Taiwan 2020
Asia,  DIY Travel

Taipei Taiwan Itinerary: Tourist Spots, Where to Stay & What to Eat

Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with Japanese inspired alleys, busy shopping streets and contemporary buildings. Taipei is well-known for its lively street food scene, shopping and night markets.

So in this itinerary and travel guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know about visiting Taipei this 2019. We’ll discuss the best months to visit, great tourist spots to see, accommodations, best places to eat, and more!

Let’s jump into it!

Visa Requirements

Philippine Passport for Taiwan Entry

As a Filipino passport holder, we may take advantage of the visa-free entry to Taiwan (tourism, business, visiting relatives) for a duration of up to 14 days UNTIL JULY 31, 2020. Please take note of the following when visiting Taiwan.

Visa Free Requirements for Filipinos

1. Passport must have at least 6 months remaining validity from the date of entry.
2. A return ticket or an onward ticket to the next destination (and visa for the next destination, if required).
3. Must have no criminal record in Taiwan.
4. Proof of accommodation, such as hotel booking confirmation or host/sponsor’s contact information. Also prepare your itinerary or arrangements for tours, events, or meetings.

If you plan to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days for the purpose of study, employment, missionary, and other gainful activities, you may need to obtain visa before entering the country.

When is the Best Time to Visit Taiwan?

Buildings

The best time to visit Taiwan is from November (fall season) to April (early spring) because of lesser rainfall. Typhoon season ends in October. Avoid traveling here in May to August if you don’t want the rainy season get in your way. Taipei has subtropical weather and has an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius

You may also want to reconsider your trip during peak season, such as Chinese New Year, which falls roughly from end of January to early February. Hotels are more expensive during these times. Most restaurants and shops are also closed during this holiday season.

1. WINTER – December to February (weather is cold but pretty mild, coldest months are January to March)
Average temp: 10°C (50°F)
2. SPRING – March to May (weather is mild and sunny, cherry blossoms are in full bloom, but take note that rainy season starts towards the end of May)
Average temp: 20-25°C (68-78°F)
3. SUMMER – June to August (prepare for a sticky and sweaty experience, it is humid like Manila!)
Average temp: 30°C (86°F)
4. AUTUMN – September to November (weather is not too hot nor too cold, it is mostly sunny because typhoon season is coming to a close, this is a perfect weather for walking around the city)
Average temp: 21ºC (70ºF) and 27ºC (81ºF)

Currency & Money Exchange

Taipei uses New Taipei Dollar (NTD) and as of writing, the exchange rate is:

You can only exchange NTD from airports and banks. The best money changers/banks would be Bank of Taiwan (BOT) and Mega Bank. There are lots of exchange counters at Taoyuan International Airport. Conversion rate at the airport is same as bank branches in Taipei.

If you ran out of cash while in the city, you could withdraw from the ATMs scattered around the city. Chinatrust and Bank of Taiwan ATMs are your best bet.

Just take note that there is a service charge of NTD 100 per transaction, plus your local bank fees.

Internet & Pocket WiFi

Taipei City offers free WiFi, but take note that it may get unreliable due to slow connection. You may want to be prepared and rent your own pocket WiFi or portable WiFi router. There are several options at the airport or rent a pocket WiFi via Klook.

1. Chunghwa Telecom 4G Pocket WiFi

4g pocket wifiJust claim the Chunghwa Telecom 4G Pocket WiFi once you arrive at Taoyuan International Airport. Internet connection is very fast in all of Taiwan (always on 4G), but the downside of using a pocket WiFi is that the battery life of the router drains so fast, you need a handy powerbank to always keep it charged.

2. Chunghwa Telecom 4G Sim Card

4G Sim Card

You could also purchase this 4G sim card from Chunghwa Telecom. There are several packages depending on the number of days you are about to use it. It has unlimited data with a 4G internet speed, comes in normal/micro/nano card format, it also has NTD credits for local and international calls, and hotspot sharing is also available. The most popular telecom in Taiwan is Chunghwa Telecom, and you may pick this up at Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) on arrival.

How to Get There

There are several flights from Manila to Taipei. I booked my ticket at PHP10,000 (two-way for 2 pax) during a seat sale from Cebu Pacific. This includes a 20kg check-in baggage from TPE to MNL. You could get better and cheaper discounted flight rates if you wait for more promos from these airlines. I booked mine on 8/24/2018 with the travel dates April 7-13, 2019.

Where to Stay in Taiwan

There are certain things that I am always taking into consideration upon booking an accommodation whenever I travel. Aside from location (I prefer accommodation within the main city or near bus/train stations but away from noisy neighborhood or party streets), I am also particular about the inclusion of breakfast buffet, and the room has to have a window (esp. if we are staying for about a week).

1. Green World Sansui

Green World Sansui

We stayed at Green World Sansui which is located in Zhong Shan District. We booked a standard double room for around Php 2,500 / night. There are a few hostels and hotels I had in mind before booking with Green World Sansui.

2. Beauty Hotels – Hotel B Chic

Beauty Hotels - Hotel B Chic
Price Range: Almost the same (PHP 3,600)
Window: Yes (Standard room)
Breakfast Buffet: Yes
Location: Beauty Hotels – Hotel B Chic is located in Zhongshan District
Other notable features: Flat-screen TV, free wi-fi, ensuite bathroom, kitchenette (fridge, kettle, minibar)
*I was actually torn between this or Green World Sansui

3. Diary of Taipei Hotel – Main Station

Diary of Taipei Hotel - Main Station

Price Range: Diary of Taipei Hotel costs almost the same as above (PHP 3,700)
Window: None (Standard room)
Breakfast Buffet: Not included on the price, will pay additional
Location: Near Taipei Main Station
Other notable features: Flat-screen TV, free WiFi, private bath, kitchenette (fridge, kettle)

4. Taipei M Hotel – Main Station

Taipei M Hotel - Main Station

Price Range: Php 4,800
Window: None (Standard room)
Breakfast Buffet: Not included on the price, will pay additional
Location: Taipei M Hotel is near Taipei Main Station
Other notable features: Flat-screen TV, free wi-fi, private bath, kitchenette (fridge, kettle), fitness center

Other Choices:

If you don’t mind sharing a dorm-type room with other fellow travelers, you could check out these hostels:

1. Flip Flop Hostel Garden (Datong District) – check availability here
2. Star Hostel (Taipei Main Station) – check availability here
3. Next Taipei Ximending (Ximending Dictrict) – check availability here
4. Fun Inn Taipei (Zhongzheng District) – check availability here

Where to Eat in Taipei

Food on table

Food in Taiwan is a national obsession! There are eateries almost on every block and the Taiwanese are always seen eating or snacking. Make sure that food trip is added in your Taipei itinerary!

Some of the best places to eat in Taipei are tucked in small alleys off the main streets. Not many eateries have English translation on the menu, but there are photos to guide you. When in doubt, you could always ask a local. Though people in Taiwan do not speak English in general, they are always eager to help and assist visitors.

Also, keep in mind that some of the restaurants or eateries in Taiwan do not have spoon and fork readily available, so you better practice your chopstick skills before setting foot to this country.

1. Night Market

Every city and town has at least one night market. Some are covered or located at permanent locations, while others set-up at night along streets or parking lots. Famous nights markets in Taipei include Shilin, Raohe, and Ximending Walking District.

What to try: rice noodles, various meats on skewers, flavorful sausages, fruits & sweets, rice cakes, and some traditional Taiwanese food such as oyster omelettes and sticky tofu. And do not forget to sample the Taiwanese milk tea!

Night Market food in Taipei, Taiwan

2. Food Court & Fast Food

There are a few McDonald’s and KFCs in Taiwan, but a lot of their fast food is very local! Food courts are also scattered amongst Taiwan’s many shopping centers, so feast yourself with plenty of local delicacies.

What to try: local burgers & chicken nuggets, shaved ice desserts, pastries, braised pork rice

Food in foodcourt

3. Hole-in-a-Wall Eateries

Small eateries are the most common in Taiwan, but they can be intimidating for visitors who do not know Chinese. Often, there are no English menu, or no menu at all for that matter.

Often consisting of only a few tables in a small room or outside on the sidewalk, they specialize in a limited number of local dishes, such as beef noodle, fried rice, etc. The food will sometimes be prepared at the front of the restaurant, where you can see it from the street.

hole in a wall

4. Nicer & Fancier Restaurants

These restaurants are typically nicer and fancier as it has nicer furniture, has AC, and has English menu (or staff that speaks better English). There are lots of Michelin-rated restaurants in Taipei alone. Listed below are some of the must-try restaurants in Taipei:

  • Din Tai Fung – Prepare for the long queue. Must try is the xia long bao & soup dumplings. Most popular branch is located just below the Taipei 101 building.
  • Hawker Chan (Michelin rated) – There are several branches in Taipei, but one famous location is just inside Taipei 101 mall food court area. Order their famous soya sauce chicken and the roasted pork belly.
  • Chun Sui Tang – Several branches are located in different parts of Taipei, but one famous location is inside the National Concert Hall at Liberty Square (near the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall). Must try are their tasty dumplings, brown-sugar mochi for dessert, and their signature milk tea drink.
  • Shuang Yue Food (Michelin rated) – Located at Zhongzheng road near NTU Hospital, this restaurant is very local, that only a few staff speak English, and menu is written in Chinese. Don’t fret as the staff are very helpful esp. if you are a foreign visitor. You must order their oyster noodles, braised pork belly rice, steamed salmon, and their best-seller clam soup

Restaurants in Taiwan

Where to Go

There are tons of activities and places to see in Taiwan. The following are a few tourist landmarks that are worth a visit:

1. Taipei 101

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 was officially the world’s tallest from its opening in 2004 until the 2010 completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

You could go to the 89th floor and take in the amazing 360 degree views of the city. There are lots of souvenir shops inside. Taipei 101 building also houses Taipei 101 mall and right below is the famous Din Tai Fung restaurant.

Admission: 600 NTD (you could get a discounted price for the Taipei 101 Observatory E-Ticket via Klook)
Location: No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
By MRT: Take the Red Line (Xiangshan train) and alight Taipei 101 station
Hours: 9AM – 10PM

*Be patient in the long queue for the elevator, this maybe one of the fastest in the world, but since only 2 elevators are for use, lining up will get some time.

*Everyday, a large number of tourist groups visit Taipei 101, get ready as the place might get too crowded.

2. Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail

Elephant mountain view

For the best views of Taipei, make a hike to a series of sheer paths and steps to a viewing platform to see the city skyline.

Admission: FREE
Location: Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110 (15 mins away from Taipei 101)
Hours: Open 24 hours

*Be prepared as this hiking trail is not for the weak.

*The path is very steep and although there are stairs all the away up, the steps are not proportioned, making the trail harder than it looks.

*Wear comfortable clothing and bring extra shirt if needed.

*Do not forget to bring lots of water too!

3. Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple

This religious temple is a place for worship and gathering for the Chinese settlers.

Admission: FREE
Location: No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City

*Although anyone could enter this place, please observe silence and respect the religious activities inside.

4. Bopiliao Historic Block

Bopiliao Historic Block

This historic block features traditional 18th century tradition. There are a few shops and galleries in the area.

Admission: FREE
Location: Lane 173, Kangding Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108 (very near Longshan Temple)
Hours: 9AM to 9PM

*There is nothing much to see in this small area, but this is worth visiting if you are in the area for some photos. I was looking for more “history” about the place, but it turns out that this has been converted into a commercial space instead.

5. Ximending Walking & Shopping District

Ximending Walking & Shopping District

Ximending is a neighborhood and shopping district in the Wanhua District of Taipei, Taiwan. It was the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan. There are several shops, small eateries and food stalls in this area. Aside from shopping and food trip, could watch various street artists perform in this walking district.

6. The National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum

Home to one of the largest Chinese imperial artifacts. Here you could find the famous Jadeite Cabbage & the Meat-shaped stone.

Admission: NTD 350
Location: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Hours: 8:30 – 6:30 PM

*This is a must-see if you are into history and museums. The place is so huge and there are a vast number of items on display so make sure to rent their audio guides for NTD 150 to know more about China’s history. Be prepared to the thick volume of tour groups that could get really annoying & noisy at times.

7. Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo

This public zoological garden is considered Asia’s largest zoo in Asia and home to various animals. After your visit, make sure to ride the Maokong Gondola. It is a cable car that operates from Taipei Zoo Station to the town of Maokong (4 stops). You can have an afternoon tea while you are at Maokong as there are various little tea shops & restaurants in the area.

Admission: NTD 50 – Taipei Zoo | NTD 120 Maokong Gondola ride one way
Location: No. 30號, Section 2, Xinguang Road, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 11656
Hours: 9:00 – 5:00 PM

*Make sure to ride the clear glass gondola for a much better feel of the ride!

8. Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The Memorial Hall is a famous national monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.

Admission: FREE
Location: No. 21號, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Hours: 9:00 – 6:00 PM

*Make sure to check out the museum inside to get to know Chiang-Kai Shek better. There are various shops and restaurants inside too.

9. Yehliu Geopark

Yehliu Geopark

Yehliu is a cape on the north coast of Taiwan. It’s known for Yehliu Geopark, a landscape of honeycomb and mushroom rocks eroded by the sea.

Admission: NTD 80

*You could take a group tour to get to this place, then head over to Jiufen Old Street, the inspiration of the hit anime “Spirited Away”, and Shifen Old Street for some lantern making activity.

10. Jiufen Old Street

Jiufen Old Street

Bustling district known for its narrow streets, food stalls & sweeping views of the mountains & sea.

Admission: FREE
Location: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

*Various shops and food stalls await you, so be prepared! This is also the location for the famous A-Mei Teahouse. This is one of the best places to shop for souvenir items.

Other notable places to go:

  • Cultural and Creative Parks
  • Yushan National Park
  • Alishan Mountain Area
  • Sun Moon Lake
  • Taichung’s Rainbow Village & Flower Markets/Fields
  • Shifen Old Street

You can also search other activities in Taiwan below:

Klook.com

Sample Taipei Itinerary for 7 Days

Sample Itinerary in Taiwan

Day 1

Arrival at Taoyuan International Airport
Check in at Hotel
Longshan Temple
Bopilao Historic Block
Ximending stroll / Dinner
Go back to hotel / rest

Day 2

Wake up / breakfast
Taipei 101
Lunch at Din Tai Fung
Stroll / shop at Taipei 101 Mall
Elephant Mountain
Songshan Cultural & Creative Park
Raohe Night Market
Go back to hotel / rest

Day 3

Wake up / breakfast
National Taiwan Museum
Chiang-Kai Chek Memorial Hall
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Shilin Night Market
Go back to hotel / rest

Day 4

Wake up / breakfast
Tour Northern Taiwan – Yehliu, Jiufen, Shifen
Ningxia Night Market
Go back to hotel / rest

Day 5

Wake up / breakfast
Taipei Zoo
Maokong
Night Market
Go back to hotel / rest

Day 6

Wake up / breakfast
The National Palace Museum
Souvenir shopping
Free time
Dinner
Go back to hotel / rest

Day 7

Wake up / breakfast
Check out hotel
Head on to the airport
Flight back to Manila

Estimated Expenses

milk tea house

Take note that you could make the budget smaller especially if you are traveling with a group of people (it means you could split the expenses more, hence less cost per head).

The budget stated above are based on our personal needs (and wants!), so it really depends on what kind of traveler are you if you are the type that could spend less on accommodation (and don’t really care much about the sleeping arrangements, or sharing a room with strangers) and spend more money on food or shopping, then the budget will really vary depending on your needs and priorities.

[table id=11 /]

FAQs

city and street

Is Taiwan and Taipei the same?

No, Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan. We know, it can be confusing sometimes!

Is it safe in Taiwan?

Yes, it is safe to visit Taiwan. Crime rates are low according to world standards but keep in mind to be vigilant at all times when visiting a new tourist destination.

Why is Taiwan not part of China?

In reality, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) rules only Mainland China and has no control of but claimsTaiwan as part of its territory under its “One China Principle”. The ROC (Republic of China), which only rules the Taiwan Area (composed of Taiwan and its nearby minor islands), became known as “Taiwan” and is de facto independent.

Is Taiwan independent or part of China?

Yes, Taiwan is de facto independent. The Taiwanese see themselves as Taiwanese, not as Chinese. The official stance of Taiwan was that Taiwan is part of China. But China that this stance refers to is the Republic of China (based in Taipei) instead of the communist People’s Republic of China (based in Beijing).

Is there a visa in Taiwan?

Philippine passport holders could visit Taiwan, visa-free until July 2019. But as of this writing, the government of Taiwan is still studying whether they will extend the Visa-free privilege to the Filipino people.

Why Taiwan is not a member of UN?

Taiwan wants to become a member of the United Nations. However, it lost its seat in that body in 1971, when the U.N. chose to recognize the People’s Republic of China instead. There can be only one China in the world, the U.N. decided, and the government in Beijing runs it.

Is there free WiFi in Taiwan?

There are plenty of establishments that offer free WiFi. Their train and bus stations, and even inside the public buses have free WiFi as well.

Taipei Itinerary: The Bottom Line

metro rail in Taiwan

To be honest, when I came here, I didn’t really expect anything aside from what I read online – that their food is glorious! Indeed it is! You will get to know the country well if you indulge in their local delicacies.

Aside from the rich culture and history of Taiwan, talking to the locals and tasting their food are one of the few things you need to do while you are in this country.

I am also in awe on how “chill” they are. Even during rush hours, people tend to walk casually & leisurely. They dedicate a lot of time hanging out at parks, indoor & outdoor markets, and at quaint coffee shops (I could not even count how many Starbucks there is in Taipei!)

Getting around the city is very efficient too as their transport system is dependable and cheap. The streets are also very clean and organized.

Taiwanese are very helpful even if they speak only a little English. They will really go out of their way to assist foreigners.

So all in all, Taiwan was a blast! It is a good mixture and balance of the old and the new. If you want to experience the rich culture and history of this country, then this should be on your next bucket list!


*Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.*

Hey there! My name is Krista and I am a travel duchess, a wanderess, and a gastronome. I love to collect memories by seeking adventures one city / country at a time. Join me as I venture across various destinations with a sole mission to explore the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *