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Monday, October 23, 2017

Taiwan Travel Guide




Taipei City from Elephant Mountain

My Taiwan Blog will be divided into the following:
a. Taiwan Travel Guide (below)
c. Places to Visit in Taiwan
  1 Taipei
  2 Taichung
      - Taichung Travel Guide
      - Sun Moon Lake Travel Guide

Visa for Filipinos
Starting November 1, 2017, Filipinos/Philippine Passport Holder can now enjoy a Visa-Free entry to Taiwan (tourism, business, visiting relative, attending functions) for a duration stay of up to 14 days. This visa-free initiative shall undergo a 9-month trial period until July 31, 2018.

Basic Requirements:
1    -  Passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from date of arrival in Taiwan
      -  Applicant must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket
      -  No criminal record in Taiwan
      -  Proof of accommodation

Those who intend to stay for more than 14 days to study, work or do missionary work and other activites are required to obtain the appropriate visas before entering Taiwan.

For further reference, click here.
Taiwan's sky line viewed from plane

How to Reach Taiwan from Manila
During my visit in Taiwan, I flew via Cebu Pacific. I got mine on promo for PHP 2,000 (RT). This excludes check-in baggage fee, meals and travel tax. Other airlines such as Airasia and Pal offers flights to Taiwan as well. You may check the airlines’ website to compare rates.

Climate in Taiwan
Spring – March to May
Summer – June to August
Autumn – September to November
Winter – December to February

I visited Taiwan in October. The weather was windy and cold. It was raining in northern Taiwan and in Taipei while it was sunny & windy in Taichung.

Where to exchange your PHP
Taiwan uses New Taiwan Dollar. I had my PHP exchanged at Czarina Exchange. During the time of my visit the exchange rate is 1 NTD = 1.71 PHP

Czarina – 1 NTD = 1.85 NTD
NAIA T3 – 1 NTD = 1.89 NTD

There are also banks in Taoyuan Airport that are open 24/7 but with higher exchange rate.

You can use your credit cards at some establishment (i.e. railway station, bus terminals, restaurants) and the charge is the actual exchange rate plus 3%. You have to call your local bank beforehand.

FYI. For Czarina Exchange, you need to call their office to check if they have available NTDs and when is the best time to pick it up.
Jiefun Old Street

How to get out of Taoyuan Airport
Taoyuan International Aiport is Taiwan’s largest airport located in Tauyuan County.
Kindly note that Taoyuan Airport has two Terminals. Terminal  1 and Terminal 2. There are three ways to get out of the airport.

      - Airport MRT
First Train is at 6:00AM. You can either choose the Express Train (violet) which has lesser stops or the Commuter Train (blue). Fare is 160NTD. You can pay using Easy card, Ipass and HappyCash. Those who do not have an electronic ticket can purchase one at the Airport MRT Station.

I used the Express Train and travel time to Taipei Main Station was approximately  45 mins.

      - Bus
Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport 1819 
Route: Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station
Fare: NTD 125 with 7 stops
Business Hours: 00:10 - 23:55
Trip length: One hour with 7 stops
Intervals: 15-20 minutes


For further reference, click here. 

Evergreen Bus 5201 Bus
Fare: NTD 124
Business hours: 06:15 – 00:30
Trip Length: 40-50 minutes
  
For further reference, click hereReference: 



      Ticketing: Tickets sold at bus counters.
      Terminal 1 bus pickup point: Bus pickup zone at B1 Arrivals
      Terminal 2 bus pickup point: Bus pickup zone at the northeast arcade of the 1st floor Arrivals lobby

     Other info regarding buses in Taoyuan Aiport, click here

      - Taxi/Hire a Car
Taxis are located at the west side of the terminal 1’s and terminal 2’s Arrivals Lobby. Taxi fare is based on meter, highway tolls are not included.
Approx Fare: NTD 1,000


For further info about Taoyuan Airport, click here
Lavanders at Chungshe Flower Garden

How to get around Taiwan
As with getting out of the Taoyuan Airport, you can get around in Taiwan using bus, train or taxis.

Buying Easycard will make your transfers easy.

Where to buy Easy Card
Easy Card is a touch-and-go IC Ticketing system for the Taipei Metro, bus services, car parks, stores and government agencies. You can get one from the convenience store in the basement of the arrival hall. The card itself cost NTD 100 and you have to top it up to add value to the card. You can top it up at vending machines, stores and information area of the metro station.

If at the end of your trip, you have remaining balance on your card. You can have it refunded at the information area of the metro station. You can also opt to keep it and use it again. These cards have a validity of 20 years.

Reference: https://www.easycard.com.tw/english/easycard/index.asp

Pocket Wifi
Pocket Wifi is an essential in Taiwan! Most of the people do not know how to speak English so Google Translate is there to save the day.

I used Klook to reserve for a pocket wifi for only PHP 625 for 5 days!

- Provided by one of Taiwan's biggest providers for access all over Taiwan
- Unlimited data of 4G Wifi
- 8 hours battery life on one charge
- Can connect up to 5 devices at once
- Convenient pick-up and return at Taipei Taoyuan, Songshan or Kaohsiung airports
- Drop-off at the same booth even after business hours
- Business hours: 05:30 - 01:30

You will need credit card details to check out the device. 

For Pocket Wifi Rental, click here.
Xinshe Castle at Summer Garden Resort

Lockers
 In cases where you have your baggage with you, you can leave them at MRT Station. I left my bag at Taipei Main Station and got it back after my Taiwan North Tour. The lockers are coin operated. You can exchange your bills at the coin vending machine nearby. Also, the fee depends on the size of the lockers. The service hours are the same as the station operation hours (except Tamsui Station)
The lockers generate a single-use electronic PIN. Be sure not to lose this. I took a photo of my password just in case I lost it. Usage under one hour is considered one hour. The maximum rental period is 1 day (24 hhours). After 24 hours, the PIN will become void and the items will be removed from the locker company to another location and stored for a maximum period of 30 days for a fee equivalent to the rate of the locker fees. Items not retrieved within 30 days will be disposed of.

Lockers info here

If you get to Taiwan by Midnight
I arrived in Taoyuan Airport at midnight. Though there are buses/taxis that would take you Taipei, most of the tourist attraction are still closed that time. Instead of booking a hotel, I slept at the airport lounge. The airport have lounges with free charging and free wifi. Also, there are good comfort rooms and free warm and cold water at the airport.

As mentioned above, the Airport MRT opens at 6:00 AM.

Klook

For Wifi, and Taiwan tours I advise to use Klook for affordable packages.
Click here for travels, accommodations, transfers, tours, etc.
Sun Moon Lake viewed from Xuanguang Temple

Where to Stay
There are lots of hotel and hostels in Taiwan. You can use agoda, booking.com. etc. to search for accommodations that will suit you and your pocket.

I had hard time looking for one because some of them (those with lower cost) do not cater large group. So I guess, Taiwan is a backpacker haven! For larger group at a cheap fee, you can consider using Airbnb.

I booked Chance Hotel in Taichung and  used Airbnb in Taipei. Both were around PHP700 per night.

Time Difference
There is no time difference between the Philippines and Taiwan.
Rainbow Village

Taiwan uses military time
Most Taiwanese use military time. So when they say 05:00, it’s 5 AM. 😊

Language used in Taiwan
Majority of Taiwanese speak Mandarin Chinese and would not understand English and cannot read English alphabet. The most precious thing you can have would be your Google Translate app 😊
Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

1 comment:

  1. Special Holiday is Wholesale Tour Operator in India, recipient of National Tourism Award presented by H.E The President of India, International Quality Award from Europe & also World Travel Brand Award, to name few. We have our own transport fleet and offer most attractive deals for tour packages, hotels and car rentals.

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