DIY Trips: I Spent Less than ₱10,500 for 5D5N in Taiwan

Ni Hao!

I just came back from my trip to Taiwan and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

Over the years, Taiwan has developed its own dynamic culture. It has progressed so much despite being always compared or related to mainland China. In all honesty, Taiwan has never been on top of my ‘countries to visit’ list. But with the advent of technology and modern advertising, I have come to discover Taiwan’s distinct beauty.

Taiwan is known for its sensational food variety. Whenever I ask somebody what to do in Taiwan, I often get the reply “EAT”. At first, I was having second thoughts but I did my research and I became hooked not just because of the food but because there is so much to see. Now that I was able to experience Taiwan firsthand, I can’t wait to be back again!

I’ve been eyeing on plane tickets to Taiwan for quite a while after they eased the visa-free requirements for Filipinos holding visas from Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or any of the Schengen countries.

Fortunately, last November 1, 2017, ROC Taiwan allowed Filipinos to enter the country visa-free for a period of 14 days. Travellers who wish to stay more than the allowable days need to acquire the proper visa. This visa-free feature isn’t extendable. Once the 14-day allowance is over, you must exit the country. To know more about this, read http://www.roc-taiwan.org/.

I booked the plane tickets and arranged the accommodations ahead even before the visa-free announcement. So after the confirmation, I got more and more excited to visit Taiwan because it means less-hassle on our part, especially for some of my friends who don’t have visas from any of the countries I mentioned above.

Taiwan Squad

Cebu Pacific and Eva Air have direct flights from Cebu to Taipei, Vis-à-Vis. Flight rates vary but when you’re lucky, return tickets can go down to 2,500 PHP! And it wasn’t even the most awaited Piso sale. It was just there.

I prepared a 5D5N Itinerary for Taiwan particularly Taipei and New Taipei City. I’m not going to make this any longer because I’m just as excited as you are. So here you go!

DAY 1

👁 Highlights

3 AM              Taipei Sunny Hostel booked via Agoda
Bus:                Kuo-Kuang Bus 1819

After arriving at Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1, we had our Philippine money changed to New Taiwan Dollar. Afterwards, we headed to the Kou-Kuang Bus Stop located at the Arrival Hall. We prepared the exact amount for our bus fare going to our hostel since we haven’t purchased our Easy Card yet. Knowing that our arrival will be at the wee hours, I booked a place near Taipei Main Station so we don’t have to spend more by taking a cab going to our hotel.

Quad Room Ensuite

 

10 AM             National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 
Address: 100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, 8之1號之
Nearest MTR: CKS Memorial Station
Note: Changing of Guards 9AM-5PM every hour

BRUNCH      Hangzhou Xiaolong Tang Bao must-try.png
Address: No. 19, Section 2, Hangzhou South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
Operation Hours: 11 AM – 10 PM

Did you know?

A political and military leader, Chiang Kai-shek, once led the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China and was a close ally of Dr. Sun Yat-sen during the democratic revolution. He took Sun Yat-sen’s place as the leader of the Kuomintang. Although he appeared to be controversial, he’s known to be the more conservative type who promoted traditional Chinese culture and upheld the Arts and Crafts in Taiwan where he retreated after Mao Zedong defeated the Nationalists and declared People’s Republic of China.

 

Hangzhou Xiaolong Bao is just a walking distance from CKS Memorial Hall. Consider dining at this restaurant whenever you’re within the vicinity. I assure you, you won’t regret it! They’ve got one of the best Xiao Long Baos.

12 NN             Huashan 1914 Creative Park 
Address: No. 1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Nearest MTR: Zhongxiao Xinsheng, Exit 1
Operation Hours: 9:30 AM – 9 PM

1 PM              Ikea House
Address: No. 37, Section 2, Zhongxiao East Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City
Nearest MTR: Zhongxiao Xinsheng
Operation Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM

Huashan 1914 Creative Park is perfect for the ‘artsy’ type. You can see lots of fascinating stuff. Just a friendly warning, souvenirs from this park can be really expensive.
IMG_6096
Ikea House snack: Cheese Pudding Cake

 

3 PM              National Palace Museum 
Address: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Nearest MTR: Shilin Station
Operation Hours: 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM Sun-Thu, 8:30 – 9 PM Fri-Sat

DINNER        Shilin Night Market 
Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Nearest MTR: Jiantian Station NOT Shilin Station, Exit 1
Operation Hours: 4:30 PM – 12MN

IMG_6115
The National Palace Museum is one of the largest museums I’ve been to. It houses more or less 700,000 pieces of artefacts and artworks.

This is just one of the many stalls in Shilin Night Market. It’s where I got to use the hashtag #wecamehereforthefood. They have lots of options to choose from – heavy meals, munchies, fruits, or desserts.

💰 Expenses 

As of 12/01/17 1.67594 PHP = 1 NTD

Bus Fare                    125 NTD


Easy Card                  100 NTD


Top-up                       300 NTD


Brunch                      202 NTD


Water                          20 NTD


Ikea Snacks                65 NTD


Museum Fee            250 NTD


Barbecue Chicken      70 NTD / 2 pax


Beef Cubes                 100 NTD / 4 pax


Peanut Bread              20 NTD


Candied Strawberry  55 NTD


Drinks                         300 NTD


Water                           FREE (from Hostel)


TOTAL 1,497 NTD = 2,508.88 PHP

 


DAY 2 

👁 Highlights

BRKFAST     Fu Hang Dou Jiang / Soy Milk must-try.png
Address: 100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District, Section 1, Zhongxiao East Road, 108號
Nearest MTR: Shandao Temple Station
Operation Hours: 5:30 AM – 12:30NN

Lines can get really long at Fou Hang Do Jiang. So be there early before they’re sold out! Don’t forget to order their Soy Milk, Fried Doughnut, and Egg Pancake, and have that signature Taiwanese style breakfast.

IMG_6308

A park showcasing rock formations, Yehliu Geopark is in the northern part of Taiwan. It’s where the Queen’s Head is preserved. It’s by the ocean so it can get pretty chilly. Yehliu, for me, was supposed to be beautiful but with the sea of tourists, you can hardly appreciate its uniqueness.

9 AM             Yehliu Geopark 
Address: No. 167-1, Gangdong Road, Wanli District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 207
Operation Hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM
Travel Time: 1.5 hours from Taipei city center

LUNCH         Ding Tai Fung 
Address: No. 194, Sec 2, Xinyi Road, Taipei City
Nearest MTR: Dongmen Exit 5
Operation Hours: Monday – Friday 10 AM – 9 PM, Weekends & Holidays 9 AM – 9 PM

How they make Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao

2 PM              National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 
Address: No. 505, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Nearest MTR: Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station
Note: Changing of Guards 9AM-5PM every hour

4 PM              Xiangshan Hiking Trail (Elephant Mountain)
Address: Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Nearest MTR: Xiangshan Station, Exit 2

National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Did you know?

Dr. Sun Yat-sen was one of the greatest leaders of modern China who led the democratic revolution to overthrow the Qing Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. He was later appointed as the Provisional President of the Republic of China and first led the Nationalist Party. Sun Yat-sen continues to be revered by many.

 

“Keep it balanced”, so they say. After several food trips, how about taking a hike up the mountain? Are you up for it?

6 PM              Taipei 101
Address: No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Nearest MTR: Taipei 101/World Trade Center
Operation Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM

DINNER       Mala Hot Potmust-try.png
Address: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Xining South Road, 62號
Nearest Station: Ximen

9PM              Explore Ximending District

Hot Pot buffet? Why not! Side Note: Unlimited Häagen-Dazs and Mövenpick Ice Cream!!!

 

💰 Expenses 

As of 12/01/17 1.67594 PHP = 1 NTD

Breakfast                    69 NTD


Yehliu Fee                   80 NTD


Top-up                       200 NTD


Din Tai Fung            347 NTD


Waffle                          50 NTD


Dinner                       658 NTD


Water                        FREE (From Hostel)


TOTAL 1,404 NTD = 2,353.02 PHP


DAY 3  

👁 Highlights

9 AM              Jiufen Old Street
Address: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Travel Time: 1-2 hours from Taipei city center

10 AM           Hanlin Tea Housemust-try.png 
Address: 224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District
Operation Hours 10:00 – 9:00 PM

On the search for the ‘original’ milk tea in Taiwan, we braved the pouring rain and went to Jiufen Old Street where Han Lin Tea House is located.
The rain stopped just in time! We were able to see the broadest waterfall in Taiwan, Shifen Falls, and fly our lantern by the tracks. Make a wish!

1 PM           Shifen Old Street & Shifen Falls 
Address: 226, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Pingxi District

DINNER        Raohe Street Night Market 
Address: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Nearest MTR: Songshan Station
Operation Hours: 5 PM – 12MN

Similar to Shilin, Raohe is packed with food, stuff, and PEOPLE. Despite the sea of tourists and locals, you shouldn’t miss going here as they have one of the best food options.

 

💰 Expenses 

As of 12/01/17 1.67594 PHP = 1 NTD

Top-up                       200 NTD


Jiufen to Shifen          19 NTD


Shifen to Taipei         68 NTD


Lantern                     150 NTD


Souvenir                   270 NTD


Strawberry Mochi     40 NTD


Dorayaki Ice Cream  35 NTD


Peanut Ice Cream      40 NTD


Rice Cake                   250 NTD (3 packs)


Taiwan Sausage         40 NTD


Hanlin Milk Tea       138 NTD


Chicken w Cheese    120 NTD


Xiao Long Bao          200 NTD / 4 pax, 20 pcs


Pork Buns                    50 NTD


Peanut Butter Bread  25 NTD


Egg Custard                 50 NTD


TOTAL 1,545 NTD = 2,589.33 PHP


DAY 4 

👁 Highlights

8 AM              Amazing Guandu
Address: No. 329, Section 6, Chengde Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Nearest MTR: Zhishan Station, Exit 1
Operation Hours: 7:00AM – 7:00PM

Also read: Amazing Guandu: Taipei Flower Festival

Amazing Guandu is a six-month floral feast in Taiwan which only lasts from August 2017 to February 2018.

BRUNCH      McDonald’s
Every time I travel, I make it a point to try out anything on Mcdonald’s menu which cannot be found in the Philippines.

1 PM           Yangmingshan National Park 
Address: No. 1-20, Zhuzihu Road, Beitou District, Yangmingshan, Taipei City 11292
Operation Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM, except last Monday of the month

Yangmingshan National Park is so vast. You just have to decide which part of the park you are going to visit especially if you have limited time. To get there, you can either take:

Option 1: From Taipei Main Station, ride Bus 260 and purchase the unlimited Shuttle 108
Option 2:  From Jiantan Station, Exit 1 and ride City Bus R5 or Small Bus S15 or S17

5 PM             Wufenpu Shopping District 
Address: Alley 9, Lane 443, Yongji Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Operation Hours: 1 PM – 11 PM

7 PM              Ningxia Night Market 
Address: Ningxia Road, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103
Stop: Shuanglian Station, Exit 1
Operation Hours: 5 PM – 12MN

Ningxia is a smaller night market compared to Shilin and Raohe. After an hour of exploring Ningxia and trying out their food, we still had plenty of time before calling it a night. So we decided to go back to Shilin Night Market.

 

 

💰 Expenses 

As of 12/01/17 1.67594 PHP = 1 NTD

Mcdonald’s                139 NTD


Egg Custard               100 NTD


Stir-Fry Noodles         70 NTD / 2 pax


Hot Star Chicken        70 NTD / 2 pax


Oyster Omelet            60 NTD


Fried Squid               100 NTD


Squid Takoyaki        100 NTD


Cable Organizers       70 NTD


Water                          FREE (From Hostel)


TOTAL  639 NTD = 1,070.93 PHP


DAY 5 

👁 Highlights

HOSTEL CHECK OUT

9 AM              National Taiwan Museum / Peace Sculpture 
Address: No. 2, Xiangyang Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Nearest MTR: NTU Hospital Station
Operation Hours: 9:30 AM – 5 PM, except Mondays

10 AM              Longshan Temple
Address: No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
Nearest MTR: Longshan Temple Station

1512572347566

The Longshan Temple, also known as the Lungshan Temple of Manka, was built in honor of Guanyin, the “Goddess of Mercy”. You are free to offer a prayer at the Longshan Temple.

Bopiliao Historical Block  – 18th Century Houses
Address: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District
Nearest MTR: Longshan Temple Station
Operation Hours: 9 AM – 9 PM

BRUNCH         Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle must-try.png
Address: No. 8-1號, Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Operation Hours: 9 AM – 10:30 PM
Nearest MTR: Ximen

Quick brunch? Head to Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle in Ximending.

2 PM              Chun Shui Tang must-try.png
Address: 110, Taiwan, Taipei City, Xinyi District, Songshou Road,
9號新光三越信義A9
Operation Hours: 11 AM – 9:30 PM

5 PM              Jinfeng Braised Meat Ricemust-try.png
Address: No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City
Nearest MTR: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Exit 2
Operation Hours: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM

IMG_7014
Still on the search for the best milk tea in Taiwan. Chun Shui Tang claims to be the original too!
IMG_7020
Before heading back to our hostel where we left our luggages for safe keeping, we had a quick dinner at Jinfeng Braised Meat Rice. It’s is a must try. Ask for the English Menu!

💰 Expenses 

As of 12/01/17 1.67594 PHP = 1 NTD

Top-up                       200 NTD


Flour Rice Noodles   55 NTD


Zaku Zaku                  88 NTD


Chun Shui Tang         80 NTD


Red Sakura               240 NTD


Nougat Biscuit         100 NTD


Bag                             190 NTD


Dinner @ Jinfeng      97 NTD


Water                          20 NTD


TOTAL 1070 NTD = 1,793.26 PHP


💸 Summary of Expenses

Total Daily Expenses                10,315.42 PHP 

 

Pre-trip Expenses (Per Person)

Airfare                                         5,005.85 PHP

Travel Tax                                   1,620.00 PHP

Accommodation                        4,697.00 PHP

You can still look for cheaper options but I’m already satisfied with what I got. 


💡 Handy tips

  • Respect the elders – that’s common courtesy.
  • Observe cleanliness. If you can’t find a garbage bin, don’t throw your trash anywhere.
  • Most restaurants in Taiwan practice CLAYGO.
  • Ask for the English Menu.
  • To know which restaurant or food stall is good, look for the ones with long lines/queues.
  • When traveling with a group, don’t order the same dishes. Share your food with your group to try different flavours. It helps you save up on food expenses too.
  • Buy an Easy Card or iCard to save on transportation.
  • Bus rides bring you faster in Taiwan.
  • When riding a bus, watch out for the signs if you have to pay on boarding or before alighting.
  • Most shops open late. Plan your day wisely.
  • If it’s raining, a raincoat goes a long way.

The Experience

I can consider my Taiwan trip one of the best trips I made. Aside from the variety of GOOD FOOD, I love how the people are warm and ‘friendly’. Whenever I travel, I usually don’t expect much from the locals to be kind to tourists but Taiwan is different! It did not disappoint even with the language barrier. I would love to come back and explore the other parts of the country. ‘Til my next visit, Taiwan.

I hope this write-up will help you plan your trip to Taiwan. Feel free to leave comments or message via e-mail if you have any questions. If you like this article and want to see and know more about my trips and tips, follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Xièxie ni!

PHOTO GALLERY

 

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