Taipei, Taiwan: 4D – 3N Itinerary

Taiwan was never one of the coutries I prioritize to visit. There were only few blogs I encountered about Taiwan making it to the bottom of my travel list. However, inexpensive travel destinations will always be my priority. Cebu Pacific and AirAsia, 2 of favorite airlines have been enticing me to book a flight to Taipei. For as low as 899 or 18 USD  (one way) flight ticket from Manila or Cebu, effortless visa-free entry, and 3.5 hours travel time away from Mactan-Cebu International Airport, there was no reason to ignore the travel opportunity. Truthfully, I set aside my other booked travel plans to fly immediately to Taiwan especially that it was cherry blossom season.

From Airport to Hotel
We arrived at Taiyuan International Airport at 1:00AM. Train Service was no longer available so we took the bus. The bus is available 24 hours, from Taiyuan International Airport to Koc-Kuang Bus Station.  From the bus station, we took a taxi to our hotel.

Travel Tips:
•    If you have an earlier flight, you can take MRT from the airport or bus. Obviously, bus travel would be the cheaper option. Travel time from the airport to Bus Main Station in Taipei is 45 minutes.
•    Some Taiwanese taxi drivers can’t read or speak English so make sure you have the address of your hotel written in Chinese. (get it online). Try to download an application on your phone as well that translates English words to Chinese.

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Fares from Taiyuan Airport to Taipei

•    Bus Fare: Taiwan Bus Corp. (Kuc-Kuang) NTD $125
•    Train Fare:
High-Speed Train 1-day pass – NTD $180
From HSR station which is a 5-min airport shuttle ride – NTD $175
•    Taxi Fare: Around NTD $1200

Day 1

National Palace Museum
The first day in a foreign country is always confusing, where to go, where to eat, and etc. I went to Taiwan for the cherry blossoms mainly. On our way to Yangmingsan Natural Park, we dropped by The National Palace Museum. The museum houses a collection of almost 700,00 ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks holding 8,000 years of history.
Admission Fee: NTD $250

IMG_9282IMG_9283For more information about hours and ticket prices, click here.

Address: No.221, Sec. 2, Zhishan Rd., Shilin District, Taipei City
Open hours: 8:30AM – 6:30PM Sun –Thu / 6:30 AM -9:00PM Fri – Sat

How to get there by MRT:
•    Take the subway, from Taipei Main Station purchase a ticket to Shilin MRT Station. From Shilin Station walk to Zhongzhen Road and take the bus number 815. Bus stops in front of the National Palace Museum, 10 -15 bus ride.
•    Fare:
Train to Shilin – NTD $25
Bus – NTD $15

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Yangmingsan National Park
There are a total of 9 national parks in Taiwan and most of them have cherry blossoms. Different locations have different cherry blossom season dates. It would be best to track the dates here. 

IMG_9286 - Copyimage_6483441 (8)image_6483441 (2)Yangmingsan National Park was first on my list because it was near Taipei. Other cherry blossom locations are outside the city, 2-3 hours train ride. The best time to visit Yangmingsan is spring when different kinds of flowering plants are in bloom. This national park has also hiking trails, a dormant volcano, hot springs and more exciting outdoor activities.

Address: No.1-20, Zhuzihu Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City (Yangmingshan)

How to get to Yangmingshan National Park via National Palace Museum

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The quickest way to get to the park is to take the MRT. From Taipei Main Station, go to Shilin MRT Station. Take the bus 815 at Zhongzhen Road which is a few meters away from the metro station. Bus stops at the National Palace Museum. From the bus stop, follow the sketch above.
Bus fare: NTD $15

Shilin Night Market
Never leave Taipei without visiting Shilin Night Market. It is one of the best places to eat in Taipei and a lot of shopping can be done here too. It is one of the largest night markets in Taipei. A favorite destination for tourists and locals.

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Address: Neighborhood of Dadong Rd., Danan Rd., Wenlin Rd. and Jihe Rd., Shilin Dist., Taipei City 111, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Open Hours: Daily 17:00PM – 12:00AM

How to get there by MRT:
•    Take the Red Line 2 to Jiantan Station and take the Exit 1, diagonally across the street is the market.
MRT fare: NTD $25

Day 2

Jiufen Old Street
I was never interested in this place, not until I found an article online featuring the best places to visit in Asia and Jiufen was one of it.

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Juifen is a town located on top of the mountains. It dates back to the Qing Dynasty ruling from 1644 to 1912. It prospered around 1950’s as a wealthy mining town. Its structure as a town is interesting as houses were built on the coastal sides of the mountain. For many, the highlight of this place is the Juifen Old Street, numerous local stores serve traditional food. By the way, if you are a foodie, this is the best place to satisfy your cravings. There are also plenty of shops that sell Taiwanese tea and souvenirs.

Are you an Anime lover? Read more about Jiufen here. I’m sure you would like it.

Address: Ruifang District,New Taipei City,Taiwan (R.O.C.)

How to get there by MRT:
•    From Taipei Main Station go to TRA line, purchase a ticket to Rufiang Station.
•    From Ruifang Station, take the Keelung Bus to Jiufen.

When you arrived at Ruifang Station, go out and start walking to your left facing the opposite side of the station. You will find taxis waiting for passages then turn left, just walk straight until you find a police station opposite from where you are at. Cross the street to the bus stop next to the police station and wait for a bus.
Train Fare: NTD $76
Bus fare: NTD$ 15

Huaxi Night Market
On our way to Juifen we made a side trip to Huaxi Night Market. I got hooked with night markets in Taiwan. I loved the street food and the Taiwanese crowd. Huaxi Night Market is not a typical night market. Here you find will snake soup and snake wine.

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How to get there by MRT:

•    From Taipei Main Station go to TRA line, purchase a ticket to Ruifang Station.
•    Opposite to the train station is the night market.

 Taipei 101
A tall skyscraper in Xinyi District, Taiwan. It was officially known as the world’s tallest building until 2004, and remain as such until the completion of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. You can purchase a ticket and see the city of Taipei from its observatory. Aside from the observatory, a high-end shopping mall is located inside the building.

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Address: Xinyi District, Taipei
Open hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00AM – 10:00PM
General Admission: NTD $250

Day 3

Chaing Kai Chek Memorial Hall
This place is massive. It is a  monument dedicated to China’s former president Chaing Kai Chek. The spacious area is so overwhelming that it makes you feel like a tiny bug in a middle of a basketball court. Don’t forget to watch the changing of guards every hour from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. This place is worth a visit.

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Address: No.21, Zhongshan S. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Hours of operation: 9AM – 6PM
Admission is free

How to get there by MRT:
•    Take MRT to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station, red line.

Longshang Temple of Manka
One of the many Buddhist temples in Taipei located in Wanhua District. Built in 1738, it served as a house of worship since. This place is very interesting too. A lot of older population resides and stays around the temple. Shops are available in the vicinity and prices are slightly cheaper.

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Address: No.81, Jinmen Ln., Lukang Township, Changhua County 505, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Open Hours: 5:00AM – 21:30

How to get there by MRT:
•    Take the MRT, from Taipei Main Station to Lungshang Temple

228 Peace Park
It’s a historic site in Taipei located in Ketagalan Boulevard Zhongzheng District. The park is dedicated to the victims of the February 28 incident, when an anti-government uprising turned violent which killed thousand of Taiwanese civilians. The park is very peaceful with locals relaxing. Plenty of flowers, trees, a pond, birds, and squirrels around. Great place to have a breather and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.

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Address: No.3,Ketagalan Avenue, Chungchen District, Taipei City, Taiwan (R.O.C.)      Open Hours: 10:00am – 17:00pm, Closed on Mondays

How to get there by MRT:
Take MRT Danshui line to Taiwan University Hospital Station to reach the park.

Where We Stayed:

Space Inn

Address: B1, No.51 Hengyang Road, Zhongzheng District, 100 Taipei, Taiwan

Located in Zhongzheng St., Space Inn is a unique space-themed inn. It features dormitory type beds with an uncommon interior design. A 24-hour front desk ( speaks English), a lounge, laundry, kitchen, bathrooms (separate for male/female) are for sharing. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas. Airport shuttle (by request), currency exchange and ticketing services are conveniently available.

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What’s around:
•    National Taiwan Museum (5-minute walk)
•    Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (14-minute walk)
•    Taipei Botanical Garden (12-minute walk)
•    Snake Alley (15-minute walk)
•    Longshan Temple (17-minute walk)

How to get to the hotel from Taiyuan Airport:
Bus: Take the airport bus to Kuo-Kuang Bus Station. Take a taxi to Space Inn.
Train: Take MRT from the Taiyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station and then transfer to Banan Line to Ximen Station.

Where We Ate:

The best experience for me in Taiwan was the food. Never miss to try the street food in night markets, it’s the best. Of course, convenience stores like 7 Eleven and Family Mart are available for some grabs. I am not certain, but I guess I found  more local restaurant than international food chains like McDonald’s or KFC in Taipei. Skip the fancy restaurants, try local cuisines in the streets. Be a food adventurer, you’ll appreciate the experience more.

Few Places to Get Good Food:

Risoto Restaurant – is located in Xiamending. In the middle of the crowd, a little restaurant with a Golden Retriever sitting at the entrance. Sometimes he was awake but most of the time, he was asleep. It is a unique restaurant with wall decorations of cute dog pictures. It has fast service and good food though the place gets quite crowded because it doesn’t have enough space for their customers. But over-all, it’s a great place to have a break from all the street food I had.

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Taiwan Buffet – Located at Heng Yang Street, 2 minutes walk away from our hostel is taiwan buffet. The menu looked appetizing that I was ordering more than what I can consume. They have a variety of dishes that we are familiar like noodles, fried fish and vegetables. They have also food that I have never tasted before so I chose the weird food. I seriously didn’t know what I was eating but it tasted great.

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Olympia Bakery – My favorite place to get breakfast every morning. It is located near the hostel I was staying at No.78 Chengdu Road. They serve fresh baked bread and pastries every day. A section in the store has fresh dimsum and some marinated Taiwanese food which I was not familiar with. Just next to the bakery is 7 Eleven where I usually get a cup of coffee. A perfect breakfast for me.

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Are you a foodie? Or a curious traveler who wants to know where to get the best night market experience in Taipei? Read on the 7 Best Night Markets to Visit in Taipei.

Update:  Starting September 2017, Taiwan will be a visa-free country for Philippine passport holders. Will update blog soon. 😊

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