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A Quick Guide in Taiwan

Ticked off another place on my bucket list. When a friend invited me to join him on his Taiwan trip, I said YES right there and then with a thought that I’ll be jobless (availing the early retirement plan that the company offers) and the best thing to spend my no-longer-nine-hour work life will be travelling. So, the boyfriend booked a round trip ticket (his way of lifting my spirit high whenever I’m down) to Taiwan and I’ll be staying there for 8 days. And guess what, I still have a job, but this time, the type of job that I want and like (thanks to the people who made it possible, definitely, kind and awesome guys!).

Back to the topic, I only have one place in mind that I must visit when in Taiwan and that was the Houli Flower Farm and the rest of the days, will be spent drinking and trying different milk teas, eating, shopping, walking, roaming around, exploring the city and staying at the cozy hotel because I’m on a vacation and I just want to chill and relax.

Gee… that’s what I’ve thought would be happening but that’s far from reality. We got a lot of things done and accomplished. That’s why here I am, sharing with you a quick guide in Taiwan, nothing fancy but more of discovering and trying new things than the usual vacation that I am doing.

at Taipei 101 Observatory (89th floor)

Where to Stay?

Airbnb offers cheap and yet decent apartment/place to stay in the most promising location. For as low as Php2,300 we booked a room good for six persons at the busy and lively district of Ximending where most of the boutique, shops and milk tea cafes that closes between two to three in the morning. We also booked an apartment via Airbnb in Taichung near Fengchia Night Market at the same price which is also good for six persons.

amba Taipei Ximending Hotel - large room

amba Taipei Ximending Hotel – a four-star boutique hotel located within the pedestrian area in Western Taipei, it is part of the fashionable Eslite shopping complex at Wuchang Street. The hotel is also a 5-minute walk to Ximen Metro Station, a perfect starting point to explore the city such as the Taipei 101, Shilin, Beitou, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and more. If you opt for shopping spree in Taipei, then this hotel is the perfect accommodation as Adidas, Innisfree, H&M, Uniqlo, and more are just walking distance.

amba Taipei Songshan Hotel - medium 101 view room

our medium 101 view room with my roomie - Effie of

amba Taipei Songshan Hotel – my favorite hotel in Taipei! We had a magnificent view of Taipei101, the restaurant offers a great tasting steak paired with red wine and is positioned in a very strategic location. Well, this hotel has a stunning view of Taipei and aside from that, amba Taipei Songshan Hotel is:

  •      Next to Songshan Station with direct access to Taipei Metro Songshan Station (Exit 4A)
  •      A five minutes’ walk to Raohe Night Market
  •     A five minutes’ drive to Taipei 101, Taipei World Trade Center, and Xinyi business and shopping district
  •      A 10 minutes’ drive to TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall
  •      A 15 minutes’ drive from Taipei Songshan Airport
  •      A 45 minutes’ drive from Taiwan International Taoyuan Airport

What to See & Do?

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall – it’s free and accessible via MRT. But if you opt for a walk, I would suggest to first drop off at National Palace Museum then walk going to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The distance between the 2 is 8 kilometers but in between them are parks that you might want to check out such as Waishungxi Park, Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, Chin-chin Garden, Park, Zhicheng Park, Fuzhi Park, Shuangxi Park, Zhechenk Park and Fulin Park.

the squad at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial hall - from left to right: JayL of, yours truly, Effie of and Anne of

Experience the fastest elevator going to Taipei 101 Observatory (89th floor) and have great panoramic view of Taipei. Here, you’ll see Taiwan from above, the view was wonderful.

Go to Taichung, a 2-hour drive from Taipei. In Taichung, visit National Taichung Theater, Rainbow Village, have a scoop or two of an ice cream at Harry Potter-inspired Miyahara Ice Cream CafĂ©, and a romantic sunset viewing at Gaomei Wetlands. And set another day to visit Houli Flower Farm, I’m Talato and Pink Land!

at the Houli Flower Farm

at the Rainbow Village - painted by Huang Yung-Fu, a former soldier, to save these from demolition

Mihayara Ice Cream topped with cheesecake and flower cake! 

sunset at Gaomei Wetlands

Ximending Street
- immense with the beauty of Ximending street at night. On weekends, artists are gathered here to showcase their talents.

walking at Ximending Street at night with JayL

Yehliu Geopark – famed for its unusual rock formations, including the iconic “Queen’s Head.”

beautiful rock formations at Yehliu Geopark

Shifen – wander along the old train tracks and winding lanes of this quaint village. Make a wish, write it down and pray that gods and goddesses will grant your wishes as you release your own sky lantern.

the old village of Jiufen! prepare to walk more than 200 steps uphill

Jiufen – a good place to eat, eat and eat more! It is known for delicious street food and get surrounded by buildings and old streets bursting with character and culture.

Raohe Night Market - experience night market at Songshan and taste the ever tasty pork buns!

Fengchia Night Market - where I did most of the shopping spree, clothes are cheaper and even gadget accessories are cheaper; tempered glass are sold for NT$39 only.

being a kid at Leofoo Village & Themepark

Leofoo Village & Themepark - enjoy the exciting rides and show at this themepark! Better spend a day here.

Taipei Zoo - they got panda, bongos, hippopotamus and more!

hi there Koala (at Taipei Zoo)

and Flamingos!  

What/Where to Eat & Drink?

Milk Tea shops are all-over Taiwan, so indulge with great tasting milk teas while exploring the city.

street foods - tasty dumplings

You shouldn’t miss street foods such as dumplings, hot start large fried chicken, quail eggs, bbq and pork buns. They’re delicious and cheap! Also, don't forget to try the stinky tofu. 

street foods at Shifen

crepe with peanuts and icecream at Jiufen

Meat Lovers Combo at Chiba Restaurant

Chiba Restaurant at amba Taipei Ximending Hotel serves palatable dishes such as Meat Lovers Combo (good for four), Braised Veal Shanks with Saffron Risotto and the Strawberry Garden Salad! During Friday and Saturday night, they had this beautiful picnic-style dining setup.

At Que Restaurant at amba Taipei Songshan Hotel we had Truffle Fries, steak and one-of-a-kind yummy noodles.

must try noodles soup at Que Restaurant

I’m Talato – try their Hokkaido Cheese favored ice-cream! Aside from that, you may also do some photo-ops as they have an Instagram-worthy interior.

Toast with Hokkaido Cheese ice cream and coffee float

What to buy as Souvenirs (Pasalubong)?

Buy small sky lantern at Shifen depending on the needs such as love, success, money and health. Ref magnet is also cheaper at Shifen.

Beef Jerky, Oolong Tea and cookies are sold cheaper at Jiufen. So better do your souvenir shopping when you go to Jiufen!

sky lantern as souvenir

Good to know

Buy your EC Card at the airport as it will be your mode of payment in MRT, Train Station, Bus, and can also use in buying goods at 7-Eleven, it is reloadable but cannot be refunded.

It is better to withdraw cash via an ATM at the Taoyuan Airport than to exchange currency as the rate is much higher, there is an English instruction so there’s nothing to worry about.

Book your tours via KKday as they offer cheaper tours with an English-speaking tour guide. In addition, meet up point is easy to locate.

Google maps always comes handy whenever we wanted to explore the city by walking. But if ever you get lost, the people of Taiwan are very accommodating and helpful.

approaching train at Shifen

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