Taiwan seems to be high on the list of most Filipino travelers right now, and for good reason.
It’s only a couple of hours away, and with low cost carriers flying the Manila – Taipei route daily and visa-free entry* (please check first if you’re eligible), it’s the perfect weekend getaway.
And did I mention it’s pretty affordable too? We spent a little over Php10,000.00 (USD200.00) each (exclusive of shopping/souvenirs), and this wasn’t even a budget trip. I traveled with senior citizens so comfort and convenience were priority.
Our AirAsia flight arrived past 1:00am at Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1, and good thing I pre-arranged airport pickup with the hotel because there was a long queue at the taxi stand when we left.
We paid NT$1,800, and was picked up by a van that can comfortably fit 5 to 7 people. It was a 40-minute drive to the hotel.
For budget travelers, there’s a 24-hour bus that can take you to Taipei Main Station, but you’d still have to take a cab if your hotel is not located in that area.
I forgot to take pictures of our hotel, but our room is similar to the one pictured above.
We paid NT$6,852.00 for 3 nights in a Standard Double Room (inclusive of 5% VAT and 10% service) with buffet breakfast.
We liked the hotel’s location which is just a few minutes walk to Ximen Station’s Exit 6, and right smack in the Ximending shopping area.
Housekeeping cleaned our rooms every day, and toiletries, slippers, and water were replenished daily, too.
It rained the whole time we were in Taiwan, and they let guests borrow their umbrellas and even provided free rain ponchos.
And on our last day while waiting for the taxi that will take us to the airport, they let us stay at the 12th floor cafeteria where we still got to enjoy the free snacks and drinks even though we already checked out.
First on our itinerary was Yangmingshan National Park. Our trip coincided with the Flower Festival, and the cherry blossoms are supposedly in full bloom.
From Ximen, we took the train to Jiantan Station, then took Bus R5 to Yangmingshan’s bus terminal. There are several buses that service different parts of the park and its hiking trails. If you want to go to Yangming Park (flower clock), take Bus 125.
I was hoping we could also visit the calla lily fields, but the weather was bad, so we decided to head back to the city. We’re lucky we caught the bus which stops directly at Taipei Main Station. From there, we took the metro to Taipei 101 (World Trade Center.)
The Taipei 101 Observatory ticket costs NT$600.
Budget tip: If the weather is okay, you can hike up Elephant Mountain and get a nice view of the tower without shelling out money.
At night, there’s plenty of night markets to choose from. But since we were all still tired from the red eye flight and it was still raining anyway, we just went around Ximending.
I booked a chartered service with English-speaking driver from EZGoTaiwan. We paid NT$4,500 for 9 hours.
Our first stop for the day was Yehliu Geopark. Entrance fee is NT$80.
The weather was still bad and the waves were scary, so we only spent about an hour at Yehliu.
Our next stop was Jiufen Old Street.
Vehicles can’t park or drop passengers right in front of Old Street, so we had to park in a parking lot a couple hundred meters away. We had to walk downhill and uphill from and to the parking lot under the rain. Needless to say, my elderly companions got exhausted. To add insult to the injury, there was a power outage in Old Street that’s why I don’t have any pictures. -_-
We figured the weather wasn’t going to get better, so we also didn’t push through with Shifen to release sky lanterns.
Since we still had 4 hours left, I requested the driver take us back to the city and visit Longshan Temple then Chiang Kai Shek Memorial instead.
But first, we made a very quick stop at Golden Waterfalls. It was on the way anyway.
If the weather is favorable, you can also make a quick photo op at Yin-Yang Sea.
With no activity left for the day, we got up late and had a leisurely breakfast.
We could have gone to 228 Peace Park, but it was still raining. We’re not big on museums too, so we skipped the National Palace Museum.
We went to Xinyi Shopping District instead by taking the metro to Taipei City Hall.
Summary of Itinerary & Expenses
Here’s a summary of our itinerary and expenses above, and some suggestions:
- Airport pickup at NT$1,800/5 – NT$360/head
- 3 nights at Diary of Taipei Hotel – Ximen (Standard Double Room) – NT$3,426 (per head)
- Yangmingshan National Park (no entrance fee) – NT$80 (RT transpo cost)
- Lunch – NT$60
- Taipei Main Station to Taipei 101 to Ximen -NT$50
- Elephant Mountain to view Taipei 101 (free) or Taipei 101 Observatory – NT$600
- Dinner – NT$160
- Ximending Shopping District
- Car rental at NT$4,500/5 – NT$900/head
- Yehliu Geopark entrance – NT$80
- Lunch & Dinner – NT$177.50
- Keelung, Shilin or Raohe night market
DAY 3 (suggestions)
- 228 Peace Park
- National Palace Museum (not to be confused with National Taiwan Museum (NT$30)) – NT$250
- Taipei Zoo – NT$60
- Grand Hotel Taiwan
- Metro ticket** (estimate) – NT$100
- Lunch & Dinner – NT$232
- Taxi to airport at NT$1,500/5 pax – NT$300/head
TOTAL: NT$6,835.50 / Php10,936.80 / US$218.075
Exchange rate at the time of this post NT$1 = Php1.60
You can obviously spend way less than the amount above by staying in a hostel and taking the public transportation to Yehliu, Jiufen and Shifen.
*For Filipinos with resident card, valid entry visa, or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to arrival to Taiwan from any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, UK, or the United State
**Depending on how much public transpo you think you’re going to use, it might be worth it to get a Taipei Pass or unli metro pass.