Taiwan Travel – Things I Learned
I was in Taiwan last week with my officemates for about 6 days and it was really a great experience. I learned a lot of new stuffs where in some you win, in some you simply fail. Let me provide you a quick list.
Some of the stuffs here are not really Taiwan Travel Specific but good to know if you are traveling.
If you are a US-Visa holder or if you have a US passport, you do not need to apply for Taiwan Visa. You can read more about here in Taiwan Visa Requirements. This alone will save you around PHP 2-3k in fees for applying in a Taiwan Visa.
When you are at the airport, make sure that you are already at the waiting area just right before you do other things to waste time. Always put priority on checking-in (at least 2-3 hours before your flight) and passing immigration. We nearly missed our flight because we started passing the immigration just 30 minutes before the flight and who knew that our friend will be held there because of her passport.
To tell you about our friend’s story, she has a US passport and when she presented it, the immigration officer was asking her for her Philippine Passport which she did not bring. This had her held there and made us all panic as we nearly missed our flight. So as a warning to those who has US passports, make sure you bring your Philippine passport too when passing through immigration.
Commuting in Taiwan
If you want the easiest way and also most expensive way to travel in Taiwan, take a taxi/cab. This is their taxi policy.
Flagdown rate is 70 Taiwan Dollar or NT or TWD.
For the first 1.25km, an increase of 5NT.
For the next 250m, 5NT.
For every 100 seconds of waiting/idle time, 5NT.
Traveling at late night (11pm onwards) = +20NT to your total bill.
The Taiwan MRT is a good place to start when you want to travel in Taiwan. There are lots of city guides you can simply pick up at the station which will guide you along the difference lines you can ride and what places you can see there in each station. It is really helpful and it is cheaper than taking a taxi. You may need to do some walking after you arrive at your station but it is just near.
Get an easypass ticket which you can use in MRT, Buses and as an entrance to places like Taiwan Zoo. Just tap it on their sensor, hear a beep and you are in.
If you are the adventurous type, you can take the bus. There are a lot of designated bus stops in Taiwan and different buses with different routes stop there. Being able to read Chinese characters is a must else you might get lost. Some buses have English destinations in LED displays but some don’t. You can use easy pass here also.
Taiwan Night Markets
Taiwan Night Markets are famous in Taiwan. This is where you can buy a lot of stuff at night where some prices are really low. However, since there are a lot of night markets in Taiwan, you need to know where you should go else you will end up disappointed. In our case, we went to three night markets and we saw different stuffs there.
Taipei Hwahsi Tourist Night Market – Lots of street food and shops. Nothing special. Note: We saw a snake and several sex shops here.
Dihua Street – This place is jampacked with food! Everywhere you will look you will find people shouting about their offers and you can have free taste. I’m sure that if you sampled each stall here, by the end of the road, you will be full.
Shilin Night Market = This place is loaded with food, clothes, shoes and a lot of other stuffs. If you are into shopping, this is the night market for you but be careful though. The place is jam-packed with shoppers like you. For me, this is the best one.
For a complete list of Taiwan Night Markets, check out the entry in Wikipedia.
Taiwan Street Food
Taiwanese Pork Sausages – It tastes like hotdog but very oily. Crisp on the skin, soft meat in the inside.
Oyster Omelets – Yum yum if you like Oysters.
Dried Squid – You can either have them grilled (not dried) or you can eat them dried. Reminds me of Sakanami fish strips before. Tasty and addicting.
Stinky Tofu – How in the hell can you eat this thing with it’s smell simply pushing you away? That is something I need to know because the smell of Stinky Tofu is really bad! I thought someone made a dump in the streets. I avoided this as fast as I could even if people say this is good and a famous food.
Pork-Blood – Pork blood in a box anyone?
Vigor Kobo – Taiwan Delicacy you should not miss!
I would recommend that you try out Taiwan’s Pineapple cake at Vigor Kobo. They have the most tastiest pineapple cake and it is really expensive too.
10pcs = 300NT
20pcs = 600NT
Personally, this was really a great experience going to a place and not guided by a tour. The times spent by reading maps and planning out your schedule on the go was really fun. We already had a fixed schedule but somehow, we never got to follow it religiously.
Many thanks to broke back bode, snorlax Oj, BERNICE (da most powerful name), Da Mandarin G, Stinky Bob for the experience. Big X!
Be sure to read my other post about Taiwan too.