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Friday, September 18, 2015

Taiwan Tips



Top 10 Taiwan Travel Tips

1. Taiwan Visa

Visa Processing in Singapore: (Philippine Passport)
✔️bank statement 3 months
✔photocopy ️ of contract with 3 months payslip
✔️photocopy of IC/ employment pass ID and passport
✔️ Taiwan Itinerary 
✔️ Accommodation print outs 
✔️ Printed Online application form (go to the taiwan embassy website and complete your form application with your correct details)
✔️ Passport picture (3.5 x 4.5 cm) glossy with white background
✔️ SGD 65 Processing Fee

Check out the website for more information with your passport status in Taiwan. 
Address: Taipei Representative Office in Singapore, Alexandra Road #23-00 PSA Building Singapore 119963


2. Taipei Airport 

How to get there: To the City
Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station
Buy your ticket in counter 7, then take Bus 1819 from the Bus Terminal outside the airport in Row 5. 
Ticket Fare: NT 125 
Travel time: 40-80 minutes (depending on traffic)

How to get there: City to the Airport
Taipei Main Station to Taipei West Bus Station
Look for signs: Shinkong Mitsukoshi/Zhongxiao W. Road and Station Front Mall
First Option: Find K-Underground Mall and Exit from K12.
Second Option after exiting the MRT: In Basement 1, Exit from M5, go to the underground mall and go to Exit Z3. It will take you to the street, turn right and don't go far because that little door a few steps away from you is the terminal you're looking for. 

Taipei West Bus Station to Taoyuan Airport
Ticket fare: NT 125 
Buses departs every 15-20 minutes 
Travel time: 40-80 minutes (depending on traffic)


3. Buy an Easy Card

Make sure to buy your Easy Card, its equivalent to Ez link in Singapore and Octopus card in Hong Kong. The easy card will get you conveniently around the city, it will serve as your transportation fare when taking the bus and the local train except for the high speed railway trains. Loading stations for easy card can be done in 7'11 outlets, bus, train station and most convenient stores in Taiwan. The easy card can bought right in front of the arrival exit in the customer service counter inside the airport. You don't need to go far as it is situated in the center of the arrival hall. Purchased one if you're planning to go around Taipei City. 

Easy Card : NT 100 (non-refundable)
Top-up at least a minimum of NT 300 for train and bus fare. The remaining balance for the easy card can be converted into cash, we had our credit balance exchange in Taipei Main Station Customer Service. 

There are lockers available in the Taipei Main Station to leave your backpacks, and a coin machine changer for the rental.




4. Booked train tickets online

We booked our early train from Taipei to Hualien online through the Taiwan Railways Administration . Fare Rates  NT 340 - NT 440, depending on the express train. During the online booking don't be alarmed if you don't see Taipei as the starting point, Shulin is another station before Taipei, it means it will pass by Taipei for other passengers. At the same time don't be alarm If you don't see your destination as the last point during you're online booking. It only means the you're destination is not the last stop, it will drop by to your desired place and will keep going to other stations as well. For online booking you can have your train tickets printed at most convenient stores like 7'11, at a fee of NT 28, or have it printed in train stations for a lesser fee. 

You can purchased packed lunch inside the train at an affordable price, I actually find it delicious and satisfying especially having it with a great view of the countryside.



5. Short Distance travel outside Taipei  

Book an RTA Ticket ( Taiwan Railway Administration ) the night before your trip, in that way you're able to choose the train timing and made sure there's seats available for the next day travel. It's very convenient to book a RTA ticket just look for the automated machine in the train station and press your desired time and destination on the screen. 



6. Be early in the train station

If you're catching a train in the morning please ensure to be in the train station at least 1 hour before time especially of you're a clueless tourist like me. The train station is huge and the trains are efficiently on time and leaves a minute after the arrival. An hour early gives you plenty of time to get lost, be in the correct platform, right car train, refund a ticket, have some snacks and even have a relax waiting time. Don't lose your ticket even if you've boarded the train and keep it somewhere accessible for last minute glance of train details before boarding and for the ticket collection afterwards. Double check the train platform, train number, train arrival, your train car number and make sure you're seated at the right number. One mistake can cause you to missed out your train. Booked your tickets ahead of time if you buy the tickets right there on the spot it might be fully booked for the day. 

How to Refund train tickets:
As long as you come one hour before your schedule train then you have a chance to refund your tickets. Proceed to the train station ticket counter for the desired transaction. 


7. Research

Know what you want to do, if you want to stay in the city or the outskirt town of Taiwan. If you want to do hiking for the nature enthusiast, wild adventure like bungee jumping, river trekking or white water rafting, food trip, shopping or a city historical tour. Research the weather condition, the activities in that area and book your accommodation. 

We stayed in Hualien for 3 days:

Took the train back to Taipei City and stayed there for 4 days:


8. Weather

Determine the weather when in Taiwan so you can plan out your activities appropriately. I love the beach and the mountains so I chose Summer for my trip. 

Spring: March to May , 25 degrees Celsius or 78 degrees Fahrenheit

Summer: June to August , 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit

Autumn: September to November , less rainfall and still warm

Winter: December to February , 8 degrees Celsius or 46 degrees Fahrenheit


9. Food

Check out Night Markets around the city and even in the outskirts of town these night events are around the corner. You will go crazy for your first night market and that just normal. However if your on a tight budget try to avoid spending too much in the market on the second or third visit. We just pass by the night market for some snacks and have our full meal in nearby small restaurants around the hostel.


10. Wrong Turns

Always remember that wrongs turn are sometimes the right way, just because we came upon a place that is unusual and its not what we expected doesn't mean its a mistake or a terrible misfortune. Everybody has their own story in their travels, I don't have the perfect itinerary for my feet leads me to places I've never expected to be. At the end of the day what matters most is how you perceived things. This is my story and I love wrong turns. 

We got lost plenty of times in our trip but we don't carry the temper all day long. Just let it go and enjoy where you at. A place hidden treasures are always in unpaved path.


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