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.

Taipei 101 view from Elephant Mountain, in Taipei, Taiwan

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. Read must-know tips, sample itinerary, where to stay, budget breakdown, places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

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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 — Reserve your stay as soon as you know you are going because prices rarely go down the closer you are to your trip. Not to mention, lower-priced rooms tend to get fully booked faster. Click below to compare rates & read reviews by other travelers.

Cheapest ratesSee discounts & reviews

Pre-book tours & discounts online — Check discounts on tours and attractions as well. Save money & avoid hassles of exchanging/bringing large amounts of cash by booking before you leave.

See 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)

See discounts

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, Taiwan. Click below to see prices and plan your budget.

Day 1: Taipei City Tour

Flight to Taipei (Compare fares & airlines)

Taipei airport to hotel transfer (See discounts)

Taipei hotel check-in (See discounts)

Visit Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Visit Taipei 101 observatory (See discounts)

Hike to Elephant Mountain viewpoint

Taipei Night Market

Day 2: Beyond Taipei

Start Yehliu, Shifen, Jiufen tour (See discounts; Private car charter)

Visit Yehliu Geopark & Queen’s Head rock formation

Visit Jiufen Old Street

Visit Shifen Old Street / Shifen Waterfall

Taipei Night Market

See more trips on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest.

Day 3: Continue Taipei City Tour

Visit National Palace Museum / Shung Ye Museum (See discounts)

Visit Martyrs’ Shrine

Visit Lungshan Temple

Visit Taipei Tianhou Temple

Explore Ximending Shopping District

I’ve posted a more detailed version of this 3 days (3D2N) itinerary in this guide as well. Scroll down for tips on how to spend 2 days and 1 night (2D1N), 4 days (4D3N) or more in Taiwan, recommended hotels/hostels, places to visit, things to do & other helpful tips.

Top discounts booked by other travelers

See all discounts

Admission tickets & tours

Internet & WIFI


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 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

Search more!

Compare all places to stay & promo rates by searching below.

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 today’s best rates.


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.

For home & apartment rentals. I book my stay online on:


How to find affordable yet decent hotels or hostels perfect for your budget

Step 1 — Go to Agoda.com.

Step 2 — Show the best location 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, sort the results by price from lowest to highest.

For a quick view of 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.

By default, prices displayed on Agoda do not include taxes/fees. If you want to see the total price (paid upon checkout), tap on the menu button found in the upper right corner of the page. Scroll down to the “Price view” settings and select “Total stay.” For desktop users, you can find it under the “Price per night” filter (left side of the page). Booking.com, on the other hand, shows the total price by default.

Pro tipGo 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 itinerary

3 days / 2 nights Taipei itinerary

Thee days in Taipei is enough time to visit most major tourist spots in the city and nearby places like Jiufen, Shifen, and Yehliu. With 5 days, you can enjoy the itinerary below at a more relaxed pace and even add a few side trips.

Day 1: Taipei City Tour

Flight to Taipei

Arrive at Taipei-Taoyuan International 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. 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. Ride train to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station (green line).

1 pm — Visit Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall.

Ride train to Taipei 101 / World Trade Center Station MRT station (red line).

2:30 pm — Visit Taipei 101 observatory.

4 pm — Hike to Elephant Mountain viewpoint. See sunset and evening view of Taipei 101 / Taipei skyline

Hike to Xiangshan Station. Ride train to Jiantan or Shilin MRT Station (red line). Walk to Shilin Night Market

7 pm — Dinner at Shilin Night Market

Ride train back to hotel


Day 2: Beyond Taipei

9 am — Meet-up with transport/guide & start Yehliu, Shifen, Jiufen tour

10 am — Visit Yehliu Geopark & Queen’s Head rock formation

1 pm — Visit Jiufen Old Street

3 am — Visit Shifen Old Street / Shifen Waterfall

Ride train to Songshan MRT station (green line)

7 pm — Dinner at Raohe Night Market

Ride train to Ximen MRT Station

Ximending nightlife


Day 3: Continue Taipei City Tour

Ride train to Shilin MRT Station (red line). Then, ride a bus to National Palace Museum.

9 am — Visit National Palace Museum / Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

Ride bus to Martyrs’ Shrine. Ride a taxi or Uber if you are traveling in a group or want to save avoid long wait/travel time on buses.

12 pm — Visit Martyrs’ Shrine

2 pm — Visit Lungshan Temple

3 pm — Visit Tianhou Temple

3:30 pm — Visit Ximending Shopping District

Hotel to Taipei Airport transfer

Return/onward flight from Taipei

Taipei budget

Your travel expenses in Taipei will largely depend on what kind of activities you want to enjoy and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. For your reference, here are budget estimates if you follow the itinerary posted above.

3 days Taipei, Taiwan budget

Estimate for budget travelers.Price per person
Transport — Local train & bus rides for 3 days. Transport expenses breakdown is posted below.NTD 700
Accommodations — 3 days / 2 nights stay in a Taipei hostel (dorm). NTD 400 per bed per night x 2 nightsNTD 800
Food — Daily budget of NTD 400 x 3 days.NTD 1,200
Total (excluding activities).NTD 2,700

Total above is approx. USD 90 / PHP 4,530. Or, a daily budget of NTD 900 / USD 30 / PHP 1,510.

The total budget above is for the entire 3 days trip, excluding flights & attractions/activities. I’ve included backpacker budget estimates for food & accommodations to give you an idea of how cheaply you can travel.

If you have money to splurge on hotels/food and luxuries, simply use the expenses posted on this page to calculate your own budget.

Here’s the total budget plus entrance/admission fees on selected activities in Taipei.

Including activities.Price per person
Taipei 101 observatory E-Ticket — Discount price, per person.

NTD 510
Shared transport to Yelhiu, Shifen & Jiufen — Per person.

NTD 680
Yehliu Geopark entrance fee — Per person.NTD 80
National Palace Museum & Shung Ye Museum entrance fee — Per person.

NTD 310
Total — Including activities above, transport, food & accommodations.NTD 4820

Total above is approx. USD 151 / PHP 7,601. Or, a daily budget of NTD 1,427 / USD 48 / PHP 2,394.

Expenses breakdown

Transport breakdownPrice
Taipei Airport express train — Roundtrip to Ximen, per person. NTD 180 per way x 2.NTD 360
Taipei Metro train and bus rides — Regular fare per person. Not including Easy Card discountNTD 240
Easy Card — Non-refundable card cost. Can be used on all Taipei Metro trains, airport express train and busesNTD 100
Taiwan 4G Unli Internet/Data Pocket Wifi — NTD 79 rental per day x 3 daysNTD 237
Philippine Travel Tax — For Filipino outbound tourists only.PHP 1,620

Top Taipei spots

Check out these beautiful places to visit & and fun things to do in Taipei.

1. Taipei 101

Taipei 101 view from Elephant Mountain, in Taipei, Taiwan

Top tours & discounts

15% OFF Taipei 101 Observatory Admission Ticket

8% OFF Taipei Night Market, Fine Dining & Temple Tour — Includes dinner at Din Tai Fung restuarant (Taipei 101 branch).

2. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan

Top tours & discounts

3. Martyr’s Shrine

Martyr’s Shrine in Taipei, Taiwan

4. National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan

Top tours & discounts

5. Elephant Mountain

Taipei 101 view from Elephant Mountain, in Taipei, Taiwan

6. Lungshan Temple

Lungshan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan

7. Jiufen Old Street

Jiufen Old Street near Taipei, Taiwan

Top tours & discounts

8. Yehliu Geopark

Yelhiu Geopark in Taipei, Taiwan

Top tours & discounts

9. Shifen Old Street

Shifen Old Street near Taipei, Taiwan

10. Shifen Waterfalls

Shifen Waterfalls near Taipei, Taiwan

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

Travel tips before you go

How to get to Taipei?

Taipei Flights

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.

Click below to see prices on Taiwan flights & compare airlines.

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.

How to get from 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.


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 (iOS / Android) — 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

4 days, 5 days or more

On a longer trip to Taipei, here are interesting sights and activities to inspire your itinerary:

Don’t stop here

Did you find this travel guide helpful? Share your trips & tag #detourista. Follow updates on:

Check out these pages for more inspiration on places to go in Asia: