Taiwan | A Travel Guide for the Not-so-Smart Beginners

If you are one of the Not-so-Smart Beginners travelling to Taiwan, you’re not going to die abroad. Trust me. Imprisoned, maybe. Just kidding.

See here? In one piece!

This was my first international trip and yes, I was terrified. I didn't know what to do first. Luckily, I was with this awesome couple who is a PRO at travelling countries around Asia.

I'm a bit of a klutz when I travel around Cebu or Philippines -- and I’m pretty sure I was gonna be an international klutz when I travel abroad. Yeah, I was gonna be a mess. If this is your first time travelling to Taiwan, here are a few tips and links (so you won't end up like me):

Research

We were about to board early in the morning and I was worried. Fortunately, the search results were good. 😉

Book your ticket

We had it in a promo! Otherwise, I wouldn't have booked it in the first place HAHA. We got the roundtrip for more or less Php 4,500 with Air Asia. Make sure to check out promos from time to time. Who knows? You might get a promo cheaper than what we had.

Find a place to stay

Since it’s the first time you would travel to Taiwan, book someplace within New Taipei City. For me, it was like the “center” of Taipei. Convenient stores were, well, conveniently everywhere -- not to mention, my all-time savior, 7 Eleven! And the MRT stations are just a short walk away.

On our trip, we booked in Sleep Taipei and I would like to recommend this hostel. It’s safe, affordable, and clean. It has FREE toast, choco jam, jelly, peanut butter, and iced tea every morning. You can have hot coffee or choco through their vending machines. They have cute Sanrio wallpapers and we’re lucky enough to be in the Hello Kitty room (which has always been my favorite character, btw). To top it off, we only spent around TWD 594 or Php 1000 per night, which I think is cheap enough considering you’re abroad.

Book for a portable WiFi router

Me and my friends are digital marketers and virtual nomads. WIFI is life. Kidding. Too much. We travelled on a weekday and we had to respond to any urgent shenanigans from clients. And of course, we needed WiFi to post some pictures. We got a portable WiFI router from KKDay for only Php 68 per day.

Secure an easy card

What’s an easy card? Is this going to make your trip easier? *pun intended* Actually, it’s a travel card for the commute. It’s best to buy a card first and load in one of the reloading stations near the MRT or outside the airport. We got ours from Klook. I purchased two. Because the other one was Hello Kitty and I HAD to have it.

Book tour packages

We wanted to create a DIY itinerary and discover Taiwan on commute. But there are more wonderful places outside Taiwan proper that are too far to go to. Plus! Booking for your tour also means reserving a slot! So, you wouldn't worry about getting in line or paying for registration when you get there. All you need to do is to make sure you get to the meeting place on time.

We had Klook for booking our tour packages -- and they are awesome! We had this fun, perky old lady tour guide. Not much on the lecture (which was a relief HAHA) but more on wandering ❤️ I’ll show a sample itinerary we had via tour packages from Klook on the next blog.

Download Taipei-ready apps

- Go! Taipei Metro
Taipei Metro route map with real-time location

- Bus Tracker Taipei
Perfect for bus route search and planning with real-time bus stop location too

- Google Translate
Most Taiwanese DO NOT understand or speak English. We had to use the app 60% of the time or not talk to locals instead.

- Google Maps
Very accurate, even along narrow roads and between apartments.

Other stuff you need

Money

A little travel hack (and a not-so-tanga moment for me YEY!) is to have your Philippine peso converted to US dollar. But not all of it! Have a few Php left just in case you might want to order some food before or after the trip. You will miss Filipino food. Trust me. So, better grab something like this before you lift off. You’re gonna miss it 😉

Passport holder

Have a waterproof passport holder. A small bag or pouch, maybe? Coz you’re going to carry it all the time -- best have it protected. I just found out it’s CRUCIAL to carry your passport always.

Small bag

Aside from carrying your passport, you can put your cash, make-up, power bank, and other essentials.

Selfie stick or tripod

For a bit of DIY selfie. The couple I was with was either too busy or too tired 😜 kidding!

Umbrella

The umbrella was a life-saver. It rained a lot on the 2nd and 3rd day. But you can’t bring it along on hand-carry baggage. You must put it in checked-in luggage.

Cap/hat

Just in case you don’t want to carry the umbrella all the time. For fashion purposes as well.

Power bank

VERY essential. Make sure it’s safe during flights and have it fully juiced every night.

Charger

Another essential. The good thing in Taiwan is that the outlets are universal. No need for a transformer or adapter.

Medicine

It came in very handy when one of my friends got an upset tummy. Have meds ready for fever, dizziness and upset tummies.

Extra extra cash or ATM card

Just in case of any emergencies.

Outfits

The weather can be rainy today and a bit sunny the next. So pack wisely -- that is, outfits perfect for both conditions! Not much of a fashionista but here’s what I came up with:

For the cold, cozy and casual feels...

The sort-of summery feels...

Also brought Sunday’s best 😉

Lastly, a sense of adventure and curiosity!

Yeah, I know. So cheesy.

Tanga Moments

  1. I tried out almost every seemingly edible meat. They had FREE SAMPLES EVERYWHERE in the Night Market. I could have had food poisoning. But I didn't. Tanga but lucky, I guess.
  2. Brought a really worn-out bag from past travel. I was pretty harsh with it and broke the zipper on our way to the night market. Don't know if I did that unconsciously but I got myself a new big bag for only TWD 100. Yey! Souvenir!