Taiwan Trip 2019 – A VISA-FREE Couple Travel Date

We wanted to take advantage of the VISA-FREE trip to Taiwan this year; 2019. The announcement of the VISA-FREE trip was effective until July 31, 2019 only. I booked our trip to Taipei by May 2019 for June 2019 travel. Sometime in June another announcement was made that the privilege of Filipinos to travel in Taiwan VISA-FREE was extended until July 31, 2020. So, hurry now and take this opportunity!

I am close to being an OC (Obsessive Compulsive) kind of person, so, everything has to be prepared and planned in advance. I want it to be almost perfect (if not perfect). See below the pointers in your travel just like what we did or you can personalize.

Helpful websites

  1. Agoda – for the hotel booking with discounts
  2. Skyscanner – for the round trip air fare with many choices
  3. Klook – travel package, entrance tickets
  4. Several blogs and YouTube vlogs about Taiwan travel – for tips, ideas and suggestions

Planning  our trip

  1. Leave from work was filed to make sure there will be no conflicts.
  2. Booked early the air fare to have choices for lower rates. Round trip tickets to and from your choice of destination. We chose Clark International Airport, less congested and best optioninn terms of proximity from our residence. Fast travel time, because there was no heavy traffic.
  3. Booked the hotel where we are going to stay for the duration of our travel date.
  4. Planned our itinerary for the entire trip.
  5. Checked the weather in Taiwan and specific other destinations.
  6. Made a list of the stuff we needed to bring such as clothes, gadgets, travel documents,  etc.
  7. Read travel blogs and watch travel vlogs in Taiwan specifically our choice tourist spots.
  8. Booked necessary tickets, wifi device, or tour on Klook
  9. Checked-in early and printed the boarding pass so, less hassle in queue at the airport
  10. Activated debit/credit cards by calling bank’s customer service.

Useful links through Klook

4G Wifi Taiwan Pick-up 

Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Shuttle Bus from Ximen (with Tour Conductor) 

Yehliu Geopark Admission Ticket 

THSR One Way Ticket to or from Taichung 

Taipei 101 Observatory E-Ticket 

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village Day Trip 

Taipei Double Decker Bus 

Taipei at Night with Din Tai Fung Dinner 

Taipei Pub Crawl 

Departure day

  1. Bring passports (most important)
  2. Bring boarding pass (also important)
  3. Check the list of “to bring”
  4. Secure the bags/luggage
  5. Bring debit/credit cards and cash
  6. Give 3 hours allowance before your flight schedule
  7. Bring cash for Terminal fee and Travel Tax to be paid at the airport

At Taiwan Airport

  1. Queue to immigration
  2. Claim the luggage
  3. Pick up wi-fi device (if any) (a must)
  4. Buy train ticket from airport to hotel destination
  5. Check-in at the hotel
  6. Follow itinerary

For complete tips and suggestions from our Taiwan trip, you may watch our YouTube video. Please support us by hitting SUBSCRIBE and the BELL ICON at youtube.com/c/TEAMCADIZ

 

Places we visited in Taiwan

1. Ximending Night Market in Wanhua District

In my opinion, it is A MUST to visit the Ximending Night Market. Aside from food, clothes, milk tea, shoes, accessories, there are bags here. What I am talking about is the RobinMay brand original only from Taiwan. RobinMay bags are affordable and fashionable. I bought one bag on our first visit then bought again on our next visit. They accept credit cards. They do not ship to the Philippines. It is bestto buy one when you get there. Here, you can also find the most sought HOTSTAR. It was really good. Expect a queue. It is located on the ground floor where you can see KFC at the 2nd flr. Do not worry because there are lots of claw machines where you can spend time while waiting for your assigned number at HOTSTAR. The UNIQ-LO shop there is huge. You have lots of choices. There are also lots of coffee and milk tea shops. I saw a STARBUCKS shop, if you want to buy mugs or any souvenir item with Taiwan print. You can also buy luggage from different stall there. I heard it is cheap there.

2. Sun Moon Lake in Nantou Township

Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan. The name is inspired by the round-shaped lake on the east side and the long and narrow lake on the west side just like the crescent moon. It is said to be in-demand, it is safer to book their hotels early. Taichung is the train station to go if you are from Taipei. We tried the High Speed Rail to shorten the trip. It would take 3.5 hours if you will take the usual train. Through THSR, we saved half of the travel time. We purchased Klook voucher here. You can have it one way or round trip. From Taichung, took a bus to Ita Thao (pier area going to Sun Moon Lake). We purschased our package tickets at Taichung. In Ita Thao, we took a boat going to Sun Moon Lake. There are a lot of activities which you and your family can enjoy. Some takes 2 days to roam around and use the packaged ticket. What we love there was the SML Ropeway. Choose the Crystal Cabin when you get there. There is also Formosan Aboroginal Culture Village which you can access through ropeway. It is a themed park with rides and shops. We did not get that package since we were not with our kids. You can watch our experience here.

3. Shilin Night Market in Shilin District

We were hungry, and the next night market to visit is Shilin. It opens from afternoon to late night. We found different stalls of food, souvenirs, game area, funky stuff, clothes and others. Milk tea? You can see a lot from left and right. I also saw TIGER SUGAR. I love boba. There was slight waiting time, but understood. I suggest, buy stuff you want to bring back home. It is cheaper compared to other spots we had been. We had Shrimp Thermidor for dinner. Good thing, this stall has a space for tables and chairs, and they have rice! You will  miss rice a bit in Taiwan.

4. Yehliu Geopark at Wanli District

Yehliu Geopark is like a garden with different rock formation. As a cactus and succulent enthusiast, I was able to see Lithops or Living stones. Get a map from the admission office to learn which rock formation it is and where exactly. I strongly suggest to go directly to the Queen’s head. There is a line to take a picture with its rock formation. Then, stroll anywhere after. Depends on the weather, but an umbrella is a must as well, rain or shine. Watch our tour here.

5. Yin Yang Sea in Ruifang District

Yin and Yang is a Chinese principle of natural concept of duality. The sea is a  mix of colors blue and yellow. It is a local belief that the coloration of the sea was due to the pollution of mining activities from the past. Therefore, it is not recommended to go near the water. We had few minutes of picture taking from across the road where the 13 Remains is located. It used to be a copper and gold smelter plant.

6. Golden Waterfalls in Ruifang District

Just like its name, Golden Waterfalls is golden on color from afar. It is also not safe to come near as it may contain toxic chemicals from the past mining activities. But, it is a very relaxing scene to witness and hear as the water falls down.

7. Jiufen Old Village in Ruifang District

The Jiufen Old Village became more popular in 2001 when the movie Spirited Away resembles the location with No Face as the ghost. It was the mountain village of gold miners from the past. As we went there, its is a narrow alley with lots of tea houses, food stalls, souvenir shops, and others can be found. Free tastes tea and food were from left and right. We enjoyed our lunch there as well with authentic Taiwanese food.

8. Shifen Waterfalls in Pingxi District

There is a train station down the waterfall which was built along side the Shifen Old Streets for coal transport. Today, it serves as a reminder of Taiwan’s history. It was another calming experience to witness the water falls down and create a rainbow effect. We had snack and a drink as we listen to the sounds of the falls.

9. Shifen Old Street in Pingxi District

This is my favorite part in our Taiwan trip. I have always wanted to fly a lantern. I was mesmerized by the sky lantern. Our Taiwan tour made it come true. My husband and I wrote our wishes. There are 4 sides available. The staff of the stall will be the one too take your pictures and video as you fly the lantern. Colors will be given with different symbolism. We picked color red.

10. Raohe Night Market in Songshan District

It was a rainy night then. We had a hard time though we brought our own umbrellas. Stalls of food, clothes, toys and gadgets can be found there as well. but I like Ximending better. So, we head back to Ximending night market after Raohe.

11. Taipei 101 in Xinyi District

The Guinness World Record 101 storey building. The Observatory Deck recommended visiting time is late afternoon. You will have a scenic view of day and night. The time we were there, it was cloudy. We decided not to go up, where you can purchase the ticket on the 5th floor. We will not be able to view the breath taking view from above. The mall has a number of branded boutiques to choose from. Watch our tour here.

12. Din Tai Fung inside Taipei 101

Xiao long bao is the star of Din Tai Fung. We had our lunch there. Din Tai Fung has resrtaurant branches in Metro Manila, but we planned to dine in Taiwan first to taste its authenticity. Expect a queue when you get there. Make it earlier. Food and service are 5 stars for me. Will definitely visit those in the Philippines.

13. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Zhongzheng District, Taipei

CKS Hall was built in memoriam of the first president of the Republic of China; Chiang Kai Shek. You can witness the changing of the guards on hourly interval. The building is amazing and the garden is wonderful.

14. National Theater and National Concert Hall in Zhongzheng District, Taipei

Both are performing arts venue in Taipei. These 2 venues were designed like a Chinese traditional palace located inside the Liberty square. There are also cultural gallery and performing arts library where tourists can visit.

Our tour was short because of our obligations back in the Philippines. But, we really enjoyed each day spent in Taiwan. Memorable experience indeed.

Comment your experience in Taiwan and if we were able to help you with our Taiwan travel tips.

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Art in Island, Awesome!!!

Art in Island is an Interactive 3-Dimensional Art Museum. It just opened in the Philippines last December 25, 2014. According to the Philstar.com there were 14 Korean artists who worked on the paintings in just 4 months. I bet they gave their best effort to give the Filipinos a master work of art for selfies, family and friend’s portrait. Their style of Illusion art is what made every painting exquisite. As I have seen on one of their walls; “Illusions are images that are deceptive and misleading. Combining it with art creates the impression of a 3-Dimensional object in a flat surface.” You can interact with the objects, step on it, touch it, hold it, catch it, push it, pull it, and other actions that you can think of. As oppose to other museums that prohibit picture taking. The visitors become the directors, producers, actors and audience of their own story of the image. The Trick Art Museum in Jeju Island, South Korea is the largest trick art museum. Thank you to the Korean native and Art in Island CEO Yun Jae Kyoung for putting up the biggest 3D Museum in  Asia (biggest in terms of total painted area) with 3,800 sq meter here in the Philippines.

The interest to visit Art in Island started when I saw the March promo of 50% off for 300 Facebook likes. I did all the effort to achieve the 300 likes and a friend’s (Mabee) advice to seek help from active likers group. (Thank you guys!) *Entrance fee for adult is PhP 500 and PhP 400 for students (do not forget your school id). There is 20% off for Persons with disability and Senior Citizens. Children below 3ft. are FREE of charge.

At the entrance, the staff instructed us to leave our shoes then they gave us a corresponding number of the tray with our footwear. That is to protect the art pieces since the paintings are also on the floor. Since I did a research, I brought a pair of black socks for each one of us. So we do not have to walk on our barefoot. No food and drinks allowed. No tripods. No camera flash. But you can temporarily go out of the building if you want to grab a snack or drinks at the parking area. They will stamp on your arm your temporary pass. Though there is a cafeteria at the 2nd floor and at the exit.

I won’t make this any longer.. I am so excited to share the fun we had with my family when we were there. It took us almost 3 hours to finish the tour. It was tiring that we opted to rest for a while before we continued the picture galore but over-all it was enjoyable. Try to visit Art in Island to experience the same. Until now I am in awe of the art works we witnessed.

Aquatic and Jungle Animals

Famous personalities and Van Gogh art works

Adam and Eve; Good or Bad

Falling/Hanging/Floating illusion – Going European

Religious Murals

Snowy and Christmas Theme

Mirror effects/Cuteness/Love

Magazine Mural

Damsel in Distress

Hero and Villain

Cafeteria and Exit

BE PART OF ART! Since it was a Korean Day, we had lunch at Kogi Bulgogi  in Gateway Mall. Well spent money and time with my family!

Art in Island Info:

Operating Hours: Tuesdays – Sundays and Holidays 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Address: 175 15th Ave. Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City 1109

Telephone No.: (02) 421-1356

E-mail add: artinisland@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/artinisland

Twitter: www.twitter.com/artinisland

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/artinisland