I had the chance to visit this interesting country last October and I have gathered some tips and reminders that may help you out.
Here are some Taiwan travel tips for Filipinos who are traveling to Taiwan for the first time.
-Book things you can book online in advance like train tickets, entrance tickets etc this not only saves time, it also saves money. We used Klook for this and is very convenient. If you don’t have a Klook.com account yet, click on the link below.
-Exchange Philippine Peso to Taiwan Dollars here in the Philippines. Make sure you have smaller bills like hundreds so you can purchase your easycard for the train or bus. The machine does not give out change so if you feed it 1,000 NTD it will load everything on the card.
-If you run out of Taiwan Dollars in the middle of your trip, Songshan Airport is the place to go. We have checked banks outside of the airport and none of them changes Php to NTD. The Taoyuan airport is a bit far so your best bet is Songshan Airport which you can reach by riding the Brown Line of the MRT. Songshan airport has its own MRT station.
-If you’re going to Cingjing Farm make sure to book your train tickets ahead of time. We booked our THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) one way ticket through Klook weeks before our travel to Taiwan. You not only save some bucks, you also save time from lining up to buy tickets. Since THSR is a bit expensive, you may opt for the slower version which is the TRA (Taiwan Railway). TRA takes about 2 hours from Taipei Main Station to Taichung. Check out the link below.
-Another tip if you’re going to Cingjing Farm, depart Taipei early. If you’re riding the THSR it takes 1 hour, if you’re riding the Taiwan rail, it takes more than 2 hours. After the train ride, you still have to ride the bus for 2 hours more to get to the farm.
-One more tip for visiting Cingjing Farm, the Nantou Bus that you will ride from the Taichung Train station has a promo you can avail. This includes the bus ride to and from the farm as well as the entrance fee to the farm. It is 600NTD and you can ride any Nantou Bus going back to the train station. Head on to Exit 5 of the THSR Taichung station if you rode this train.
-Going to the Tamsui Love Bridge from Tamsui MRT station, ride the Ferry to the Fisherman’s Wharf where the bridge is located. The ferry terminal is along the Tamsui Old St. There are 2 ticket booths, the first one you will see, with lots of people in line travels to Bali, the island opposite. Walk further and you will see another ticket booth with no queue (when we rode it there was no queue), you can ride this ferry. The ferry costs 60 NTD one way and you can use your easycard to pay.
-For travelers who would arrive in Taipei in the middle of the night like we did, there is an automatic machine where you can purchase the easycard. Just go down to where the buses are (you can see the sign on the arrival area that says “Bus”) and you will see the machine on the side just before the bus ticket booths.
-I would suggest you buy an easycard if you will use the MRT and buses frequently because the fares using this card is discounted and you will save more. There is a 100NTD fee for the card. This is non-refundable so you have to still load the card once you purchase it.
-When we were there, Oct 18-25, most of the days were raining so make sure to bring umbrellas. It’s also cold, about 22 degrees Celsius so make sure to bring jackets with you.
-Most of the menus on the food courts do not have English translations so this is a bit hard and most of the staff and people there do not speak English. Some menus have numbers on them so you can use it to place your order.
-There’s no spoon and fork on these food courts or anywhere so if you don’t know how to use a chopstick, learn or bring spoon and fork with you.
-On train stations while waiting for the train, there is a particular line or mark on the floor where you have to queue, make sure to stand on the correct side.
-On the trains there are seats for the elderly and disabled and people with children, if you observe around, even if there are no seats anymore, people do not occupy them, they would rather stand so make sure to take note of this.
-On escalators, stand on the right if you are not in a hurry.
-When you are transferring to a different train line on an interchange, there is no need to go out or tap your easycard, there are signs to direct you to the particular train and you only have to tap your card when you get to your destination station (If you have been so Singapore or HongKong, this is just the same).
-If you want some fastfood, there’s a bunch of Mcdonalds around and some KFC. 7-11 also offers a wide range of rice meals, buns and sandwiches so if you get hungry in the middle of the night, just head to one.
-Malls in Taiwan open late, around 11am so if you’re going to one, put something, like a park early morning in your schedule so you don’t waste time waiting.
-Tourist spots like the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and the Taipei 101 are best visited both day and night so if you have time, come back and take a look.
-If you are taking the taxi to your chosen accommodation, make sure to print the address in Chinese to show to the driver, like I said English is not spoken widely. It would also help to get instructions, landmarks and directions in Chinese from your accommodation to help the taxi driver find the place.
– Print everything you can print, itineraries, travel documents, hotel or hostel reservation details, vouchers. You wouldn’t know when your phone or tablet will run out of battery so it’s still best to have a printed copy of everything.
-Although Taipei has free wifi on train stations, buses and certain establishments, it is still best to get a local sim card. We didn’t get one so I know how hard it is when you’re looking for directions and you can’t connect to the free wifi. Klook has discounted 4g sim cards that you can pick up at the aiport. Just make sure your phone is open line or else it won’t work.
Here is a Klook deal for a 4G sim card that you can pick up at the airport upon arrival. Make sure to bring another ID aside from your passport to present when claiming the sim card.
-2 Chinese phrases you will hear often and what they mean: Xie Xie or Xie Xie Ni means Thank You and Ni Hao or Ni Hao Ma is Hello.
-Make sure to visit the Taipei zoo on weekdays as weekends are crowded. You can use your easycard to pay for the entrance. Inside the zoo there is a tram or train that can bring you to the top most part of the place. It’s 5 NTD one way, you can also use your easycard for this. Ride it going up then just stroll back down while enjoying the animals on the way. Don’t forget to stop by the pandas.
-These places are near each other (some are walking distance) so take note when creating your itinerary.
Taipei 101, Elephant Mountain, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Breeze Mall (not the one near the Taipei Main Station), Bellavita Mall, Eslite Bookstore, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall, Core Pacific Living Mall
Taipei Zoo and the Maokong Gondola (Cable Car)
Miramar Entertainment Park and Jiannan Butterfly Trail
Daan Forest Park and National Taiwan University
Raohe Night Market, Wu Fen Pu and Rainbow Bridge
Tamsui Old St. and Ferry (15 mins) or Bus ride to Tamsui Love Bridge
Longshan Temple is on the same Blue MRT line (1 station) as Ximending Youth District in Ximen
– Jiufen and Shifen are on the same direction so you can go to one and then the other after. Jiufen is said to be the inspiration for the animated Japanese film Spirited Away so make sure to check it out. Below is a link to conveniently travel to these places. As these are already outside Taipei and you have to ride the train for about an hour, Klook has a tour package that will take you to Shifen and Jiufen on an aircon bus and then you are free to do your own activities. It will take you back to the city afterwards.
I would suggest getting the afternoon tour schedule as Jiufen is really beautiful at night.
Check out the Klook Jiufen Shifen Package here.
– Here are some Klook deals which are useful to save you time and money on entrance fees to famous tourist attractions.
Leofoo Village Theme Park (If you have watched the Taiwanese Drama “Bromance”, this is where the drama was mostly shot) –
Check out the discounted tickets here.
You can find other exciting Taiwan deals here.
Or you can use the search box below:
If you don’t have a credit card to book these deals from Klook, check out my article on how to get a Paymaya Visa Debit Card for free here.
That’s it! I hope these tips can help you enjoy Taiwan even more. If you guys have more tips to add, hit up the comments section. Happy trip 🙂
Disclosure: Klook affiliate links on article.