The Heart Of Asia: TAIWAN - A Budget Itinerary

The Heart Of Asia: TAIWAN - A Budget Itinerary

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(SPOILER ALERT: This blog is all about my experiences nothing all but in Taiwan. If you have any comments, suggestions or reactions, just put it down in the comment section. And let’s talk about it!)

So to be honest, Taiwan wasn’t in my dream travel destination list because of my two former ‘immature’ reasons; first, I completely didn’t have any idea about what the said country has to offer, and second, it’s not that popular among tourists or people in the travel community.
But when they offered the 14-days VISA-FREE status issued upon arrival for Filipino tourists last November 2017 (that would last up to July 2018 because it’s just a trial), I quickly booked the cheapest roundtrip ticket from Manila and after couple of months, I found my feet wandering at this ‘country-less-travel­ed’ named - TAIWAN.
And tell you, this country is shocking in a good way! I might consider to go back and bring my significant other! (I know, it’s too personal to say it here but just disregard! Lol)

So let me tell you a little bit about Taiwan…

Taiwan is one of the countries found in the northern part of the Philippines near Japan, and Korea. So technically, you’ll kinda experience the four seasons namely; SPRING (May to June), SUMMER (June to August), AUTUMN (September to November) and WINTER (December to February). But also due to its location, monsoons typically influenced and caused a humid subtropical climate so also expect a Wet and Dry Season. 
The economical and political centre of Taiwan is found in its capital city, Taipei which inhabits most of the almost 7 million population of the said country.
Upon arrival at the downtown of the metropolitan area of Taipei, it reminded me the scenery and culture I experienced when I visited Hong Kong, Macao and South Korea.
Like its neighbour countries, Taiwan has been so aggressive recently in promoting destinations internationally that immigration policies have been relaxed in many countries including mine - the Philippines!



Visa Requirements for FILIPINOS (For clarifications)

For a Philippine passport holder, you may enter Taiwan VISA-FREE. And it just started last November 1, 2017 up to July 31, 2018 only for visits no longer than 14 days, provided that you meet the following requirements.
- Passport at least 6 months in validity. (Diplomatic & official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment
- Return ticket or onward ticket (to your next destination and a visa for that destination)
- Proof of accommodation. It may be hotel booking or host’s contact information
- No criminal record in Taiwan.

NOTE: No need to apply for a visa or a Travel Authorisation Certificate but if you plan to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days for other personal reasons, then you’re still required to secure a visa before entering Taiwan. You might want to check and visit the official website of Taiwan Cultural and Economic Office in the Philippines for more detailed info.

Getting Around

The Taoyuan International Airport is the primary airport for most of international flights in Taiwan. Being one of the busiest airport in world, ranked 11th, expect to see big airlines such as China and EVA Air along its terminals. The said airport is less than an hour away from Taipei City. There several ways to get to the city centre like taxis and private cars but the most affordable and cheapest way possible to get into the said city are trains or buses.

Tourist Spots Worth To See

There are lots of scenic places to see in Taiwan and for me, a 3 day or 4 day stay is not enough to completely say that you explore this magnificent country. But as for my experience, these are the tourists spots I’ve visited during my 3 days visit in Taiwan.


*Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, National Theater Hall, National Concert Hall
Nearest MRT Station: Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial Hall Station (Red Line or Green Line)
Entrance Fee: FREE


*LongShun Temple, Bo-Pi-Liao Historic Block
Nearest MRT Station: Longshan Temple Station (Blue Line)
Entrance Fee: FREE




*Rueifang District: Jiufen Old Street, Songye Park, Keelung Mountain , Gold Waterfall, Nanya Rock Formations Nanxin Temple, Bitou Cape
How to get there: From Taipei Main Station, take the local train to Rueifang Station. Transfer to the Pingxi Line. From Rueifang, you can ride the Taiwan Tourist Bus Shuttle - Golden Fulong Route
Entrance Fee: FREE


*Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
(NOTE: Happens every Chinese New Year in Pingxi. So kindly check it first before booking your tickets)
How to get there: From Taipei Main Station, take the TRA or Local Train to Rueifang Station. Transfer to the Pingxi Line.


*Yehliu Geopark
How to get there: Go to Kuo-Kan Jinsan Bus Terminal near Tapei Main Station West Terminal A (Pay at the bus before departing 96 NTD exact amount)

MY SAMPLE ITINERARY AND BUDGET

RT ticket c/o CebuPac = 4800 PHP
Travel Tax = 1620php
Money Exchange = 10,000 PHP : 5260 NTD

TOTAL: 16,420 PHP

*EasyCard = 100 NTD + 400 NTD worth-of-load
*Bus 1819 (Airport Bus to Taipei Main Station) = 140 NTD
*UZ Hostel = 1500 NTD (2 Nights)
*Food Budget for 3 days = 1,200 NTD

DAY 1
Arrival. Check-in at *UZ Hostel (took Airport 24 hrs bus(國光客運24Hrs) to Taipei Main Station -> When you get to the Taipei Main Station, you could take MRT to Fuzhong Station (Blue line) -> from Fuzhong Station Exit 2 to UZ Hostel
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
National Theater Hall
National Concert Hall
Bo-Pi-Liao Historic Block
LongShun Temple

DAY 2
Rueifang District
Jiufen Old Street
Songye Park
Keelung Mountain
Gold Waterfall
Nanya Nanxin Temple
Bitou Cape

DAY 3
Keelung Harbor
Yehliu Geopark
-Yeliou Rock Formations
-Yehliu Cliff
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Check-out. Departure.

RT ticket c/o CebuPac = 4800 PHP
Travel Tax = 1620php
Money Exchange = 10,000 PHP : 5260 NTD

*EasyCard = 100 NTD + 400 NTD worth-of-load
*Bus 1819 (Airport Bus to Taipei Main Station) = 140 NTD
*UZ Hostel = 1500 NTD (2 Nights)
*Food Budget for 3 days = 1,200 NTD

TOTAL: 16,420 PHP


TRAVEL TIPS:

- ALWAYS meet and greet the locals and fellow travelers! You may have build a new friendship or better, a lover! kiddin!
- Get an EASY CARD and make use the Subway/ Metro Rail System. It's cheap, convenient and efficient public transpo.
- Taiwan does not take USD, Canadian dollars, euros or any type of foreign money so make sure you exchange it. Banks open at 9 AM and you need your passport to exchange money.
- Bring your adapter. Taiwan uses the same voltage as United States, 110V.
- Giving some money tips or Tipping is not common in Taiwan.

So that’s a wrap! I hope my Taiwan Experience Blog will give you an idea on how to spend your vacation on the said country wisely. Again, you can lessen the budget and make it more affordable in accordance to your pocket. But kidding aside, spend when you can. I mean, if you can afford to spend more and have extra, why not treat yourself more and promote self-love, right? It’s also a good means to help the local economy of Taiwan. So it’s a win-win!

If you have questions, suggestions or comments, Let me know and don't hesitate to write it down below in the comment section!
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Cheers to more simple yet amazing journey!


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