8 things you need to prepare before your trip to Taipei

Here is a checklist for your Taipei trip:

 

1. Visa

Although Filipino tourists are entitled to visa-free entry until July 31, 2018, you need a visa if you’re staying for more than 14 days. Read here the full guidelines.

 

2. Hotel

Taipei has a range of hotels, hostels and Airbnb hosts to choose from. Ideally, you would want a hotel that can easily access the Taipei Metro (see the Taipei Metro route map here), which then allows you a wider range of accommodations in Taipei and New Taipei City. If you want to book within the city center, popular districts are Ximending, Wanhua, Zhongzheng, Da’n and Banqiao (in New Taipei City).

 

3. Airport transfer

Low cost carriers offer tempting fares to Taipei. Try to avoid arriving late in the evening as you’ll potentially miss the last trips of the Taipei Metro, with no other choice but to resort to the more expensive taxi and private car rental. In our latest AirAsia trip, we arrived in Taipei nearly 2 a.m. and used Klook’s private car service to go to the hotel.

 

4. WiFi device

20180328_185942.jpg
One of the WiFi rental kiosks at Taoyuan International Airport. Photo by Workalife

To avoid the hassle of looking for a free WiFi around Taipei, we recommend to buy a rental service in advance. Flytpack lets you rent before you fly out of Manila, while Klook offers a cheaper option that requires picking up the device from a kiosk at the Taoyuan airport. Alternatively, you can just approach the kiosk and buy the service, although this is subject to availability.

 

5. EasyCard and Taipei Fun Pass

EasyCard is Taipei’s equivalent of Hong Kong’s Octopus — a re-loadable card for Taipei Metro, Maokong Gondola, buses, parking lot, Taiwan Railway, intercity buses, Youbike rental, taxis, libraries, designated stores and Taiwan High Speed Rail.

You can buy one from Taipei Metro, convenience stores and EasyCard centers. Note that you’ll be required a NTD 100 deposit fee, which can be refunded upon return of the card. Read here for more information.

card_home_1
Photo courtesy of Taipei Fun Pass

Meanwhile, the newly released Taipei Fun Pass can be a 1, 2, 3 and 5-day pass that covers free entrance to 12 main attractions and unlimited rides on the Taipei Metro and Tourist Shuttle routes, Maokong Gondola and select buses.

Taipei Fun Pass Prices are below:

Taipei Fun Pass (Attractions + Transportation)

  • 1-day pass – NTD 1,200
  • 2-day pass – NTD 1,600
  • 3-day pass – NTD 1,900

Taipei Fun Pass (Transportation only)

  • 1-day pass – NTD 180
  • 1-day pass + Maokong Gondola – NTD 350
  • 2-day pass – NTD 310
  • 3-day pass – NTD 440
  • 4-day pass – NTD 700

How cost-effective is the Fun Pass? See No. 9 for a rough computation. For full details about the Taipei Fun Pass, visit their website here.

 

6. Itinerary

chiang kai shek memorial hall
View from the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. Photo by Workalife

Many people go to Taiwan without any plan. Luckily, there are sites like Klook, Kkday and Viator that aggregate various activities and experiences and which you can book and confirm immediately. But it still pays to have a plan. Some questions you need to keep in mind:

  • Since most attractions are closed on Mondays, which ones are open?
  • Some entrance tickets are steep, how can I get a discount?
  • Is there a day-pass that packages key attractions to lower down cost?
  • Where is the best shopping and night market locations?

Not only will an itinerary allow you to lessen cost (e.g. booking in advance saves you a few dollars at Taipei 101), it also saves you an incredible amount of time.

READ: A 4-day itinerary in Taipei

 

7. Tours

yehliu 3
Yehliu Geopark in the outskirt of Taipei is a must-visit destination. Yehliu tours are usually packaged along with Shifen or Jiufen. Photo by Workalife

You can go around Taipei through a number of channels: the Taipei Metro, bus, private car or the Taipei sightseeing bus tour. Here’s a list of tour aggregators from where you can explore activities and experiences in Taipei and the nearby cities/municipalities of New Taipei, Keelung, Shifen, Jiufen and Taoyuan:

 

8. Cash

It’s difficult to find a money exchange for Philippine peso in Taipei. It’s best to exchange for NTD in the Philippines, but credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, China UnionPay, Diners Clubs International are also widely popular.

How much should your budget be? Here’s a rough list of expenses:

 

Average daily EasyCard load NTD 100 – one-time, refundable deposit

NTD 200 – recommended daily load

Activities
·       Taipei 101 observatory NTD 600

Discounted ticket here

·       Sightseeing Bus Tour NTD 300 to 500

Discounted ticket here

·       National Palace Museum NTD 350
·       Yehliu Geopark NTD 80
·       Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Free
·       Longshan Temple Free
·       Miramar Entertainment Park NTD 200
·       Cruise at Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf NTD 120 (roundtrip)
·       Maokong Gondola NTD 200 (roundtrip)
·       Night Markets (Shilin, Ximending, etc.) Free
Food
·       Hole in the walls NTD 100 to 300
·       Convenience stores NTD 50 to 300
·       Specialty restaurants NTD 400 to 750 per head
Pasalubong

Stores require a minimum of NTD 3,000 for tax refund

Depends on budget, but generally 25% of subtotal

Note: Prices are updated as of April 2018.

 

READ: A 4-day itinerary in Taipei

Happy traveling!

 

Disclosure: Workalife is a member of the Klook, Kkday and Viator affiliate programs for blogs.

 

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