A nine-month trial period of visa-free entry privilege for Filipinos visiting Taiwan has been granted back in November 1, 2017 and was extended recently until July 2019. With that, from what I’ve observed from my friends in social media, Taiwan has been one of the most visited countries last year (2018). Even I, myself, took this opportunity to be able to see and experience the beauty of Taiwan, the beauty that everybody’s talking about.

Honestly, Taiwan hasn’t been one of the countries that I eagerly wanted to visit in my bucket list. I was just so curious because, again, it has been one of the countries that’s been mostly visited by almost everybody ever since the visa-free entry was granted to Filipinos. And also, why not?

Since I officially hail Taiwan as my favorite country by date, I would like to share, especially to those first-timer tourists like me, my budget and itinerary, plus some frequently asked questions by some of my friends.

Taipei 101 at Night
Taipei 101 at Night

When did you go?

We went there last June 2018. It’s summer that time, so the weather was kinda Philippine-ish.

How long did you stay?

5 Days and 4 Nights. It was enough to cover main attractions of Taipei City plus a side trip at Taichung City.

Where did you stay?

Taipei City

We stayed at 2 hotels when we were in Taipei City due to some changes in our itinerary. We booked our accommodations via booking.com.

  • SleepBox Hotel – The rooms are clean, but the shared bathroom isn’t, but tolerable. The place is chill and there’s a Foosball table available to play with your friends. The location is good – it’s in downtown area and it’s just a 5-10 minute walk from NTU Hospital MRT Station.
  • MUIU Capsule Inn – This place is highly recommended. The rooms are very clean! Free breakfast is also offered. The location is also good since it’s just a 10-minute walk from Taipei Main Station. 7-Eleven and Family Mart are also available across the street! The staffs are also very friendly and helpful.
Shared are at SleepBox Hotel
Shared are at SleepBox Hotel

Taichung City

  • KIWI-Taichung Station Branch 1 – Highly recommended! The rooms are big. Free breakfast is also offered and it’s actually in buffet. Location is good since it’s just near Taichung Main Station, also there are a lot of restaurants and food stores available outside. The staffs are very friendly and helpful.

There are a lot of hotels/hostels to choose from. Just make sure that the location is good like it’s just within the downtown area and near a train station (near a convenience store like 7-Eleven or Family Mart is also a big plus plus!).

Taichung Old Train Station
Taichung Old Train Station

How much money should I bring?

During our 5D/4N trip, I brought about PHP 13,000 with me, this already covered my travel tax, transportation, food, and pasalubong shopping. Also, after our trip there were still some money left.

Where did you exchange your currency?

I had most of my Philippine peso exchanged to US Dollars and some to Taiwan Dollars (NTD) in the Philippines (I had it exchanged at a ForEx in Ayala Center Cebu). Then upon arrival at Taoyuan International Airport, I had my US Dollars exchanged to Taiwan Dollars at a Bank of Taiwan ForEx center. The exchange rates at the airport were good that time, I even was able to gain more Taiwan Dollars.

As what I’ve read from most blogs, it’s best to exchange your currency at the airport because it’s hard to look for ForEx stores in the cities.

PS: If you’re going exchange your PHP to USD, make sure the dollar exchange rate is good, of course! πŸ˜›

Is there Internet everywhere?

I’m not sure about this one because we rented a 4G WiFi device through Klook during our whole trip.

If you are having a DIY itinerary/trip, I highly recommend you to rent a WiFi device or buy a 3G/4G Tourist Sim Card, so that you and your group could still be connected anytime and anywhere. This is very helpful especially when you want to search something – like directions, where to eat, and the like.

Rent your 4G WiFi device here. Just follow the instructions in the voucher/confirmation receipt on how to pickup and return the device.

Can the locals understand English?

The answer is no, but some can understand basic English but with actions. So when you ask something, it’s best to use the simplest words that you could think to describe/explain.

What I like about the locals in Taiwan is even if they find it hard to explain the answer to your question, they will really try their best to answer it and help you! Taiwanese are the friendliest Asians (PS: Chinese Race), so far! LOL!

How to get around the city?

Taiwan’s bus and train system are very easy to understand. We have used Google Maps App for what bus number or train line to ride.

Make sure to purchase your transportation card at the airport or to any 7-Eleven branch. During our trip we used the EasyCard so that we could use it in both Taichung and Taipei.

Taiwan's EasyCard
Taiwan’s EasyCard

EasyCard is sold at NT$500: NT$100 is the deposit and NT$400 is consumable. We bought ours at the Airport – Arrival Lobby.

Budget + Itinerary

Here’s our sample budget and itinerary for a 5D/4N trip. This is based on our trip and we were almost able to follow this.

Day Itinerary NTD PHP Notes
1 NT$1.00 β‚±1.90 Sample Exchange Rate

Departure – Travel Tax β‚±1620.00
Arrival at Taoyuan International Airport
Buy EasyCard NT$500.00 β‚±950.00 Deposit w/Load for entire trip.
EasyCard = NT$100.00
Rent Pocket WiFi (Good for 5 Days) β‚±704.00 Pickup at Arrival Lobby in the Airport. Rent here.
Travel to Taichung via THSR NT$396.00 β‚±752.00 Pre-purchase your tickets here.
Arrival at Taichung City
Check-in at Hotel (Taichung City) NT$420.00 β‚±798
Gaomei Wetlands
Rainbow Village
Lunch NT$200.00 β‚±380.00
Checkout at Hotel (Taichung City)
Travel to Taipei via HSR β‚±996.00 Pre-purchase your tickets here
Check-in at Hotel (Taipei) NT$2300.00 β‚±4370.00 4D/3N Stay
Hike to Elephant Mountain
Taipei 101 Observatory β‚±875.00 Pre-purchase your tickets here
Dinner at Din Tai Fung, Taipei 101 NT$1000.00 β‚±1900.00 Be early if you’re going to dine here because a lot of people are on queue.
Bopilao Historical District
Longshan Temple
Lunch at Modern Toilet Restaurant NT$500.00 β‚±950
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
National Palace Museum
Dinner at Shilin Night Market NT$500.00 β‚±950
North Coast Tour β‚±1,166 Book your tour here.
Yehliu Geopark NT$80.00 β‚±152.00
Old Mining Site
Golden Waterfalls
Jiufen Village
Lunch at Jiufen Village NT$500.00 β‚±950
Shifen Old Street
Ximending District
Dinner at Ximending District NT$500.00 β‚±950
Pasalubong Shopping
Lunch NT$300.00 β‚±570.00
Checkout at Hotel
Dinner NT$300.00 β‚±570.00
Travel to Taoyuan Airport via Airport MRT NT$160.00 β‚±304.00 Rate is from Taipei Main Station to Airport
TOTAL β‚±18,290.40

As you can see, I have a big budget for meals because food is life, LOL. But in reality, you wouldn’t really spend over NT$500, especially when you eat at night markets because it’s cheap! Also, if you noticed, I didn’t include breakfast meal because it was already included in our hotel.

The above budget doesn’t include money for pasalubong shopping because it really depends on you. πŸ˜‰

Taiwan Delicacies for Pasalubong
Taiwan Delicacies for Pasalubong

How was Taiwan?

I’m in love! As what I’ve mentioned above, I now consider it as my fave country by date. I think I love everything about Taiwan: the food, the transportation system, and of course the locals – super kind and friendly! I could remember when we checked-out from our hotel, I got teary-eyed because I think I got attached to our life there! Haha ang OA noh?

I will definitely go back someday there just to unwind, do foodtrips, and explore the other cities.

Any other tips/suggestions?

There are a lot to mention but here are some:

  • Always do your research before traveling. Make sure you already know what to do there – from the day you arrive until the day to return back to your homeland.
  • GoogleMaps is life. You must learn how to use it. This app is really powerful, like all information you need about directions or what bus code or train line to ride are already there.
  • Taxi is expensive. Best to take the bus/train.
  • Try spending a day or two to explore other cities like Taichung.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – I swear, based on experience, the locals are so kind and helpful.
  • Download WhatsApp on your mobile – this is really helpful for communication.
  • If you want to save on food, go and eat at Night Markets or on convenience stores like 7-Eleven or Family Mart.
  • When buying pasalubong on Night Markets, don’t forget to use your tawad/haggling skills.
  • When buying delicacies as pasalubong, you could ask the staff/store owner if you could try it first. Most pasalubong shops we’ve been have free tastes.
  • Do your pasalubong shopping at Shilin Night Market
  • If you plan to hike the Elephant Mountain and take instagram-worthy photos, I think it’s best to go there during sunrise to avoid a pool of tourists.
  • If you’re going to do the North Coast Tour (Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen Village, and Shifen Old Street), I highly suggest that you would book a tour to lessen the hassle and to save time. It might kill a lot of your time if you take the public transportation.
  • Bring umbrella in case it rains.
  • If you wanna do a little shopping for yourself, Ximending Shopping District is life.
  • Birkenstock is cheap there. I bought a pair for myself at an outlet store near Ximending.
  • If you’re at Taipei 101 and you want to have some light snacks, there are free tastes of delicious pineapple cakes at the pasalubong shops near Din Tai Fung. LOL! Joke only guys.

I guess that’s all, hopefully this post will help you on your future trip to Taiwain. If you have questions, please feel free to ask, I’ll be glad to help πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading and have a happy New Year! Cheers!

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