Taipei, capital of Taiwan is a place where history meets modern metropolis. It has interesting things such as history museums, traditional street markets, and shopping centers. This place has so many visitors from all races and fit for travelers of all ages. I, myself was encouraged to visit this capital. Yes, December of last year, I made a stopover to Taipei before going back home in the Philippines for a vacation. Instead of a direct flight to the Philippines, I booked a NGO-TPE-MNL-DVO ticket. It’s a 11-hour stopover so what to do with that long hour wait? As for me, it’s time to explore the city! By the way, there’s half-day free tours offered by the airport. Visit HERE for more information.
How To Get There
There are 2 airports in Taiwan. The Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and the Songshan Airport. If you are arriving in Taiwan, you will most likey arrive in TPE. The former has 2 terminals and the latter airport serves as the regional airport. There are direct flights from Nagoya like the Tiger Air, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, and Japan Airlines. For other flights departing in your area, you may check SkyScanner. I flew with Tiger Air, one of low-cost carriers in Asia for 17,370JPY. Since TPE is not located in the city center, for a 125TWD one way, you will hop on a 45minutes to an hour bus to reach the Taipei Main Station and from there, you can ride their MRT to reach to different locations of the city. Their MRT are user-friendly and stations are close to popular places in the city area. Going back to the airport will be the same, buy a 125TWD bus ticket, hop on the bus and arrive in your airport terminal.
Philippine passport holders need a visa to enter Taiwan, however, Philippine passport holders can be visa-exempted in entering Taiwan. Those who have been issued a valid entry visa or have a valid resident/permanent card issued from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, USA, UK and any Schengen countries may enter Taiwan without a visa. Additional to this, entry visas/resident cards from these countries less than 10 years from expiration may also qualify for visa-exempt. Before departure, you must possess a confirmed ticket departing Taiwan, your printed travel authorization certificate (you can fill up HERE), the visa used in your certficate and show these to the immigration officer. If granted, you will have a 30-day visa exemption.
Places To Go To
1. Taipei 101. Standing at 504m, this is the tallest building in Taiwan and 5th in the world. See its beauty during the day and during the night while it is illuminated. You can go all the way up to the observatory for a fee.
2. Dine at Din Tai Fung. A famous restaurant boasting their bestseller pork xiaolongbao. I asked myself, did I just stopover in Taiwan for these? (Hehehehe…) Do try their pork xiaolongbao (10pcs) for 200TWD with the mouth watering pickled cucumber appetizer for 70TWD. Dining in a group here may cost you 300TWD-500TWD.
How to enjoy your pork xiaolongbao:
1. Have your own blend of rice vinegar and soy sauce on a plate with ginger strips.
2. Pick one xiaolongbao and dip it in the sauce.
3, Put it in the spoon and tear the skin for the sauce to come out and sip the broth and eat the xiaolongbao. Be careful, it’s hot.
1.Hold the xiaolongbao with your chopstick at the top of it to prevent tearing the xialongbao.
2. Best when it is still hot.
3. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It is a national monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai Shek, the former President of the Republic of China. The beautiful ceiling inside symbolizes the Taiwan flag. From 9:00 to 17:00, there are guards here and you can watch the changing of guards hourly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch it since I arrived past 6pm. But still,I consider myself lucky, because I was able to enter and see the inside after I captured this image, the watcher of the hall said it’s already time to come out since it is already closing time. The hall is open daily from 9:00 to 18:30 with free admission.
4. Longshan Temple. Longshan temple is a Buddhist temple. The best time to visit is during 6am, 8am and 5pm where worshipers gather and engage in hypnotic chanting. The temple is open daily from 6:00 to 22:00 with free admission. Since I am not a Buddhist, when I saw them, I can’t relate what they are doing inside. As long as I have a God and faith in Him, for me, everyone is the same.
5. Huaxi Night Market. Huaxi St. night market is just a walking distance from Longshan temple where a long street of almost anything can be found. From food to clothes to accessories to exotic finds. It may not be as famous as those popular night markets in Taipei but this one will do if you want to experience a night market in Taipei. My plan was to go to Tonghua night market for food tripping but I may be late for my check in time bound for Manila. I just bought a baked egg cake for dessert. The stall I got it from is running the business for 50 years already and it was a long queue.