DAY 2 of 5 Days 4 Nights in Taiwan : Taiwan Lantern Festival 2017 in Yunlin, Beigang Chao Tian Temple, Old Street and Tourist Bridge

Good day my dear readers! 😉 How are you? 😀 I miss you!!!! 🙂

Anyway, we’re now on the second day of our Taiwan trip. One of the reasons why we decided to visit Taiwan was to witness their annual Lantern Festival also known as Yuan Xiao Festival which falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month (February or March). Since 1990 until 2000, it is being celebrated in Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei City (this place was featured in my previous blog: DAY 1) but from 2001 until the present, it is being hosted by different cities all over Taiwan. When we went there last February 11, 2017, it was hosted by Yunlin County.  Next year, it will be held on February 19 in Pingtung County.

From Taipei Main Station, we took Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) going to Yunlin. One-way ticket costs NTD900 (P1,600). Travel time was almost two hours.

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Welcome to Yunlin! 🙂

Fortunately, the Lantern Festival was located just few steps away from the Yunlin station. 🙂

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Lezz do this, sizzies! 😉

First thing we saw was a food park! HAHAHA They really know us too well! LOL

We tried just few snacks because we honestly didn’t like the smell in the park. I guess it was because of the famous stinky tofu. We were told by Miss Jiayu (a Taiwanese tour guide whom I just met online) that the main event starts around 6 o’clock in the evening so she advised us to go to Beigang first. There were a lot of tourist buses going to and from Beigang so we didn’t hesitate to explore that place too! 🙂 And we didn’t pay even a single cent for the ride! Yeyyyy! 😀

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We thought we would get there in 10 minutes, gosh, more than 30 minutes pala! HAHAHA Sleeping time again! -_-

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We were welcomed by firecrackers and a short parade in Beigang and we were really amazed how the locals immediately cleaned the area after the event.

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This is Chao Tian Temple which is more than three hundred years old and it was dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess Mazu.

After exploring this temple, it’s now time to explore Beigang Old Street especially their food! 😉

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That lady at the center is Miss Jiayu, she’s the one I mentioned earlier whom I met online before we went to Taiwan and the lady on her left is her bestfriend. They’re both very nice!!! They are volunteer tour guides in Yunlin and they accompanied us while we explore Beigang.

This is my favorite food in Taiwan!!! I regret not buying more packs of this in Yunlin 😦 We tried looking for this in Taipei but we failed. This is called Lao, a Taiwanese traditional pastry made of taro and rice flour. It is coated with hot mixture of sugar and sesame, puffed rice or nuts.

 

This is the famous STINKY TOFU and yes, it’s very STINKY!!!! You can actually smell it even if you’re miles away. *exaggeration* LOL We didn’t want to try this but Miss Jiayu really convinced us since they said, it’s so delicious despite its very offensive smell. BUT BUT BUT it’s not delish. 😦 I don’t know. I can’t understand the taste. HAHAHA At least we tried though. LOL

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This is Beigang Tourist Bridge that connects Yunlin and Chiayi counties which are separated by the Beigang river.

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Xie xie Beigang!

Now it’s time to go back to Yunlin station for the much-awaited Lantern festival! 🙂

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2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival is said to be the largest festival in Taiwan for many years. There were more than 3,000 lanterns in a combined area of 50 hectares.

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(Photo by Taiwan News)

At first we were excited to take a picture of every lantern but upon realizing that there were so many lanterns around us and that the area was very very huge, we decided to take a video instead. HAHAHA You can watch our travel video here or watch the opening ceremony of this festival by clicking this link. 

Since this is a big annual festival, expect a verrrry big crowd too! 😀 Check our photo below, the struggle was indeed REAL! HAHAHA

I apologize if I didn’t take a lot of photos of the event. 😦 There were too many lanterns, huge crowd and everyone was in a hurry. We weren’t able to visit the whole place because we didn’t have much time and we have to catch the last trip of HSR to Taipei. But all the lanterns were great! There were fictional characters, Disney characters, anime, different animals and insects, international tourist spots and many more! The kids would surely love it! 🙂 You may check more photos of the lanterns on this page. 

Before ending this post, I wanna confess something. HAHAHA This wasn’t actually the kind of lantern festival that we expected. 😦 What we really wanted to witness was the SKY LANTERN FESTIVAL (see photo below). And unfortunately, it happened in Pingxi on the same night that we were in Yunlin. 😦 I thought they would be both celebrated in Yunlin. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed our stay here. And it was a blessing in disguise that we were part of this grandest and historical event in Taiwan because of our false assumption. HAHAHA

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That’s all for DAY 2. 🙂 Thanks for reading! :*

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.

 

 

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DAY 1 of 5 Days 4 Nights in Taiwan : Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, 228 Peace Memorial Park, Taipei 101 and Ximending Night Market

Hello my dear readers! 🙂

I hope you’ve already read my comprehensive Taiwan Travel Guide. Chos! 😉

DAY 0

Our flight number to Taipei was 5J310 via Cebu Pacific (NAIA Terminal 3). Our departure time was 10:00 in the evening with 2 hrs and 25 minutes travel time. But upon checking their website earlier, they adjusted the departure time to 11:40 in the evening. We bought our round trip tickets for P21, 600 and that was for four passengers. So, ’twas P5,400 per person. I was with my sizzies! 🙂 #4ne1inTaiwan HAHAHA

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Since our arrival time in Taiwan was around 00:30 am, we asked our AirBnb host to book a rent-a-car service for us. We paid NTD1,300 (P2,200) for the van rental which was good for 8 persons. Sorry I can’t give you his contact number. I already uninstalled my WeChat. 😦 Btw, Line and WeChat are the most commonly used messaging apps in Taiwan. Taipei is an hour away from Taoyuan Aiport so I highly suggest the car rental service if you’re arriving late at night for your safety and convenience.

You may avail the following airport transfers online:

Taoyuan Airport Carpool Transfers

Sedan Taoyuan Airport Transfers (4 persons)

Luxury Taoyuan Airport Transfers (4 to 8 persons)

The following are the actual pictures of our AirBnb during our stay.

 

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The picture above is the landmark of our AirBnb. The building is quite old but the room is nice and it has a good location too. Click here for more details.

DAY 1

We started this day with a savory breakfast at Dr. Guo Stinky Pot. Price ranges from NTD120 (P200) to NTD160 (P270) per serving. I ordered seafood pot. Yum! 🙂

 

 

The nearest station to our accommodation is Zhongshan Elementary School. And the first tourist spot for our Day 1 was Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

Zhongshan Elementary School Station -> Minquan W. Rd. Station -> Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station (Exit 5)

Total fare: NTD20 (P33)

I mentioned in my travel guide that most of their train stations are named after different tourist spots. And that’s one thing I like about Taiwan, it’s very tourist-friendly. 🙂 You may check the Taipei Metro Map here.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument and tourist attraction that was built in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China. It opens daily from 9am to 6pm and the entrance fee is FREE. 😉

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Our next stop was Peace park.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station -> NTU Hospital Station (Exit 1)

Fare: NTD15 (P25)

But we didn’t take the subway, we just walked. 🙂 Entrance fee is FREE. It is open 24/7.

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228 Peace Memorial Park was dedicated to the victims of 2.28 incident or also known as the February 28 massacre which killed thousands of civilians. The picture below is called the Tribute wall or the Memorial wall.

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Fourth stop was the third tallest building in the world, Taipei 101. 

NTU Hospital Station – > Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station -> Taipei 101 / World Trade Center Station (Exit 4)

Total Fare: NTD25 (P42)

We purchased our Taipei 101 observatory tickets online. The regular price is NTD600 (P1,010) but we bought it for only NTD511 (P861) each. Click here to avail this discounted ticket. Taipei 101 observatory is open from 9am to 10pm daily (last admission is 9:15pm).

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Taipei 101 observatory gives you an amazing 360-degree view of Taipei. But going to the 89th floor requires an exhilarating ride on the world’s second fastest elevator. I usually visit skyscrapers at night because I love city lights. We weren’t able to take good photos because you need to see the incredible view with your own eyes. 😀

Last stop for Day 1 was the Ximending night market. There are so many night markets in Taiwan and one of the famous ones is Ximending.

Taipei 101 / World Trade Center Station -> Ximen (Exit 6)

Fare: 20NTD (P34)

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We had our dinner at KFC! 😀 Meal for 4 people costs NTD660 (P1,110). I don’t like their fries. But I love their egg tarts! So delish! 🙂 I hope they will also sell them here in the Philippines. 😦

 

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I highly recommend torched beef!!! 🙂 So yummy yummy yummy wow! 😀 I’m planning to put up this kind of street food biz here in our country but I think Kwek-kwek will be my major competitor. HAHA

That’s all for Day 1! 🙂 If  you’re not that busy, kindly watch our Taiwan travel video entitled “4ne1 in Taiwan” by clicking the image below. Xie xie! 😀

Xoxo,

Kulit.

Taiwan Travel Guide

It has been almost a year since I went to Taiwan. My apologies for this extremely late post. 😦 My old lappy got damaged so I bought a new one just few weeks ago. However, I’ve been quite busy with public service these past few days. Wow. Public service! 😀 Well, enough with all my excuses. HAHAHA

If you ask a Filipino where would s/he like to go, Taiwan would surely be a very unusual answer. Within Asia, most Filipinos prefer Hongkong, Japan or Korea. Taiwan is actually the 8th country in Asia I’ve been to because I honestly thought it doesn’t have much to offer. It’s a very small country and before I went there, the only thing I know or I can associate with Taiwan is… (drum roll please) Meteor Garden! (singing) Oh baby baby baby, my baby baby. Wo jue bu neng shi qu ni. Ni shou xin, ni sheng ying. Hai zhan lin wo de xin zen neng wang ji. Xiang ni jiu xiang shi hu xi. Bet you just sang it! HAHAHA 😀

AIRLINE. The following are the airlines that offer direct flights from Manila to Taiwan and vv:
air asiaPalCeb Pac

Eva airchina airlines logo

While from Cebu to Taiwan and vv:

air asiaCeb PacEva air

Lastly, from Puerto Prinsesa to Taiwan and vv:

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Among these airlines, the cheapest one is Air Asia but I wasn’t able to catch the promo fare for Taiwan because I was on another trip that time and mobile data sucks so I lost the battle. LOL But Cebu Pacific announced their seat sale weeks later and as luck would have it, I grabbed four seats for P21,000 something so that’s roughly P5,250 each for a round-trip ticket. Not bad, right?

Our departure flight was 5J310 which embarks at 10:00 pm while our return flight was 5J311 which departs from Taiwan at 01:25 am. Approximate travel time from Manila to Taiwan is 2 hours and 15 minutes.

VISA APPLICATION.

Starting from November 1, 2017, Philippine passport holders who intend to visit Taiwan for the purpose of tourism, business, visiting relatives, attending functions or events can enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan for a duration of stay up to 14 days. This visa-free initiative shall undergo a 9-month trial period until July 31, 2018 as part of Taiwan’s goodwill and efforts of the “New Southbound Policy” to build closer people-to-people exchange of visits and an economic community between Taiwan and the Philippines. (Source)

Upon the implementation of the foregoing, Visa-Exempt Certificate (Travel Authorization Certificate – holders of visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States ) and E-Visa (Online visa) are no longer applicable for Filipinos.

To enjoy the visa-free entry, a Filipino visitor must have a passport with remaining validity of at least six months (diplomatic and official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment); a return ticket or a ticket with visa if needed for the next destination; no criminal record in Taiwan; and a proof of accommodation. If I may add, you should not also have a criminal record here in the Philippines because you might be in the Watch List Order (WLO) or Hold Departure Order (HDO) list of the Philippine Immigration. Duhh, obviously. 😀

Those who intend to stay for more than 14 days to study, work or do other activities are required to obtain the appropriate visas before entering Taiwan. For more details, visit the official website of Taiwan Cultural and Economic Office in the Philippines.

TRANSPORTATION. Taipei, for me, has the most tourist-friendly transportation. Majority of their train stations are named after nearby tourist spots. For example, if you wanna go to Taipei Zoo, just alight at Taipei Zoo station. Or if you wanna visit Longshan Temple, simply take the train to Longshan Temple station. Highly impossible for you to get lost, right? LOL
Metro Taipei Map

I suggest you download Taiwan or Taipei train apps or use Google Maps. 😉

TIME.  UTC/GMT +8 hours. Taiwan has the same time zone with Philippines.

SEASONS. Winter: December to February; Spring: March to May; Summer: June to September and Autumn: October to November. April is the best month to visit Taiwan because it’s not so humid and not as hot as it gets during summer. Furthermore, it is when Taiwanese celebrate one of their major festivals: the birthday of goddess Mazu who is the Chinese patron goddess of the sea. Nonetheless, if you want to witness Lantern Festival which is celebrated annually to mark the grand finale of the Chinese New Year celebrations, February should be your choice (exact date varies every year, kindly tap Google). On this month, you’ll also be able to experience the  internationally famed Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.

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(Photo credit)

ACCOMMODATION. I always prefer AirBnb over hotels because of its convenient location, cheaper rate, household amenities and interaction with the host or owner. Also, it lets me live like a local. 🙂

Our host for Taipei was Henry. He was very helpful and friendly. The price of the room per night is around P2,500 and it can already accommodate 4 adults. The building is kinda old but the room is cozy and squeaky-clean. It’s conveniently located near Zhongshan Elementary School Station (Exit 4). But the best thing here is the free pocket wifi! We brought it with us during our entire trip in Taiwan. I gave Henry five stars for that! HAHA Check his space here.

AirBnb taiwan

 

LANGUAGE. The struggle was undeniably real. HUHU Most of them can’t understand English. So as tourists, of course we have to adjust. 😀 Google translate to the rescue! Travel tip: there are many tsinoys in the Philippines and I’m pretty certain you have even just one tsinoy friend, so you might as well tag him along. Just make sure s/he speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese though. LOL

NEW TAIWAN DOLLAR. 1 New Taiwan Dollar equals 1.71 Philippine Peso. I bought my NTDs at NAIA Terminal 2 Currency Exchange (arrival area). Not sure though if it’s cheaper than others.

ELECTRICAL PLUGS OR SOCKETS. They are using types A and B. Type A is a two flat identical sized parallel prongs and this is what they mainly use while type B is a two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin.  In the Philippines, we also use Type A so you no longer need to bring an adapter. 🙂

WI-FI. During our entire trip, we weren’t able to connect to any Wi-Fi networks in public places such as malls or restaurants. But they have Taipei Free Public Wi-Fi Access where you have to apply or sign up for a free account before you may enjoy the free service. For more details, kindly visit their page. In our case, like I mentioned earlier, we have pocket Wi-Fi from our AirBnb so updating our followers was no biggie at all. LOL You may rent a 4G pocket wifi at the airport and for enhanced connectivity, purchase a 4G sim card. 

EASY CARD. EasyCard is a ‘touch-and-go’ IC ticketing system for Taipei Metro, bus services, designated car parks, convenience stores, zoos, museums, Ubikes, Maokong Gondola and government agencies. For a complete list of its accredited shops or services, visit their official website. An EasyCard can be used for years and any unused cash can be refunded. Its main goal is to allow locals and tourists to travel throughout Taiwan with only one card.  This card costs NTD100 (P100) and you can deposit an amount up to NTD10,000 (P17,100). EasyCard can be purchased at any convenience stores or any information counters in all Taipei Metro stations.

Easy Card

TAIPEI PASS. Taipei Pass is a “touch-and-go ” IC ticket for transport in Taipei. Holders of a valid Taipei Pass can use it for unlimited rides on Taipei Metro and on Taipei City and New Taipei City buses. One-day pass costs NTD180 (P308). This is available at any information counter in all Taipei Metro stations. For more details, visit their official page. 

taipei pass

taipei pass price

YOUBIKE (UBIKE). UBike uses an unmanned automated management system to provide a bike rental service. It allows commuters to rent from one station and return at another. You may use your EasyCard to rent a Ubike. The rates are the following: NTD10 (P17) per 30 mins. within the first 4 hours, NTD20 (P34) per 30 mins between 4 to 8 hours and NTD40 (P68) per 30min exceeding 8 hours.

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NIGHT MARKETS. Experience best nightlife in Taiwan in their food markets. There are more than 100 night markets in Taiwan where you can try their local specialty and street food, shop until you drop and buy great souvenir items. My favorite street food is TORCHED BEEF! Some of the famous night markets are Shilin, Raohe and Ximending.

 

That’s all for now, dearest! 😉 I will share my daily itineraries on my next posts. Xie xie! :*

Watch the teaser for our travel video by clicking the image/link below! 🙂

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Here’s our full travel video entitled “4ne1 in Taiwan”. 😀

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Xoxo,

Kulit.