to stay with his grandma.
We continued the journey and headed to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park instead so we can save time and skip hiking. We also saw the Taipei Dome which is still under construction – in my head I was wishing Utada Hikaru Live in Taipei awww. We walked through the park all the way to the Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 Station. Back to Jason’s Marketplace, we bought some foods for dinner and the final stretch for pasalubong.
Day 6 – Going Home 😦
Taoyuan International Airport
Sad that it’s time to go home. We woke up at 4AM and had lite breakfast. We prepared and checked out at 6AM. We have heavier luggage now due to pasalubong. We again decided to take the bus to go to the airport.
We departed the Taipei Main Station at 7AM and arrived around 8AM at Taoyuan International Airport, plenty of time for our 10:45 flight back to Manila. We checked-in at Cebu Pacific Air counter and dropped our 60-kilo baggage. We had another breakfast at the food court before proceeding to the boarding gate.
Back to reality…
I will skip Taipei next time and just head straight to the below destinations 😀
Yamingshan National Park
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Zhongshe Flower Market
At least I have more reason to come back to Taiwan right? 🙂
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