How to Exchange Philippine Pesos to Taiwanese Currency (NTD)

Foreword: I’m publishing this blog in the midst of NCOV-19 crisis. I know it’s a bit untimely because I , even myself, cancelled my travel this summer and I advised everyone to do the same. But this blog has been on my backlog for a long time. And I’m publishing this with hope that few months after, this pandemic will be over and our medical experts would discover the cure to combat this virus. Few months after, we will be able to travel again without fear and this blog would finally serve it’s purpose. Let’s pray and be healthy wherever you are.

It’s been months after we went to Taiwan and I remember that on that time, I had a hard time researching for the best ways to exchange Philippine pesos to Taiwan NTD. There are youtube vlogger discussing one way another and I did find few blogsite but most of them were old. I don’t know, maybe I didn’t search enough. But just in case, you are having a hard time too, I decided to write my own experience and discoveries on the ways to exchange Philippine Peso to Taiwan NTD and compare it to one another. The process might apply to other currencies as well but this experience is particular for Taiwanese Dollars.

How to Measure if the Exchange Rate is Good?

To buy Taiwan Dollars, the lower the selling exchange rate the better. So we will compare these ways base on their selling exchange rate. Searching through google as of this writing, 1 NTD would be equal to 1.69 Philippine Peso. Let’s see which of the following ways would offer the best exchange rate.

TWD vs. NTD: Taiwan Currency

First of all, when it’s your first time to travel in Taiwan, you may be confused of the two currency being used which are TWD and NTD. They are actually the same in terms of Tawain Currency. It’s just TWD is being used more in more serious note like foreign exchange rates. NTD is more of international English name of Taiwanese currency. But their value is the same.

Option 1: Thru BDO Bank:


This option is one of the best because of low exchange rate. But this is only applicable if you still have at least a month left before your departure time. As of this writing the selling exchange rate for BDO is
1.71. If you want to check the current buy exchange rate, go to this BDO forex link: https://www.bdo.com.ph/mobile/forex

So if you exchange PHP 5000 to Taiwan Dollars in BDO, that would be 2,923.97 TWD. (Computation: 5000 divided by 1.71)

Here are the important notes on how to exchange by BDO.

1. Currencies other than USD are available in selected BDO branches only. Please click here to view list of selected branches.

2. You can only exchange money on the BDO branch where you have a bank account. So if your branch is not on this list here , it’s out of the options.

3. When you are ready to exchange your money at the BDO branch, you need to bring your passport and itinerary. It’s important to know that Taiwan dollars is most probably not readily available at your branch. So the estimate for your Taiwan dollars to arrive will usually take 2 to 3 weeks after you visited your branch.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We only learned about this method within the week of our departure. I visited the BDO in Picadilly BGC branch and was informed that there were a lot of requirements. I don’t have a BDO account in this branch and we couldn’t wait for 2 to 3 weeks anymore. So we were not able to use this method. So I conclude, this is a good way to exchange PHP to TWD but it is inconvenient and would require a lot of time.

Option 2: Thru a Money Changer

The second option would be the nearest money changer in your area. But this require a little research since money changer sites have different exchange rates. In our experience, I exchanged money in Kabayan BGC Branch. They update their Facebook page on the current exchange rates and respond quickly in our inquiries. At that time, we chose this because it somewhat lesser in other options that we had.

TIP: Message them in Facebook first to ensure when they have Taiwanese Dollar in the nearest branch . Unlike the first option, it only takes one day. This is the private message that I had with Kabayan. At that time, 1.85 is the selling rate. We exchanged 15,000 for me and my friends.

So for example, if you have PHP 5000 , this will be equal to 2,702.70 Taiwanese dollars. (Computation 5000 divided by 1.85)

Option 3: Exchange money in Taoyuan Airport

You can also bring your Philippine peso in Taiwan and exchange it on the money changer in Taoyuan Airport itself. There are two banks which has money changer kiosk in Taoyuan which operate for 24 hours. You can ask anywhere and they would consistently say this option has the least competitive rate. However, it offers convenience and security as it is readily available in the airport.

Personal Experience: My friend decided to exchange his P3000.00 in Bank of Taiwan Money Changer kiosk. At that time of our travel, the selling rate was 1.9354. So he got 1,550.00 Taiwan Dollars. You can also view this on my vlog at 00:11.

So for further comparison, PHP 5000 would be equal to 2,583.4 Taiwan Dollars.

To see the current exchange rate, this is the forex website of two banks in Taoyuan airport.
Bank of Taiwan: https://rate.bot.com.tw/xrt?Lang=en-US .
Megabank: http://rate.megabank.com.tw/bulletin02_02.asp

Take note that this site displays Taiwan to other currency rates so you should look for PHP buy exchange rate and multiply it to your Philippine Peso.

Option 4: Withdraw in Taiwan ATM

You can also bring your local debit mastercard or credit card in Taiwan and withdraw in Taiwan ATM. Since the pocket money I brought was not enough, I had the chance to use this option as well. The exchange rate depends of the bank. You should also take note that aside from the exchange rate, each bank has it’s fee which will be deducted on top of your withdrawal.

Some important notes:

1. Your card should bear a mastercard or visa card.

2. Before traveling abroad, call your bank to enroll your account in international withdrawal to avoid the risk blocking of your account. Here’s some details for BPI. https://www.bpiexpressonline.com/p/1/866/international-access .

3. There’a fee for every single withdrawal abroad. For BDO, refer to https://www.bdo.com.ph/personal/accounts/atm-debit-cards/limits-fees.
For BPI: https://www.bpiexpressonline.com/p/1/1916/fees. As of this writing, they were both 3.50 USD.

Personal experience: I used my BPI card to withdraw P1500.00 NTD. It’s not hard to withdraw in Taiwan as ATM have available English translation. When I checked my statement, it charged me a total of P2687.00. Subtracting a total of 180.00 from international withdrawal fee, then that would be P2507.

Computing the exchange rate I had with using BPI ATM card, that would be

2507/1500=1.67

And if we are going to exchange our PHP5000, it will be 2,994 NTD.

To summarize the exchange rate of four options:

  1. Bank: 1.71
  2. Money Change:1.85
  3. At Taoyuan Airport:1.9354
  4. International ATM Witdrawal: 1.67— the best

CONCLUSION

With these four options, I would say International ATM withdrawal is the best. But you should not rely entirely with ATM withdrawal. I believe it would be best to have cash on-hand as well before flying to any different countries. So for me the best is to exchange a lesser portion of you pocket money from Bank then for the larger portion withdraw it in Taiwan. In case something went wrong online, you won’t be empty-handed.

That’s all folks! I think we can all agree that the start of 2020 is a bit stressful. Let’s pray together that in the second quarter , the world will trample the pandemic crisis. I’m positive all of this will be over.

Before I end this blog I would also like to invite you to be my International Blogger Friend. The idea is to invite everyone in blogosphere and have at least one friend in each country so that means at least 195 blogger friends. It’s not limited to wordpress blogger, or to blogsite platforms. If you are a Instagram blogger, facebook or youtuber, you are welcome! For more details, you can check out my About Page here.

Thank you in advance!

Remember, you are awesome and wonderfully made,

GUREZU

For inquiries and collaborations, LET’s CONNECT!!!!!!

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Taichung Classic Klook Tour Review

For our Day 3 and last day in Taiwan, we spent in Taichung City located in central part of Taiwan. It was a 2-hour bus journey from Taipei. For this tour, we availed “Taichung Classic Day Tour in KLOOK”. It was worth around P2,000 per person. This blog contains my thoughts in each destination and the tour itself. IS THIS KLOOK TOUR WORTH IT?

Klook Tour link: https://www.klook.com/en-PH/activity/23958-taichung-classic-day-tour-taipei/

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I. Tour Itinerary/Content

II. After the Klook Tour

III. Gurezu Reviews: Final Verdict

Also inviting you the tour in action here in my 6-minute VLOG.

Zhong She Flower Market

Piece of advice. If you plan to go to Zhong She flower farm in Taiwan, you better do it by DIY. A klook tour will just give an ample time to be here. And you’ll end up running everywhere. Unless you just want to gaze on flowers, 50 minutes will not be enough.

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LUNCH TIME in CMP Park Lane

For our lunch, they took us in a mall with a park in front it. It was disappointing because that mall has little food choice. The park has no food stalls at all. We bought lunch in nearby 7-11 instead. Then bought Milk Tea somewhere far. By the time we already have food and drinks, we only have ten minutes to eat. Though it hurt our tongue because our food was fresh from the oven, we had to endure it. We were hungry and we needed to go back in the meet-up or else the Klook bus will leave us. We really didn’t like the experience. We felt deprived in our first destination, then felt rushed and stressed during lunch time. It affected our mood for the tour.

MIYAHARA ICE CREAM PARLOUR

The most popular ice cream parlor in Taichung, Taiwan. This building was an old bank turned into Harry Potter inspired Ice-cream parlor and restaurant. Although you can’t visit the second floor unless you have reservation.

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We didn’t order Miyahara Ice Cream. We felt full from lunch and disappointed with the Klook tour dropping us off in a crowded mall with very few food choices for our lunch. We ended up ordering food in 7-11 (which was delicious btw) and ate our lunch in a hurry because most of our lunch time was spent looking where to eat. So in Miyahara, it kind of affected the mood. But I enjoyed visiting Miyahara because the interior was gorgeous and whimsical. And that means more photo ops. 😛

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Rainbow Village

Appreciating this little village drawn and made colorful by one old man who wish to stay in this place when everybody left. And now, people keep going here because of his creation. I hope he doesn’t feel alone anymore.

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Easily the highlight of my Rainbow Village tour is to meet the Rainbow Grandpa himself. Aged over 90 years old, he wakes up every 4am to continue painting the village. He is maybe old but he’s still strong and playful. Game for trendy poses like this and Korean heart. It’s free to take a photo with Grandpa but it is advisable to drop donations. He is also selling his sample artworks in bondpapers. Because of his creativity, he saved the village from being demolished. Every year it is estimated that Rainbow Village has at least a million visitors. Even at old age, Rainbow Grandpa saved the small village and even made his neighbor earn more by selling to tourists. Truthfully, it’s not too late to make a difference.

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Gaomei Wetlands

For our last destination, we went to Gaomei Wetlands to watch the gorgeous sunset in panoramic view.

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Gaomei Wetlands Sunset
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Sunset Viewing is the most popular activity in Gaomei Wetlands. But apart from that, this place is a preservation area for exotic birds and crabs. Here they roam free. I was not able to spot any exotic birds maybe because I did not finish the 800 meter walkway. However, the crabs were really plenty. I had fun taking a video of this particular one boring holes in a muddy sand. The wetland is muddy do I didn’t dare walk on it. Thankfully this one roams freely near the walkway. But I still did a risky position to extend my camera on the muddy sand to get a close-up.

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I was not able to get through the end of 800m walkway in Gaomei Wetlands because it’s too crowded. But the main concern actually was the time. If I manage to get through, I might not able to go back in time for the Klook meetup time.

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After the Tour

HOT SPRING EXPERIENCE in SPRING CITY RESORT

To cap the three tiring days of walking around Taiwan, we spent a relaxing hour in an authentic hot spring resort in Xin Beitou under starry night. Submerging in a hot spring water is not only relaxing but it is known for healing properties and getting rid of toxicities. Beitou is surrounded by hot springs so there is a strings of hot spring resort in the area ranging from simple to five star hotels. There was even a hot spring museum around the area. But we arrived so late to have to time to visit it. Thermal Valley or also known as Hell’s valley where the water constantly release smoke is also in Beitou. Unfortunately, and one of my regrets was I haven’t been able to see it. But enough of regrets. At least I have more reasons to go back to Taiwan next time.

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This is the hot spring pool for kids. There are other varieties inside but phones are prohibited. It was quite challenging to submerge in to hot spring pools..because they are HOT! I wonder sometimes if they were really safe. I was so afraid to be cooked alive. Anyway the hottest pool that I managed to endure was 41 degrees Celcius. It was hard at first but once you were there for five seconds you can feel your body adapting on it and it was quite relaxing as promised. But I made unnecessary and annoying noises before I finally get into the waters. I really had a difficult time at first.
Most of the visitors were from other different countries. But a Filipino couple spotted and chit chat with us when they heard we were talking in Tagalog. We met them again in Taoyuan airport when we were about to go home.

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Overall it was really fun as this spring resort was so cozy and their amenities looks good. They also have free shuttle service. We booked this through Klook for only P579.00. We chose the “NIGHT” only pass. Other package has different price.

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FOOD TRIP IN SHILIN NIGHT MARKET

After hot spring resort, we were very hungry and decided that it would be the best time to return to Shilin Night Market. So for our last activity in Taiwan, we went food tripping in this market where several authentic and exotic street food line up for the night. These are some of the memorable food I consumed. Most fave would be the eight claw octopus. Yum!

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Michelin star soup stand
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Pork Kebab
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Cheese Shrimp Egg
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Devouring on our choices. Michelin Soup, lemonade and long fries.
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ATTACK!

Gurezu Reviews Final Verdict

Not Recommended!

  1. Super little time in Zhong-She Flower Farm
  2. The tour guide assign that day was not that good in English. Aside from that , he does not wait for all the tourist to come down before walking to the destination. And he did not even look back to check if all the tourists were already in his tracks.
  3. The lunch time drop-off which was CMP by Park Lane was crowded and has little food choices. We had a hard time looking for restaurant to have our lunch. When we finally bought lunch in a 7-11 (Thanks 7-11!) , we only got 5 minutes left to eat all of it. This definitely spoiled our mood.

There were raving reviews of this tour in KLOOK and checking all of it, they were mentioning the names of their amazing tour guide that time. Maybe we were just unlucky with the assigned tour guide that day. His name did not come up in the good reviews. I prefer not to mention his name. But I hope he’ll improve his skill in the future.

Recommended alternatives.
1. Look for a private charter specially if you’re in a group of 4 or more. You will have more savings and freedom for your time.
2. Do it DIY. You might want to try riding a bullet train going to Taichung as it will take you there for only 45 minutes versus the 2 hours in the bus. There were a lot of amazing Taichung destination that I wished we visited like the Sun Moon Lake and Famous Aboriginal Park. They look great in photos!
3. Or maybe book other Taichung Tours in Klook or KKDay.

If you’re interested, here are my other blogs for this Taiwan Series Adventures

Day 1: The Advantage in Using Taipei Fun Pass Card

Day 2: Taiwan North Coast KLOOK Tour Review

I hope you enjoy reading my tour review blog and hope this helps in deciding your activities in visiting this wonderful country.

Also I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to be my international blogger friend. The idea is to have at at least one blogger friend in each country and build this INTERNATIONAL BLOGGER FRIENDS DIRECTORY. I wanted to diversify the people I follow or interact with through social media so I can see parts or hear anything from different parts of the world. We could do any of the following:

  • Simple follow each other in wordpress, blog links or other platform
  • Write a blog collaboration!
  • Send each other letter or postcards or stickers
  • Let’s sing a song as duet in Smule or WeSing!
  • Or others we can think of.

And if you’re already in my home country the Philippines, just let me know as I’m also building a directory: BLOGGER FRIENDS IN EACH PH REGION.

If you are interested to be added in my official directory and bond with me , just let me know if the comment section or reach me out via email: tumblingbot@gmail.com or in my IG/FB.

This idea has been playing in my had since last year as I’ve really want to connect more to the world. I hope you would take my invitation. Thank you in advance!

Remember, you are awesome! Don’t let other people tell you otherwise!

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The Advantages of Using Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card in Visiting Taiwan

My VLOG!
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For our day 1 we purchased Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card. This includes unlimited rides for MRT, buses and free access to 16 attractions. We bought it through Klook though these link. We only bought the one-day pass version for only P1948.00. It also has two and three-day unlimited version.

These are the 16 attractions included in the card. I highlighted those we intend to visit with our pass

  • A one-time visit to each attraction during the validity period
  • Taipei 101 Observatory
  • National Palace Museum
  • Main Building of Chiang Kai-Shek Shilin Residence
  • Miramar Entertainment Park Ferris Wheel
  • Taipei Children’s Amusement Park
  • Tamsui Historical Museum
  • Tamsui to Fisherman’s Wharf round trip ticket
  • Gold Museum
  • Yeliu Geopark
  • Juming Museum
  • Sky Lantern Police Station Electric Sky Lantern ticket
  • National Museum of Marine Science and Technology
  • Taipei Zoo
  • Maokong Gondola
  • Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
  • Heping Island Park

We also found out that Taipei unlimited fun-pass card comes with a booklet that contains the MRT train station map, introduction on the free 16 attractions and sample itineraries so you can maximize the card. It also comes with a book of coupons for freebies and discounts for several restaurants. That was really amazing. This unlimited fun pass card was really designed for tourist to have a hassle-free tour and added it with surprises.

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Taipei Fun Pass Guide booklet and the Taipei Tourist Map
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Coupon Book

Opening a page of the booklet guide.

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Sneak Peak on the attractions

Scanning through pages of the guide, these pages are my favorite. They have suggestion itineraries you can follow so you can maximize the Fun Pass Card!

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THE BEST THING: KLOOK HAS BUY 1 GET 1 at 50% Off for AVAILING the TAIPEI FUN PASS CARD.

Because of this our expenses shrink further. Supposed to be, we should be paying a total of 5778 PHP. But because of the promo, we only paid 4920 PHP. Imagine the savings if your group is in even number.

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Once you bought this through klook, you will have a choice where to claim the card, either in NAIA , Taoyuan Airport or Taipei Main Station. We claimed ours in Taoyuan Airport Klook kiosk upon landing and I must tell that Klook kiosk has a very long line! We spent almost an hour waiting for our fun pass card.

Later I will do a computation on how much we saved using our 1 Day Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card in our Day 1 in Taiwan.

OUR TEMPORARY HOME in TAIWAN

By the way this is our temporary home in Taiwan. I am pretty proud on booking this one. It felt like an achievement so I am sharing this with you.

I chose this because it’s near Ximen MRT Station where our Klook meet-up were also located for the next days. By near, I mean it’s 3-5 minutes walking distance away. It looks stylish with it’s French-inspired interior. It has wifi! It has refrigerator, free toiletries, towels, complimentary coffee and tea. And most of all, it is affordable, almost as same as the price of capsule hotel if not cheaper. If you’re interested to book this , this is the link in AIRBNB. The only cons that I could think of is there was no elevator and this is on third floor. But I could say that only a minor issue since we seldom took the stairs anyway since we were out most of the time. To watch my tour in our airbnb, watch it here in this link:

Taiwan Aibnb

By the way this day 1 happened on November 14, 2019. It was Autumn in Taiwan. It was really cold but not so on the level that you will need a thick jacket or coat. The temperature only played around 18 degrees Celsius. It was like hanging around in the usual air-conditioned room in the Philippines.

Destination 1: Breakfast at JSP

Breakfast at JSP
Exact location: No. 150號, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Google map reference at number 2 of this link here.

We started the day a bit late because we arrived at our Airbnb at around 4 am and managed to sleep at around 5 am. In our ideal itinerary, we should wake-up at around 6 am. Yikes! But of course, it’s better to be recharged so we allow ourselves more time to doze-off.

Our Airbnb was conveniently located neart Ximending MRT and Shopping district. So it won’t be hard to find a restaurant to spend our first meal. With that we chose this orangy restaurant called JSP.

I have read about JSP when I was still researching on the good place to eat around Ximending. This is one of the recommendation as they offer Taiwanese breakfast staples.

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As you can see above, their menu is in Chinese characters and we were overwhelmed at first. But JSP is tourist friendly. They offered us English menu and a marker so we can mark our choices. They have a wider range of choices from sandwiches, burgers and set meals.

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We chose set-meals. My personal choice was the Black Pepper set which comprises of noodles,porkchop, egg and milk tea. Milk tea could be hot, ice or warm. I would have chosen hot coffee but there was no coffee in the menu. That was a real surprise! Milk tea is indeed the more popular choice here. It’s proven as we spent next days only tasting coffee through sachet packs we bought from 7-11.

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My first Taiwanese Breakfast!
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The hot milk tea. But I still want coffee ;(
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Selfie before eating

I liked it my breakfast and find it really delicious. At one point though, I surrendered in spiciness (entirely my fault). My friend who was with me find the meal weird. He said it was like having spaghetti for breakfast. While eating, there was a Taiwanese who asked to share our table. Of course, we didn’t mind. He sat across me which then I saw that he was handsome. Hahaha! Such a good morning

Destination 2: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Entrance fee: Free
How to get here: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall has it’s own MRT station. So from  MRT Ximen station, ride Songshan-Xindian-Line and drop-off exactly to Chiang Kai Shek Station. Journey would only take 4 minutes since they are just two stations away from each other.

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I have seen this place quite a lot of times already but I was utterly surprised when I visited this personally. It’s so big and majestic! It made me feel like I visited an old kingdom. Something that you won’t appreciate just looking at the photos and videos. There are a lot of Taiwanese in yellow when we visited this place. It looks like they are preparing for a big event or something.

There are three palace-like structure in this memorial hall. I had thought of doing levitation in front of it. So the following is the usual photo gallery. Enjoy!

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Amazing OOTD walk by my friend
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Feeling fresh in Taiwan

Destination 3: Crystal Cabin Gondola Round-Trip Ride

Entrance Fee: NT$ 240 (PHP 402.00) , paid through Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card

How did we get there: It’s with MRT station only and a little bit of walking. The journey may take around 30-40 minutes.

  • From Chiang Kai Shek MRT station, ride the Tamsui-Xinyi line and drop to Daan Station.
  • From Daan Station, transfer to the train going to Taipei Zoo Station.
  • From Taipei Zoo Station, take a short walk to Maokong Gondola Station.
cks to taipei_zoo

This ride is one of the free attractions inclusive of Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass card. You just have to go to the gift shop name “CHANCE” beside the Gondola Station. Show the card and they will give you the round trip tickets.

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Here we made sure we went for Crystal Cabin where the floor was glass.It’s a good way to enjoy panoramic views of Taipei before reaching Maokong station where a string of tea houses awaits. There is a separate line for it from the regular cabin so I made sure to follow the signs. There was this sign on the wall to remind everyone to assess themselves before riding the crystal cabin gondola.

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Lucky I don’t have fear of heights.
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You can even see the tip of Taipei 101 from here.

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I did not take much photos that time because I took videos instead. But I was able to capture this one scenery. The turquoise water looks awesome and beautiful.

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The only downside of this ride was we got to share the cabin with other group of strangers. So we did not take loads of pictures. Although I didn’t mind actually. I still made sure I have pictures. If you are traveling in a group of five , you’ll surely occupy one crystal gondola by yourselves. We did not anticipate this. I thought each group would have their own cabin like in Ferris wheels.

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This was not my first gondola ride. I have one also during our Malaysian trip. It was one of my favorite activities because it was really exciting going up with clouds. So I made sure that I won’t miss this in Taiwan as well. I hope Philippines would have one as well because it’s not only a fun ride but a means of transportation as well. A gondola ride along Edsa? Hmm one can only dream!!

Destination 4: Lunch at Maokong

The gondola has four stopover stations. The farthest is Maokong where several tea plantation is located.

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I look awkward here. I don’t know what I am trying to do.

Just below Maokong station there was a string of teahouses and food stalls. We opt for food stall for our lunch. We ate the popular stinky tofu which smells fairly normal to us, stir fried chicken and meatball soup. We are not that impressed with our lunch. If we have more time in Maokong, we would have visited a tea plantation and tea museum. Also eat in a legit tea house. But that would require a day and we were running out of time.

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We did not stay much at Maokong as we only intended to ride the Gondola and eat it our lunch there. Nevertheless, Maokong offers greenery sights. It seems far already from the busy Taipei city.

Destination 5: Shilin Official Residence

Entrance Fee: Free but there is a special area which has payment which is included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass

How did we get here: It’s essentially going back to Gondola ride then MRT again with short walks.

  • Go back to Maokong Station for Gondola ride back to Taipei Zoo Gondola station.
  • Walk going to Taipei Zoo MRT , Daan station bound
  • From Daan Station, transfer to red line Shilin MRT station bound.
  • Get-off Shilin MRT station then take a 10-minute walk going to Shilin Official Residence
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This is the place where Chiang Kai Shek and her wife spent the last days of their lives. Aside from being a home, this is a horticulture ground as Mrs. Chiang Kai Shek adore flowers, roses being her favorite. To celebrate autumn season, they are having Chryantheum flower festival. Sadly, it was still not starting when we came here. They were celebrating it around Nov 18 if I remember that correctly. We were days earlier from the festival but at least we saw some of the attractions they were preparing. I also love the tranquility and lush greeneries of this place.

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Destination 6: Elephant Mountain

Entrance fee: None

How did we get here: Through MRT again with a lot of walking this time.

  • From Shilin Official Residence, walk going back to Shilin MRT Station
  • From Shilin MRT station, ride the red line going to Xiangshan MRT Station
  • From Xiangshan MRT, take a 5 minute walk to the foot of Elephant Mountain trail.

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Elephant Mountain is a popular mountain which you can ascend easily for 15-20 minutes through flight of stairs. This is popular because you can catch the beautiful cityscapes view including Taipei 101. But be ready to have endurance. If you hate climbing stairs, this is not for you.

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I edited the stars in this picture through Snapseed.

We were supposed to catch the sunset here but arrived too late.
Had fun editing stars in my captured photo using Snapseed double exposure tool. Swipe left to see the original. Meanwhile, this is Taipei101. Once the tallest skyscraper in the world until 2010. Now it falls to eleventh place. Still, it is beautiful tower to look at specially at night. Ascending the top of the tower with its super fast elevator (reached the top of the tower in less than a minute) is one of the unforgettable experiences I had in Taipei

Destination 7: Taipei 101

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Destination 8: Taipei 101 Observatory

Entrance Fee: Regular price is 600 NTD or 1006.63 Pesos. W e did not pay onsite anymore as part of Taipei Fun Pass Card. All we did was to go straight in Klook kiosk. which has no line at all when we arrived. Feeling VIP in a way.

How did we get here? It’s just one MRT away from Elephant Mountain.

Alternatively, Elephant Mountain is already walking distance with Taipei 101. But because we were tired, we went back to Xiangshan MRT station to ride Taipei101 bound line. Taipei 101 has it’s own MRT station and it would just take 2-3 minutes to reach.

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Once the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 is the ultimate landmark of Taipei. Some says that you never really gone to Taipei if you did not climb your way up to Taipei 101 observatory. If you’re wondering what’s inside this skyscraper, The first few floors was an ordinary mall. Din Tai Fung restaurant is also there. The line of people there was CRAZY! I have eaten in Din Tai Fung branch here in Manila,Philippines . I think the food was great but it seems not memorable to me. I can’t help but to wonder what the original Din Tai Fung here in Taiwan has to offer. Anyway, the entrance in Taipei 101 is free. It’s just the observatory deck which is not free.

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The view in the observatory

What I love about visiting Taipei 101
1. Mini-show in the elevator ceiling. The ascend would only take less than a minute and within that time, we were entertained in a magical presentation about stars in it’s ceiling . I was not able to understand the Taiwanese voiceover at all but I did not expect that elevators could be magical.
2. The 360 view of the city. Although honestly, I liked the view in Elephant Mountain more because there were no glass doors and you can still see the shape and architecture of the buildings rather than just vein of lights.

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3. But my most favorite of all was when I got to see and learn about dampers. Damper like the one in our back stabilizes high structures like Taipei 101 for it to withstand earthquakes, typhoon and other natural disasters. The floor has an audio visual presentation that includes a cctv of real earthquake footage and showed how the damper moved to make sure Taipei 101 will be alright. The calculation of the mass and size of the damper are critical for the safety engineering of the building. It was amazing. That’s Science. Bitch!

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4. The surprises did not end there. As we go to the elevator going to the ground floor, you will pass through a jewel and stone shop. EVERYTHING IS SPARKLING in glass cages! It was just wow!

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Destination 7: Ximending Shopping District

Entrance Fee: None

How did we get here:

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  • from Taipe1 101 MRT Station, ride red line and get-off Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
  • from Chiang Kai Chek Memorial Hall station, transfer to green line.
  • from Chiang Kai Chek Memorial Hall stat m Chiang Kai Chek Memorial Hall station, transfer to green line.

They called Ximending “the Harajuku of Taipei” because of the heavy influence of Japanese fashion culture in this area. It’s not ordinary you’ll see a girl casually wearing a full lolita outfit here. Just like in Japan!

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Spending our first night in Ximending Shopping District. This pedestrian lane is popular with the tourists itself. In a way, it’s a sign government’s support for LGBT community. Taiwan already open its doors for same sex marriage. So it’s endearing to witness two men holding hands while walking in public. Although I didn’t see outright PDA.

At this point we were super exhausted with all the walking and climbing we had to with MRT and Elephant Mountain. On top of that, we were really hungry too. We came across this humble restaurant in yellow. We didn’t know how to call this restaurant but it has a partner milk-tea stand called Bubble Lee.

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They only have one staff who knows a little English and he’s the one communicating with the customers.

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But of course, they have English version menu for tourist like us. All we have to do is point or look out for any delicious looking food being prepared.

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Dinner for tonight, noodles with sort of Egg Salad.

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Best partnered with Bubble Lee’s milk tea. I love it. I am satisfied with this dinner.

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We roam a bit more and there we see public performers. I’ve actually like this guy below. His perfomance was amazing.

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Also here in Ximending you will see the 4-storey WATSONS branch. What more amazing, it is open in 24-hours. I bought a bottle of contact solutions here because my supply was confiscated in the airport. I forgot the rule of the size of the bottles for hand-carry. Yikes!

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There were lot of souvenir shops, food , clothing and several known store. It was indeed a shopping district. But because our bodies were screaming for sleep and rest, we did not do much shopping. From Ximending , we walked our way back to our temporary AirBNB room. This is the end of our Day 1 in Taiwan Adventure.

THE BIG QUESTION. DID WE BEAT THE TOTAL PRICE of BUYING THE FUN PASS CARD?

Itinerary (Original)

This is the itinirary we plan for day 1. But due to unforeseen circumstances (aka we woke up late), we were not able to visit National Palace Museum.

Day 1 Theme: City Attractions and Historical sites

Attractions

  • Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
  • Gondola
  • Maokong Gondola
  • National Palace Museum
  • Shilin Official Residence
  • Elephant Mountain
  • Taipei101
  • Ximending Shopping District

SCHEDULE

06:30 AM-8:00 AM (PREP-TIME) get-up, prepare, breakfast

08:00 AM-8:15 AM (WALK) going to MRT Ximen station, then head to Chiang Kai Shek (Ride Songshan-Xindian-Line)

08:15 AM-9:00 AM CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL HALL (45 mins)

09:00AM-09:30 AM Ride MRT from Chiang Kai Shek Station (Tamsui-Xinyi line) going to Daan Station)

09:30AM-10:30 AM Daan Station to Taipei Zoo for Mongola ride

10:30AM-11:00 AM MONGOLA RIDE to MAOKONG (one way)

11:00AM-12:00 PM LUNCH at MAOKONG.

12:00PM- 1:00  PM GONDOLA RIDE back to TAIPEI ZOO then back to Daan MRT Station. Ride Red line.

1:00-1:30 PM DAAN MRT station (red line) to National Palace Museum

1:30-2:45 PM NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM TOUR

2:45-3:00 PM Ride R30 Bus going to Shilin Official Residence

3:00-4:00 PM SHILIN OFFICIAL RESIDENCE TOUR

4:00-4:30 PM SHILIN MRT Station to Xiangshan station (ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN)

4:30-6:30 PM Elephant Mountain climb and Dinner near the area

6:30-7:00 PM Go to Taipei 101 (can walk or via MRT)

7:00-8:30 PM TAIPEI 101 TOUR

8:30-9:00 PM TAIPEI 101 MRT station to Chiang Kai Shek hall MRT (Green line) to  MRT Ximen

9:00-11:00 PM  Ximending Shopping District Tour, food trip, chill

11:00 PM-11:15 PM GO BACK to Hotel by walking from Ximending

11:15 Back to airbnb, Rest

HOW MUCH DID WE SAVE with TAIPEI FUN PASS CARD ?

So I created a simple calculation on how much one can save following my original itinerary and the real expenses we had that day. Please note that I used the pricing from http://www.rome2rio.com and klook. The price is in Philippine Pesos.

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As you can see, if we followed the original itinerary, we would have saved a staggering 2406 PHP (in blue highlight). But due to lack of time (aka we woke up late because we slept at 5 am :P), we did not visit the National Palace Museum and the Main Building of Shilin Residence. Even so, we still beat the total price of three Fun Pass Card. We saved a total of P132.00 (in yellow highlight)!

FINAL VERDICT

I recommend everyone to purchase Unlimited Fun Pass Card for great savings and convenience. But only if you plan and stick to it. Otherwise, this card will be more expensive. Follow the steps below.

TIPS on USING TAIPEI FUN PASS CARD

  • Check the location of the free attractions so you can plan your itinerary. You can look at the suggestion of the Taipei Fun Pass booklet.
  • I am not sure how long the line is for NAIA terminal and Taipei Main Station KLOOK kiosk but maybe you can try these two. The line in Taoyuan was really long.
  • Most important! Start early so you can follow your plan and beat the price of Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass
  • You can also take a look at the 2-day and 3-day Version of Fun Pass. Maybe you can get more savings. It was difficult to beat the card in just one day. I would like to try this option next time.

I hope you enjoy my write-up about my experience in Taipei and in a way help you in planning your itinerary. Taipei is really nice and easy to get around with their transportation. Taiwanese are really friendly and welcoming. Their immigration is also not that strict. And most of all, it’s budget friendly. I recommend this trip to everyone who want out of the country experience without breaking a bank.

Before closing this post, I would like to share with you my OOTD’s for day 1. Just like planning for itinerary, it’s a joy to plan the outfits. Would you agree?

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YOU MAY ALSO WATCH MY VLOG about our Day 1 Adventure here:

Remember, You are awesome!

Gurezu ❤

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