10
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Benson

Travelled to 11 countries / regions

Written 33 briefs
Visited Taiwan in December 2017 for 7 days

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Asia > Taiwan > Trip Briefs
Updated on Oct 14, 2018 Trip Brief

My winter trip to Taiwan

I visited Taiwan last year for a week to check out this beautiful country. It's been on my to do list for a while and I finally got around to do it.


Overview of my itinerary:

  • Day 1-2 (Taipei): walking around Taipei and checked out its awesome night markets
  • Day 3-4 (road trip): drove from Taipei along the east cloast to Taitung, then back through Taroko National Park
  • Day 5 (Taipei): National Palace Museum, then the Ximending commercial area
  • Day 6 (Taipei): day trip to Jiufen and Pingxi Line (a railway route that runs through some really cool scenic spots)
  • Day 7 (Taipei): day trip to Tamsui, a seaside suburb of Taipei for some street food and relaxing


Spots in and around Taipei that I checked out (days 1-2 & 5-7). Click on the markers for more details:



Road trip from Taipei to Taitung (day 3-4):

  • The entire drive along the east coast was very scenic. The stretch from Keelung to Hualien hugs the cliffs, offering some dramatic views. The stretch from Hualien to Taitung is closer to the sea level, where you go past some cool sleepy fishing villages
  • The drive through Taroko National Park was beautiful. You drive along these narrow, winding roads up some 6000 feet
  • Info on my car rental:
  • There's no international car rental agencies in Taiwan. I used a local agency called Chailease (https://www.rentalcar.com.tw/?lang=en). I was overall pretty satisfied with its service. Cost was 2100 TWD per day (around $70USD)
  • I called the day before to book my car. I went to a couple of other agencies in town and they were all booked. Chailease was the only one with cars available. Tip: book your car at least a week in advance
  • The GPS they gave me was pretty useless. Unless you know how to type Chinese characters, it's hard to find places in English as if I recall there were multiple ways to spell city names in Taiwan. Tip: use Google Maps for navigation
  • Driving condition is good in Taiwan, comparable to the States. Roads were in impeccable shape and people generally drove very orderly. Driving is on the right hand side. There's no tolls on any of the highways I recall. That being said, some parking spots are very tight I ended up getting a scratch on my car. Tip: buy the damage waivers (CDW/LDW) from the rental agency if your credit card doesn't offer it
  • I wrote a lot more details about the logistics of the road trip here
  • Map of my drive (click on the markers and route for more details)


Tips for Taiwan:

  • Mandarin Chinese is the main language spoken there. I found English proficiency to be actually quite low outside of the tourism sectors. Doesn't hurt to learn some Chinese if you plan to go
  • General price levels are relatively low in Taiwan compared to its neighbors (like Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, and even the major cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai)
  • Eat lots of street food! Taiwan is FAMOUS for its street food. Best places to try a bunch of them are the night markets, the biggest one being the Shilin Night Market
  • Learn to love 7/11s. The 7/11s in Asia are a completely different beast than the ones in the States. The hot foods from them in Taiwan were top notch


Photos from my trip

Taipei

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan


Jiufen

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan


Pingxi Line - town of Shifen

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan


Pingxi Line - Houtong Cat Village

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan


Road trip down east coast

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan

User submitted photo of Taiwan