Travel Guide to Taipei: My Awesome Summer 2015!

3:55 PM

I should say Taipei gave me beyond expectation of amazing summer experience. For those who never think Taipei as a travel destination, please, think again. This city is a tourist-friendly city, especially for woman travelers and those who seek for a comfortable travel experience. It has a very good and integrated transportation system, affordable living cost (at least for me), and a lot of interesting places to visit even only inside the city.

If you now have considered to travel to Taipei, below is my short travel guide for you. Please keep in mind that this guide is made based on my travel experience. I'm not an expert :)


All pictures in this post are credit to my boyfriend: Wira Redi
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General Information about Taipei
Taipei (Taiwan) is located on East Asia, Many international flights landed at Taoyuan International Airport. They speak Mandarin, but don't worry, many people there also speak English. They use Taiwan Dollar as their currency (also called NT, stands for New Taiwan Dollar). Visa is required to enter Taiwan for most countries. If you're Indonesian, you can read my previous post about how to apply Taiwan visa.

Weather
Since I went there on summer, the weather is a little bit confusing. 5 days of my visit, I experienced extremely hot and sunny weather and hard rainy weather also. So, umbrella is a must-to-bring item for summer. If you forgot to bring it, don't worry. They have cute umbrellas sold at shops or night market. It is also flexible and can flip against strong wind which I love, hahaha. Don't forget to bring sun screen also, to protect your skin from sunburn on extremely hot weather. One thing I bring al
I heard they also have cherry blossom at spring, a pretty short autumn, and no snow on winter.

Transportation
If you are familiar with transportation system like in Singapore, it is pretty similar in Taipei. Except in Taipei, it is not only integrated between train and bus, but also bicycle or they call it "U Bike". Buy an Easy Card (similar with Singapore EZlink card) and you can enjoy riding the public transportation around the city. But if you want to ride the U Bike, your Easy Card should be registered with your Taiwan cell phone number.

U Bike Station, spread around the city
Or, you can also buy a Taipei Pass for 150 NT for one day pass at any information counter metro station. Please note that Taoyuan Airport has not been linked with MRT yet, so you have to take bus to the city. I took Free Go Bus from airport to Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station since I stayed near the station.

One of the bus from airport to city



Accommodation
A lot of accommodation choices you can find in Taipei; from backpacker hostel, hotel, or personal listing apartment. Search through websites like Agoda, Booking.com, or in my case I use Airbnb. For those who are not familiar yet with Airbnb, Airbnb lists personal space, for example an apartment room or even a room in their house. Often you can get a really nice apartment room with lower price than a hotel. But because it is a personal space, you have to deal with different rule for different host. Don't worry, you can refer to people's review on their page to see whether the place is ok or not.

I stayed at Amerie's A+ Apartment and I should say I was pretty happy with the place. With about 1,550 NT per night, I got a nice apartment room with private bathroom, AC, cable TV, towel, shampoo & body wash, and high speed internet access. The location is really good, too. It is located at the center of Taipei, a lot of shops nearby, and really close to Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station which serves Blue & Brown line. The host is really nice and quick response, too.

If you're new to Airbnb and you plan to create Airbnb account, you can use my reference link to get about IDR 295,000 discount (about USD 22) on your first book. Simply click here or visit https://www.airbnb.com/c/pmayasari1?s=8. 

Internet
Ah, nowadays, people seem like cannot having their trip without internet connection. Google Map, transportation map, chatting, social media post; internet is life-saving! In Taipei, you can buy local SIM card when you land at the airport and you will get unlimited internet connection. If you don't want to buy local SIM card, you can find several spots offering free wifi, like MRT station or public phone boxes. But I suggest to buy the SIM card for less hassle internet connection.


What to Do
Even though it's a city, but surprisingly Taipei provides a lot of interesting places to fill your holiday. Yippie!

Get Excited inside Maokong Gondola 
A breathtaking scenery is under your feet for only about 50 NT for return trip. My suggestion is to take the crystal gondola, because even though you have to wait a little longer, with the same price, you can see the scenery through the floor of the gondola. So much worth it!
Cool, isn't it?
You can take the gondola until the last station and take a break at tea house or even walking around the street to have a lot of Taiwan street snack choices. In the return trip, you can stop at Taipei Zoo station and spend your time there.
How to get there?
Take metro (MRT) brown line to Taipei Zoo station and take a walk to the gondola station.


Enjoying some street snacks at Maokong. No, he's not my brother. I don't even know who he is :P


Say Hi to Their Famous Panda at Taipei Zoo
Seeing a panda is one of my mission in Taipei. As you can see, panda is a really famous animal in Taiwan and the main animal in Taipei Zoo. Panda has a special indoor and air conditioned area specially dedicated for it. Unfortunately, when I went there, the area was full of visitors and we only got limited time to see the panda (I even only got to see the butt -.-). Beside panda, they also have other animals like koala, African animals, and other animals.
How to get there?
Take metro (MRT) brown line to Taipei Zoo station and take a walk to Taipei Zoo. Or you can take Maokong Gondola.


Where I fulfilled my Panda mission.


Eat and Shop at Night Market
Night markets in Taipei are must-to-visit places. Cheap and tasty snacks, cute stuffs, unique souvenirs; name it! It's so fun to walk around the night market. I couldn't just spend 1-2 hours at night market as I had a lot of things I wanted to buy and foods I wanted to eat. Night markets in Taipei are located in some areas, like Ximen, Shilin, Raohe, Shida, etc. Shilin and Ximen are the most famous night markets among tourists. But I love Shida Night Market, too, since they have a lot of cute clothing stores along the street and it's pretty cheap, hehe.
How to get there?
Don't worry, most of night markets are located near MRT station.


Shilin Night Market


Ximen Night Market. You can find some street performances there too


Cycling Around Riverside
Taipei has a lot of Riverside area which you can cycle around in the morning. Of course if you hate cycling, you can jog or play basketball if the area has a basketball field. I, myself, went to Guting Riverside, cycled around for 30 minutes and sat aside while having fresh baked bread and my favorite banana milk.
How to get there?
Go to the nearest MRT station and grab a U Bike!


Getting crazy after cycling around Guting Riverside

National Taiwan University
Sneaking into someone's campus is not a new thing for me, hahaha. Actually we went to NTU only for its waffle but then we found that this campus has a lot of good photo spots. You can even see some professional photographer taking some shots there.


Thinking of taking another master degree here~

Visit the Majestic Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
It's just a hall. Yes, It's a hall, but when you see it yourself you will see why I said 'majestic'. The are four sides of the area and you can see huge landmarks on every side. There is also a huge Chiang Kai Shek statue. Well, everything is huge there. On weekend, the area is packed with people. So, if you want to take a clear photo of it, I suggest you to avoid coming on weekend.
How to get there?
Take MRT to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall station. Tadaa! It's right there.


The majestic Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Just sitting around and enjoying myself
I feel so small...



Explore Tamsui
Oh, I love Tamsui <3
If you are tired of seeing city view everywhere, Tamsui is a great place to take a break. Tamsui itself is a sea-side area at the north of Taipei. I suggest you after arriving at Tamsui MRT station (red line), take R26 bus and stop at Fort San Domingo. Take a tour inside and some pictures around the historical building.

At Fort San Domingo
There's a manual about how to light the canon. Just wondering, are we allowed to?
Hahaha. Of course not.

Then continue taking the same bus to the Fisherman's Wharf. At the Fisherman's Wharf, walk to the iconic Love Bridge, cross it while taking some pictures. At the opposite side, under the path way, you can find some shops. Maybe after tired walking under the sun, a bowl of mango shaved ice is a good choice :)
After that (this is the best part), take a boat to go back to where you started: Tamsui MRT station. Well, the boat doesn't exactly stop at the MRT station, instead it stops near Tamsui old street WHICH is better. Why? Because you can stuff your tummy with tasty seafood snacks. Beside seafood snacks, there's a funny Turkish ice cream seller who will do funny attraction to you before you get the ice cream. You can also buy tons of souvenir with reasonable price. I found some souvenirs there that you won't find in any night market.
My note is you have to spare at least half of day of explore Tamsui. 1-2 hours won't be enough.
How to get there?
Take MRT red line to Tamsui MRT station (end of the line) and getting around by bus, boat, or bike. People also continue to Shilin night market after it.




The iconic Love Bridge. The sky seems pretty dark, huh? But thanks God, it didn't rain :D

While crossing the Love Bridge, trying to keep my hat. The wind was pretty strong.

Hiking the Elephant Mountain and Get a Perfect View of Taipei 101 and The City
When talking about Taipei 101, many people will probably want to get into the top floor of it. At first I did, too. But then I think taking picture from nearby is enough. Also, there is a better place to get the breathtaking of not only Taipei 101, but also the whole city: Elephant mountain. Hah!

Taipei city view from Elephant Mountain. Now you know what I mean.


You are probably wondering why should you hike? In the city?! Oh, you will change your mind as soon as you reach the top. Well, not really the top, but high enough to get the view. Prepare your stamina, wear a comfortable clothes and shoes, bring water, and get your camera ready. Well, don't imagine climbing the whole mountain. Imagine hill with stairs. Seriously, not that scary or tiring because believe me, I've seen a Korean tourist climbed it with wedges sandals, maxi dress, while bringing shopping bags. Now you believe it? Hahaha.

The first check point at the hiking trail. Still long way to go!

You can do the hiking early in the morning, afternoon, while sunsets, or at night. Whichever you prefer or suit your schedule. Since I have to wait for my boyfriend for his lab meeting, we did it on sunsets, up until evening (probably 7 pm). We got the sunset and also Taipei night city at once. Oh, if your skin is sensitive to mosquito bites like mine, you probably want to bring anti-mosquito lotion. The mosquito there, are pretty...hungry, I guess?
How to get there?
Take MRT to Taipei 101 and grab a U bike to elephant mountain.


Trying to smile while my feet were bitten by mosquito

National Palace Museum: Getting Closer to Taipei History
I'm not a fan of museum, but this museum, thumbs up. It really looks like a palace, instead of a museum. When you walk into the museum, you will feel like traveling back in time; seeing every single trace of Taiwan history from literature, art, jade era, etc. You can take the audio guide, but I decided not to. Well, actually this museum keeps reminding me of the accident I had there. No, I don't blame the place. It's just me who were careless. On next visit to Taiwan, I will definitely re-visit the museum and do what I missed before.
How to get there?
Take MRT to Shilin Station and R30 to National Palace Museum (last stop). 


Exactly before the accident happened >.<


Romantic Night at Miramar Ferris Wheel
When you have spare time at night or want to have one melodramatic night, go to Miramar and take its ferris wheel. Take your friends or partner with you. If not, well...you will look a bit lonely.
Miramar Ferris Wheel at Miramar Mall

But last time I visited Miramar Ferris Wheel, we had an extra companion: a Banao! So don't worry if you want to ride the Ferris Wheel by yourself, you won't feel alone. Banao can be a cute companion at day, but at night, honestly, it's a bit...creepy hahaha.
Looks like a banana found dead inside the ferris wheel car

I'll see you in my next post. I'll be talking about why you should forget your diet when you're in Taipei :D

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4 comments

  1. Hai pratiwi,

    Lagi browsing tentang taipei trus baca blog kamu. Such a lovely place to visit ya nampaknya taipei itu. Mau tanya tentang sewa sepeda you bike dong, kalau sewanya seharian gitu bisa ga ya kirakira? Tarif per jam nya berapa ya? Thx sebelumnya :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi theodora!
      Terima kasih sudah mampir di blogku :)
      Indeed, Taipei is a beautiful, convenient, and affordable city. Untuk U bike sepertinya 5 NT buat 30 menit pertama, selanjutnya 10NT untuk tiap 30 menitnya (max 3.5 jam). Untuk lebih lengkapnya bisa baca di sini: http://taipei.youbike.com.tw/en/f51.php#Usage fee rate for Single Rental users

      Delete
  2. Hai mba..makasih banyak reviewnya...menarik banget...ku dan temen2 rencana mau ke sana..nah kebetulan kami lagi mau book apartemen, ku pengen minta link AirB&B nya mba tp ga ngerti caranya..ku uda punya account AirB&B tp blm pernah pesen..masi bisa kah pake link mba utk dpt diskon ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haloo. Wah seneng banget dengernya. Rasanya pengen balik lagi ke sana. Hmm...kayaknya ga bisa deh :( itu untuk new member

      Delete

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