Taiwan Travel Tips

Taiwan Travel Tips


Before visiting Taiwan for the first time,
I heard it referred to as the ‘heart of Asia’ and thought how lovely that sounded. What I didn’t expect is how this unique country
would make its way into my own heart. I found lots of reasons to love and appreciate Taiwan and, in this video, I’m going to share
some of my top travel tips for visiting. If you’d like to see more,
check out the rest of our Taiwan series with plenty more videos about where to go, what to do, and – very importantly – what to eat. Let’s start with some advice
about when to visit Taiwan. As you’ve seen in some of our other videos,
it can get really, REALLY hot in the summertime. It’s pretty cold, eh? I’m freezing.
-I feel like I should’ve brought a sweater. I’m absolutely freezing. It looks like it. I’m totally freezing.
-Oh yeah. You know what? Someone get me a sweater. We should put a thermal on. Yeah, for sure. The average summer temperature is about
30 degrees Celsius, plus humidity. When we visited, it was much hotter than that,
however, that was atypical and record breaking. I asked lots of locals about when they think
is the perfect time to visit and pretty much everyone said around October to April when weather is mild to moderately cool,
depending on where you are in the country. The coldest winter temperatures
are around 15 degrees. I personally prefer weather on the cooler side like that,
might just be the Canadian in me, but if you’re good with heat and humidity
I just wanted to give you fair warning. Here’s something really cool offered at
Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. If you have a layover that’s
between 7 and 24 hours long, you’re eligible for a free city tour. You can reserve these ahead or on site and I’ll link more information about this option
in the description box below. If you’re able to stay longer than a stopover in Taiwan If you’re able to stay longer than a stopover in Taiwan
then lucky you and I recommend
getting a SIM card at the airport. There’s plenty of free public wifi around Taiwan but we found the mobile plans were great value. There are different options but the company
we used is called Far EasTone and they have a Taoyuan airport location
outside the baggage claim. We got a prepaid SIM card with unlimited data
for 10 days for 550 Taiwan Dollars. Speaking of buying things as soon
as you arrive at the airport, I wanted to mention something
about currency in Taiwan. You can pay with credit card sometimes
but cash is king and you’ll always want to have some on hand
so you don’t get stuck. There are banks at Taoyuan Airport
that provide a 24 hour exchange service so you can either bring some cash from home
to exchange or hit up an ATM like we did. One of the ways to make your money last
is taking public transportation. In Taipei, the subway is known as the MRT and you can take it straight
from the airport into the city. Tickets are 160 Taiwan Dollars and you can pay
with cash at the ticket machines which also give change. Ok so Taipei Main Station… You have to press English. Taipei Main Station. And I want for two. Want for two people. So I’m going to just put in 400. You got a girlfriend, money bags? Take note of which train you get on, by the way, because there’s a faster express
that’s about 30 minutes and a commuter that takes more like 50. There’s Commuter and Express and you want
to get on the Express ‘cause it’s a lot faster. Once you’re in Taipei, I think the MRT
is the best way to get around. It’s safe, reliable, efficient, and affordable. The trains run from about 6am to 12 midnight and there are plenty of easy to use ticket machines. I’m gonna get our tickets
to ride the MRT here in Taipei and there’s, thankfully, an English option. Let’s see..we just want single journey. We are here so then we know we wanna
go down the brown line to here and end up here so that tells us the price: 20. So then here I press 20. That’s just for one person so then we need to press 2
because I need two of them for Marc and I so now it says 40 Taiwanese Dollars. And it takes hundred dollar bills
so I’m going to put the money in – oh it’s coming out the bottom here. Once you get your token, you scan it
on the sensor to get through the gate or you can also buy refillable cards
instead of buying tokens each time. As you can see on the map, the price
is calculated based on distance but generally around the city centre
you pay 20 Taiwan Dollars. That’s incredibly good value. Eating and drinking are prohibited on the MRT
which keeps it clean and odour-free and there’s also free wifi and information booths if you need help. Many stations we saw have escalators
and/or elevators as well, if mobility is an issue for you. We’re racing up this escalator. It’s gonna be close. Who will win? There are lines on the ground to show you
where to line up to enter the train. Trains pull in behind glass and every time I see this safety feature
I wonder why it doesn’t exist everywhere because it makes so much sense. There are lots of signs in English
which makes navigating easier and a lot of the MRT track is elevated above street level which makes it a great way
to get a view of the city as you ride. Stations often have places to get food –
like everyone’s favourite boyfriend, Mister Donut – and some of them even have drugstores. A drugstore in the subway station? That’s my kind of subway station. If you’re going somewhere further afield
from an MRT station, like the National Palace Museum, for example, there are also buses to get you there. And if you’re travelling between cities,
high speed rail is definitely the way to go. The trains are comfortable and,
in my experience, ran on time. We just left Taipei. We’re on the high speed train
heading south towards Kaohsiung. If you were to drive it would take
five or six hours but this train is only two. Plus you get this gorgeous view
out the window of all the countryside. Train travel is one of my personal favourites. There’s nothing like gazing out the window
as the horizon constantly makes itself over to lull you into a state of faraway calm. High speed trains in Taiwan
are actually spaces of enforced calm because there are signs asking you
to put electronic devices on silent and to talk in a low voice
as well as designated ‘Quiet Areas.’ They have an awesome campaign
to remind people about being considerate where Mr. Lion here demonstrates what not to do and Ms. Octopus shows us not to
spread yourself over too many seats. There are vending machines built into the train cars and also a snack cart that makes the rounds
with different foods and drinks for sale. Trains also have breastfeeding areas and free wifi. I loved travelling by high speed rail around Taiwan. Not only is it faster and more comfortable than driving, but it’s another chance to see more of the countryside. And, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to take
a Hello Kitty train like this. I also wanted to highlight some of
my favourite hotels we stayed at. First up on the little island of Xiao Liquiu is 7th Living. This hotel is small, like its home, with only four rooms – each of which is named after a different time of day. Ours was 5:10pm. On an island this small, you’re always within
walking distance of the beach and the coastline and the colours and textures here
reflect that softness and proximity to nature. I love the attention to detail – even the towels in our room had our initials:
E for me and M for Marc. The common spaces feel like an industrial loft with mid century modern, vintage, and bespoke touches. The lobby is two stories with super tall shelves that display all the owners’ favourite knick knacks and outside is a little courtyard and fish pond. Back on the mainland in the southern
part of the country is the city of Kaohsiung. We stayed at Hotel Dua where the decor
is modern and moody. Huge bed, huge bathtub –
what more does one need? They also have a great patio and city view and one of the biggest and best
breakfast selections we saw in Taiwan. Back north in Taipei I have two recommendations. The first is Folio Da’an which is where we stayed when we first arrived
so we fell in love with it from the start. It’s a historical building that’s been repurposed so it’s nestled into the cozy alleyways of Da’an,
one of my neighbourhoods of Taipei. Another area of the city I love is Ximending and the citizenM hotel is right nearby. We’re back in Taipei and we
just arrived at the cutest hotel. Bathroom’s in there, cute little thing on the bed,
and then look at this view. Oh my god. Hi, Taipei! This is an international chain and the Taipei location is actually the first in Asia. The rooms are small but comfortable and, really,
it’s all about the view. They also have a great breakfast and sitting area
where you can chill or work. What ya got? Yeah. I said, ‘What ya got?’ You said, ‘Yeah.’ It’s early. Right nearby is the city’s Old North Gate as well as Camera Street where camera lovers like us can find tons of different stores
selling all sorts of cameras and accessories. I’ll link the rest of our Taiwan series below where you can find more videos about top attractions and experiences across the country, visiting Taroko National Park, shopping, the mystery of the Abandoned UFO Village, night markets, Taiwanese cooking, and lots more food videos on traditional foods, street foods, desserts, and the top foods to try. I’d love to hear what tips you have to share so please comment with anything
you think people should know. I hope you enjoyed this video. Give it a like if you did and make sure to subscribe for lots more
travel adventures around the world. Thanks for watching!

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