TAIWAN

Taiwan travel experience, all you need to know

Taiwan has not been my favorite place before, simply because I have not heard much about this country, maybe the information about Hong Kong, Japan is flooded with websites that overwhelm Taiwan. Until suddenly one day to see Korean Air sell super promotions tickets Seoul – Taipei 0 KRW, do not have to think much, cheap tickets to buy it.

Just about a week before my departure I just set up a trip, started researching about this country, and realized that Taiwan was super cute. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it does not really say anything else to describe, looking at pictures of Taiwan always brings a feeling of calm but very eagerly, there is a city of Taipei but not too crowded. You Hongkong, a Tainan sunshine, idyllic alternate nostalgic features and Alishan, Hualien, Cingjing representative of beautiful nature of Taiwan … Before learning about Taiwan, then copy the mouth, “Oh, that land Little one, go a week is out of the country then “, then to learn, go to know that do not understand how many days, months to experience, check-in, not to understand, deeply felt to be Taiwan.

THINGS TO PREPARE BEFORE

Change money before you go

Taiwan’s currency is the Taiwanese Dollar, abbreviated to $ or NT. You can buy $ Taiwan at foreign currency exchanges like Ha Trung, but the exchange rate is generally high, $ 1 NT $ ~ $ 0.03. Actually, you should not change too much, to move almost anywhere can pay card, only buy tickets at the local station small, eat street they do not accept the card. Expenditure in Taiwan is a bit more expensive than the average of Southeast Asia.

In addition, you can bring dollars from home to Taiwan if available, exchange at the airport or banks have clear exchange rates, some banks can refer as Chinatrust, Bank of Taiwan, Mega Bank.

Internet and sim purchases in Taiwan

Most of Taiwanese territory has free wifi, which is always true, not the kind of flickering wifi like in Thailand or Singapore, and then again to register for the network account. I realize that there are free wifi in small towns or near a 7Eleven store. However, you should still buy a sim to be able to stay in touch while you are here. The price for a Sim4G 4G is 450NT comfort for 5 days, and I choose another type is sim only 4G for 300NT, 2Gb capacity for 6 months. I find this type suitable for calling or texting I can all use 4G, but want to call the GMS wave can still recharge to use it. If you follow a large group of people, you can rent a wifi transmitter to share with them.

Going down the airport to the city bus halls, you will find quite a large sim shop in the airport. Just choose the type of sim you need and pay only, staff here speak English quite well.

Time travel in Taiwan

In general, the weather in Taiwan has four distinct seasons, some of the central, southern or mountainous cities are much more beautiful than Taipei. Taipei seems erratic rain, I go to December in which the day is sunny, drizzle day. The easiest season is probably summer or autumn, while spring and winter are bad. Especially remember to avoid the 7,8 because this is the rainy season.

Some timelines you need to grasp like red maple will appear in the autumn and especially in late December early January. Leaflet is a specialty in Taiwan, who go to Japan and then also be able to imagine the section brain. Winter in some high mountains will be snowfall, look as beautiful as Europe, not just half snow season. Anyone who goes into the cold may consider taking a look at the snow.

Some other note

Taiwanese people may say that they do not speak English, most shops, restaurants, staff can only communicate in body language and a few basic words. Only the shops, the big clothes shop, the business center or the airport they speak English. You should down some Chinese or Google Translate app in the phone, learn some words, basic sentences such as numbers, asking price, etc.

EXPERIENCE ABOUT GOING IN TAIWAN

From Taoyuan Airport to Taipei

After the airport you will have to fill out the entry form, through customs and then can buy 4G sim used in about a week here. At present, the MRT from the airport to the center is still being constructed. The most economical way is to take a bus (besides a taxi). You follow the directions to the bus station outside the airport hall to buy tickets to the city.

This transit bus is dedicated to running the airport, you remember the company name is Kuokuang No. 1819, 125NT fare. The bus will run to the last terminal, Taipei Main Train Station, which takes an hour or less, from here you can take MRT to the hotel or walk if you rent a hotel near the central station.

Traveling in Taiwan

As in developed countries, Metro or MRT is the main means of transportation in Taipei. In general, the train is clean, very fast, the MRT line is dense and almost covers most points in the center. The way to go, buy a ticket is like any other city, you can refer to my articles about the train ride in Sing, Malaysia, ..

For MRT, you can buy a retail ticket (token) or buy a non-retail refill card. As far as I can see in Taiwan for a long time should buy recharge cards will be more convenient, and the price of each leg will also be cheaper than retail purchase. For example, if you buy retail, the fare for each leg is 20,25,30NT, while the short-distance card is only 16NT.

HOTEL IN TAIWAN

The traditional booking tools are Agoda, Booking.com, group travel or in pairs you can find more in Airbnb with beautiful apartment apartment. Remember to sign up for an Airbnb account under this link for $ 20 in your booking account.

The experience of booking hotels in Taiwan is also quite similar to traveling to Europe, ie finding hotels near the central station, from Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung, etc. This helps us save time, Efforts to travel because the first common point in a city in Taiwan is the central station of the city. And often the main station is also the city center with entertainment venues, bustling shopping area so not afraid of sad or lack of service. Room prices are not much different from other areas.

The hotels I booked during my trip:

  • Taipei : Cavemen Hostel Taipei Station Youth Branch – Located 5 minutes’ walk from the central station, located on the 7th floor of a grand building on the main road, beautiful room. This area is crowded with everything, convenient access, convenience stores, breakfast and near a pretty milk tea.
  • Tainan: Tavern L Hostel – 10 minutes’ walk from Tainan Railway Station, the staff is very friendly, the rooms are not as nice as in Taipei, the road is easy to find, just off the bus stop.
  • Kaohsiung: Paper Plane Hostel – Super nice and smart technology room, located on the 10th floor of a large building, close to the MRT station. In the evening, watch the street from the shimmering sky.
  • Hualien : Hualien Wow Hostel – not much consideration as this hotel is well located right opposite Hualien Railway Station.

Review details about these hotels will be included in the reviews, but overall the hostel was all I appreciated in all aspects, from location, service and facilities. Room rates are very good, dorm bed for only $ 10-15 / night.

EATING IN TAIWAN

Street food – at night markets

To learn and enjoy Taiwanese cuisine, it is easy to flip through the night markets. At the station, almost every city has a night market, Shilin, Raohe in Taipei, Anping in Tainan, Liuhe in Kaohsiung and Ziqiang in Hualien. The night markets in Taipei normally have similar food, which sells dish-specific dishes, varying only in width. As far as I can tell, the largest Shilin market, Raohe is smaller than a chain from the beginning to the end of the street. Liuhe market is full of seafood.

You should take a walk around the market one last time, visit the animal and think about what you want to eat, and preferably try every little thing until your stomach is full! Prices of food in Taiwan are generally not too expensive compared to developed countries, but slightly higher than countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

Typical Taiwan cuisine

Some of the dishes you must try in Taiwan such as: rotten tofu, too famous food that goes everywhere, tofu eat delicious, not rotten, the smell of “rotten” seems to lie in the sauce; Oyster noodles are extremely easy to eat, add some seafood and herbs to delicious; Baked meat dumplings, crispy and aromatic breads; Chinese-style traditional xiao-long varieties; Beef noodle; The seafoods are countless, there are also baked, both breaded fried crispy, both fresh.

For breakfast, choose some dishes such as onion, kebab doner, and Breakfast Taiwan Style at Yong He Dou Jiang. Please call for a cup of hot / cold milk in Taiwanese breakfast style.

Also when in Taipei – Taipei is reminiscent of Din Tai Fung at the foot of Taipei 101, the restaurant is ranked 1 star Michellin. Although slightly expensive but also worth to try because it is famous and Xiaolong Bao here is not introduced. Please read more posts when I eat Din Tai Fung in Singapore.

Drink tea milk Taiwan

Like going to Italy to try all kinds of Italian ice cream, there is no reason to go to Taiwan without enjoying all the milk tea here. The most famous brands of milk tea can be mentioned as Chun Shui Tang, Lattea, Gong Cha, 50 Lan, Teapatea (Tea Tang Hui), Ten Ren Tea. It seems the most famous is Gong Cha, but the most expensive is probably Ten Ren, what a cup of milk tea the 80-100NT.

Usually to buy milk tea at the famous shops they are English speaking, and if buying street sidewalks, street markets, night markets may be able to speak only Chinese. Remember Chinese milk tea is a “mustache”, if you do not want to eat Pearls that you want to call Pudding, you say “nailed nails”, and English is Bubble Tea.

TOTAL SITES IN TAIWAN

Taiwan seems like a country with only a few highlights, but it seems that there are too many uncovered things, especially the natural scenery, green grass and old town. super lovely. In this article I am referring only to the cities that I discovered in the 8 days and 7 nights trip in Taiwan:

Taipei Capital

  • Lungshan Temple: The temple reminds me of the Quoc Tu Giam of Vietnam, also the ancient look, sanctuary and sense of sacred. To enter the temple you also have to go through three decorative doors in succession, the same is the waterfall the wood carving and stone, inside the worship area.
  • Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, not only that, but also overwhelmed by the vast space here.
  • Xinmending: The busy shopping district in Taipei, like Singapore’s Orchard. Coming here, only shopping, then take a walk around the street looking at branded clothes of all kinds.
  • Huashan 1914 Creative Park: Close to Zone 9 or Baan Kang Wat in Chiang Mai, this is a young art village / park with cinemas, exhibits, cafes and shops. super cool Remember to take a photo walk around the virtual life offline!
  • National Taiwan University: Taiwan National University, comes to stroll and explore the large university space with lots of greenery, shade, old buildings or school grounds that make up the movie. love Harvard. Right outside the school is bustling shopping, remember to try milk tea Tran (Tran Tam Dinh).
  • Taipei 101 Building: Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, 2011 the building has become the tallest and largest green building in the world. Right at the foot of the building is the famous Din Tai Fung restaurant, remember to visit and enjoy.
  • Taipei Zoo: Asia’s largest zoo, like the Phu Quoc Safari or the Chiang Mai Zoo in Bangkok.
  • Maokong Gondola: This is the cable car up Mt. Maokong with its unique glass-bottomed cable car, overlooking the tea hills, temples and mountain peaks of Taipei. Cable runs daily during the week except Mondays, avoid coming soon to queue. You can take the MRT Wenhu Line to Taipei Zoo and go to the cable car station nearby, Maokong is the last station.
  • National Palace Museum: This place preserves many Chinese antiques from 4500 – 2700 BC to the 20th century, admire the largest collection of Chinese antiques and treasures. great. Here you can register for free English guides, pre-register here.
  • Taipei night markets: Taipei has three of the most famous night markets: Raohe, Shilin and Tonghua night markets, in which I have no Tong Hua and Shilin is the largest market to experience, There are also food, games and street vendors selling souvenir clothing. Raohe market is mainly food, baby and can not leave also.
  • Jiufen Ancient Village, Shifen, Houtong Cats Village: You should spend at least a day traveling to these ancient villages in Taipei with red tiled roofs, narrow alleyways, The tea is in Taiwanese style. Getting There: Take the Zhongxiao Fuxing Exit 1 MRT Station, take bus 1062 to Jiufen. After going out in Jiufen, take 1062 back to Riufang train station, buy a train ticket to Cat Village, then take the train to Shifen.
  • Beitou Hot Spring: A unique cultural feature of Taiwan, this is a hot springs resort with fairy scenery, hot springs enjoy a pleasant pleasant feeling. In addition to Beitou, you can refer to the Volando Wulai Hotspring which is also a very popular hot spring in Taipei, take the MRT to Xindian Station and take Bus 849 to Wulai.

Alishan Mountain

I bought a bus ticket to Alishan one day before, went to the Taipei Main Train Station and asked for directions to the Taipei Bus Station, looking for the King Bus ticket counter to go to Alishan. The bus departs at 9:45 pm and runs only on weekends 6.7.

Alishan is Taiwan’s famous mountain, where you can experience one of the world’s oldest ships of more than 100 years, watch cherry blossoms on the right side of the blooming blossoms, and go to Zhushan Station to enjoy the sea of ​​clouds. Take a bus you will save 1 night hotel but also the time to train up the mountain always. The car will stop at the last point opposite a 7Eleven shop, eat here and buy things to continue to the nearby train station to buy tickets to the mountain view sunrise.

There are also plenty of attractions on Mount Alishan which you may spend either a day or a whole day here, such as the Tse Yung Temple, the 3 generations of trees, or the lavender dress with the look of Chinese antiquities.

Tainan

From Alishan take the bus to Chiayi, a capital of Taiwan, then take the HSR or regular train to Tainan. If Taipei weather is as erratic as girl 18, Tainan is always sunny and beautiful. Tainan is probably the most exciting city I have seen in Taiwan, not too crowded, with many tall buildings and traffic in Taipei. Here there are many lovely old town, lightly slow, and the night market a lot of delicious food and decorative fancy. Some points to take in Tainan:

  • Old Town Anping Old Street: Here are the most ancient streets in Taiwan, the antique street corners and the bustling night market.
  • Confucius Temple: Located in the center of Tainan, it sells a lot of souvenirs and has an ancient street just across the street.
  • Sicao Green Tunnel and Qigu Salt Mountain: These two points are located in the suburbs, you can catch bus 99 from the central station they will take you around both points. The beautiful but quite monotonous Qigu salt mine, the Sicao Green Channel, is a famous natural canal in Tainan, where you can rent a boat to explore.
  • Chin Mei Museum: Museum of very European style, should come in the evening to watch the museum up lights. Take the train to Bao An station and walk to the museum.

Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is a large city of Taiwan, very noticeable when it comes down to Kaohsiung Station, just behind Taipei. This city I do not like the other points in Taiwan because this place is much urbanized, the tourist attractions also bring many artificial elements. There are, however, some good places to visit:

  • Liuhe Night Market: This market mainly sells seafood, food. In general, delicious seafood, fresh, not too high prices.
  • Pier-2 Art Center: Built from abandoned shed on the beach, this is like a collection of museums with creative works.
  • Formosa Boulevard Station: step out of the train and walk up the hall you will see a performance of lights and LED lights in the monumental hall. On the outside, there are four exit points around the four corners of the intersection, which are well-designed to look like the Louvre in Paris.
  • Love River: The river of love is adorned with winding bridges, so the darkness will see the lights running along the bridge creating an impressive setting.
  • Fo Guang Shan Temple: Located 40 km from the center of Kaohsiung, one of the largest and most magnificent temples I ever admired.

Hualien

You can get to Hualien from Taipei with a 2.5-hour train, or go from Kaohsiung 6 hours. Hualien is an indispensable place to go in Taiwan, where Taroko National Park and the famous Qingshui cliffs are located. Taroko Park is considered to be one of Taiwan’s most beautiful natural settings, with imposing cliffs, hanging bridges and beautiful waterfalls. Please read more about my day here in Hualien.

Epilogue:

Taiwan is an island country not too big, but it has to be said that there are too many places to go and explore, in part a sense of preserving the preservation of government and people of this country. A schedule of more than a week can not go out but only can visit some of the cities as in my trip above, that go quite fast, not slow but enjoy. So when you schedule you remember, depending on the time and the way, your hobbies to choose which destinations to go and enjoy the most beautiful radio station.