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> First trip to Taiwan
xerius
post Mar 31 2010, 09:49 AM
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Well, I've booked a round-trip ticket to Taiwan for Japan's Golden Week holidays at the end of April. I've got eight days for it by my own schedule, but with the flight specifics it works out to just over six-and-a-half days in the country roughly. I've got it in mind to hit Taipei, Lukang/Changhua and Tainan. I was looking at Sun Moon Lake and Kaohsiung, but I think the three above would be well more than enough for the time I've got. I also can't really fit the Taroko Gorge into the itinerary comfortably. There'll have to be a second trip, I suppose.

Any suggestions for lodging in the above cities? I'd like someplace reasonably cheap, but I'm kind of past the hostel days now. I understand from the guidebooks I've looked through that singles are relatively rare in Taiwan. I'm used to traveling in Japan, so I don't really have to get by on a barebones budget. Someplace decent, simple and well-located would do nicely.

Also, I've got a flight out of Taoyuan Int'l at 8am on my departure day. That means a check-in of 6, so catching a bus out to the airport might be out of the question. Any advice on the best way to get out there? Is taxi the only option?
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robjstaples
post Apr 2 2010, 05:46 PM
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Twas a while since I visited Taiwan on a slightly shorter trip than yours. I found it incredibly easy to move around by train and opted to stop in a homestay/hostel outside Hualien and go up the Taroko Gorge which was worth it. Enjoy the itinerary you settle upon.
I also had an early morning flight and went for the taxi option which I don't recall being financially painful. I can't remember if anything else was feasible.
Good luck


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athena
post Apr 6 2010, 02:20 AM
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QUOTE(xerius @ Mar 31 2010, 09:49 AM) *

Well, I've booked a round-trip ticket to Taiwan for Japan's Golden Week holidays at the end of April. I've got eight days for it by my own schedule, but with the flight specifics it works out to just over six-and-a-half days in the country roughly. I've got it in mind to hit Taipei, Lukang/Changhua and Tainan. I was looking at Sun Moon Lake and Kaohsiung, but I think the three above would be well more than enough for the time I've got. I also can't really fit the Taroko Gorge into the itinerary comfortably. There'll have to be a second trip, I suppose.

Any suggestions for lodging in the above cities? I'd like someplace reasonably cheap, but I'm kind of past the hostel days now. I understand from the guidebooks I've looked through that singles are relatively rare in Taiwan. I'm used to traveling in Japan, so I don't really have to get by on a barebones budget. Someplace decent, simple and well-located would do nicely.

Also, I've got a flight out of Taoyuan Int'l at 8am on my departure day. That means a check-in of 6, so catching a bus out to the airport might be out of the question. Any advice on the best way to get out there? Is taxi the only option?


Hi there Xerius. Taipei is definitely a must-see city. There are many other side trips to nearby places such as Keelung as well. If you're limited on time you should perhaps stick to the northern/central part of Taiwan. If you go to Taichung there are buses to Sun Moon Lake that only take 2 hours. Sun Moon Lake is best done during the week as things are MUCH cheaper at that time. There are tons of little cities (like Dakeng) near Taichung that have amazing hiking trails and hot springs. Kaohsiung is nice but I was underwhelmed by it. Compared to Taipei and Taoyuan it's almost a ghost town. Lots of cool things to see though. Haven't been to Tainan yet but I've heard it's quite nice and usually warmer than the rest of the country.
Lodging wise...sticking close to the train and bus stations work well. You can get decent rooms for around NT$700-800 a night. A lot of these hotels are smack dab in the middle of residential buildings. You will see a lot of 'hotel - 5F' or 'hotel 9F' signs. Some places...like Love Motels can charge you by the hour (if you need a quick nap while in transit) and even have theme rooms. wink.gif
Anything else you need to know? Hope I was helpful!
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xerius
post Apr 14 2010, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. Athena, about the hotels, is it ever necessary to make reservations? Is the language barrier considerable at the cheaper places?

When it comes to traveling by train, can you typically get tickets same-day or is it better to buy them a day or two ahead of time?

One other question: what's the best way to deal with money matters? Japan's pretty short on ATMs which accept foreign cards - how's the situation in Taiwan? Are cash machines reliable and common? Or should I bring some cash to exchange (eg. Japanese yen)?
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athena
post Apr 14 2010, 11:17 AM
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Hey Xerius.
Regarding the hotels...they are mostly walk-in. Trust me...there are SO many of them everywhere I don't think you'll have to worry about it too much. Most of those places have a price sheet at the front desk so they just point to it when you come in. Some basic Chinese would be helpful (Check the Lonely Planet) but it's not essential. Pantomimes, charades, drawings and sound effects work quite well in most situations. LOL!

Train tickets depend on where you're going and if it's a weekend/holiday. For short distances...for which you would take the local train...you don't get a seat anyway...so you just buy a generic ticket and hope you get a seat when you muscle your way in. For the longer distances...as well as weekends and holidays...it would be best to buy the tickets in advance. You can buy tickets up to 12 days in advance at just about any train station. There are also tons of bus companies around. The bus is actually cheaper than the train...takes slightly longer but its 300% more comfortable. Some bus companies...like. Ho Shin, Kuo Kuang and Aloha have individual seating lazy boy type chairs with their own TV screen.

You won't have to worry about getting money. There are banks everywhere and lots of ATMs as well. Taiwan is also crawling with convenience stores and most of them have an ATM inside. If you go into a 7-Eleven and there is no ATM...just walk down the street to Family Mart and there will be one there. I'm not joking. These stores are open 24/7.
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