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

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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.

ubikes

 

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.

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DAY 5 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and Tokyo Disney Sea

Hello guys! 🙂 Gomenasai!!! 😦 I’m so sorry for the late update. Got very busy with Korean drama. HAHAHA I just finished 10 series in two months!!! Whew! Can you now imagine those dark circles and shameless zits on my face? LOL

DAY 5

I love watching Disney movies. One of my childhood dreams was to have a Disney-inspired 18th birthday party and guess what??? It did not happen! 😀 So I told myself that I should visit any Disneyland theme park before reaching the age of 25. And guess what??? It also did not happen. HAHAHA Because I was already 25 when I went to Tokyo Disney Resort. LOL

Tokyo Disney Resort is a very huge theme park and resort located in Chiba, Japan. The nearest station to this place is JR Maihama. So from Kotake-mukaihara station, which is the nearest one to our accommodation, to Maihama, the following would be the route and total fare.

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440 yen (P200) – 50 minutes

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This resort was created on 1983 with Tokyo Disneyland as its only theme park and this was actually the first Disney theme park opened outside the United States. Amazing Japan! 😀 It was then developed into a resort with two theme parks and nine hotels (3 Disney hotels and 6 Non-Disney hotels). Can you just imagine how big this resort is?! WOW! Very amazing Japan! 😀 You may check the resort map here.

If you want a hassle-free Disney experience, click the following link to purchase online a Disneyland or DisneySea 1-day pass ticket (Direct entry at Disney)

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If money is not a problem, we should’ve visited both theme parks. But our fairy godmother was not with us that time so we need to choose just one. Of course we chose Disney Sea because it’s the ONLY Disney Sea in the world!!! LOL So for now, just let me have this picture Disneyland. HAHA But I promise to come back for you! :*

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If you were able to check the map, Disneyland is the nearest theme park to the resort entrance. You just have to walk. But since we chose DisneySea, we need to ride the beautiful Disney train. 🙂

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Click each photo to see the train ticket prices and guide map. 😉

We purchased a single train ticket for 260 yen (P120). But before heading to Disney Sea, we found a beautiful castellated hotel at the back of the main station. It’s the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel or TDH for short. 😀

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We really felt like we were inside a castle! 🙂 Everything is so beautiful. And while I was trying to find the room rates for this hotel, I found out that they offer four types of fantasy-filled rooms themed to the Disney characters!!! 🙂 This would undeniably give the guests especially the kids a very memorable stay and an unforgettable feeling as if they’ve stepped into a world of the Disney films. Wow! 😀

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Other guest rooms have designs of Mickey Mouse or other Disney character motifs. I know you’re curious about this… The price ranges from huhuhu to HUHUHUHUHUHUHU!!! 😀 Kidding aside, it’s from 37,000 yen to 100,000 yen (P17,000 to P45,000) based on average rates for a standard room. Whaaat?! Told yah! 😥

So now, let’s just proceed to the highlight of this day! 🙂 Where Adventure and Imagination Set Sail… The Disney Sea!!!

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This is one of the two iconic parts of the theme park – The DisneySea Aquasphere.

One day pass for adult is 7,400 yen (P3,350).

Check the DisneySea map here.

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There are coin-operated storage lockers inside and outside the park. The following is the list of prices:

  • Small 300 yen (P140)
  • Medium 400 yen (P180)
  • Large 500 yen (P230)
  • Extra Large 700 yen (P320)

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Before starting your tour, make sure to drop by the information board to know the list of attractions and the estimated waiting time for each ride. Don’t hesitate to ask these very friendly ladies anything about the park such as the schedule of parade and other shows, most thrilling ride and the like.

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Photo Credits to Curtis and Juanita (via Flickr)

This is Mount Prometheus, the second iconic part of DisneySea. It blows ball of fire every ten minutes, I guess, then you will hear screaming folks on a mining vehicle coming out from that hole you see on the right side part of the mountain. It’s the most famous attraction in the park so we decided to try it first. It’s called The Journey to the Center of the Earth which is part of the Mysterious Island.

Before entering the cave, you’ll already have an idea on how long the waiting time would be. In our case, we waited for almost two hours. 😦 If you bought an express pass, the waiting time would prolly be reduced to half.

Cameras are not allowed during the ride so allow me to somehow describe it. LOL. Well, ’twas really like a journey to the Earth’s core. You will see a lot of bizarre creatures, oozing lava and amazing smoke and light effects. To sum it up, it was such an incredible ride with a superb combination of light, sound and 4D effects. Def worth the wait! 😉

Time to feed the hungry creatures in New York Deli located in American Waterfront. I’m very much happy with their service! Here are the reasons why. First, the manager is very handsome. Second, he is really handsome. And lastly, did I already mention he’s so handsome? HAHAHA. Seriously, he granted our request of strictly no pork or any pork-related ingredients in our meal. He doesn’t speak English that well but we saw how he really tried to understand us. Aww, he’s so sweet. hahaha

1,300 yen (P585) 

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Second attraction, Hightower Hotel a.k.a Tower of Terror.

The queues here moved faster than the first one because the ride lasts for only 3 minutes. This is actually a drop tower dark ride with seven drops.

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Others would consider this as DisneySea’s most thrilling ride but for me it isn’t. Maybe because I’m already used to this kind of attraction. LOL You should still try this though and tell me about your experience! 😉

This is in Port Discovery but we were not able to enter the place because Broadway sounded a better idea. 🙂

Free reserved seat tickets are required to see Big Band Beat. The tickets are being distributed hours before the show or like in our case that day, we just queued outside the theater. If my memory serves me right, they perform only twice a day.

Big Band Beat is a group of talented singers and dancers. You get to witness amazing performances by the Disney friends and my favorite part of this 30-minute show is when Mickey Mouse was hitting the drums! HAHAHA It was just so cool to watch him playing those drums perfectly! 🙂 Please please make this a part of your DisneySea itinerary. 😉

I’m sorry but I forgot the name of this place but I guess it’s part of Mysterious Island.

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Toy Story Mania in American Waterfront. Not really a fan of this show so we stayed for a few minutes only.

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While waiting for Fantasmic to start, we explored  Mediterranean Harbor. 

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Fantasmic is a nighttime show that takes place on the waters of Mediterranean Harbor. It features Disney heroes, villains and princesses with amazing water effects, pyrotechnics, creative boat floats, lasers and fireworks. I am not sure if you have noticed it but I’ve been using the word “Amazing” for like a thousand times already. HAHAHA I find this word synonymous to “Japan”. LOL I was not able to take good pictures during the show so just wait for my Tokyo travel video instead. 🙂 These Fantasmic photos were taken from the official website of Tokyo Disney Resort.

Obviously, a day is not enough to explore this beautiful place. We visited only few parts of American Waterfront, Mediterranean Harbor and Mysterious Island. We haven’t been to Lost River Delta, Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast. 😦 We haven’t tried DisneySea Transit Steamer Line, Venetian Gondolas, Electric Railway, Big City Vehicles, Aquatopia and a lot more!!!! 😦

Among all the theme parks I’ve been to in Asia, Tokyo Disney Sea is the most amazing one! It brought me to a totally different world. Everything was meticulously designed. All the seven uniquely themed areas or ports of call can turn all your childhood imaginations into reality. Hats off to all those brilliant people behind this magical adventure! 🙂

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That’s all for DAY 5. Thank you for reading and I’m sincerely looking forward to hear your own amazing DisneySea experience! 😉

Xoxo,

Kulit.