BUDGETARIAN SERIES: Taiwan Nature Trip for Less Than 30K ($599)

BUDGETARIAN SERIES: Taiwan Nature Trip for Less Than 30K ($599)

“Anu daw gagawin mo sa Taiwan? Eh puro factories lang daw dun eh!”

This was the question asked by my sister when I told her we were going to Taiwan late of 2014.

Having a few work friends that has gone to Taipei and hearing that it’s one of the cheapest they’ve been to, I decided to check it out myself.

Plus, of places not traveled much by tourists, creating a doable itinerary is always a challenge.

JUMP-OFF POINT

To get to Taiwan, we availed a seat sale ticket months prior our trip from Cebu PacificWe landed in Taipei and the plane ride only took 2 hours from Manila.

And according to recent events, Air Asia now also offers direct flights to Taipei as of Nov 2016.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

We never intended to just stay in Taipei. And though we landed there, we immediately left it for nature-centric provinces.

We also availed the services of a private tour guide in order to reach other nature areas of Taiwan. It may seem costly to others but we paid for our convenience.

Plus, if you do know me, you’ll know that I am very inquisitive and I always ask (stupid) questions. So, the tour guide is really a must.

Day 1: Keelung, Shifen & Jiufen Tour

You wouldn’t think of going to Keelung when you get to Taiwan. But since we are quite adventurous and nature trippers, you won’t really see us just exploring bustling city streets.

We did this on our previous travels and Taiwan is no exception. So as not to only stick to the sights of Taipei, we wandered across the country and we were pretty amazed.

Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> Yehliu Geopark
>> Bitou Cape
>> Nanya Rock Formations
>> Golden Waterfall
>> Gold Ecological Park
>> Jiufen Old Street
>> Shifen Skylantern

Day 2: Taroko Gorge Tour

Doing some light research of this place, I confirmed that it is great! Add the fact that I saw Atom Araullo posted a picture of Taroko on his IG account and he responded to my question about his Taiwan itinerary.

In a snap, I was in love…with Taroko, not with Atom. Weh?! Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> Arch Gate
>> Shakadang Trail
>> Eternal Spring Shrine
>> Swallow Grotto
>> Cimu Bridge
>> Tianxiang
>> Tianfeng Pagoda
>> Yehfei Pavilion and Suspension Bridge

Day 3: CingJing to Taichung Tour

Honestly, when you think of Taiwan, you wouldn’t really think of CingJing or Taichung, di ba? I haven’t heard of these places until our guide recommended such knowing that we are good nature trippers.

The roadtrip took 2 days as the itinerary was: Hualien to CingJing then did the CingJing to Taichung the day after. Know more of our experience here.

Spots to visit:
>> Bilv Divine Tree
>> Hehuan Mountain
>> Peak Wu
>> Little Swiss Garden
>> Carton King
>> Green Green Grassland
>> Sun Moon Lake
>> Xiangshan Visitor Center

Day 4: Taipei City Tour

On our last day in Taiwan, we decided to check out Taipei on our own. And since we have been busy circling around the country for the last few days, we were quite exhausted and chose to start late on our Taipei city tour.

My itinerary wasn’t that packed compared to other days so we can chill and do some slow-paced traveling. Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
>> Longshan Temple
>> Ximending
>> Taipei 101
>> Shilin Night Market

WHERE WE STAYED

Taipei
We spent two nights in Citizen Hotel which is just a walking distance from the MRT Dongmen Station. Free breakfast was also included in the room rate.

Taroko Gorge (Hualien)
We spent the night in Lienfook Hotel which is near the city center. Free breakfast was also included in the room rate.

CingJing
We spent the night in CingJing Guesthouse which is a government owned facility but still well-maintained. Free breakfast was also included in the room rate.

FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS

XIAO LONG BAO – Me and my bf were in affirmation that we tried the most delicious, malaman and sulet xiao long bao in Hualien. Mas masarap compared sa natikman namen in Din Tai Fung.

DOUHUA  Our guide was really gushing while he was ordering this which is actualy a tofu pudding with syrup, peanut and ice. In short, it can be said that it is a Taiwanese version of our taho.

MOCHI – I love Taiwan more because of mochi! Tried most of its flavors except matcha and I liked This can also serve as your pasalubong so hoard as many as you can!

TRAVEL TIPS

• For Filipinos, a visa is needed to enter Taiwan. Secure yours at least 2 weeks before your scheduled flight.

• They have night markets in every city! Try to find them and do your food trips there in order to save money as well.

• We went to Taiwan on the 1st week of November and it was quite chilly. Bring appropriate clothes and comfortable footwear.

• I would personally advise to book a bus tour, take a cab or hire a tour guide with wheels in order to wander Taroko Gorge. Spots to visit are quite distant from one another and walking around from one place to another is not recommended.

• Whenever in a foreign country and a transportation is involved, ensure to arrive early so you have an ample time to ask for directions. Face it, the chances of getting lost is really high.

CONTACTS

Taipei
We stayed at Citizen Hotel. We booked them thru booking.com.

You may also contact our tour guide Andy Lin via email at mp5k680915@gmail.com.

Taroko Gorge (Hualien)
We stayed at Lienfook Hotel and booked them thru booking.com.

You may also contact our TripAdvisor recommended Tour Guide, Neil Zeng via email: boxiongzeng@gmail.com or via his Facebook page here.

CingJing
As stated earlier, we stayed at  the CingJing Guesthouse. We booked them thru our tour guide whom also recommended the accommodation to us.

Contact Neil Zeng for further information.

TRAVEL EXPENSE SUMMARY

**Our Taiwan tour has been done last Oct 29 to Nov 04, 2014. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100 and Sony Cybershot TX30.                                                                                                                 

Also read:
Cagayan Trip for less than Php 5,000
Romblon-Bora Trip for Php 6,300
Davao Vacay for Less Than Php 6,500
Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500

Amazing Bali for Only Php 11,000
Dream Krabi-Phuket Trip for Php 15,000
Myanmar Temple Run for Less Than 20K

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Written by Tody Dino

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