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Taiwan Travel: Taichung and North Coast

Taiwan was my first wishlist Asian country of my must-visit. Lucky to score flight deals in December 2018.

Time of visit: August 2019
Visa-Free: YES as of the current date

At the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport:
  1. There are places to sleep and wait - you may go to the cafeteria/food court area to wait and rest as well. The food court is not 24/7 operating - we ordered our breakfast at around 6am.
  2. Withdraw NT$ on ATMs - recommended to withdraw small bills as well, say get NT$5900. You need NT$ to spent to travel tickets, food, shopping and whole stay in Taiwan. Cash is preferred.
  3. Portable Wi-Fi and MRT Ticket - We claimed ours inside the airport. 
    • Portable Wi-Fi at KKday -  Our portable wi-fi battery life was great - we can use it for the whole day. - Php 410 for 5 days
    • MRT Ticket via Klook  - Php 167 - no-load yet - needed to be top up before using.
For Klook discount, sign up with my link to claim your 150 OFF: 

We arrived in Taiwan around 2am. Our booked Airbnb stay the earliest check-in was 10am. We stayed in the airport until 6AM and wait for the MRT Purple Line to open so we can have the fastest trip to the Ximending. The airport has its own MRT station but it operates from 6:00 AM until 11:00 PM.
When we arrived at Ximen Area, I'm really sleepy and my eyelids are dropping already. 7-11 is not the best place to wait, we decided to go for Starbucks as they have a couch, charging ports and restroom while enjoying a cup of coffee. Our flight time was really inconvenient - it's a lesson for me - should have booked a better time next time.

As soon as we're able to drop off our bags, off we went to Guang Hua Digital Plaza - it was my bf's wishlist to visit here in Taiwan to buy an upgrade for PC parts. Then Ikea - my bucket list is next!
and had lunch at the mall's food court. The serving was huge and I'm not able to finish this plate and soup. Set meals are cheaper unless you do not wish to get the drinks and soup of course.

our couple pic at Ximending
Let's go to our availed tours in Taiwan. I am honestly not capable of doing DIY by myself in a different country. I'm challenged with the language as people here in Taiwan often find it difficult to convey in English. So we decided to join a tour operated by a Filipina Ma'am Mel Hsieh and Sir Eric - her Taiwanese Husband. If you wish to book or schedule - feel free to contact them: https://www.facebook.com/imelda.hsieh - all charges may change without prior notice so kindly connect with them first. 

We got booked for 2 packages during our stay in Taiwan. This was the most convenient schedule for us as most tours are scheduled during weekends or require a minimum number to be accommodated.

Taichung Tour

875 NT$ per pax + 370 NT$ Entrance Fees (Lunch Included)
Our meeting area was in Ximen Station 4 at 8am call time.

Houli Flower Farm

The farm had a light rain when we arrived. People mentioned there was heavy rain from the previous days. It was challenging to go around the flower farm and we only have an hour to take photos. This was edited already - the raw photos look dull and dark because of the weather that day. If planning to visit Houli Flower Farm forget your white shoes and sandals unless you're sure with the weather check.

Rainbow Village

Probably the next thing to visit after Houli farm is the rainbow village. Huang Yong-fu, or the “Rainbow Grandpa” own this colorful village and started painting the walls after the government attempt to knock it down and build something new. Then local universities discovered the artwork and campaigned to save the village. 
When boredom strikes = Rainbow Village was born.

I find the drawings special and cute especially the kids and animals!

Summit Resort

Ate Mel preparing our lunch and cake for the birthday celebrants- She served all Pinoy Food!

Taichung Tour Joiners

Gaomei Wetlands

North Coast Tour

750NT$ per pax + 80 NT$ Entrance Fees (Lunch Included)

Shifen Waterfalls

Jiufen Old Street

Yehlui Geopark

Shifen Sky lantern

Golden Waterfalls

Yingyang Sea

Taiwan EasyCard Public Transport - Get it from Klook!

Traveling to Taiwan is made easier with EasyCard. It can be used on the train, metro, and bus.
  • Taxi: Can be used with Taxi that accepts EasyCard
  • Trains: MRT, Available for all metro lines except for Kaohsiung Light Rail, Taiwan Railways - Available for all lines except Puyuma Express, Taroko Express, cruiser-style trains, group trains, and other specified trains.
  • Bus: Available in Taipei City and New Taipei, Keelung, Yilan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Lienchiang, and Kinmen
  • Bike: YouBike/T Bike/C Bike - Available in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Changhua, Tainan, and Kaohsiung
  • Attractions and Shops: Available for 7-11, Family Mart, OK Mart, Starbucks, Cosmed, Watsons, Eslite, Taipei Zoo, Fisherman's Wharf, Tamsui Old Street, Balizuo'an Park, and Maokong Gondola
  • For Maokong Gondola: Enjoy a discount of TWD20 when you visit on weekdays
We got mine at Klook for only US$ 6.39/Php332. EASYCARD TPE Airport Pickup Klook

Claiming of the EasyCard is fast and easy! It can be claimed on the same day of the purchase - Just select the date of pick up and where you wish to get your card. The claiming area is open 24hrs at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and you can select between Terminal 1 Arrival Hall: Unite Traveler service counter (counter No. 1) or Terminal 2 Arrival Hall: Unite Traveler service counter (counter No. 1). So make sure to check your terminal 

For Klook discount, sign up with my link to claim your 150 OFF:

Singapore Changi Airport Departure Tax

I'm writing this post because I have seen some posts over facebook that there's a tax for people departing from Singapore Changi Airport of around S$47+

Just to confirm that we did not pay for anything when we depart from Changi Airport going back to Philippines.

BPI credit card for international purchase

I haven't seen a feedback about this topic before. It was 2 weeks prior to our Singapore trip and I still haven't got a chance to call to BPI to activate my credit card due to problems in our internet connection.

When we arrived at the airport, I tried purchasing a meal using my BPI Cards. I have USD and SGD Bills that day but its limited so I refer to my card instead. I purchased a meal worth S$ 10.
My BPI Debit card doesnt work, but good thing credit card transaction was a success. That day the conversion as per google was SGD 1 = P37.33. I was charged P379.61 which reflected on my credit card statement after 3 days. That was around +P6 difference only! It was best option for me here in Singapore for my purchases as long as the cashier accepts mastercard.

If you wish to convert cash to bank, better do it 2 weeks before your flight at least. Banks always have stocks for USD - have to convert PHP-USD-SGD and I find it low if I do it that way.

J&T Express Luzon Rates

These rates are updated as of August 2, 2019

J&T Express is one of my trusted couriers for online transactions. They offer cheaper shipping rates if you are coming from provincial and offers fast delivery as well. Sharing the rates from their office as of posting date.

If you need updated rates, please contact J&T directly. All may change without prior notice

Below are the rates for Cargo - incase you have bulk orders and doesnt fit the pouch: