TAIWAN 2018: “I Want Taiwan!”

Events, Fashion, Food, Music, People, Travel

“I want Taiwan!”

That’s exactly what I said when major things I had planned this year, all suddenly took a different turn.

Out of frustration, I easily convinced my siblings and a couple of friends to join me and book tickets to Taiwan just merely days before the flight.

It was one of those very rare spur-of-the-moment decisions I had made in my life. If you know me, you’d know that it would even take 3-4 visits to a shop before I’d finally decide to buy a shirt or something. Haha But I had so much fun, and so I do not regret booking that last-minute flight, notwithstanding how unwise that is for a cheap traveler like me.

My parents were set to embark on a month-long jaunt to Europe then, I thought it’d be nice for us kids to go on our own little field-trip as well. ^_^

We arrived in Taipei via a direct Cebu-Taoyuan flight, on a drizzly morning. Actually, we expected much worse as we knew we were flying into a storm. But thank God, He held the rain and just gave me my favorite gloom that whole weekend, add to that the ridiculously kind locals that made for a very warm welcome, and so I quickly fell in love.

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Mactan Cebu International Airport T2 is beautiful at dawn, when it’s still so peaceful and quiet.

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Stupidly ordered Bonchon’s Spicy Bibimbap for breakfast. It was really spicy!!

Like most of our travels, we were without an itinerary. We always only list down the places we want to visit and decide on them day after day.

After arrival, we went looking for the booth where we were supposed to get the local sim cards my sister had pre-ordered for us on Klook for 805php. Unfortunately, it did not work on my phone, so I just shared with my friend, a pocket wifi which he chose to get instead of a sim card. *Thanks Ian!!

Once done, we then went to get our individual Easy cards for 100ntd (Taiwan dollar), and loaded it with an initial 400ntd. The Easy cards are what you use for Taiwan’s public transportation.

Next thing we knew, we were on board the express airport-city train link, headed to Taipei Main Station to make the connection to Jiantan Station (Shilin Night Market), where our Airbnb hostel which I had booked for us, was located. I was still so lucky to have found the PERFECT place despite the short notice!

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Arrival at Taoyuan International Airport. We were already walking towards immigration when I remembered I left my cap on my plane seat. So I ran back to the gate to try and retrieve it before they finish cleaning up the aircraft, but this young woman (ground crew) stopped me and asked about my problem. She spoke good English so she quickly understood, and got the cap herself and returned it to me. My first experience of the Taiwanese’s standard of kindness. ❤

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It doesn’t look like it, but there were tons of people lined-up for immigration, on the right side corner of the photo.

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Where we claimed our pre-ordered local sim cards and pocket wifi from Klook. It’s probably where everyone gets theirs too, seeing how many people are in queue. You also have to fill out some forms which makes the process even longer.

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Waiting for the express train to Taipei Main

 

 

We were already starving when we got to Taipei Main, so we looked for lunch at the food court right beneath the station. We found this eatery which was serving unlimited rice, and had large portions. My lunch cost only 99ntd. We were also so amused that they were playing Filipino pop music on their speakers!

We arrived at Jiantan Station and the hostel receptionist met us. As soon as we stepped into the doors of our Airbnb hostel, I was quick to notice the warm lights, scent-infused air, and piano jazz music playing. I immediately felt at ease in our would-be home for the week.

We spent the rainy afternoon settling-in and resting. By night time, we checked-out Shilin Night Market which was literally just outside our apartment door!

 

My lunch. Very generous serving, with unlimited rice, egg soup, and iced tea.

 

They’re playing Filipino music! I mean, a Tagalog cover of a song from the globally-phenomenal Taiwanese TV drama, Meteor Garden.

Yeng Constantino’s Ikaw, and Jovit Baldivino’s Pusong Bato were some of the songs I remember playing as well.

 

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Jiantan Station with some major construction going on right across it

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At the living room of our cozy, modern hostel.

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One of the many game arcades in Taiwan

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I walk by so many stalls like this every night and it always gets my mouth watering! I admit, I was fooled. I thought the fog came from the ice (though partly). They actually have a fog machine to make it look even more appetizing. Most stalls have it.

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I wasn’t too hungry so I only got egg fried rice for dinner.

 

ell, it was an easy-breezy first day in Taipei. So refreshing, for us who are always in a hurry, on-the-go, and out-and-about when traveling.

I shall be including my daily expenses on the trip in this Taiwan series. So watch out for the next entries.

**I’ll be setting the conversion rate at 2php to 1ntd. We went to Taiwan, perhaps at the wrong time when their dollar was incredibly expensive. They’re usually just around 1.6-1.7php to 1ntd.

EXPENSES

Day 1

215php      – Breakfast (Bonchon)
805php      – Sim Card
543.50php – Airbnb hostel/pax/night
100ntd       – Easy card
400ntd       – Easy card load
160ntd       – Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station (express train)
99ntd         – Lunch (Taipei Main)
16ntd         – Taipei Main to Jiantan Station
50ntd         – Dinner (fried rice) 

=                   825ntd
x                   2 (php per ntd)

=                  1,650php
+                  215php (breakfast)
+                  805php (sim card)
+                  543.50php (Airbnb)

Day 1 Total =   3,213.50php

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