* Youtube video included; See below at the end of this blog post.
It's better to see something once, than hear to hear about it a thousand times. - Asian Proverb
|Taiwan at first sight! ♥♥|
A few months before my birthday, I am already planning to go on an out of the country trip and I zeroed in on Taiwan! But, less than a month before my birthday, I still have not booked-in my flight. Why, is that so? Well, like many other Mommies out there, our first consideration is the household expenses. It takes first place above and beyond than our personal needs. Maybe, you're like me, who would have stowed away a certain amount for your personal needs, only to withdraw from it, little by little, then it finally dawns on you that the mini kitty savings you have are dwindling down peso by peso!
But God saw to it that I would go on that Taiwan trip! 3 weeks before my birthday, as I was scouring for a cheap return ticket to Taiwan, AirAsia came to my rescue! I was able to book a return flight at P 6,220.00. I was losing hope that I would still be able to avail of a cheap ticket to Taiwan because the prices I saw were ranging from 8k to 10k, round trip.
After booking my flight with AirAsia, I then stormed the internet for my accommodation. When I book for accommodations, I always see to it that it would be near MRT stations, so I could flit easily back and forth to my hostel and the MRT station. I looked through Agoda and found this place, which is in Zhongzheng District and a few minutes away from Taipei Main Station. It is Neosoho, very affordable and I use my Master card to pay for it. You can book and pay later and cancellation is free if you cancel 2 days before your check-in. It is better to check the cancellation dates if you plan to book here. I paid 1,705 NTD for my 5 nights stay and Neosoho collected payment only at my arrival in the hostel.
Taiwan is still visa-free for Filipino passport holders up to July 2020. My immigration experience, was quite a breeze, the only question, the I.O. asked me was where I am working. I only showed my passport and airline ticket and that's it, I'm on my way to my assigned boarding gate at NAIA's Terminal 3.
I only have a carry-on bag and my shoulder bag. I made sure that both bags weigh, 7kgs only. It is summer now in Taiwan, so I only have to bring light clothes and basic essentials with me. I only use my I-phone to take photos and videos for my blog and Youtube.
Wifi is free and the signal was strong all throughout the hostel. Outside of the hostel, generally, there is free wifi, which, I happily avail. If, makakapaghintay pa naman, maybe you can just wait till you get to your hostel if you want to post photos in your IG or FB. As for me, I don't have problems with the usage of wifi. Before I traveled to Taiwan, I downloaded the app maps.me which I use to guide me. I traveled solo to Taiwan and yes, I did get lost but the offline app I used, guided me plus the fact, that I also read the blogs of other travelers and it helped me a lot. Whenever there is strong wifi signal in the city, I would post insta pics in my FB as well!
At NAIA Airport, I exchanged my pesos for NTD. When I googled the exchange rate, it was Php1.64 to 1 NTD but when I asked at NAIA foreign exchange, it was Php 1.92 to 1 NTD. I found it too high, I decided to initially exchange Php 8,000 and I thought of withdrawing thru my ATM for the rest of my budget, just like what we did when we were in Singapore. I got 4,100 NTD for the Php 7,872 I exchanged.
From Taoyuan Airport, I rode Bus 1819 to get to Taipei Main Station. This bus runs on 24 hours and you could travel in comfort on the way to Taipei Main Station. I bought my bus ticket for 170 NTD one way. Throughout, my 5 days stay in Taiwan, the MRT train was my main source of traveling. My daughter lent me her Easy Card, which I topped up at 7-11. Easy card is a contactless smartcard the same as our beep card. You can rent it by paying 100 NTD and on your way back to the Philippines, you can either keep it or surrender it at the MRT station. On my way back to Taoyuan Airport, the MRT train fare is 160 NTD but I was charged 150 only when I used my Easy card. Every time you use your Easy card, your rides & purchases are discounted. Easy card can be used in buses, MRT and in all convenience stores.
|Appetizing cold noodles|