Here’s a 5 days itinerary in Taiwan, including some personal tips!
I traveled to Taiwan for a few days. It’s actually an easy place for a solo traveler like me. First of all, it has good public transportation and there are signages everywhere so getting lost is not an issue. Taipei City can be explored by commuting and there are joiner tours for exploring areas outside the city.
Personally, I like how Taipei City feels so modern, but at the same time there are many nature parks and the roads are filled with trees. The night markets are alive and buzzing, food is delicious, and it’s a lively city in general. The day trips are also enjoyable, particularly the North Coast Tour and Shiding Tour. Overall, I enjoyed it better than I thought I would.
Taiwan is visa-free for Filipinos up to July 2020, so what are you waiting for?
P.S. Visiting Taiwan soon? Don’t forget to read about our Guide to Taiwan for First-Timers.
How to get to Taiwan
Taiwan has 2 major international airports: Taoyuan and Songshan. Taoyuan International Airport is the main gateway to Taiwan.
Manila to Taoyuan Airport
From Manila, it takes 1 hour, 40 minutes to reach Taoyuan International Airport via Cebu Pacific and AirAsia.
Currently, there are midnight and morning flights from Manila to Taipei City. I suggest getting a morning flight so you can have proper rest before going on a tour.
Here are the things you should do after arrival in the airport:
- Exchange your USD to NTD (New Taiwan Dollars). You can also exchange it in money changers outside the airport if you’re particular about getting the best rates.
- Buy a sim card or pocket wifi so you can stay connected online. If you have ordered either online, you can claim it at the airport.
- Buy a Taipei Pass or Easy Card for use in trains & buses. More about this on How to Get Around section.
Other things to note:
- If you arrive in the wee hours of the morning, you can sleep at the airport or book at the airport’s hotel.
Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City
Taoyuan International Airport is about 40 km away from Taipei City. Travel time is around 40-50 minutes.
Here are your options on how to get from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station in Taipei City:
- Train. There are 2 types of train: Express (purple) and Regular (blue). The Express Line takes 35 minutes, and the Regular Line takes 50 minutes. One-way ticket costs 160 NTD. Schedule is 6AM to 11PM.
- Bus. The 1819 bus line operates 24 hours. Fare is 130 NTD.
- Taxi. Taxi is a bit expensive, but it’s a good option if you have heavy luggage or if you arrive late at night. Fare from the airport to Taipei Main Station is around 1200 NTD.
- Others: You may also book private transfers. This is a good option if you are in a group or if you arrive late at night.
From Taipei Main Station, you can catch connecting trains or take a bus/taxi to your accommodation.
How to Get Around
The public transportation in Taiwan is very good.
- It has a train station called Metro Taipei that connects the major city areas and even the north and south areas in Taiwan. Fare is 20-25 NTD.
- It also has numerous bus lines in the cities. Fare is 15-35 NTD.
- For those who are in a hurry or traveling late at night, you can get a taxi or Uber.
To get around via public transport, I recommend buying a Taipei Pass or Easy Card. This way, you don’t have to worry about cash or get in line at the train station everytime.
- A Taipei Pass offers unlimited train & bus rides within a specified period in Taipei City. This is useful especially if you plan on a jam-packed city tour itinerary. A 1-day card starts at 180 NTD.
- An Easy Card is a reloadable card which can be used in buses and train stations anywhere in the country. You can buy an Easy Card at the airport, train stations, or 7-11. The card costs 100 NTD plus top-up amount in multiples of 100 NTD.
I bought an Easy Card since I find it more flexible. I even used it in places outside Taipei City such as Jiufen. I topped it with 500 NTD for a 6-day stay and I still had about 100 NTD remaining on my last day.
To know your way around public transportation, you can simply use Google Maps which lists the train and bus lines with their departure schedules.
5 Days Itinerary to Taiwan
Here’s a sample 5 days itinerary to Taiwan. Consider this a rough guide.
Arrival in Taoyuan International Airport
Early check in / bag drop-off at accommodation in Taipei City
Taipei City Tour
Check out of accommodation in Taipei City
Flight back home
If you have a limited schedule for the trip, get a late-night flight on your last day. I actually stayed for 6 days — the last day was just for my return flight in the morning.
For my itinerary: I allotted one day for the city tour since I’m not a city person. Then I booked day trips via joiner tours; I find this the most convenient since I was solo.
Scroll down to read more.
Planning your own itinerary
Here are some things to note when planning your own itinerary:
- Taipei city tour can be done in 1-3 days. For the rest of your stay, you can book day trips from Taipei City. The most popular ones include the North Coast Tour and Taichung Tour.
- If you have enough time to explore Taichung, it’s best to book a hotel there rather than go on a day trip from Taipei City because it’s a little far (about 2 hours away) and a day isn’t enough to visit its main attractions. I suggest allotting 2 days in Taichung and then 1 day in Nantou, which is just 2 hours away from Taichung.
Day 1 – City Tour
- Rate: None (DIY)
- Other fees: Taipei 101 Observatory entrance fee – 600 NTD
You can do the Taipei city tour DIY.
Start at around 9AM with a walking tour to some of the main city attractions. First stop: Rainbow Pedestrian and Red House in Ximen. Then walk towards the Presidential Office, National Museum of History, and Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.
In the afternoon, ride a train to Taipei 101. Have lunch at Din Tai Fung, which is famous for their pork xiaolongbao (steamed buns). Afterwards, buy a ticket to the Taipei 101 Observatory located at the 89th floor where you can enjoy a view of the city below. If you still have ample time, visit the Starbucks in 35th floor, which is considered the highest Starbucks in the world. Note: 1-day reservation is required and there is a smart-casual dress code. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the shopping mall and surrounding areas.
From Taipei 101, walk to the jump-off point to the Elephant Mountain. Trek for 30 minutes to reach the viewdeck, where you can enjoy a view of the cityscape including the Taipei 101 Building. This is one of the best places for sunset viewing in the city.
End your day with a visit to a night market.
Day 2 – North Coast Tour
- Places to see: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfall, Jiufen Old Street
- Rate: 445 NTD | Book here via KKDay
- Other fees: Yehliu Geopark entrance fee – 80 NTD per person / Sky lantern starts at 150 NTD for one-color lantern
This is one of the must-book day trips from Taipei City.
The tour starts with Yehliu Geopark, which is a landscape filled with honeycomb and mushroom rocks. You can explore Area 1 and Area 2 and look for iconic rock formations, including the Queen’s Head. The next stop is Shifen Old Street, where you can fly a Chinese sky lantern. (Don’t worry, the lantern remains are being collected by the locals afterwards.) Then visit Shifen Waterfall, which is the highest waterfall in Taiwan. Lastly, spend the rest of the tour in Jiufen, which is said to inspire Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away. Here you can go on a food trip and buy souvenirs.
I find this tour a bit compressed, but overall it’s still enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed flying a sky lantern in Shifen Old Street and exploring Jiufen.
Click here to read more about the North Coast Tour.
Day 3 – Shiding Tour
- Places to see: Thousand Island Lake, Pinglin, Shiding Old Street
- Rate: 988 NTD | Book here via KKDay
- Other fees: None
This is my favorite tour during my trip. It’s laid-back and it includes gorgeous mountain spots in Shiding, which is located 30km southeast of Taipei City.
The first stop is the Thousand Island Lake, which is a water reservoir. You can stop at a handful of viewpoints to take a picture of the lake and tea plantations and have snack at a cafeteria where you enjoy coffee or unique desserts such as soya ice cream.Then take a short trek to Jingualiao River. Have lunch and tea at Pinglin, which is considered tea country. Finally, take a walk at Shiding Old Street and enjoy various tofu delicacies, including tofu stew, tofu ice cream, tofu cakes, and more.
Click here to read more about the Shiding Tour.
Day 4 – Nantou Tour
- Places to see: Old England Manor, Swiss Garden, Qingjing Farm, Snow Mountain (Xueshan)
- Rate: 1500 NTD via joiner tour
- Other fees: Qingjing Farm entrance fee – 180 NTD (weekday) / 220 NTD per person (weekend)
This is a great day trip if you want to see cherry blossoms during spring. The first two stops (Old English Manor and Swiss Garden) are actually just meant for picture taking, so they are negligible. The real highlight of this tour is the visit to Qingjing Farm where you can interact with sheeps, take a leisurely walk along roads surrounded by cherry blossoms, and enjoy mountain views. Beside the farm is a series of food stalls where you can enjoy lunch. Finally, the last stop is the Snow Mountain, which is the second-highest peak in Taiwan. As its name implies, it’s famous for snow fall when the temperature dips below zero.
Nantou is about 3-3.5 hours away from Taipei City.
Day 5 – Taichung Tour
- Places to see: Green Fantasy Forest, Houli Flower Farm (Zong She Flower Market), Rainbow Village
- Rate: 1200 NTD via joiner tour
- Other fees: Green Fantasy Forest entrance fee – 300 NTD per person / Houli Flower Farm entrance fee – 150 NTD per person
This is the tour I was most excited about and ironically the one I enjoyed the least. The itinerary includes commercial tourist spots, so your day is spent walking and taking pictures. I actually prefer nature attractions, cultural experiences, and food trip so this wasn’t up to my alley. However, if you like IG-worthy attractions, you might appreciate it better than I did.
The Green Fantasy Forest features fantasy-inspired installations, including a giant clock in a forest and Disney-like castles. The Houli Flower Farm features fields of flowers and a market where you can buy potted plants. The Taian Police Station is known for its cherry blossoms during spring — there is also a row of food stalls where you can buy snacks. The Painted Animation Lane is a city alley featuring popular anime and cartoon characters. Finally, the Rainbow Village features a small residential village pained in whimsical designs by Huang Yong-fu, also known as the Rainbow Grandpa.
Taichung is about 2-2.5 hours away from Taipei City.
Where to Book Tours
The city tour can be done DIY since the city attractions are either walking distance or accessible via the public transport system. You can also join free walking tours with a local guide.
For day trips from Taipei City, it’s best to book a joiner tour or rent a private car (if you’re in a group). I don’t recommend commuting since it can be tiring.
Tours via KKDay
For joiner tours, I recommend KKDay. What I like about KKDay is that their tours include the best sights & activities and their tour guides are highly familiar about their assigned locations. Our tour guide for the North Coast Tour, Karen, gave us personal recommendations on where to go in the city and what to do/where to eat during our tour.
Here are some day trips you can book via KKDay:
Here are some things you have to note:
- Entrance fees and meals are not included.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes before departure time. Listen to your tour guide so you’ll know what time to get back on the bus after each stop.
Tours via private car
If you’re in a group, you can charter a private car. You need to plan your own itinerary, but the good thing about this is you have control over what time to start and what places to include in your itinerary. Places like Taichung are a bit far (2 hours away) so you can arrange to leave early at 7AM in contrast to joiner tours which normally leave the city around 9AM.
Private car rental costs 4000 NTD or more depending on your destination.
Where to Stay in Taiwan
There are a lot of accommodations in Taipei City, ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
There are also Airbnbs available. Bed & breakfasts are technically not legal in Taipei City but you can find listings online and you won’t encounter any problem when booking one. Once in immigration, just give them the address of your Airbnb. Your host may also ask you not to mention that you are renting a room for only a short stay.
It’s best to stay around Taipei Main Station since it’s the most accessible area in Taiwan. Other places you may consider include Ximen (station in Ximending Area), Taipei 101, or Dingxi station.
Here are some recommended stays:
Taipei Main Station:
I booked a room via Airbnb in Ximending, about 3 minutes walk to Ximending Night Market and Ximen Station.
Where to Eat
Taipei City is a foodie haven!
Make sure to try out the offerings in local night markets. The most famous ones include include Ximending Night Market, Raohe Night Market, and Shilin Night Market. Shilin Night Market is one of the biggest residence night markets and it has the lowest prices, so if you want to go on a food trip or buy pasalubong, this is your best option.
You can also use your Google Maps and check for hole-in-the-wall eats. A lot of local eats don’t have English menus, so you might want to research about it beforehand.
Some of the food you should try include xiaolongbao (steamed buns), stinky tofu (most popular streetfood), and pineapple cake (most popular dessert). Of course, you should also try the boba milk tea in the city. Boba is big in Taiwan, so you can also see boba chocolate, nougat, and more.
I spent most dinners in Ximending Night Market. I recommend getting a pork rice dumpling, mashed potato with cheese, and candied strawberry for dessert.
If you’re not adventurous when it comes to food, you can buy meals in 7-11. They have rice meals, pasta, sandwiches, and more. The food here is actually good and they are open 24 hours. This is where I would go for breakfast, since most local eateries open a bit late at 9AM onwards. There are also fastfood restaurants like McDo or KFC.
Reminders and Tips!
- Buy your travel essentials (sim card or pocket wifi, Easy Card or Taipei Pass) and entrance tickets (Taipei 101 Observatory) online to get them slightly cheaper.
- Read up on the weather so you can plan your outfit accordingly. Take note that regular beachwear and slippers isn’t normal in Taipei City and a guarantee that you will stand out as a tourist. I suggest wearing something casual chic or smart casual with proper sandals or shoes.
- Taipei City is pretty laid-back, but it’s best to still read up on local rules & regulations. One of the things you should know is that, in the MRT, it’s not allowed to drink, eat, or even chew gum.
- Bring a reusable travel bottle and refill your water in train stations or in your accommodation. Drinking tap water is not advisable.
Budget and Expenses
Taiwan is more affordable compared to other countries in Southeast Asia such as South Korea and Japan. It’s reasonable even for solo travelers like me, but as with everywhere else it’s easier and cheaper to explore it in a group.
Here’s a basic estimate of expenses in Taiwan:
- Accommodation: Starts at 355 NTD (dorms / hostels) or 600 NTD (standard room)
- Food: 65-85 NTD per meal
- Transportation: Train – 20-25 NTD per ride / Bus – 15-35 NTD per ride
- Joiner tour: Most tours are around 1000-1200 NTD per person
- Sim card with 5 days internet: 290 NTD
- Easy Card: 100 card fee + top-up amount (400-500 NTD is good for 5-6 days)
Your budget will depend on how many you are in a group, what you plan to do, etc. If you plan on doing a city tour for most of your trip, you don’t need much pocket money except for entrance & activity fees. It’s more expensive if you plan on doing a lot of joiner tours, as I did.
I’m solo and I spent 6 days in Taiwan, with the last day as my flight back home. My budget was about 12,500 NTD (P21,300) excluding flights.
Has this 5 Days Itinerary in Taiwan been helpful to you? If you have questions or suggestions, let me know in the comment section below!
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