This is Part 1 of All You Need to Know Before Going to Taiwan. Let’s Get Started!

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Every year, there are two trips that everyone should plan. One is a trip with your family and the other is a trip with your beloved one. This Taiwan trip is our first trip in 2016 but is the second time we are heading to Taiwan. My boyfriend and I have been looking forward to this new adventure for several months! As always, the travelling experiences will be different when you travel with different people.

Before we present our travel diary,  we summarised how we planned the trip and all useful information you may need if you also plan to go to Taiwan shortly. Feel free to follow our travel planning guidelines here.

Choosing your destination

My boyfriend and I have been to Taiwan with our respective families a few years back. The experiences were so amazing that we have been thinking of revisiting Taiwan since then. I guess that people who have been to Taiwan can resonate with this feeling. As you know, March is spring season when flowers are in full boom. Although mainland China may be a better destination to enjoy the beauty of nature, one of the main reasons why we chose Taiwan is because we are yearning for their food! Ah Zong Mian Xian & Fried Chicken Cutlet! Moreover, considering the current global security situation, Taiwan seems to be a “safe” place to visit at the moment.

Learning more about history, customs and other aspects of the  destination

When we talk about Taiwan, the first thing that comes up to my mind is the Taiwanese drama. Though Taiwanese drama is not as popular as before in Singapore, I could still remember clearly that about 10 years back, Taiwanese idol drama was as popular as Korean drama nowadays.  Devil besides you(恶魔在身边), the Magicians of Love(爱情魔发师), My MVP Valentinemvp情人), Meteor Garden(流星花园) and a Dolphin Bay(海豚湾恋人) were all part of my middle school memories (I hope I am not exposing my age!). Currently, Mediacorp is still airing a 275-episode story from Taiwan called Lee’s Family Reunion! Because of this daily influence by our Singapore’s media, I think I can confidently speak chinese with some Taiwan accent :).

Love songs from Taiwan are also a must-mention. Who don’t know Jay Chow(周杰伦), Sodagreen(苏打绿), or Show Luo(罗志祥)!  Not to forget my mum’s favourite singer,  Teresa Teng (邓丽君)and Meng Tingwei (孟庭苇). You may not know their names but I believe you must have heard their songs before.

During old times, the song lyrics are not as blatant as now. You probably can’t find ‘I love you’ or ‘I am going to break up with you’ in the lyrics, but to express the same meaning, composers will make a metaphor using objects such as Moon. One of Meng’s songs say ‘look, look the face of Moon is changing’ which actually tells that our love is no longer as sweet as before (sorry I am a bit off track! I love analyzing lyrics!).

In Chinese history, Taiwan used to be called Liu Qiu (琉球). In Yuan dynasty, the government has set an Inspection Department in Peng Hu (today’s Fu Jian福建) which will govern Liu Qiu and Peng Hu. After that, Spain and Dutch colonised Liu Qiu one after another and thus there’s this story of Zheng Chenggong – a hero who took Taiwan back from western invaders. Portuguese once gave Taiwan name Formosa which means a beautiful island. That is why there is a train station called Formosa in Kaohsiung (later we will introduce more).

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In recent years, romance movies like the You Are the Apple of My Eyes (那些年,我们追过的女孩) and Our Times (我的少女时代) have made Taiwan a more popular destination among tourists. People who been to Taiwan will agree that Taiwan is peaceful and fresh place, just like Japan. And yes it is true! Do you know that Taiwan has been influenced by Japanese culture significantly during the colonial time?

Planning your itinerary

Given the limited annual leave we can take, we decided to go for a 8-day trip to Taiwan. While planning for the trip, I also did some research by reading travel blogs and magazine’s recommendations. While reading travel posts on Taiwan, I will tend to pay more attention to the photos and I will list down the attractions according to my preferences.

  • Taipei
  • Hualien
  • Ali Mountain
  • Cingjing farm
  • Kenting

There are quite a number of attractions and sadly due to the time limitation,  I have to omit some :(. By locating them all on map and researching online on the available mode of transportation, I decided to give up on Hualien and Cingjing Farm. Till February, I was still insisting on going to Ali Mountain because of the beautiful cherry blossoms. With the cute mountain train going across the forest, the scenery is absolutely stunning! But sometimes, shit happens! An earthquake struck Taiwan in February. Although Ali mountain was not affected, for safety purposes, I decided that it’s best not to go.

After some research work, here is the final list of destinations I decided:

Day1 Singapore – Taipei

Day2 Jiu Fen

Day3 Ping Xi

Day4 Dan Shui

Day5 Taipei – Kenting

Day6 Kenting

Day7 Kenting – Kaohsiung

Day8 Kaohsiung – Singapore

Planning your transportation

🌹Air tickets:

I have been watching out for budget airline promotions 3 months before our trip.  When the prices were almost stable, I bought them without any hesitation.

Singapore – Taipei: Jetstar 710-1155

Kaohsiung – Singapore:  Flyscoot 1930-2355

BTW, if you are a hello kitty fan, EVA airline is a good choice. They provide hello kitty flights where everything is in hello kitty theme.

🌹Airport transfer:

Since our hotel in Taipei was near to Taipei Station, we decided to take the shuttle bus service. After some googling on how to get to Taipei Station from Taoyuan international airport, here is what i found.

Shuttle Bus Company: Kuo Kuang Motor Transportation
Bus No: 125 NT
Duration: 1 hour
Where to take: Airport basement
Shuttle bus timings are frequent but there expect long queue.

🌹High speed rail

Photo 23-3-16, 10 30 21 AMFirst of all, do not confuse high speed railway with railway! They are different! High speed railway is faster, more comfortable and more expensive. It normally runs on long distance and western routes. Here is the official website: http://www.thsrc.com.tw (the website has Chinese, Japanese and English version), where you can book early bird ticket with up to 35% discount! Remember tickets will only be available as early as 28 days from the day you travel. Sometimes the tickets are selling out very fast so i do recommend that you set an alert to get the early bird discount the moment they are released! After you booked the tickets successfully, you will receive a receipt with a booking reference. Please remember to keep the booking reference as you may want to go collect the ticket in advance from the station (or 711 where you may need to pay 7 nt extra processing fee). Pretty easy right!

Continue Reading Part 2

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