Summary of Taiwan Experiences

Tour Taiwan – 8 Days 7 Nights

TSS_mapofTaiwanWhereWeBeen

Summary of Our Experiences

Date of Tour :  30 October – 6 November 2012
Days Spent : 8 Days  (Tuesday to Tuesday)
Airlines: Scoot (Budget Airlines)
Flight Hours: About 5 hrs (Direct)
No. of Travellers : 2 adults & 1 child (4 yr-old)
No. of Counties Visited : 4 ( Chiayi, Nantou, Taipei, Hualien)
No. of Places Visited : 25
No. of Homestay B&B / Hotel Stayed in : 5
Train Stations Visited:  Taoyuan High-Speed Rail / Chiayi HSR / Taichung HSR/ Taipei Metro / Taipei Railway/ Ruifang Railway / Pingxi Line Railway / Hualien Railway

Where We’ve Been

(For Detailed Itineraries, Scroll Below)

Our Top 5 Favourite Places

1. Cingjing Farm’s Green Green Grassland
2. Taroko Gorge
3. Jiufen Old Town
4. Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
5. Shifen Old Town / Waterfall

How We Got From One Place to Another

  • Public Transport – High-Speed Rail (HSR) / Normal Taiwan Railway (TRA) / Shuttle Bus (To Miramar) / Flag a Taxi on the road/ Boat-ride / Cable-car Ropeway
  • Booked Transport – Hired Taxi Drivers via email communication while we were in Singapore. Met up when in Taiwan by calling them. Booked them for at least 1 DAY to get to places we decided. We did our own tour with our own itinerary, not arranged by them but on the road, they offer suggestions too. Their contact is available in our trip report posts.
  • High-Speed Rail Time-table & Fares 台灣高鐵http://www.thsrc.com.tw/index_en.html
  • Easy-Card ( 悠遊卡 ) for travelling on Taipei Metro : http://www.tscc.com.tw/english/index.asp
    FREE – For children below 115cm and below 6 years old. (Was free for Dar)
    Concession Cards – Senior citizens aged over 65 or people with disabilities; Children with a height between 115cm and 150cm or who are aged between 6 and 12 years old.
  • Good Metro Map to use.
  • Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Buses for travelling between major tourist attractions & train stations: http://www.taiwantrip.com.tw/Profile/
  • Ubus: 10-minute interval starting from 6:30am at Terminal 1
    Fare:Adult NT$30、Children/Senior/Disabled NT$15 / Bought at U-BUS counter in Arrival Greeting Hall.




Tips on Travel In Taiwan

  • Book the Taroko Express Train to Hualien in advance. We specially booked it two weeks before our day in Hualien through online transaction and collected the tickets when we reached Taiwan. This is to guarantee us a seat as the train is very popular for morning timings.
  • Do the Pingxi Line Tour on a weekday. We had other natural places to go which we wanted to do on a weekday so we had no choice but use a Saturday to tour. We had to stand all the way on the crowded train and almost couldn’t get on once. The intervals between the train is quite long. Missing the arrival results in a long wait.
  • Visit Alishan / Aowanda / Taroko or any recreational forest in the early morning. That’s when you do not see tour buses of tourists. They usually come near afternoon.
  • Taxis or cabs are abundant and one can also hire on-the-go but we prefer to book reliable drivers for a particular place for a day to do our own tour. Some normal taxi drivers on the road might not be familiar with place you are sight-seeing and might drive a longer way or get lost. Taxi drivers around scenic places have a different license than those who drive around the city. The ones who drive in the city area goes by the meter and doesn’t do whole day tours. Taxi drivers that do whole day tour can discuss the rate according to the hours spent and the distances between the places. Different rates apply as it is customized.
  • An adaptor is needed for electricity as Taiwan uses electric current of 110 volts at 60 cycles. (For things originating from Europe, Australia or South-East Asia)
  • Food is sold onboard the High-Speed Rail but only in the afternoon and night. We bought our food bentos from the convenience store in the station and ate them in our train journey. Small foldable table is available behind each seat.
  • 7-eleven convenience stores sell hot drinks & some hot food, staff would help to microwave packaged food and washrooms are available inside the stores.
  • We bought a pre-paid unlimited 3G Sim card to use with our phone for the eight days. NRIC and Passport is needed for proof and microsim version is available for iphone.
    The most popular telco service is 台灣大哥大. Unlimited SIM Cards3G fun心預付卡(售價$345)

Cost of Transport 

Public Transport

  • U-Bus Shuttle to Taoyuan HSR: 2 Adult Tickets – NT$60 (abt SGD$2.60)
  • Taoyuan HSR to Chiayi HSR : 2 Adult Tickets – NT$1840 (abt SGD $78)
  • Taichung HSR to Taipei HSR: 2 Adults – NT1400 (abt SGD$60)
  • Shuanglien Metro Station to Taipei Metro: 2 Adults – NT$32 (abt SGD$1.36)
  • Taipei Metro to Ximen Metro Station: 2 Adults – NT$40
  • Taxi up to Jiufen from outside Ruifang Station: Fixed Rate- NT$180 (abt SGD$7.60) Could also take bus at NT22/Adult but we didn’t
  • Taipei TRA (自強) to Ruifang Station (to go Jiufen or do Pingxi line tour): Single Trip: 2 Adults – NT$152 (SGD$6.50)  | Return Trip: 2 Adults – NT$272 (abt SGD$11.60)
  • Pingxi Line 1-Day Rail Ticket: 2 Adults – NT$108 (abt SGD$4.60)
  • Taroko Express TRA from Taipei to Hualien – 2 Adult Return Tickets – NT$1584 (abt SGD$67.50)
  • Some other miscellaneous taxi fares not recorded as we don’t remember: Miramar to Shilin   / Taipei 101 back to hotel.

Hired Drivers 

  • Booked Mr Zheng for 4-days ( Customised specifically, some discount since 4 days ) with child-seat :
    Chiayi to Homestay/ Alishan / Fenchihu – NT$3500 (abt SGD$149)
    Alishan to Sun Moon Lake – NT$4000 (abt SGD$170)
    Sun Moon Lake to Aowanda/Cingjing – NT$3000(abt SGD$127.8)
    Cingjing to Taichung HSR – NT$2000 (abt SGD$85.2)
  • Booked Mr Li for 1-day Taroko Tour – NT$2200 (abt SGD$94)
  • Hired Mr Tu from Jinguashi to Taipei hotel – NT$1000 (abt SGD$42.60)
  • Hired Mr Tu from Taipei to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to Airport- NT$1100 (abt $47)

Cost of Accommodation

  • Alishan Tea-Garden Homestay: NT$3000 (1N)
  • Doris Home: NT$2800 (1N)
  • Misty Villa: NT$2660 (1N)
  • Shin Shih Hotel: NT$8040 (3N)
  • Hualien Bay: NT$2200 (1N)
  • Total: NT$18700 (abt SGD$797)

Our Detailed Itinerary

  • People were asking for our itinerary…so decided to post it here. We planned it to the dot with timings so we don’t miss our transport. 🙂
  • These itineraries are a record of actual places we visited and we managed to visit ALL that we had planned before the trip with slight deviations in timing. Only a few eateries were unplanned. I had also included the actual timings in these itineraries during our trip. (timing data from the photographs we took)

PLEASE DOWNLOAD FROM GOOGLE DOC: TRAVEL SNAP STORIES –  TAIWAN DETAILED ITINERARY

31 Comments

  1. Song Hui December 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Cat,

    Just wondering if you still have the email contacts for arranging a private driver for customized trips in Taiwan?

    Thank you in advance!

    Song Hui

  2. michelle February 17, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Hi cat..

    Saw the post on your trip to Alishan.
    Actually I’m planning a trip in Mar.. But due to time constraint, we only have 5 days.
    So I’m not sure if we can actually make do with like a day tour in Alishan rather than staying over.

    What do you think? Any recommendation? Do drop me an email.
    Oh ya.. and i saw the contacts for the drivers.. but how do you actually liaise with them from singapore?

    Thanks.

    1. Cat February 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Michelle,
      It’s possible to do a day tour of Alishan since you might only need 3 hours to walk the forest. Allow for travelling time up and down.
      If you want to try out foodstuff at Fenchihu, then head for Fenchihu first before going up to the Forest Recreation. Otherwise, the shops would be close near evening.
      As we said, according to the roadworks or mountain road maintenance, the highway might be closed at certain times…these we can’t predict.

      We contacted the drivers because we had arrangements with the homestay and they provided us with the contact or helped us ‘talk’ to the driver we had for Alishan. The other two drivers…we only saw them when we reached Taiwan. One was ‘found’ by us when we came out from a place of interest and another one was a friend of the homestay owners.
      to contact them if you have no arrangement with homestay, the only way is to call them via long distance call to their mobile.

      1. Judy Sng March 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm

        We plan go Alishan on Aug 2015, but Alishan Tea-Garden Homestay not aavailable, any new hotel recommend?

        Thank A-lot
        Judy Sng
        fm Singapore

  3. low June 8, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Hi

    nice trip post to Taiwan. Actually taiwan has many nice places for kids and unique minsu.

    here is my taiwan traveling blog to share:
    Sflow00.wordpress.com

    1. Cat June 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Hi,

      Your blog was one of the blogs on Taiwan I read in 2012 to plan for our trip! I didn’t know you had since been there so many times. Will help us if we go Taiwan again.

  4. sk June 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Omg your blog is so detailed! Just finished reading all the post on yr Taiwan trip.
    Kudos for having so much patience to blog everything in details haha.
    I will be going Taiwan in mid July, so this definitely helped me a lot in some of my planning! Thanks!

    1. Cat June 26, 2014 at 1:43 am

      Hi Sk,

      Thank you! I’m so happy to receive feedback that you like this post I painstakingly created to help people to have a great trip in Taiwan! ^_^

      I think it was because it was really so much fun for us that we were able to wrote it in details.

      Hope you have a fun time there as well! We have future plans to visit Taiwan again. Hopefully, one day we will get there.

  5. yvonne Low July 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

    was planning a trip to Taiwan and getting a terrible headache looking at the many travel reviews, forums & blogs… >_<. then I came across ur web page & was sooooo tempted to just throw aside everything that I had planned & just follow your every step in Taiwan 😛

    great job in listing down every single day in detail. thumbs up. 🙂

    1. Cat July 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks Yvonne! We spent more than a month reading blogs, reviews and came up with our itinerary too. Manage to eliminate those places not worth seeing to squeeze in 8 days and thus, have to share what we felt was great! 🙂

      1. Nelly July 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        How do you like your Hualien Bay minsu? I am undecided between Hualien Bayview, Hualien Bay and Star & Mist B&B.

        For Cingjing, unfortunately Misty will be renovating during my travelling period in Sep. I booked Vienna Pleasance instead.Do you think it is a good choice?

        1. Vin July 8, 2014 at 9:12 am

          Hi Nelly,

          We had an enjoyable time at Hualien Bay minsu, from the fireworks to their farm animals. You may read more about our experiences here: http://www.travelsnapstories.com/2013/08/releasing-sky-lantern-in-hualien-bay/

          Here is also a review of the minsu: http://www.travelsnapstories.com/2013/04/travel-taiwan-accommodation/

          Unfortunately, we are unable to offer advices on Vienna Pleasance, since we have not stayed there before.

          1. J October 5, 2014 at 6:22 pm

            Hi there, may I know how I can book a room at Hualien Bay? Can’t find the details online.:( Having a headache trying to plan my itinerary. Many B&Bs are already sold out.

            Thanks in advance.

            1. Cat October 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

              Hi J, have replied via email to you. The details are on its website actually. Just email Mr Andy Tan.

  6. Dawn August 19, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Hi Vin & Cat,

    Thumbs up!!! For all your hard work in putting down such great details of your trip.

    I’m planning to bring my 78-yr-old mom to see cherry blossom next Mar. She can walk but once there are lengthy flight of steps, it will be no-no for her. She does need to rest like every 30-40min interval.

    Will it be possible at all for me to do this trip with her?

    Thanks, look forward to your reply.

    1. Cat August 19, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Dawn,

      There are plenty of steps-walking in Alishan National Park if you want to explore the whole place. Or you could just concentrate on walking in the lower part of the park. Steps are inevitable for mountainous region.
      We took the train to the top part before descending down the steps to the bottom part. (You can read from the post) It’s easier than climbing upwards. Alternatively, allocate the whole day to exploring the park and do really slow strolls

  7. Dawn August 19, 2014 at 12:49 am

    ah I missed this out earlier …. I meant Alishan National Park.
    Otherwise, it’ll have to be Yangmingshan or Wulai, am I right?

    1. Vin August 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Dawn,

      Thanks for your kind comments!

      One of the locations for cherry blossom watching at Alishan National is around Zhaoping Park, which is just a short walk from Zhao Ping Station 沼平站.

  8. Arie October 9, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Vin or Cat,

    Thumbs up to your blog. It is very hands on and detail. Helped us in planning our trip to Taiwan. I had been to Taiwan but that was 20 years ago and it was arranged by my parents. i was also much younger so didn’t really care too much on the itinerary. Just follow the flow.

    I have a couple of questions :
    1. Did you contact the booked transportation / taxi driver from Singapore? If yes, only by phone personally or via an agency in Singapore?

    2. Stupid question, did they speak any English at all? My Chinese is very very limited and I don’t speak Hokkian.

    Pardon me if you have entertained the same questions. I have just read this blog. Thanks.

    Arie
    Based in Singapore as well.

    1. Cat October 9, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Arie,

      Thank you for the compliments! ^_^
      In answer to your questions:
      1. We contacted them by email while we were in Singapore and booked over one month before we went to Taiwan. There were three we were comparing and in the end, we chose the one who was affliated with one of our homestays. The manager of Doris Home helped us speak to him on any change in issues etc when he’s not replying to our email. As for the Hualien driver, it’s the same thing. The homestay manager is a friend of the driver and recommended him, telling him abt the change in date we had. The other driver (Mr Tu for our last day and down Jinguashi), we met him on the road.

      2. They didn’t speak much English. We communicated in Chinese all the time. They might know a little English but as they often double as ‘guide’ at a place of attraction and speak in Chinese… so if you can’t understand Chinese, the information you get might not be much. We were able to hear a lot of interesting stories abt Taroko from our Hualien driver and Taiwan history from Mr Lin. Mr Zheng also told us things about the aboriginal people.

      1. Arie October 9, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        Hey thanks for your swift reply, Cat.

        1. Any links of the three contact that I can browse or contact. My trip is only in Mid Nov.
        2. Yeah it’s a big pity that my Chinese is very limited. It will be very interesting to know more about the Aboriginal people as well as Taiwan history.

        Appreciate your help in advance.

        Arie

      2. james September 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        hihi
        planning a trip to chiayi and alishan and sunmoonlake
        reckon i’ll need a driver for 2 days, mind sharing the contact to mr zheng?

        cheers!
        j

  9. samantha January 8, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Hi,

    do u still have Mr Zheng contact? Also what type of car did u all took for all 3 of you with luggages?

    Since you all book Mr Zheng for four days, do u all need to provide food and accommodation for him?

    Thank you

    1. Vin January 20, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Samantha,

      The contacts we last had of the drivers were listed above.

      You may find a photo of his vehicle here: http://www.travelsnapstories.com/2013/05/taiwan-day-1-arrival-alishan-forest/

      There is no need to provide food or accommodation for any of the drivers we engaged.

  10. Minthuy March 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Cat & Vin,

    I’m so happy to read your blog. Great job! 🙂

    I want to move from Alishan to SunMoon Lake, how can we go?

    Thanks,

    1. Vin March 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Hi Minthuy,

      Thanks for your compliments. 🙂

      We would recommend hiring a cab driver to make that journey.

  11. Gail December 21, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    hi! thank you for your post. can you give us email addresses of the drivers you hired from taoyuan airport? we’re planning to visit Taiwan on February 2017. We don’t understand Mandarin Chinese, that’s why we need a contact for a cab driver who can drop us at the train station going to Alishan.. hoping to hear from you soon. ☺

  12. Lin June 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Hi,
    May i know is its better to travel from taichung -> SML -> Cingjing -> Taipei or taichung -> cingjing -> sml -> taipei? We are travelling with young toddlers and elderly so would be looking to engage driver for the trip. Many thanks!

    1. Vin June 27, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Lin,
      Both itineraries should work fine, since the driver you engage will be able to make the journeys required for your plan. The order of SML and Cingjing should only be determined by which venue you wish to visit first.

Leave a Reply