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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.
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Taiwan Travel Tips

1048 Folder Collection
楊凱惟 published on April 23, 2019
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