Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Taipei is probably the most tourist-friendly city for me so far. One thing that caught my attention is its mind-blowing transportation system not to mention the trains, might it be MRT, high speed, or the railway. If every city in my country, the Philippines, adapts to this ingenious idea, for sure, every Filipino would not face the everyday hassle on getting on both LRT and MRT that each has been experiencing up to this date due to innumerable rather abominable factors that even the government itself could not resolve for such a very long time. How I wish!
Anyway, with a well-planned itinerary and a pleasant mind-set, you can never go broke in Taipei. In fact, I stayed in the city centre for almost a week and I was able to visit most of the sites by only taking the advantage of MRT trains and a few rides on the city bus.
Generally speaking, spending your time around the metro for a few days would be enough; on the other hand, I needed to stay longer not just to fill my memories with picturesque places, but to get to know more about the locals well, taste both extraordinary and ubiquitous delicacies, and understand the culture deeper. But then I realized that there are still a lot to discover: their culinary diversity, well-preserved geo parks, several UNESCO heritage sites, and other night markets that I was not able to try and enjoy. Certainly, I am coming back. Soon!
For tourists or travellers who will have a very limited time in Taipei, I came up with a travel plan that won’t eat a lot of your time. It’s hassle-free and easy to follow. But before you begin your tour, you should take note of the following essentials.
I divided these itineraries into 3 categories based on a handful of factors like proximity of the attractions, MRT line, and time when to enjoy a particular place. Certainly, each requires one whole day to accomplish this tour plan. Moreover, in order to remember these travel plans, I even created its title.
Itinerary 1 – The Nearby Attractions
Itinerary 2 – When East Meets West
Itinerary 3 – The Lantern of Nature
- Of course, you should have a copy of the itinerary I made because it contains the name of the attractions in particular order, instructions, time when the site is open, and MRT line to use. You may print it or download the pdf file on your mobile phones.
2. MRT Ticket
There are practical methods to enjoy MRT. One is by tickets, either by card or using token for one-time trips. The fare is usually determined by distance which ranges from NTD 20 to NTD 40 per ride. Just remember to check the balance when using the card. Another way is by having your Taipei Fun Pass. This card doesn’t only give you unlimited rides on MRT, but also on city buses (not including the bus with more than 4 digits) and five Taiwan Tourist shuttle routes within the validity period.
1 DAY - $ 180
1 DAY (Gondola version) - $ 250
(allows 3 trips on Maokong Gondola)
2 DAY - $ 310
3 DAY - $ 440
5 DAY - $ 700
- Purchase Taipei Fun Pass according to the number of days you will tour around Taipei. For me, this type of ticket is the most affordable and very practical for short-term travellers. It gives us less hassle of checking the load every now and then and queuing to re-load the card. It surely a money-saver because the rides are unlimited.
3. Navigation Tools
It would be better if you have wi-fi with you. You can rent a mobile wi-fi unit at the airport, but it’s a bit costly.
Using navigation apps like Google map, Waze, HERE Wego, and so on, is a very favourable tool to fulfill wanderlust. It vividly shows your current location, gives you simple direction, and indicates various ways to reach your destination. In the contrary, you don’t need to worry if you don’t have one. You can use a map which is available almost everywhere in the city free of charge, especially at the airport, MRT stations, convenient stores, and ticket office of most tourist attractions.
Courtesy of Google Map
- Based on my experience, for a faster and greater ease of navigation, I used both. But most of the time, I tend to use the map so I am able to magnify the entire city and jot down some vital notes.
Majority of the sites in Taipei has free admission, but bringing some extra money is a must.
New Taiwan Dollar (NDT)
- You can practically make any transactions either by cash or credit card, but each has an advantage. If you are a type of person who shops a lot, then credit card is perfect for you. In the contrary, you still need to have some cash on hand. Some admission fees and small stores must be paid in and receive cash respectively.
5. Comfy Clothing
Another vital thing you need to take into consideration wherever you travel is the appropriate attire. Taiwan has tropical climate with hot and rainy summer from May to September. It also has spring in April until early May, autumn from October to December, and mild winter in January.
Altonie and Princess wearing their trendy but comfy OTTD
- It was summer and the weather was unpredictable when I was in Taipei. There were times that it was sunny in the morning then it would rain until evening, so a small umbrella is another essential.
- Wear light clothing preferably cotton fibre. Short pants and a shirt can do.
- You must wear a very comfortable pair of trainers or rubber shoes. Expect that you’ll do lots of walking on this tour.
- You can wear a cap and sunglasses whenever necessary.
Make sure that all of your gadgets are fully-charged so you won’t be missing anything. You can bring a power bank as well if in case socket is unavailable in some areas.
- If you’re not using your wi-fi or mobile data in you smart phone, put it on airplane mode. By this way, it won’t run out of battery easily.
7. Small Handy Bag
In any forms of travel activities, you never forget to bring a bag. Of course, you need to secure some of your stuffs like your wallet, passport, map, gadgets, and store something to bite and drink.
- Remember! You won’t be carrying anything that adds up to your load. Again, you’ll be walking the entire day, so there’s no way for you to stop your journey due to carrying heavy things.
- Choose a multi-functional bag. When I say multi-functional, you can carry it with your hand, wear it with a crossbody strap, or just put it on your shoulder. There are numerous multifunctional bags out in the market now, some are available online.
- It should be water proof and expandable.
8. Sunscreen Lotion
There’s no doubt that you’ll be toasted under the heat of the scorching sun. Putting some sunscreen lotion or cream is essential to avoid sun burn and wrinkles. What I like about Taiwan’s sunny weather is its less humidity. You never go as damp and oily as easily compared to the Philippines.’
- Nowadays, sunscreen lotions are in the form of spray. I prefer this one because it distributes the lotion on your skin evenly.
9. Energy Snacks
In case food is not present in few places such as temples and memorial shrines, bringing a handful of snacks is a brilliant idea. At least you have something to munch when you get exhausted or hungry during the tour.
- There are some food that provide you instant source of energy whenever possible such as raisins, energy bar, peanut, and some oatmeal cookies with various flavours. You can easily see them in supermarket or convenience stores.
10. Open Mind
You will not be able to accomplish the itineraries I made without this in yourself. Basically, some travellers would be very eager see new places, meet new people, and try authentic cuisine, but more often than not, they are ignorant of the custom or the culture that they will have to encounter. Unfortunately, they go home frustrated and dissatisfied because of unmet expectations.
- Try to search do’s and don’ts in meeting the locals. You can obtain them in Google.
- Go out and try new cuisine. There’s no harm in trying anyway.
- Learn a little bit of their language. A bit of hello or good morning in their mother tongue will surely brighten their day. You might not know, they can teach you their language without any extra cost. Surely, it will be useful in haggling at the market.
- Don’t compare their culture to anything when having a conversation with them. It’s a big no no or you may end up in big trouble.
- Don’t argue with some sensitive talks about religion, politics, sex, and gender. There’s always the right time and venue for that. You can talk about these topics discretely, but with your close Taiwanese friend.
Local Taiwanese food
Next Topic: Money Changer in Taipei