Finally we made it. The land just above our country, Taiwan. This trip is among those biglaang ayaan moments. Right in the midst of our project closing. We have ample time to check awesome deals for cheap flights. 😂 Taiwan is among the fascinating destination aside from it is visa free until July 2019, it also has diverse culture as it is among the top destination for tourist. As usual I have my friends who’s in charge of the itinerary, Rina and Chynna. I’m just their humble baggage assistant. 😂 I just contributed our official hashtag #TaiwanTwoThree which was then suggested by a friend of mine 😂
Anyway our trip to Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa started at Kaohsioung, a coastal city located in Southern Taiwan. This is a bustling Special Municipality stretching from the coastal urban area to rural Yushan Range. The vibe of the place is a little laid back. I said so because I noticed shops and restaurants opens after 9am. Speaking with the local is a bit struggle too. Google Translate and Maps will definitely come in handy. Still we loved our stay. I was able to be attached quickly to the place. You can check out rest of this blog post to know more of our experience.
Transportation – Our itinerary was made easy because of the efficient transport system. The stations are positioned near Tourist Spots. The Kaohsioung City is less crowded than Taipei even on rush hour. Taxi Flag down rate starts at 70 or 85NTD if I remember it right. We didn’t take the bus though since the weather is very good and perfect for walking. Bike rentals are also available. Didn’t checked the rates though, but you can find bikes parked in streets.
Night Markets – We visited 3 night markets in Kaohsioung. Liuhe Night Market is like Davao Night Market with a dedicated street that features street foods and other souvenir items. Of course we tasted a local milk tea from unknown brand. Jhongsiao Night Market and Guanghua Night Market are like Maharlika or other food districts in the Philippines which offers many specialty restaurants to try on. We haven’t found any souvenir shops though that sells magnets and stuff, maybe there is but we didn’t see.
Site to Visit – Among the Tourist Spots in Kaohsioung that we visited are as follows. I’m sure there’s more, but we only focus on what’s within reach.
Zuoying Lotus Pond this is a free place to visit that features a view of dragon and tiger pagoda. Overlooking a city skyline. Accessible via train station with short walks in between.
85 Sky Tower – 85 Storey Skyscraper located in Lingya District. Standing at 1140ft. There’s an entrance fee of 250TWD in order to experience the magnificent Kaohsioung Skyline. It’s located on the 74th Flr of the building
Pier-2 Art Center – This area features shops and restaurants that promotes arts. It has large murals perfect for picture taking. We went there early morning, that’s why we’re not able to try shops as they’re still close.
Kim’s Tip: 7/11 convenience store is very useful here. Aside from it is open 24/7, it has store comfort room and atm inside!
Dome of Light – is another attraction located in Kaohsioung MRT transfer station for the Red and Orange Line, the Formosa Boulevard Station. It is considered the largest public art installation made from individual pieces of colored glass.
Accommodation – We stayed at Wangfu Hotel located at Lingya District. Its location is okay just a minute walk to nearest MRT Station. The receptionist is nice and tried her best to communicate with us which we really appreciate. 😍
Kim’s Tip: Based on our visit, it looks like Taiwan’s business hours starts at 9am. Since most shops opens at that time, so if you’re targeting a establishment, check for it’s operation hours before visiting, specially if early morning.
We had a compressed itinerary. Pretty sure, there’s more to visit in Kaohsioung but we had to go our next destination which is the Taiwan’s education, political, cultural and economic center, the Taipei City. Located in the northernmost part of the island. Unlike Kaohsioung, Taipei feels a little crowded but still spacious enough to accommodate Tourist like us. We arrived there via Taiwan High Speed Railway by which the travel time is less than 3 hrs. How I wish we had the same infrastructure!😂
Accommodation – we stayed at Hotel Puri which is near the MRT station. They allowed us to store our luggage first when we arrived earlier than check in time. Clean and spacious room plus the hotel staff is very approachable.
Transportation – Same with Kaohsioung, we took Trains to reach our destination. Though when we’re very tired, we took a cab which could be roughly around 150 to 200NTD. Better travel with friends to cut the cost of transportation. There’s no Grab in Taiwan but Uber is available. Taxis are available almost anywhere, you can also take bus but be mindful of the bus stops.
Night Market – Ximending is the only night market we visited in Taipei. Guess what? We enjoyed it a lot! If only I have a big pocket money I could have bought a lot but sadly, I have to stick with my budget and not overspend. This could be a shopaholic den where you can find branded items, cheap once, and restaurant all in huge complex. Just be prepared with your money as you’ll surely spend much here. Although it’s hard to find cheap souvenir items most of the shops here sell Ref Magnets roughly around 60NTD to 120NTD or Key Chains for around 40NTD up. They often have 5+1 or 10+1 promo.
Another street market we drop by is the Taipei Huaxi St. Tourist Market, though we didn’t find much because it’s too early. But this could be another food strip, but not sure.
Site to Visit – Taipei offers a lot of Tourist Spots. Good thing most of them are near MRT station. Be sure to have your legs well prepared as you’ll definitely walk a lot. That’s if you don’t want to spend much on cabs.
Bopiliao Historic Block – It’s a preserved historical and cultural district near the Longsan Temple. It features different architectural styles based on different colonial power who occupied Taiwan before. Bopiliao is considered the busiest commercial area in Taiwan in the 1800s. Now tourist can enjoy the rusty feels of the block. Ready your IG-worthy #OOTD as this is the spot for you. 🙂
Longsan Temple – among the Big Three Temples in Wanhua District. The others are Bangka Qingshui Temple and Taipei Tianhou Temple. It is one of the largest and oldest temple in Taiwan, no required entrance free. But donations are accepted. This is near the Bopiliao Historic Block.
The Red House – known for its octagonal red brick structure. It is originally called the market octagon where you can buy flowers, books, medicines, Japanese preserves and local Taiwanese produce around 1908. It was restored after being damaged in World War 2 and now serves as venue of arts and theater and historical landmark.
National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall – this large complex is dedicated to the former President of China, Chiang Kai,-shek as part of national park and gathering area. It’s officially named Liberty Square.
Taipei 101 – During our visit we didn’t have a clearing as it’s very cloudy. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our Taipei 101 experience with me getting chills as we go outside because the weather is cold. What I regret mostly is the fact that I wasn’t able to get a replica of Taipei 101, because I find it expensive when purchased inside Taipei 101 itself. I thought I can find similar but cheaper price in Ximending market, however we didn’t find any. 😭 It could be another reason to go back. I’ll make sure I’ll buy it. 😉
Klook Bookings – throughout this travel we’ve purchased Klook Bookings such as our THSR ride to Taipei, Jiufen Tour, Sim Card for 5days and Taipei 101 experience. All I can say is that it’s very convenient. Though we may line up just to get our tickets there’s not much verification needed as long as you have your printed klook bookings plus your passport as proof of your identity.😍
Jiufen Tour – I’ve been to guided tours before. This Jiufen Tour is a little fast pace, but understandable for me considering the limited activities that you can do to the place. I love how they’re on time with the schedule. Jiufen is an amazing place featuring some old street which looks like Sagada or Tagaytay to me as you cross the 300 steps cemented staircase. There are a lot of tourist here so don’t expect to get that amazing solo shot. But there’s a lot of food places and souvenir shops nearby that you can try. Meanwhile the Shifen Old Street and Shifen Waterfall are two nearby places where you can enjoy flying sky lantern and a view of a falls. I liked the flying of lanterns the most because it is totally new for me. The lantern cost is 190NTD, discounted price as usually its 200NTD for multiple colored lanterns. We’re not that tired compared to when we roam around Ximending. 😂 I also want to mention Irene, our tour guide who’s very energetic. I liked that she speaks english and very approachable!😍
Chungwa Telecom – Another amazing deal we got from Klook is this 2-sim package for 5 Days with 50NTD for calls and text, we enjoyed 5days of non-stop internet usage with netflix, spotify and PlayStore update downloads 😂 aside from heavy internet usage. Got this for only P964/each. 😍
Taiwan High Speed Railway – I love the transport system here! As in! How I wish we have similar infrastructure in Philippines. Specially this High Speed Train that we’re able to travel Kaohsiung to Taipei in less than 3hours! No hassle, no traffic, no standing but a very spacious train. 😍
Food Trip – as mentioned there are a lot of food options here in case you don’t want Chinese. But I highly recommend to try one specially the milk tea. I wasn’t able to try more Chinese food as my friends are not a fan of Chinese food, although we did eat some!
Takumi Japanese Restaurant
Overall my Taiwan experience was amazing. And I’m so thankful because the #TaiwanTwoThree wouldn’t be possible without my friends Rina and Chynna who worked hand in hand to achieve the itinerary. Thank you so much mga Ate for the wonderful trip. Those laughter and long walks are definitely one for the books. I can’t wait to plan our next trip and hopefully you’ll not get tired of inviting me to to tag along. I may not help much with the itinerary planning. But I’ll make sure to be useful during our travel as I help you with your baggage or approach the locals even if I’m not good in conversation. Till our next travel escapade guys!😘😍
Special Thanks to Ate Rina’s sister Rowena, for the Chinese New Year gift and for sponsoring our Chinese food dinner in Kaohsioung. May you have more blessings. Please stay safe there! 😘😍
Though this travel is almost perfect there’s one disappointment that I can’t afford not to mention. Just to give a background, we checkout early from Hotel Puri since we have a Jiufen Tour early next morning. That’s why we purchased locker service from Lalalocker for 400NTD for 3 person. Sadly they don’t have actual lockers but will place your luggage in Park Hostel reception . We also avail their shower service for 100NTD which was previously 50NTD from different receptionist that turned 100NTD. We should have looked at the showers first before availing it but as we’re too tired and wanted a fresh bath as we came after our Jiufen Tour and last minute shopping. Good thing it has a working hot and cold shower. It is a shared bathroom for the hostel which could be the reason why the facility is not pleasing. Then again it’s fine for us but we just expected more as we paid for the service. Don’t be surprised if you encountered the same. We’re still thankful that we haven’t lose any items.