Straight to the point, Taiwan is my favorite country in the world next to the Philippines. I’ve made this Compete Taiwan Travel Guide because I want to share to everyone how they can enjoy and see Taiwan without going crazy trying to search for so many information on different pages on the in the internet.
Hi I’m Taiwan
Taiwan’s political situation (how it came about) is quite complicated. Geographically, Taiwan is an island nation off the coast of mainland China. The nation is often referred to as the “Heart of Asia” because of its heart shaped (anatomically) island. Taiwan’s capital, Taipei lies at the norther part of the island near Japan. Interestingly, Taiwan was colonized by the Japanese so you’ll definitely see a lot of Japanese culture and heritage on your trip to the island nation.
Taiwan can be considered as a conservative culture in this modern day and age, and its for the better. Taiwan has preserved a lot of its tradition, culture and manners over the centuries. The Taiwanese people are extremely polite so be sure to reciprocate whenever in Taiwan.
- Never start a conversation or talk about politics, finances, their neighbor country and parental pressure. These are not considered as taboo rather as personal topics.
- There’s no need to bow a simple nod will do
- Shoes off inside the house or hostels
Okay, since we got that one off, let’s see what you need to do for your trip to Taiwan
Update: Taiwan recently approved the visa free policy for Filipinos on a Trial Basis starting November 1 2017 till July 2018. This means Filipino citizens who qualify can enter Taiwan without applying for a visa. Here are the requirements to enter Taiwan Visa Free.
A Filipino visa-free visitor must meet the following requirements:
- An ordinary/regular passport with remaining validity of at least six months from the date of entry ( Diplomatic & official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment) ;
- A return ticket or a ticket for the traveller’s next destination and a visa for that destination if it is required;
- No criminal record in Taiwan;
- A proof of accommodation (hotel) booking or host/sponsor’s contact information /or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting etc.
However, those who intend to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days or for the purpose of study, work, missionary, employment and other gainful activities are still required to obtain appropriate visas before entering Taiwan.
Taiwan has visa waiver programs for some countries depending on your countries diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. For Filipinos there are a few ways on how you can be granted entry to Taiwan.
A. Apply for an Travel Authorization Certificate. Approval is instantaneous and you can print the permit at the end of the process. Below are the conditions for this type of permit
- A valid or Expired (not beyond 10 years) OECD country issued visa
- The applicant’s passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan.
- The applicant must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket.
- The applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.
B. Apply online for an E-Visa
C. Apply personally at TECO
You can apply for a regular passport stamped visa via the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (MECO) of Taiwan. You can start your application by gathering the requirements online application form and filling up the online application form. Once you finish the form you will be given a schedule (shown below) of when you will be needing to submit your documents in their office.
Note: Taiwan has moved the implementation of the VISA FREE entry for Filipinos to September with guidelines that are yet to be announced. It is better to assume as of now that you will be needing a VISA
For other nationalities please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs site to check how you can obtain yours or if you even need one.
Points of Interest
- Beitou District Overview: [Links: Brownmantrips, TheBackpackerGuide ]
- Taipei 101 [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Beitou Hot Springs Museum [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Taipei Public Library [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Xinyi Public Assembly Hall [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- ShiLin CiCheng Temple [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Shilin Night Market [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Ketagalan Cultural Center [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Millenium Hot Springs [Links: Brownmantrips]
- Lung Nai Tang (Japanese Onsen) [Links: Brownmantrips ]
- Beitou Thermal Valley [Links: Brownmantrips]
- Maokong Gondola
- What to Eat In Taipei
Getting around Taiwan is easy as the whole island can be accessed through its well planned High-Speed Rail (HSR), Light/Metro Rail and bus systems and Airport MRT. The island has two metro systems one in Taipei and the other in Kaoshiung. Both cities are connected through their HSR so it’s actually like being in one big city.
You may buy a reloadable Easy Card that you can use for trains and buses or buy a token each time you ride the train. You can also use your easy card in purchasing items from department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. Check their website for other transport options that you can avail.
You can find the whole scope of usage for your Easy Card HERE
Though Taiwan is not a popular destination for backpacking, Taiwan especially Taipei hosts a lot of backpacking accommodation. There are popular booking sites where you can place reservations where some do not even ask for any reservations fee to secure a room!
My personal favorite though is the Meander Taipei Hostel
Taipei is an absolute food haven. Even most of the street food that you’ll find anywhere will amaze you. Infact, if you are into food, you can build an itinerary for days solely based on food!
Food can easily be found just about anywhere you look at. Taipei has a lot of foreign chains that has established good presence so there’s always some sort of safety net that you can turn to. But if you are going to look for Taiwanese food there’s always the night market and you can find food just about anywhere. Food prices ranges at about NT 60-100 and up for a good meal
So I got a little motivated to update this travel guide. Thanks to fellow backpackers who are interested in exploring my favorite country. So here’s a rough itinerary for you guys. This is based on LCC flights
Assemble at NAIA T3
Depart Manila by 2300 HRS
Check In at hostel (2AM)
Yehliu Geological Park
Quick rounds in Keelung (Transit)
Rahoe Night Market
Beitour District (Day Trip)
Beitou Hotsprings Museum
Lung Nai Tang
Ketalagan Cultural Center
Soak Feet at stream in Beitou
Eat Ramen at famous Ramen shop
Shilin Night Market
Drink Tea and Chill out in Maokong
Depart for Manila (1am)
Note: We will be posting a comprehensive 3-4 day itinerary for Taipei so make sure to bookmark this page.
I always tell people that if ever the Philippines would disown me, Taiwan definitely is the first place that I will seek refuge at. Taiwan seem to have this charm of peace and tranquility, which is so ironic knowing that they are still in a state of war with mainland China. But beyond that, the Taiwanese people are one of the most caring and friendly people that I’ve ever met, and I tell you I am hard to please. I guess what I love most about the people there is that they respect your personal space, there’s always that buffer zone specially if you are a stranger. I hope this travel guide helps you on your future trip to Taipei. If you have any question, do not hesitate to put it on the comments section and I will be more than happy to answer the best that I could.