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.
- Agoda – for the hotel booking with discounts
- Skyscanner – for the round trip air fare with many choices
- Klook – travel package, entrance tickets
- Several blogs and YouTube vlogs about Taiwan travel – for tips, ideas and suggestions
Planning our trip
- Leave from work was filed to make sure there will be no conflicts.
- 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.
- Booked the hotel where we are going to stay for the duration of our travel date.
- Planned our itinerary for the entire trip.
- Checked the weather in Taiwan and specific other destinations.
- Made a list of the stuff we needed to bring such as clothes, gadgets, travel documents, etc.
- Read travel blogs and watch travel vlogs in Taiwan specifically our choice tourist spots.
- Booked necessary tickets, wifi device, or tour on Klook
- Checked-in early and printed the boarding pass so, less hassle in queue at the airport
- Activated debit/credit cards by calling bank’s customer service.
Useful links through Klook
- Bring passports (most important)
- Bring boarding pass (also important)
- Check the list of “to bring”
- Secure the bags/luggage
- Bring debit/credit cards and cash
- Give 3 hours allowance before your flight schedule
- Bring cash for Terminal fee and Travel Tax to be paid at the airport
At Taiwan Airport
- Queue to immigration
- Claim the luggage
- Pick up wi-fi device (if any) (a must)
- Buy train ticket from airport to hotel destination
- Check-in at the hotel
- 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.