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:
While from Cebu to Taiwan and vv:
Lastly, from Puerto Prinsesa to Taiwan and vv:
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.
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New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States ) and E-Visa (Online visa) are no longer applicable for Filipinos.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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
Here’s our full travel video entitled “4ne1 in Taiwan”. 😀