Visiting Taiwan was such a fun adventure for me. I realized before going that I hadn’t done any solo traveling in a while and really only actually solo traveled once which was when I moved to Korea by myself. All of my international travel after that was always with someone. The main reason for my trip to Taiwan was that I had to leave China because I’m on a travel visa at the moment. It is a multiple entry visa that lasts 10 years, but I can only stay 60 days at a time. I’m definitely using this to my advantage. I’m being “forced” to travel. My wallet might not be happy, but it’s good medicine for the travel bug I’ve got.
I traveled to Taiwan for 5 days (that includes the coming and going). I flew into Taipei but headed straight to Taichung from there. I decided to check out that area first before finishing off my trip in Taipei.
After getting through immigration, the first thing I did was purchase a sim card to use during the trip. Even though I had already pretty elaborately planned out where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do in each place since it was such a short trip, I still needed easy internet access along the way for transportation information, last minute changes and such. I honestly can’t remember the price of it now, but I do remember thinking how affordable and convenient it was. The phone companies at the airport all specifically had short term plan options. For example, I selected a 5-day pass phone plan that allowed me unlimited 3G data during the trip, and I selected a minimal amount of calling/messaging time as I didn’t find more necessary. Plus, I found out if I ran out of minutes it would be easy to top it off. I didn’t end up needing to but read that you could just stop by a local phone store or convenience store to add more minutes to your card.
After purchasing a sim card and exchanging money (yes I know the airport usually doesn’t have the best rate, but I didn’t have time), I headed to the bus area to catch the shuttle bus to the HSR (High Speed Rail) Station to get a train to Taichung.
Travel Tip: Ubus 705 goes directly from Taoyuan Airport to H.S.R. Taoyuan Station for 30NT which is a little less than a dollar. The ride usually takes 10-15 minutes.
So, I got my tickets, grabbed a drink and snack from the convenience store and waited for the train to come. I paid a little over 500 Taiwanese dollars for the train ticket which estimates to about 15 US dollars.
- FYI: One US dollar equals about 32NT (Taiwanese dollars).
Overall, I found traveling in Taiwan to be pretty affordable. Of course, prices will vary depending on the distance and if the train bypasses certain stops to make the trip even quicker. The ride to Taichung only took about an hour.
Travel Tip: It is easy to book HSR tickets online at their English website http://www5.thsrc.com.tw/en/ or grab them right at the station. The HSR system connects many cities through Taiwan to make travel affordable, efficient and convenient.
When I got to Taichung, I grabbed a taxi to head to my first travel spot before going to check in at the hotel. Later I realized how easily I could have grabbed a bus and then made a short walk. Oh well! I went to a place called Miyahara which was an old eye clinic that was renovated into a restaurant/dessert shop/traditional snack store. The eye clinic was run by a Japanese doctor named Miyahara during the Japanaese occupation of Taiwan hence the current shop’s name. This place is known for their unique ice cream flavors along with the traditional desserts they sell such as suncakes and pineapple cakes. I bought a box of pineapple cakes for my boyfriend. Of course I made him share with me. Hehe.
And, of course, I had to try the ice cream! But instead of staying at that busy location, I was advised to walk down a couple minutes to the Fourth Credit Union Bank Branch to get my ice cream at the sit down café. The environment was a bit more relaxed and peaceful. I didn’t intend to get so much ice cream but ended up with three different scoops to try. Honestly, it wasn’t hard to talk me into it. My honest review is that it was yummy but the ones I tried weren’t necessarily anything spectacular. I still enjoyed it though and enjoyed the experience. It was a good first stop on my trip to check out something cool and also take a break to enjoy a refreshing treat.
After finally catching my bus (I had to charge my dead phone at a random place to get directions and the address for my hotel), I made it to my hotel and relaxed a bit. I stayed at J&I Home which only cost $24 for the night. I thought it was a good deal for this room!
That evening I headed out to Fengjia Night Market. It was only a 5-minute walk from my room which was super convenient. It was so convenient I went twice so I could see everything that opened later in the night as well. I tried a bunch of delicious street food from some of the different food stands set up.
Plus, I had to get as much milk tea as possible while in Taiwan. Luckily, it was EVERYWHERE!!! Thank you Taiwan for being the home of bubble tea.
I would say my first day in Taiwan was a fun and successful one! This post is getting pretty long so I’ll save my next day’s trip to Sun Moon Lake for the next one.