Taiwan is a vibrant nation with incredible natural wonders, rich culture, and friendly locals. And with very few visa restrictions, there’s no reason not to make Taiwan your next adventure destination.
KKday is bringing you a series of quick and easy guides to Taiwan. Here’s a few things you have to know before you hop on the plane.
Taoyuan International Airport
The fastest and cheapest flight to Taiwan are to the Taoyuan International Airport; It’s only 2 hours if you’re coming from Manila, and 3 hours if you’re coming from Cebu. Once you land, the airport is just an hour away from Taipei.
Since most budget flights tend to be at odd hours of the day, it’ll be difficult to navigate the roads to your hotel or Airbnb via taxi or commute. Book a direct airport transfer instead—it’s easy, saves you a ton of stress, and is especially convenient for large groups, if you find yourself traveling with your family or several friends.
Internet access is always a must, and for countries that don’t speak your language—a survival necessity. Not all places will have free public wifi, and even then the connection can be choppy. A pocket wifi device will make sure you have constant access to updated maps, weather forecasts, and foreign exchange rates.
Stay connected in Taiwan when you rent the KKday Wifi !
But if you don’t want to carry around another device, opt for a local SIM card instead. As long as your phone isn’t locked onto a specific network, you’ll have guaranteed cellular service without the criminal data roaming charges. Most pre-paid SIM cards will give you unlimited 4G internet access.
You can easily pick-up a 4G-ready SIM card at the airport if you book with KKday!
Up your game by learning the local language. ChineseSkill turns the process into a game, where you’ll be able to learn simple phrases such as, “nǐ hǎo” (hello) and “xie xie” (thank you), familiarize yourself with the writing, and even keep score with your friends.
But it’s always useful to have a back-up plan. If you’re impatient with translations (or just too shy to ask a stranger), Google Translate is a godsend. Not only does this feature churn out quick and useful survival phrases, but it’s also handy for interpreting road signs, menus, and other images—just take a picture of what you need translated, and the app will provide you with an English version.
Ol’ reliable Google Maps. It’s fairly accurate, updated regularly, and allows you to save the addresses of particular places for offline use. Not just that, but it displays street names in both English and written Chinese. This useful feature makes finding yourself lost in a foreign place way less panic-inducing. Thanks to the dual translation, showing the address to a friendly local and working out directions together should be easy-peasy.
Taiwan has an enviable public transport system that’ll take you far and fast. Transit TW gives you a simple but comprehensive map of all the train systems: the Taipei MRT, the Taiwan Railways Train (or TRA), and the Taiwan High Speed Rail. The app also includes the Taipei bus system. Other useful features include the offline map and route search which you can save, and multiple language support.
You can use any kind of messaging app when you’re there—it’s a great way to call and text for free—but LINE is the one that’s most used in Taiwan. Not only is it convenient to keep in touch with your travel buddies, but it’ll help you connect to everyone you need – from Airbnb hosts and tour groups to other locals.
Exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, so it can be hard to keep track of how much you’re actually spending. XE Currency updates in real-time, and lets you compare rates across multiple currencies.
As of writing, the exchange rate is: 1 NTD = 1.66 PHP, and 1 USD = 30.51 NTD
Airbnb is a trendy new way of hotel booking, allowing you to filter through a variety of choices and find accommodations perfect for your needs. Luckily, most of the options are located in Taipei, Taiwan’s most popular city. If you’re heading to the capital, try booking rooms near any of the MRT train stations, for easy city exploration.
If you want to travel backpacker-style—or in other words, cheaply—opt for hostels. They’re great for if you’re traveling outside of Taipei as well. There’s Kaoshiung Backpackers Hostel (Kaoshiung), Liwu Inn Youth Hostel (Hualien), and An Lan Jie Hostel (Chiayi).
If you want to travel backpacker-style—or in other words, cheaply—opt for hostels. They’re great for if you’re travelling outside of Taipei as well. There’s Kaoshiung Backpackers Hostel (Kaoshiung), Liwu Inn Youth Hostel (Hualien), and An Lan Jie Hostel (Chiayi).
That’s it! Keep following KKday for more travel guides. Up next in our Taiwan series: Travel by Train to Taipei.