Taiwan Itinerary for 5D/4N (DIY Guide, Budget, Tips and Finds)

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view of Taipei 101 from The Elephant Mountain Trail
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Chiang Kai Shek
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Taichung
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Yehliu Geopark

“You’d want to visit Taiwan for FOOD!” says my Taiwanese fellow traveler during my El Nido trip way back 2016.

I seriously have no idea what to see in this country, beside the F4 phenomenon and the likes haha! but when it announces its Visa Free Trial for Philippine Passport holder, I thought this could be the best time to check it out. A foodie myself I got excited knowing how diverse the Taiwan food selections were! And I was really eager to use and maximize my travel funds for food!!! Hahahah!!

Series of blogs and write-ups and articles I have been searching online to make sure I get to maximize my stay in Taiwan.

Three things I was looking at when I was starting my itinerary: FOOD, CITY LANDMARKS and NATURE (*in replace of the beaches hahaha!)

In this blog, I’ll be sharing my full itinerary during my 5 days / 4 nights stay in Taipei, Taichung and Outskirt, my food finds and escapade, MRT rides and way in and out, landmarks to look out and how to reach it, budget and summary expense, and how I organized it in an orderly manner that would best suite my preference.

I’ll be sharing and posting individual posts as well for more detailed information per site.

So read on, TAIWAN, the east of the Republic of China, known for its modern cities, traditional Chinese Temples, busy night markets, with mountainous terrain. The Heart of Asia they say it is.

GOING TO TAIWAN :

  • There is a direct flight from the Philippines going to Taipei
    • I booked mine via Cebu Pacific for roundtrip ticket worth P6,000 (USD 120, NTD 3,070) 4 months prior the trip
    • You can still score cheaper deals via piso fare or seat sale anytime of the year, just be extra patient about it
  • Travel time is 2 ½ hours and will alight at Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1

HOW TO GO TO TAIPEI CITY FROM TAOYUAN AIRPORT :

  • Going to Taipei City you have two options (via BUS or TRAIN)
    • I personally preferred riding thru the train most especially if it’s my first time in the country (I get low to zero chances of getting lost on the first day)
    • If you’re flight is arriving in Taiwan by past midnight, the only option is for you to take the bus or wait till the first train schedule in the morning.
  • Ride the Airport MRT Train (*it is the violet line)
  • Travel time is 36 mins going to Taipei Main Station (last station)
  • Fare is NTD 160 or Php 312
  • Alight at Taipei Main Station and locate your accommodation area
    • Taipei Main Station is where the rest of the MRT lines is inter-connected, buy an EC Card as soon as you get to the station and load it up so you’ll save more!!
    • Should you wish to roam around directly from Taipei Main Station before check-in to your room accommodation you may opt to leave it thru the lockers available at the MRT, they offer NTD 20 per hour

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      EC Card | Different designs available

GOING BACK TO TAOYUAN AIRPORT FROM TAIPEI :

  • Wherever you are staying in Taipei, just go to Taipei Main Station and look for the violet line, MRT going to Taoyuan Airport.
    • it might confuse you with the TRAIN terminal as it also have its way going to Taoyuan, but it is not a direct way going to the airport. So make sure you ride at the MRT going straight to Taoyuan Airport

VISA

  • As of today until July 2019, the Visa Free Trial for Philippines passport holder is extended. So make the most out of this extended 1 year trial.
  • UPDATE : coming from a comment of one of my reader; I would also like to reiterate that since it is a free visa for Philippine Passport holder, there was no need to file anything at the Taiwan Embassy, you just need your plane ticket, just be ready with your accommodation and itinerary or other booked tickets should there be questions (just be ready with everything — just in case)

CURRENCY / MONEY EXCHANGE

  • Currency in Taiwan is NTD = New Taiwan Dollar
  • As of August 2018 conversion to PHP is NTD 1 = PHP 1.95
  • I usually exchange my money at NAIA airport, as it saves me time to look around in Manila nor look around in Taiwan so better to have it exchange ahead of time.
  • I also tried to withdraw using my BDO Debit Card thru ATM and the conversion is also the same but with an additional charge of almost Php 200.00 per transaction.
  • Please keep in mind if you plan to have your money be exchanged at Taiwan Bank, there is no bank open on weekends.
  • In the Philippines, there is also limited money changer with NTD so better to plan in advance if you feel that the airport money is way expensive for you.

HOW TO GO AROUND TAIPEI :

  • Download via phone the app “City Rail Map” and download the Taipei Station
    • You’ll see how all stations can be inter-connected and some of the sites and landmarks were named after it as well
    • In my trip, I mostly used the MRT and TRAIN only, trying to limit the use via BUS
  • Google Maps (walking) is also helpful in times where you have to locate one place to the other.

LANGUAGE :

  • Mandarin is widely spoken in Taiwan, there might be locals who can speak and understand English but there are still some where you’ll really struggle and realize how sign languages can be useful 😛 hahaha!
  • But since Taiwan has signages around with English Translations on it, everything was really manageable as well

WIFI & CONNECTION :

  • Before the trip, I booked and paid via Klook.com for 5 days simcard for Taiwan it only cost Php 525.00 / NTD 269 it comes with unli internet for 5 days already
    • We only picked it up from the airport and showed my printed voucher on it
    • It was really fast and very reliable during our entire stay
  • Wifi is also widely available in MRT Trains, Restaurants around, food stalls, hotels and accommodation – almost everywhere, so you won’t feel un-connected at any time.
    73A30B6C-2F50-44F6-AB8F-5B07DF91097E
    5 days unli data via Klook.com

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    Pick-up for the Simcard I bought via klook.com

BUDGET :

  • I honestly felt that Taiwan offers cheap finds and you won’t need to shell out or splurge big amount for this trip.
  • Most of the landmarks have free entrances
  • MRT Ride for the transpo fees were also very manageable and you’ll get savings when you buy an EC Card (similar with the Beep Card in the Philippines) EC Card may also be used for payment at Taipei Zoo, Maokong Gondola Ride and the likes.
  • I spent mostly on FOOD and Shopping (*so if you can waive this part and not splurge too much – you’ll get bigger savings !!! – but I tell you, that you’ll loved shopping around Taipei Night Markets coz there were everywhere hahahahaa!!

ACCOMMODATION :

*Note : Personal Note, book your accommodation around Ximending Station, the night market in Ximen is also my favorite and this is where I was able to buy a lot of souvenirs and food to bring home.

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RELATED : Night Markets in Taiwan (Raohe, Shillin & Ximending)

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ITINERARY

*Note : Please do note that this is my actual itinerary during my trip as this was my preferred places. I also have my actual budgets in it, but it is still dependent on how much food and convenient you want your trip to be 🙂  You may want to see if it suits you as well

DAY 1 – MNL TO TAIPEI | CITY TOUR

Overview : My first day was spent with no time to waste as we made it in Taipei City by lunch time. We toured around the city with our maps and guts, and familiarize with our area.

My detailed post for Taipei City Tour, please read here : Wander around Taipei City (DIY Guide, Itinerary, Tips and Budget for 2 days)
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Modern Toilet Restaurant
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Cable Car Ride

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Raoje St. Night Market
  • Modern Toilet Restaurant
  • Taipei Zoo
  • Maokong Gondola Cable Ride
  • Taipei 101
  • Raohe St. Night Market

(*Note : here’s my actual expense and itinerary below, please do take note that cost is still dependent on your preference and booked flight or extra baggage nor food choices)

TAIWAN DAY 1
TAIWAN DAY 1 EXPENSE

DAY 2 – NORTHEAST TAIWAN TOUR

Overview : Decided to booked via kkday.com for my Northeast Taiwan Trip (Shifen, Jiufen,Yehliu) as it is more convenient than to do it the DIY style. Going to Yehliu would take you around 2 hours travel time and imagine the hassle of riding MRT, Train and Buses all at the same time.

Full Detailed Post about my Northeast Taiwan Tour, also read : Yehliu – Shifen – Jiufen (Northeast Taiwan) Itinerary, Budget and Guide

KKday tour was just the right amount of trip you’ll need for this. Plus a tour guide which explains and tells you great finds on each part of the place. The meeting point was at Taipei Main Station and we started the trip at 9AM until 6PM.

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Yehliu Geopark

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Jiufen
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Be Spirited Away with Jiufen
  • Yehliu Geopark
  • Shifen Old Street
    • Pingxi Lane
  • Shifen Waterfalls
  • Jiufen
  • Shillin Night Market (*not part of KKday)TAIWAN DAY 2

DAY 3 – CITY TOUR

Overview : This was specifically for our free day and city tour on the famous places in Taiwan. What was great about this is the fact that there are no entrance fees and we only managed to spend on MRT rides which is also very minimal.

My detailed post for Taipei City Tour, please read here : Wander around Taipei City (DIY Guide, Itinerary, Tips and Budget for 2 days)
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Chiang Kai Shek
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Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
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Longshan Temple

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  • Longshan Temple
  • Snake Valley (*opens 4PM onwards)
  • Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
  • Chiang Kai Shek
  • Elephant Mountain Trail (Hiking)
  • Songtian Fengtian Temple
  • Red House
  • Ximending Night MarketTAIWAN DAY 3

DAY 4 – CENTRAL TAIWAN – TAICHUNG

Overview : Exploring Central Taiwan, flowers and castle and nature and the likes. With tons of IG worthy sites and scenery, I say that this trip is worth going to. I rented a van service for this and looked for fellow Filipino Travellers on the same day of the trip.

Detailed Taichung Trip Post, also read: Taichung Taiwan for a day (DIY Itinerary, Guide, Budget)
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Houli Flower Farm
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I’m Talato
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Taichung Houli Farm
  • Houli / Zhong She Flower Farm
    • Unli BBQ Lunch
  • Xinshe Castle
  • Lavender Cottage
  • I’m Talato
  • Rainbow VillageTAIWAN DAY 4

DAY 5 – LAST DAY TRIP

  • For our last day, consider this as your free day do whatever you feel like going. We revisited Taipei 101 in the afternoon view and had our lunch, shop around Ximending Street Market for pasalubongs, clothes and the likes.
  • You may also visit the following :
    • Daan Park
    • 1,000 Roses version of Taiwan in Sto Domingo

TAIWAN DAY 5-6OTHER NOTES :

  • You may opt to remove Taichung in your trip if you plan to spend your trip in Taipei and Outskirt only
  • Bulk and a big amount of my expense was from Taichung Trip since it has entrance fees and I rented a van for this
  • You may even spend for as low as P10k – P15k with all-in expense for 5 days already
  • I recommend you spend at least 3 days or more in Taiwan to really immerse in this place also, have a free day so you’d be able to return at your favorite spots before heading back home
  • It was pretty easy to walk around the city and though some do not understand English, still everything was manageable

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Common Questions :

  • How much did you spent for the entire trip?
    • Personally, I spent P28,000 for the 5 days trip to Taiwan. However, my style when it comes to travelling is to pay entrance fees and other charges which I could pay ahead of time. Sharing my timeline :
      • April – Airplane Ticket – P6,000
      • June – Airbnb Accommodation – P3,300
      • July – Kkday Tour for Northeast Tour P1,700, Simcard – P525, Travel Tax – P1,620 (*so I won’t pila in the airport) and Entrance Fee for Yehliu – P140.00
    • Part of the P28k expense that I have, I spent almost Php 4k with SHOPPING!! And FOOD which is bulk of my expense with around P5k
    • So see where you’d want to splurge during your trip. Score a cheaper airplane and the likes.
    • I only have P15k on hand during the entire trip, for the rest of the expenses
  • What do you like most about Taiwan?
    • I definitely love this country!!! It is very laid back and simple yet it was really organized, very clean and people were disciplined, I feel safe, I feel okay, I did not lose my way nor have any bad experience or whatsoever.
    • I mostly love the FOOD!! Coz it’s everywhere, right mixture of landmarks and sites to see and the food and shopping is my favorite of all!!!
  • Would you recommend the same month of your travel to your friends?
    • I say, if you like SUMMER then come visit during summer time! It was really sunny but I think it is always better than the rainy season for a travel.
  • What is your favorite Night market to recommend? Difference between them based on your experience? (Also read : Night Markets in Taiwan (Raohe, Shillin & Ximending) 
    • I’d say Ximending Night Market is my favorite (*located at Green Line of MRT, alight at Ximen Station exit 6) it has the right amount of scenery, the vibe of the city, various food selections, from drinks and milk tea to rice and chicken and street foods. You may do shopping as well with trendy clothes, pasalubongs and for take home is also widely available here
      • Everyday you’d see various people performs at the center of the street which was really entertaining as well
      • There is also fast food chains here should you wish to have one.
    • Raoje St. Night Market – is also a must go night market! If you’re main priority is FOOD FINDS!!!! It felt like a food crawl everyday in Taipei! hahahah!
      • I enjoyed how this night market have variety of street foods to try out! it was a long stretch where you’ll see majority is food! I enjoyed in Raoje over Shillin Market
    • Shillin Night Market – from Red Line MRT alight at Shillin Station walk towards the right side and check for signage heading to the night market
      • Was supposed to be in Shillin for dinner but it seems like this Night Market is partly very very crowded, and the selection weren’t focus in one area after the other. I felt lost and we ended up moving from one street to another to look for food 😀
      • Shillin was okay for me, but we decided to head back to Ximen Night market after having 2 or 3 different street foods on hand.
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      Ximending Night Market

Certainly, Taiwan is the heart of Asia. I realized how beautiful this place is. And very happy to have considered it to visit while it’s on visa FREE. I was very eager to share this to everyone as it certainly deserves to be experienced by you too!!!

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See what best interests you and plan your itinerary well!!!

Hope this helps you too.

I’ll be happy to share my excel file for your personal trip.

Follow me on IG @nathaliecsalcedo and send me DM if you need one!

I also update my FB Page @ilovenatsblog

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Ciao!

*All photos were all originals from the blogger @nathaliecsalcedo

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