TaiWanderlust!

Taiwan has never been one of the places I want to travel to. For me, it is a city full of tourists and as you know I am not a tourist, I am traveler. I want to travel in places unknown, in places where I can be alone and just be myself. I want to travel in places that I am the only race, in different color or speaking that different language. I am traveler who wants to see the world in ways different from others. ๐Ÿ™‚

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But enough of that thoughts since the Government of Taiwan offered entry in their country for free. This means that all Filipino tourists can enter Taiwan with no visa. This tourism rule made me think of visiting Taiwan. From the latest news, Filipinos can enter Taiwan without visa for 14 days until July 31, 2019.

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As we all know as well, Filipinos are huge fans of Meteor Garden. Meteor Garden is the biggest hit series on early 2000 and I am one of the girls who made this series a part of their teenage days. This series is starred by F4 known as Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Ken Zhuo, Vaness Wu and the ever lovable Barbie Hsu. To admit, this is one the reasons why I want to travel in Taiwan.

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My itinerary in Taiwan was not actually planned well. Long overtime at work and other stuffs made me busy. Booking hostels was done in short notices. My usual DIY itinerary is crumbled. All I know is I want to have a vacation. I want to travel again.

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Nevertheless, with short planning, long overtime at work while month end is coming, one teammate had a medical operation, unpredictable weather with multiple tropical depressions, nothing has stopped me to travel in Taiwan! ๐Ÿ˜Š

How did I get there?

For the first time, no layover! ๐Ÿ˜Š I flew directly from Manila to Taoyuan, Taiwan via Cebu Pacific. Flight schedule was on time and arrived in Taiwan in 2 hours. I was surprised to be welcomed by Taiwan with extreme heat. Sun is up like there was no typhoon near the area.

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From Taoyuan International Airport, there is train line that can take you directly to Taipei. Travel time from airport from Taipei for an hour and 30 minutes. I bought an EasyCard at Taoyuan. This is like Manilaโ€™s Beep Card that you can use in trains, buses or even in shops or convenience stores like 7/11.

Where did I stayed?

Before departing Manila, I just found out that my hostel booking in Taipei is cancelled. I received a notice before that my booking will not be cancelled but I need to update my credit card details. I forgot to do this thus my reservation is cancelled. Luckily, I booked another hotel in Booking.com named Hotel Fun and they immediately approved my reservation.

In Taipei, Hotel Fun is accessible via MRT or their Metro Rail Transit. Hotel Fun is 5 minutes away from Zhongshan Elementary School Station. Hostel location is conveniently located beside a supermarket, convenience stores and fast foods.

I also like the comfy atmosphere at Hotel Fun. I stayed at the dormitory room with other female travellers. The hostel offered free buffet breakfast that I really love, they also have self-service laundry, lockers, game area for billiards, massage seats. Free bottled water is located at the 1st floor. Their receptionists are very helpful as well.

Since I have spent a week in Taipei and will visit Jiufen and Shifen, I cut my trip in Taipei. I stayed another night in Taipei before departing to Manila. I booked 191 Hotel Ninxia for 1 night.

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This hostel is far away from MRT Station. It was not a 7 minute walk from Zhongzhan Station stated on the description of the hostel. The upper bunk bed is assigned to me thus climbing my bed is a bit difficult. Good thing that a grocery store and Ninxia market is just downstairs the hostel. It was still a value stay for a night in Taipei.

Where are the places I travelled?

Taipei is a very accessible place to all tourists and travellers. I found this city is such an ease to everywhere. All of the tourist spots are just 5 to 10 minutes away to all train stations. I was a bit envy to have these train routes with what we have in Manila. I wish we can it also so all tourists or even locals can have its access to all historical places and other tourist spots.

As the Taiwanโ€™s capital has such fun way to commute, I rode the trains all of the time. Walking in the city is also very easy as the directions are everywhere. Here are the places I have seen while I was in Taipei,

Taipei 101

Once the tallest building the world, Taipei 101 is the best symbol to represent Taiwan. This building can be seen all throughout Taipei. Taipei 101 is accessible via Tamsui-Xinyi MRT line or Red line. I had many chance to visit Taipei 101.

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The first one is outside the building while observing Taiwanese on how they spent their days near it. The second was I got the chance to get inside Taipei 101. I bought a twin ticket upon entering National Museum Palace. I experienced to be in the fastest elevator in the world that took me at the 89th floor of the Taipei 101.

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Weather is not that good that day, thus the indoor observatory is the one available. If you are lucky, you can be taken in the outdoor observatory at the 92nd floor. Yet, the indoor observatory is still magnificent. Indeed, itโ€™s the tallest place I have been to. Lula feels talaga! Haha!

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I spent over an hour at the observatory. I got the chance to see Taipei during day and night time. To be inside one of the tallest building in the world is such an honor. Not everyone can deal with that height.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Museum

Sun Yat-sen was the founding father of the Republic of China. The first president of the Republic of China, Sun was a Chinese medical doctor, writer, philosopher, calligrapher and revolutionary.

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This museum is 5 minutes away from Bannan MRT line or Blue line. Entrance fee is free. Museum opens by 9am. I was there early in the morning as my plan that day was to visit Chiayi but train is fully booked. Thus, I decided a DIY City Tour.

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Early in the morning, young and old Taiwanese are outside the museum to exercise. I felt very unhealthy that time as even old couples was there dancing as their way to exercise. It still a fun way to observe how locals spent their daily lives in Taipei.

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Changing of guards is the most popular attraction inside the museum. This is part of honouring their Father.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Museum

Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in exile in Taiwan.

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His Memorial Museum is just steps away fom the MRT station. This is what I loved in the transportation of Taiwan, it was very conveniently accessible to all.

When I arrived at the courtyard of the museum, sun was on top! This is when I got my sunburn. The actual museum is closed due to renovation. Nevertheless, hearing the name of Chiang Kai Shek since I read my first history book and visiting his memorial was truly an honor.

National Palace Museum

One of the most beautiful museums I have been to. Truly, the fee you will pay is worth it. To reach the museum, I took Tamsui-Xinyi MRT line or Red line and stopped at Shilin Station. I went straight out of the station and head to bus station to reach the museum. I rode Bus 304 for less than 30 minutes. Good thing I bought an umbrella at Shilin Station coz rain poured hard that afternoon.

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Inside the museum, the queue is long to buy tickets. I bought a twin ticket to enter the museum and for Taipei 101 observatory. Upon entering the museum, you will be mesmerized by the grand staircase and lighting.

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It was a weekend when I visited the museum thus there are many tourists inside. Every exhibits and corners are jam-packed. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the museum. It took me more than hour inside. My favourite parts of the museum are the Painting and Calligraphy Galleries, Antiques Galleries and the New Media Art Exhibition.

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Indeed, my visit at the National Palace Museum is one the best part of my travel in Taiwan.

St. Christopher Church

As part of my travels and it was a Sunday, I had a chance to attend mass in St. Christopher Church in Taipei. I never thought that it was near my hostel in Taipei so I hired a cab on my way to Church. My hostel receptionist is very accommodating to book me a cab and in less than 2 minutes, the cab arrived.

I was lucky to attend a morning mass in Tagalog or Filipino language. Filipinos are everywhere in Taiwan. It was such a joy as St. Christopher is patron saints of travellers like me. It was such a blessed day.

Near the Church are Filipino stores and money remittance centers. It was like I was still in Manila. ๐Ÿ™‚

Shilin Night Market

After a day of walking in the city, the best way to cap the day of is to eat! To reach Shilin Market, I took another train ride at Tamsui-Xinyi MRT line or Red line and stopped at Jiantan Station. Donโ€™t be fooled as Shilin Station is not where the Shilin market, you must stop at Jiantan.

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I wanted to explore markets as for me this is how you can see how locals live. Food stalls are everywhere. There are many souvenir shops, shops selling bags, clothes and shoes. That night I was craving for anything that can fill my stomach but what was filled is my eyes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ningxia Night Market

Before leaving Taipei, I got another chance to visit another market which is just downstairs my hostel. Ningxia night market is all about food. Food stalls are lined up for both locals and tourists. This is where I had my last dinner in Taipei and it was a value for money.

This night market may be small but it was filled with variety of food from noodles, seafood, pork, chicken, drinks. It is a haven for all food lovers.

Travelling in these places in Taipei made me jealous with their accessible mass transportation. It was such a big slap on how Manila take the issue of heavy traffic. it was such an easy access to visit these places. Taipei or rather Taiwan was a true distinction of being in the heart of Asia. It is a clear depiction of how a small country can do a lot better than others. Taiwan is perfect for wanderlusting! โค

To have an idea of how much you can spend in Taiwan for a full week, here are the details. Sharing these not to brag but to inspire you to save money as your travel fund! ๐Ÿ™‚

Taiwan Expenses
Travel Tax (in Philippine Peso) 1,700
Round trip airfare
Manila to Taipei
w/ 15kgs baggage (in Philippine Peso)
5,940
Total in PHP 7,640
Transportation
EasyCard 1,100
Taxi (Hostel to Church) 100
Taxi (Hostel to MRT Station) 80
Roun trip Train (Taipei to Chiayi) 1,196
Taxi (Chiayi Train Station to NCCU) 350
Accommodation
Taipei – Hotel Fun (for 4 nights) 1,900
Taipei – Ningxia Hotel 191 (for 1 night) 450
Jiufen – Story Inn (for 2 nights) 1,050
Food
Taipei (for 4 days) 1,595
Beitou 175
Chiayi 320
Jiufen 380
Shifen 400
Attractions
National Museum/
Taipei 101
820
Others
Towel 160
Laundry 40
Pasalubong 1,778
Lantern 150
Total in NTD 12,044
Combined Expenses in PHP 28,575

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