Travel Guide: Things To Do in Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan.  It is located in the northern part of it.  It is the political, cultural, educational ,and economical center of Taiwan.
Taipei is the famous destination of most Filipinos who want to experience Taiwan and its culture.  Taiwan is the first country I visited and until now I am in love with it. Below are the travel guides based on my experience 

Philippine passport holder is free to visit Taiwan for 14 days as a tourist.  The visa-free started last November 1, 2017 and will end in July 31, 2020. (For the other nationalities, check how long can you stay in Taiwan on this link Travel Guide: Exploring Taipei During Your Layover)

There are several airlines in the Philippines that provide direct flight to Taipei. 
  • Eva Air - fly from Manila and Cebu
China Airlines and Philippines Airlines have no direct flight from Cebu.  Air Asia and Cebu Pacific will give low fare to and from Taipei. 

Taiwan has 3 major airports which serve international flights.
Flights coming from the Philippines arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport which is just 40-60 minutes away from Taipei.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei City
There are different ways to reach Taipei once you arrived at Taoyuan International Airport.

A. Public Bus
This is the cheapest and it will only cost you NTD 135-140/PHP 227-235/USD 4-5 depending on the time. You need to ride bus 1819 going to Taipei. Their service is 24/7. Check Kuo-Kuang Motor Transportation Fare.

Based on my experience: We arrived past midnight so the available cheapest way to reach Taipei was via Bus.  First thing we did was to buy easy card at the convenience store and loaded it with 400 NTD as we had no idea how much was the fare was.  Bought our ticket after at ticketing machine.

B. Taoyuan Airport MRT
taoyuan airport mrt
Photo from Klook
This is the faster and easiest way  to go to Taipei Main Station. There are two types:

Express -It will just pass by 2 stations before reaching Taipei Main Station.  This will take you about 30 minutes.  You can grab the ticket below by clicking the MRT.

Commuter - It will just pass all stations to Taipei. This will take you about 50 minutes. 
The fare is NTD 160/PHP 263/ USD 5.  The last train to Taipei is 10:42 PM.
C. Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR)/Bullet Train
THSR tourist pass
If you want to ride the bullet train, there is a shuttle bus from airport to THSR station.  It will cost you 30 NTD and 25-minute ride to THSR station. THSR is the fastest way and you'll be in Taipei in just 19 minutes. The bullet train fare is NTD 160/PHP 263/ USD 5. It is not 24 hours. Please check the timetable here. You may get your ticket below for discounted price.

D. Taxi
Taxi service is also 24 hours in Taoyuan Airport.  This is a metered taxi so the fare is depending on the location.  It will cost you around 1500 NTD/PHP 2500/USD 49. 

Good to Know: Full-fare is for Adult Payee while Half-fare is for student and senior citizen. 

Where to Stay

A. House Guest 

The cheapest is stay to your friends or relatives living in Taipei. You'll save almost PHP 5000/ USD 97 for 3 days of stay.

B. Hotel/Hostel

Taipei is very friendly for solo traveler as well as group. If you are a friendly traveler who wants to engage with other tourists you can go to a dormitory type that will cost you between Php 500-1000/ USD 8-20 a day. There are also solo/double private room ranging from Php 1000-2000 per day.  You can get a great deal from Agoda.

Here are the hotel/hostel that you can consider:

Near Taipei Main Station - you can easily reach the bus station and MRT
1. Backpackers Inn Taipei 

2. 4U Taipei Hostel
3. SleepBox Hostel

Around Ximending - it is known as Harajuku of Taipei. Surrounded by fashion clothing shops, restaurants, clubs and bar.

1. Galaxy Mini Inn

2. Colormix Hotel and Hostel

3. Tomorrow Hotel

Going Around Taipei via MRT. 
MRT is the fastest and cheapest way to go around Taipei. Taipei has 5 MRT Lines, mostly have underground stations.
  • Wenhu Line a.k.a Brown Line
  • Tamsui-Xinyi Line a.k.a Red Line
  • Songshan -Xindian Line a.k.a Green Line
  • Zhonghe-Xinlu Line a.k.a Orange Line
  • Bannan Line - a.k.a Blue Line
They are offering different type of passes for tourists.

A. One Day Pass - unlimited ride on Taipei Metro until the end of of the service for same day. It costs NT$150.
B. 24HR Taipei Metro Pass - unlimited ride for 24 hours from the time of first use. It costs NT$180.
C. 48HR Taipei Metro Pass - unlimited ride for 48 hours from the time of first use. It costs NT$280.
D. 72HR Taipei Metro Pass - unlimited ride for 72 hours from the time of first use. It costs NT$380.

Passes are available in all MRT stations. Along with the pass is a set of discount coupons you can use e.g. riding gondola.
Riding Taipei MRT is very convenient and most of the tourists spots are walkable from the station.  The station is very informative as they have maps where to exit to reach your tourist destination.

Places to Visit

Here is the sample itinerary you can use for 3-day visit in Taipei. 
Please note that the itinerary is not an amazing race Asia type.

1st Day - National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, and Elephant Mountain, Shilin Night Market. 

A. National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

The hall was built in 1972 as a tribute to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China.
  • From Exit 4 at Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station (Blue Line).
  • Open from 9 AM to 6 PM. Closed on Lunar New Year's Eva and Lunar New Year's Day.
  • Change of guards occur every 1 hour.  You can take video and photos but don't use the flash.
B. Taipei 101
Go to observatory from 89th floor in just 30 seconds and have the 360 view of Taipei. From National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, you can walk towards Taipei 101 via Ren'ai Road and pass thru Taipei City Public Square.
@ Taipei City Public Square
  • Buy ticket at Klook for discounted price. Book here 

If not coming from NSYS Memorial Hall, Exit 4 at Taipei 101/World Trade Center Station (Red Line).
  • Entrance to observatory is at Taipei 101 Mall, 5th Floor.
  • Open from 9 AM to 10 PM ( last entry 9:15 PM).

C. Elephant Mountain
Climb the Elephant Mountain to have another view of the city and Taipei 101. The trail is just 2 blocks away from Taipei 101. From Taipei 101, walk towards Xinyi Road then to Xiangshan MRT Station.  Go to Xiangshan Park and follow the sign to Xiangshan Hiking Trail.
  • If not coming from Taipei 101, Exit 2 at Xiangshan MRT Station (Red Line).
  • Buy your water before starting the trail. There is no vendor along the way.

D. Shilin Night Market
After climbing the Elephant Mountain, you should treat your stomach with street food at Shilin Night Market. From Xiangshan MRT Station, ride the MRT going to Jiantan Station.
  • Exit 1 at Jiantan Station. Walk ahead and cross the Wenlin Road.

2nd Day - Taipei Zoo, Maokong Gondola, Ximending and Modern Toilet Restaurant.

The zoo consists of different areas e.g  aviary, African area. Pandas and koalas are the favorites. It takes 2-3 hours to enjoy the whole zoo
  • Exit 1 at Taipei Zoo Station (Brown Line). Entrance is NT$ 60 for adult. You can pay using easy card.
  • Open from 9 AM to 5 PM.  Last entry is 4 PM. Closed on Lunar New Year's Eve.

Maokong Gondola station is just beside Taipei Zoo.  If you have a discount coupon from buying MRT Pass use it to save some money. You will enjoy the scenic view as you go up. You can have a good sip of tea at Maokong and visit the tea plantation.
  • Exit 2 at Taipei MRT station (Brown Line)
  • Don't forget to use the discount coupon.

C. Ximending
Ximending or Ximen is known as the Harajuku of Taipei. It is surrounded by different clothing shops, restaurants, and bar and clubs.  From Taipei Zoo Station, ride the MRT going to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station.  This is a transfer station between blue and brown lines.  Once there, transfer to blue line then ride the MRT going to Ximen Station.
  • Exit 3 at Ximen Station
  • Go there in weekend as there are street performers.

D. Modern Toilet Restaurant
Modern Toilet Restaurant is one of themed restaurants in Taipei. It is located at Ximen.  So after going around Ximen, you can have a good dinner here. Modern Toilet which is located near Ximending Emei Parking lot (see map).

3rd Day - Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall & National Museum of History

A. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

CKS Memorial Hall was built in honor of Chiang Kai-Shek, the former President of the Republic China.

  • Exit 5 at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station (Red Line/Green Line)
  • Open from 9 AM to 6 PM. Closed on Lunar New Year and  Lunar New Year's Eve.
  • Changing of guards every 1 hour.
B. National Museum of History
Museum was built in 1955 and consists of Chinese cultural relics, including bronze ware and old potteries.  From CKS Memorial Hall, walk along Nanhai Road for 10 minutes.  Nanhai Road is near at Exit 1 and 2 of CKS Memorial Hall Station.
  • Exit 1 or 2 Chiang Kai-Shek Memorail Hall Station (Red Line/Green Line)
  • Open from 10 AM to 6 PM. Closed on Mondays.
National Museum of History, Taipei.jpg
Photo Credit to the owner
By John Hill - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Just to summarize the fixed expenses for 3 days excluded the airfare and food.
1. Bus to Taipei - NT$ 130
2. 72Hours Taipei Metro Pass -NT$ 380
3. Taipei Zoo - NT$ 60
4. Maokong Gondola - NT$ 120
 Total of NT$ 690/ PHP 1243 / USD 24

Essential Things You Need

1. Google Map - google map is a must have in Taiwan.  The routes and bus or MRT to ride are all updated.
2. WIFI/SIM Card with Unlimited Data -  most establishments in Taiwan have free internet connection but when you are on the road there are none.  If you are planning to roam around with google map, stable connection is a must.  Book your WIFI or SIM Card below.

For more than 3 days, you may read the following:)

Taipei Escapade Episode 1: The Taipei MRT Lines, And Taipei 101

Taipei Escapade Episode 2: National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

Taipei Escapade Episode 3: Hello Kitty Kitchen And Dining & Shilin Night Market

Taipei Escapade Episdoe 5: The Search For Modern Toilet Restaurant And Unexpected Love For Ximen

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