I finally achieved my first trip to Taipei thanks to Taiwan’s relaxed tourist visa policy for Pinoy travelers. Despite being so close to the Philippines, I kept skipping Taiwan simply because it was easier to travel to visa-free destinations.

Luckily, Filipinos who what to visit Taiwan in 2018 can now enjoy visa-free entry! If Taiwan is on your bucketlist too, you better go on your trip soon because the visa-free policy is temporary and will end on July 31, 2018.

Why Taipei?

For one, it’s easy to find cheap flights to Taipei from the Philippines and major cities in the region. Taipei promo fares are frequently announced by budget airlines.

Taipei is a bustling cosmopolitan city with a relaxed vibe. It’s home to the iconic Taipei 101, previously the tallest building in the world, exciting food scene, night markets, cultural attractions and natural sights nearby.

What really won me over was the friendly nature of Taiwanese people. Locals are warm, hospitable and likely to help tourists find their way despite the language barrier.

It’s also worth mentioning that Taiwan is an affordable destination to visit, especially compared to similarly developed destinations nearby like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

Traveling to Taipei for the first time? This detailed travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money, and maximize your time.

Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown, recommended hotels/places to stay, things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

Taipei Travel Guide Blog Contents

Get Started

Taipei Itinerary

Taipei Budget

Where to Stay in Taipei

Taipei Travel Tips Before You Go

Things To Do in Taipei + Places to Visit

See More Travel Guides & Blogs

Get Started

How to Go — Touchdown at Taipei-Taoyuan International Airport, which serves flights from Manila (2h 20m), Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Cebu (2h 55m) & more. From the Philippines, frequent direct flights are operated by Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and Philippine Airlines.

See cheap flightsManila to Taipei

Spend 3 days or more — Most travelers spend 3 to 5 days in Taipei. 3 days is enough to visit most major tourist spots in Taipei and places near the city like Jiufen, Shifen, and Yehliu. 5 days is plenty of time to enjoy a relaxed pace. Consider a longer trip if you also want to go to other major destinations in Taiwan like Taichung, Kaohsiung, and Hualien.

Book your hotel early — Grab rock-bottom rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon as you know you’re going. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers.

Cheapest ratesBest hotel reviews

Check prices online and pre-book discounts — Save money by checking discounts on tours, airport/city transfers & sim card/WiFi hotspots. Booking before you leave also saves you time by avoiding the hassles of bringing large amounts of cash & exchanging currency/money during your actual trip.

See tours & discounts

Visa-free travel for Philippine citizens — From Nov 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, Filipino/Pinoy tourists (Philippine passport holders) do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Taiwan for trips lasting 14 days or less.

Getting around Taipei — Exploring Taipei and the rest of Taiwan is very easy, even on your own. A train ride from the airport to downtown takes 35 minutes and costs NTD 160. Or, USD 5.3 / PHP 269. Transport is cheap and getting around by public bus or train is a breeze with the help of the Google Maps. The directions feature is super useful and only works online, so you will need mobile internet to use the app. If you want a more comfortable trip, there are many options for affordable organized transport & tours as well.

Taipei 3G/4G data sim card & pocket WiFi rental (mobile internet access)

Click here

Taipei Itinerary

Here’s a sample 3 days & 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary to give you a quick look at how to enjoy a trip to Taipei’s top tourist spots. Click below to see prices & discounts online.

Day 1: Taipei City Tour

Flight to Taipei

Arrive at Taipei Airport …Clear immigration checkpoint, claim baggage, and clear customs checkpoint.Claim pocket wifi/data sim card pre-ordered online.Buy Easy Card, pre-paid payment card for Taipei Metro trains and buses.

Taipei airport to hotel transfer …By public transport: Ride the express train from Taoyuan Airport MRT Station to Taipei Main Station. To get to Ximending, switch to the blue line and drop off at Ximen Station.

Taipei hotel check-in

Start Taipei City Tour

0100 pm: Visit Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall. …Ride train to Chiang Kai-Shek station.

0230 pm: Visit Taipei 101 observatory.Ride train to Taipei 101 / World Trade Center Station MRT station (red line).

0400 pm: Hike to Elephant Mountain viewpoint. …See sunset and evening view of Taipei 101 / Taipei skyline. Hike to Elephant Mountain from Xiangshan Station.

0700 pm: Dinner at Shilin Night Market. …Ride train to Jiantan or Shilin MRT Station (red line). Walk to Shilin Night Market

Day 2: Beyond Taipei

0900 am: Start Yehliu, Shifen, Jiufen tour …See also: Taipei private car charter

1000 am: Visit Yehliu Geopark & Queen’s Head rock formation

0100 pm: Visit Jiufen Old Street

0300 am: Visit Shifen Old Street / Shifen Waterfall

0700 pm: Dinner at Raohe Night Market …Ride train to Songshan MRT station (green line)

Ximending nightlife …Ride train to Ximen MRT Station

Day 3: Continue Taipei City Tour

0900 am: Visit National Palace Museum …Ride train to Shilin MRT Station (red line). Then, ride a bus to National Palace Museum.

Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

1200 pm: Visit Martyrs’ Shrine

0200 pm: Visit Lungshan Temple

0300 pm: Visit Tianhou Temple

0330 pm: Ximending Shopping District

Taipei Budget

Your travel expenses in Taipei will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 3 days and 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices.

Transport expenses breakdown
NTD 360Taipei Airport express train — Roundtrip to Ximen, per person. NTD 180 per way x 2.
NTD 100Easy Card — Non-refundable card cost. Can be used on all Taipei Metro trains, airport express train and buses
NTD 240Easy Card top-up for Taipei Metro train + bus rides
Activities/attraction costs breakdown
NTD 510Taipei 101 observatory E-Ticket — Discount price, per person.Book discount here
NTD 680Shared transport to Yelhiu, Shifen & Jiufen— Per person.Book discount here
NTD 80Yehliu Geopark entrance fee — Per person.
NTD 310National Palace Museum & Shung Ye Museum entrance fee — Per person.Book discount here
Budget Trip – Backpacker Expenses
NTD 700Transport — Local train & bus rides for 3 days.
NTD 800Accommodations — 3 days / 2 nights stay in a Taipei hostel (dorm). NTD 400 per bed per night x 2 nights
NTD 1,200Food — Daily budget of NTD 400 x 3 days.
NTD 1,580Activities
NTD 2,700Total (excluding activities) — Including transport, accommodations & food for 3 days. Approx. USD 93 / PHP 4,847. Or, a daily budget of NTD 900 / USD 31 / PHP 1,616.
NTD 4,280Total — Including activities and 3 days expenses above. Approx. USD 146 / PHP 7,684. Or, a daily budget of NTD 1,427 / USD 49 / PHP 2,562.

I’ve included backpacker budget estimates for food & accommodations to give you an idea of how cheaply you can travel in Taipei. If you have money to splurge on hotels, food, and luxuries, simply use the expenses posted to calculate your own budget.

Other expenses
NTD 237Taiwan 4G Unli Internet/Data Pocket Wifi— NTD 79 rental per day x 3 days
PHP 1,620Philippine Travel Tax — For Filipino outbound tourists only.

Where to Stay in Taipei

The areas of Ximending and Taipei Main Station are the perfect base for your sightseeing tour, especially if you are looking for highly rated budget and mid-range accommodations. Book your hotel or hostel near MRT stations for easy transfers to/from the airport and popular tourist spots in the city.

If you are set on a splurge, the best hotels can be found in Xinyi neighborhood, Taipei’s cosmopolitan business district where you can find Taipei 101.

Compare all rates & reviews

Taipei hotels & hostels

Here’s a list of recommended hotels, hostels & places to stay in Taipei. Click below to check prices, discounts & guest reviews.

1. Next Taipei Hostel

Budget | Ximending

2. Space Inn Hengyang Branch

Budget | Taipei Main Station

3. miniinn

Budget | Taipei Main Station

4. Bouti City Capsule Inn

Budget | Taipei Main Station

5. Roaders Hotel

Mid-range | Ximending

6. Cho Hotel

Mid-range | Ximending

7. Humble House Taipei

Splurge | Xinyi

8. W Taipei Hotel

Splurge | Xinyi

Where to book

Book your stay online through these trusted booking sites. I use them frequently to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy convenient bookings.

Click below to see more places to stay and compare rates/discounts:

AgodaBooking.comAirbnb

Here are some of the top reasons why I prefer to book online & why you should too:

Wide selection of Taipei hotels/hostels for all budgets.

Often cheaper prices than walk-in rates. Earn rewards points for every booking. The more you book, the more you earn!

Trusted by millions of travelers. Read reviews from actual staying guests.

Instant confirmation & free cancellation on most properties.

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal.

Fast customer support.

How to find affordable yet decent hotels perfect for your budget

Step 1 — Go to Agoda.com.

Step 2 — Show the best locations only by filtering results by neighborhood. Tap the filter button and scroll down to “Neighborhood.” Then, select these places in Taipei:

Ximending

Taipei Main Station

Xinyi

Step 3 — View all properties within your price range by tapping on the “Filter” button. Then, scroll down to “Price per night” and select your price range. Tap on “Filter” to see the results. For desktop users, you can find the filters on the left side of the page.

Step 4 — See properties with the highest guest reviews by using the “Guest Rating” filter. Select “9+ Exceptional”. In case there are few results displayed select “8+ Excellent”.

To check the cheapest rooms/beds, simply sort the results by price from lowest to highest.

To check the best places to stay, sort the results by guest ratings. Tap the “Sort” button. Then, choose “Guest ratings” > “All guests” or any of the choices you like. For desktop users, the sort button is located on top of the results.

Carefully check the number of reviews, not only the review score. A higher number of reviews mean a more reliable review score.

Pro tip — Go to Booking.com to check more properties, reviews and rates. Use the “Location Score” filter to narrow down to hostels/hotels with the best location. Select “Superb location: 9+.”

Taipei Travel Tips Before You Go

How to get to Taipei

Flights to Taipei arrive at Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), the primary gateway to the city and the rest of Taiwan. Travel time from Taipei airport to the city center/downtown area is 35 minutes by train.

Philippines to Taipei

Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia & EVA Air operate direct flights from Manila to Taipei. Travel time from Manila by plane is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

From Cebu, you can fly with EVA Air, Cebu Pacific or AirAsia. Travel time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Taipei Airport to Taipei city center

By train — Ride the airport express train to Taipei Main Station. The one-way fare is NTD 160 per person and takes 35 minutes. Switch to the blue MRT line to get to Ximen station (1 stop away). The one-way fare from Taipei Airport to Ximen is NTD 180 per person.

By Taxi/Uber — Taxi fares from Taipei Airport to downtown usually costs NTD 1,000 to 1,200. You can also use Uber for convenient & safe rides in Taipei. Grab is not available in the city.

Get Uber

By private car — For hassle-free transfers, book a private car with a convenient drop-off to your hotel. You can hire a car that can seat up to 4 people or a multi-purpose vehicle for bigger groups of up to 8 people. Click below to check prices.

See discounts

How to find cheap flights to Taipei?

The easy way is to search on airfare comparison sites that can show you the lowest prices on multiple airlines in one go.

I use these sites often to find the best airfares. Check as many sites as possible because not all may display the same results. Click below to start your search.

MomondoSkyscannerWego

Also, check Taipei promo alerts several weeks or months ahead of your trip if you are planning your trip early. The cheapest promos are sold several months to a year in advance of the travel/flight departure date.

To learn more, visit the guide on how to book cheap flights.

Do I need a Visa to travel to Taiwan?

From Nov 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, Filipino/Pinoy tourists (Philippine passport holders) do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Taiwan granted that the purpose of the visit is for tourism or transit only. Simply show up at the immigration checkpoint and get your passport stamped. Filipinos usually get a maximum stay of 14 days.

Always remember that all countries have the right to refuse entry to any person. Even if you are eligible for the free tourist visa or already have one on hand at the border.

For a hassle-free trip, make sure that you are able to provide the following:

Valid passport not expiring within 6 months.

Confirmed flight tickets — Especially a flight back to your home country or onward destination that you are allowed to enter.

Proof of accommodation — Hotel reservation or letter of invitation from your friend/family residing in Taiwan.

Evidence that you are able to fund the entire duration of your visit.

Evidence that you are visiting for travel or holiday purposes only. You may show tours/activities that you have pre-booked online.

No criminal record in Taiwan.

How to get Taiwan currency?

Taiwan’s currency is called New Taiwan dollar (NTD or NT$). You should be able to exchange your USD, EUR, GBP, and SGD easily at most money exchange stalls. Don’t exchange a lot at the airport. Branches found in the city usually offer better rates. It’s best to get enough NTD at the airport for a ride to your hotel or first 1-2 days expenses. Then, shop around at the city center for the best rates.

Philippine Pesos (PHP) to Taiwan dollar — Exchanging PHP to NTD is not popular in Taiwan. You might waste a lot of time finding currency exchange/banks in the city that accept Philippine Pesos. Better bring USD in cash. Or, find a way to get Taiwan dollars before arriving.

ATMs — I often use my ATM card when I travel abroad. It’s way more convenient than to worry about exchanging cash. Because banks charge a fee per withdrawal, I make sure to withdraw larger amounts (once, if possible) instead of several smaller ones.

Before your trip, it’s important to contact your bank and request to activate your card for international withdrawal. Your card might not work otherwise. I use a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) ATM card and it takes 24-hours for the bank to complete the activation. Call your bank at least 1 day before your trip! My ATM card has the Cirrus logo on it & could use it on any ATMs that also display the Cirrus logo.

Credit cards & online — Go cash-less whenever possible if you want to avoid paying/exchanging cash. This is easily done by pre-booking online for hotels, tours, transport etc. I opt to pay in my home currency, if available. That way, I know exactly how much is charged to my account. Credit cards are also accepted in many shops in Taiwan.

How to get around Taipei?

Taipei has a convenient and affordable MRT/Metro train and bus network. Fares within the city usually start at around NTD 15 per person.

Buy an Easy Card after arriving, at the Taipei Airport express train station. This prepaid card can be used to pay for train and bus rides including the airport express train. You can enjoy discount fares in addition to fast & convenient payments if you use the Easy Card. The cost is NTD 100 per card. This initial cost is non-refundable with no credits pre-loaded. Top-up at any MRT station, 7-Eleven or Family Mart stores found all over the city. At the end of your trip, any remaining credits/balance is refundable.

There’s also the TaipeiPass card, which offers unlimited rides on Taipei Metro and associated bus services. The price is NTD 180 for the 1-day pass, NTD 350 for the 1-day Gondola version pass, NTD 310 for the 2-day pass & NTD 440 for the 3-day pass. The airport express train is not included.

Useful travel apps

Google Maps — This travel app will make it a lot easier to navigate around Taipei on your own. Download the offline maps before you go so you can check the map even if you don’t have mobile data. Taipei train & bus routes are displayed in the directions feature but it only works if you are online.

Maps.me — Excellent offline maps & Google Maps alternative.

Uber — Reliable ride-sharing app.

XE Currency — Free & easy currency converter.

Google Translate — Very useful to communicate with locals who do not understand/speak English.

Agoda & Booking.com — My go-to for convenient hotel bookings & cheap room rates.

Airbnb — Home/apartment rentals.

Momondo & Skyscanner — Top flight search & price comparison apps.

TripAdvisor — Reviews on the best places to eat & where to stay. Download the app on your iOS or Android device.

Where to get Pocket WiFi or buy a mobile data SIM card?

Stay connected online during your whole trip. Not only does it make it possible to share your travel moments instantly, you can also travel better by having access to all your favorite travel apps anytime. If you can’t get a good roaming data plan from your current provider, pre-book a local/roaming SIM card online.

See discounts

Taiwan 4G Unlimited Data SIM Card (TW Airport Pick Up) — Unlimited 4G data/mobile internet access for 3/5/7/10 days.

58% OFF Taiwan 4G Unli Internet/Data Pocket Wifi — Connects up to 5 devices. Unlimited data/mobile internet use with a 4G/3G device.

Where to book tours & attraction tickets?

Go to Klook for easy, fast, and convenient bookings. I often book online to enjoy discount rates and reliable tours. Click below to see today’s lowest prices.

See discounts

Pro tip — Use promo code “DETOURISTA” to get an extra PHP 65 off your first booking on Klook (valid until December 2018; First-time users in the Philippines only). Or, check out the promo code below available to new and existing Klook users:

Here are some of the top reasons why I like to book tours online & why you should consider it too:

Maximize your trip & avoid wasting time walking around town shopping for tours.

Get a good idea what to expect. Knowing all the inclusions/non-inclusions & reading user reviews is very helpful to make an informed decision.

Grab bargain prices often cheaper than booking on-site.

Free cancellation (check if available).

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal.

If you’ve already finalized your travel dates, it’s important to book well in advance. For join-in & private tours, Klook closes the booking period 1-3 days before the tour date. Also, the number of participants is limited on each tour & day. Reserve early to lock-in those open slots.

2 days / 1 nights Taipei itinerary

Check out this itinerary below if you are spending two full days in Taiwan.

Day 1: Taipei City

Arrive in Taipei

Ximending Shopping District

Lungshan Temple

Taipei 101 Observatory

Elephant Mountain

Taipei Night Market / Nightlife

Day 2: Taipei Highlights

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

National Palace Museum

Martyrs’ Shrine

Ximending Shopping District

Taipei departure

Taipei itinerary for 4 days, 5 days or more

Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Tamsui Old Street, Fort San Domingo, Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf

Maokong Gondola & Taipei Zoo

Yangmingshan National Park & Hot Springs

Thousand Island Lake & Pinglin Tea Plantation

Hualien & Taroko Gorge National Park

Yilan

Taichung

Things To Do in Taipei + Places to Visit

Check out these top tourist spots, best places to visit & things to do in Taipei.

1. Taipei 101

See discounts

Top discounts

2. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

See discounts

Top discounts

3. Martyr’s Shrine

4. National Palace Museum

See discounts

5. Elephant Mountain

6. Lungshan Temple

7. Jiufen Old Street

Top discounts

8. Yehliu Geopark

Top discounts

9. Shifen Old Street

10. Shifen Waterfalls

11. Taipei Night Markets

Top night markets in Taipei

Shilin Night Market

Raohe Night Market

Keelung Night Market

Ningxia Night Market

Huaxi Night Market

Linjiang Street Night Market

Taipei night market and food tours

12. Ximending

Places to see in Ximending

Tianhou Temple

The Red House

Presidential Office Building

Beimen-Taipei Old North Gate

Peace Park

13. Taipei Creative Parks

Taipei Cinema Park

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Songshan Creative Park

Don’t Stop Here

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