TheCebuano in Taiwan: 10 Things to Know Before Traveling to Taipei
In recent years, more and more Cebuanos are traveling to various international destinations as tourists. Thanks to better flight connections, friendlier travel policies, more disposable income, and the continually-growing power of the Philippine passport, traveling to some of the world’s most popular attractions is now easily within reach.
One destination that fast becoming a Cebuano favorite is Taiwan. Taiwan is a picturesque country with awe-inspiring natural scenery and captivating man-made wonders. And with an equally rich culture and history, the country is considered one of the most must-visit locations in Asia.
If you’re thinking about making Taiwan your next big travel destination, here are a couple of things that you need to know before booking that flight. Read on!
1. It’s (Finally) Visa-Free
Now, you do not have to worry about securing a VISA when traveling to Taiwan. The government of Taiwan has recently initiated a visa-free entry scheme for Philippine nationals which will run from November 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018. This 9-month trial period allows Filipinos to enter the country for fourteen days (2 weeks) for purposes of business, travel, transit, or family visit. To avoid any problems or delays, just be ready with your return ticket, proof of accommodation booking, cruise ship ticket, or ongoing ticket to your next destinations.
2. Direct Flights Are Available
AirAsia now has direct flights from Cebu to Taiwan. You read that right. AirAsia now flies direct from Cebu to Taipei, Taiwan (and vice versa) three times each week! Now, Cebuanos do not have to spend long hours traveling to at least two different airports, and spending even longer hours waiting for their flights just to get to Taiwan. Isn’t that exciting? Book now!
3. Affordable (but Quality) Accommodations
Taipei is a modern and ultra busy metropolis. And it is perfectly understandable why the local tourism scene in the city is thriving. With that said, you might worry that finding a good but affordable accommodation can be quite difficult. You’re wrong. The city is home to a great selection of quality but affordable accommodations. One highly-recommended name is the FlipFlop Hostel in Datong District (Book HERE.) The highly-rated hostel is located only one block away from the Taipei Main Station and is basically situated smack dab in the heart of Taipei. FlipFlop Hostel is clean, safe, affordable, and has lots of great little spots for all your Instagram needs.
4. Amazing Tourist Attractions
Taiwan is blessed with a lot amazing attractions, both natural and man-made. To know more about its rich and colorful past, you can check out its amazing age-old structures located in various parts of the country. Their natural wonders like the Yehliu Geopark and the SunMoon Lake are definitely a sight to behold. And don’t forget their glorious man-made attractions like Taipei 101. At 508 meters, this man-made marvel is considered one of the tallest skyscrapers in the whole world.
5. It is Wise to Try to Learn Basic Phrases
While English can generally be understood in Taiwan, a lot of locals still prefer to use their local language. So, before traveling to Taiwan, it is better to know the most basic words or phrases especially if you plan to communicate and interact with the locals. You don’t have to learn full sentences. Learning the local translation for “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,” “Hello!” and other commonly used lines is enough. The Taiwanese are generally very friendly and they’d appreciate you more if you try to exert a little more effort by trying to learn their language.
6. Public Transport Can be Quite Tricky
Taiwan has an elaborate network of bus and train routes. For this reason, traveling to and from different locations within the country is a breeze. Things can be quite tricky, however. If you’re a first-time traveler, finding the right platform, bus number, or departure gate can be a bit difficult. There is no need to fret, however. There is an abundant supply of travel information wherever you go to help you get around the city safely and efficiently. With a bit of online research prior to your trip, you won’t even have to ask for directions from locals. If you’re not too confident, you can always contact local tour companies that will take care of all your transportation needs while you’re in Taiwan.
7. Pick the Best Season to Visit
Taiwan is very much like the Philippines as far as climate is concerned. The country has hot summers and warm winters. However, since it is a small island and is located next to the ocean, the temperature remains relatively low. If you want to experience a rain-free Taiwan, the best time to visit is in July when temperatures can reach around 30 degrees. If you want to don those winter clothes, however, you may want to visit during the holiday season. January, is the coldest month in Taiwan with temperature dropping to around 10 degrees.
8. Food is Amazing
If you think food is as important as sightseeing and shopping when travelling, you’re in for a treat. Taiwan is a treasure chest of unique and sumptuous dishes. Taipei has an endless list of streets and alleyways that are home to amazing holes in the wall where you can find (probably) some of the best eats in your life. Night markets like Tonghua, Shilin, and Ningxia offer an abundant supply of street eats that are too good to miss. And don’t forget to give local favorites like Shaobing, Youtiao, Xiao Long Bao, Crabmeat and Shrimp Siew Mai, Niu Rou Mian, and so many more a try!
9. Exciting Shopping Scene
Shopping is tons of fun in Taiwan. If you’re setting aside a big chunk of your travel budget for shopping, you should definitely check out the East Metro Mall, the ultra popular Core Pacific Living Mall, or the iconic Taipei 101 Mall. If you’re quality but affordable finds are what you’re after, Taipei’s night markets offer never-ending possibilities. Do check out the Shilin Night Market, the Longshan Temple Underground Shopping Bazaar, Wu Fen Pu, Eslite Xin Yi, and the Guanghua Market.
10. Filipino Tourists Everywhere
Ever since the visa-free entry scheme was approved, countless Filipinos have come to Taiwan to visit. So you can expect that everywhere you go, you will end up bumping into other Filipinos. If you’re scared of traveling alone or being on your own in a foreign country, just keep in mind that you’re bound to meet a fellow Pinoy on your next bus or train ride. So don’t be afraid to suddenly use Cebuano or Filipino every once in a while. You never know, the person sitting next to you would suddenly say, “Bisaya sad diay ka, bai?”
Now you’re ready to finally make that bold step of visiting your dream destinations. Hope this list has helped you make up your mind and has prepared you for your next big adventure. Plan your trip to Taiwan today!
Book your Taiwan tour via KKDay here: https://goo.gl/oCqdRk
Book your accommodation at 夾腳拖的家 FlipFlopHostel – Garden here: https://goo.gl/wQkYZ7
Book a flight to Taiwan via AirAsia here: https://goo.gl/SFnhZM
Book a Yehliu Geopark Tour HERE
Book a SunMoon Lake Tour HERE
Book a Jiufen (Spirited Away) Day Tour HERE
Book a Shifen (Sky Lantern) Day Tour HERE
Book a Ticket to the Taipei 101 Observatory HERE
TheCebuano Travel Guide is a series on TheCebuano which focuses on travel tips, tricks, and guides aimed at making every Cebuano’s out-of-the country travels as pleasant and as hassle-free as possible. Stay tuned for more travel tips on other destinations!