So you’ve probably booked your Taipei trip but have no idea what to do? Fear not! As a Filipino who has recently traveled to Taiwan, I’m giving you my personal itinerary for a fun and hassle-free 3D2N trip in Taipei! Read on for all the essentials, including what to purchase before and during your trip, budget tips and overall costs.
What You Should Know Before You Visit Taipei:
Best Time To Visit
Taipei boasts a subtropical climate in the north and tropical climate in the south, and temperatures will vary from ‘I-can’t-feel-my-face’ cold to sweltering hot depending on the season:
- Spring (March to May): 18 – 25 °C
- Summer (June to August): 30 – 35 °C
- Fall (September to November): 22 – 25°C
- Winter (December to February): 5 – 11°C
On my 3D2N Taipei itinerary, I went during late October and enjoyed the cool and breezy ‘aircon’ weather, which was around 24°C (comparable to Tagaytay in the Philippines). As for events, time your visit to coincide with Chinese New Year and party hard with the locals (READ: Guide to Chinese New Year in Taiwan)!
Prepare around 13,000 – 16,000 Php, with airfare tickets on sale and cheap budget accommodations split between 4 people. You’ll save more on shared expenses like Wi-Fi and transfers if you travel with family or friends. But solo travel is highly doable! Of course, you can save a lot more than I did by not splurging on food and souvenirs.
Street food is way cheaper than standard restaurant fare (around 500- 600 Php), so you can spend less than 1,000 Php a day on food if you’re tight on money. It depends a lot on your luck in booking discounts on accommodations and airfare.
Some Travel Essentials You May Need:
- Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) Shared Transfer to Taipei and New Taipei City
- KKday Express Shuttle Bus: Taipei 101 Observation Deck – National Palace Museum
- Taipei – Jiufen Shuttle Service
- Taiwan Unlimited 4G Portable Wi-Fi
- Day Tour – Yehliu Geopark, Shifen, Jiufen
Where To Stay
I tend to prioritize spending my budget on the attractions. Here’s a list of accommodations we recommend here at KKday. My stay at Flip Flop Hostel (read a separate article here) was cozy and comfortable, even with shared beds and amenities. Plus, there were tons of cool opportunities to get to know other travelers from all over the world via evening events, like free haircuts, folk dances, and barbecue dinners.
On my second 3D2N stay, I opted to go even cheaper and stayed at Happy Taipei Hostel near Shilin Night Market with three of my good friends. While it’s even smaller than the aforementioned hostel, the staff were very friendly and made sure our stay was comfortable.
- Option 1: Flip Flop Hostel: The average price of a room in this area is around 1,700 NTD (or 2,860 Php). Bedspace in a room for 6 is 600 NTD (roughly 1,000 Php), while a private double room is 1,700 NTD (roughly 2,300 Php)
- Option 2: Happy Taipei Hostel: NT$467.5 or roughly 798.09 Php for 2 nights and 4 people
How To Get To Taipei from Taoyuan Airport (TPE)
After I cleared customs and get your baggage and exchanged my Philippine pesos to Taiwanese dollars via ATM near Arrivals (which requires you to notify your bank prior to the trip), I purchased an EasyCard (NT$500 with 400 as the top up amount) at the Taoyuan Airport MRT. From there, I took the train and reached Taipei Main Station and transferred lines to get to Shilin MRT Station.
You can pretty much get anywhere by train. Just use Google Maps and our trusty transportation guide, and you’re good to go! Just remember never to eat or drink anything—even bottled water!—while riding the MRT. The locals will find you rude if you do this as they value utmost cleanliness for this specific train.
Should you prefer the bus, the EasyCard can cover the cost of your journey, too. Just walk towards Taoyuan Airport Terminal 2 and follow the purple sign for ‘Bus to City’. Then board Bus 1819.
- Cost: NT$65 – 100
- Schedule: every 15 to 20 minutes. But runs only once between 1:50am and 5:50am
Wanna play it safe especially for red-eye flights? Book a private transfer to your Taipei accommodation and back. It came in super handy on our last day, when my friends and I were packing up and were running a little late. Highly recommended if you’re gonna drink the night before your flight!
- Cost: NT$349.19 per ride
Start of 3-Day Basic Itinerary Around Taipei:
Day 1: Getting to know Taipei
After checking in, we made our way via MRT to the busy shopping complex centered inside and around Taipei 101. The iconic building is hard to miss, as you’ll see this beauty of a building from any good viewing point in Taipei. The area is filled with performers doing all sorts of things, from acoustic guitar players to magicians. Anything goes!
- If you’re up for a little splurge, book Taipei 101 tickets here for a magnificent view of Taipei from the 89th floor
Grab a bite at TKK
TKK is Taipei’s popular fast food chain, similar to Jollibee in the Philippines. I was ‘hangry’ from not eating breakfast or lunch before 2pm, so I jumped at the chance to taste their best-selling crisp spicy fried chicken, yam fries and bread, combined with an iced black lemon tea! The fries were sweet instead of the salted ones we’re accustomed to. The chicken was piping hot and very, very flavorful, which was perfect to eat with the fluffy and mildly sweet yam—think of it as the ‘rice’ instead. Gahhh, it’s amaziiing!
- Costs: Potato fries – NT$55
2 Drumsticks – NT$50
Drinks – Small: NT$40, Large: NT$55
3:00pm onwards: LINE FRIENDS Cafe and Store
Near the Taipei 101 Station and inside Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall. It’s more of a merchandise kiosk inside the mall, where you’re surrounded by the cutest characters ever! We made sure to pose with the gigantic bear, Choco, right at the entrance, and scored some adorable souvenirs for our friends back home. My personal faves are Brown from the main cast and Chimmy from the BT21 collection.
Sunset: Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail
From LINE FRIENDS Cafe and Store, we walked all the way to Elephant Mountain. Pro-tip: make your way to this popular hiking spot near the park before sunset. We arrived as it was turning dark, so the trail wasn’t as easy to climb. Reach the top and be rewarded with amazing views of entire Taipei, with Taipei 101 shining brightly in the distance. Bonus if you can make it exactly around sunset (5pm ish) for everything to be covered in a gorgeous orange glow.
7:00pm: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Again by walking, we reached this monumental landmark is always worth a visit whenever you’re in Taipei. Sometime between my visits on February CNY 2018 and October 2018, they added some parking areas and a driveway. Still, the atmosphere is peaceful and the memorial is brimming with Taiwan’s political history—I recommend reading some wikis while you’re on the train. Take some IG-worthy shots here before they turn out all the lights at night.
8:00pm: Dinner at Shilin Night Market
Another pro-tip: save your appetite for this market by splitting the food with your friends. The steamed Hu Jiao Bing or Taiwanese black pepper bun, a hot pocket filled with pork or beef, scallion, sugar, soy sauce and black pepper was mouthwatering and delicious. After that, we grabbed some grilled mushrooms, flavored with curry and black pepper.
Shilin is also famous for stinky tofu, char-grilled sticky rice sausage in different seasonings like basil and lemon, and its Michelin Bib Gourmand shop, a herbal-style Hai You Pork Ribs Soup. Of course, I always have room for dessert: taste this creaaaaaamy brown sugar bubble tea for only NT$55; its texture and subtly sweet flavor is unlike any milk tea I’ve ever tasted back home. Cap off your food adventure with crunchy candy-coated strawberries on a stick, which makes for a yummy treat to snack on.
- Nearest MRT Station: Shilin
Option 2: Dinner at Raohe Night Market
If your accommodation is much nearer Songshan or northeast Taipei City, then opt for Raohe Night Market, one of Taiwan’s oldest night markets. Here, I tasted the notorious stinky tofu, which was delicious (just hold your breath and try not to sniff it so much!).
You have to try onion pancakes, torched beef cubes, takoyaki, fried chicken steak (flavored with black pepper powder), and more! The onion pancakes and takoyaki were my favorites, as they were crisp and packed with flavor. Of course, there are at least a couple of delicious bubble tea options to choose from.
- Nearest MRT Station: Songshan
Day 2: Exploring Northern Taiwan
I booked KKday’s signature Taipei tour at a steal for the price! Because we only had a limited amount of time (flight back the next day was around 3:00am!), I booked this for my group. Our tour guide, Sam, was very friendly and accommodating in helping us see all the good spots, coupled with some good ‘ol sense of humor. As we got on the bus, we enjoyed the cozy, spacious seats and clear views of the passing landscapes.
- Book it here
- Cost: *1150 Php (prices are subject to change)
Mother Nature is the great artist with these marvelous ‘sculptures’ found in the park. There were so many bizarre and wonderfully-shaped rocks like mushrooms, candles, fairy shoes, and more, due to years and years of sea erosion. Everyone flocked to see the iconic Queen’s Head, which used to be much more enormous (sadly affected by erosion). Meanwhile, we felt like influencers ourselves, posing beside the rock for the gram. The views of the sea waves crashing against the shore were wonderful too!
Shifen Old Street
Because I’m a hopeless romantic, I immediately signed up for the Shifen sky lantern experience! Two of my friends were more, er, pragmatic, so they spent the whole time browsing super cute lantern-themed souvenirs and Spirited Away-themed cups, keychains, postcards, what have you.
Meanwhile, my best friend and I painted our wishes (health, love, bright future, happiness) on all four sides of a lantern. Watch out for the black ink, I dropped some onto my shoes (which were luckily, black!). A local was kind enough to take our video above. After, we posed on the scenic train tracks and made our way back to the bus.
Easily my favorite stop! Jiufen reminds me of Spirited Away, especially the A-Mei Teahouse that looks a lot like the one Chihiro, the main character, gets lost in. The hilly landscapes, the lanterns, the quirky stalls, old streets and steps…it felt magical and I really wanna dedicate a day to exploring this place next time (and book an afternoon tea sesh at that ancient teahouse).
We tried fried taro balls, some Bailey’s infused milk tea (yum!), fried sticky rice sausages, and lots of free food samples. The catch? It was hella crowded! Try not to book on a weekend like we did so you can explore without being pushed or have your foot stepped on—though all it’s part of the experience, I guess.
6:00pm onwards: Shopping around Ximending
From the day tour, we were dropped off at Ximen Station; perfect for our itinerary! We shopped to our heart’s content at Ximending, where youthful energy and Taipei’s LGBT history come together. It somehow reminded my friend of Shinjuku Crossing, with all the commercial buildings, chain fashion stores, gigantic signs, and crowds. Oh, I dropped by Red House Theater (amazing architecture btw!) and they had some exhibit featuring Asian countries such as the Philippines!
- Nearest MRT Station: Ximen
7:30pm: Dinner at Modern Toilet Restaurant
We were looking for a place to eat in Ximen, and this ‘crappy restaurant’ popped up on our search. It has so many IG-story worthy poop-themed things! They feature normal western-style food like beef curry and spaghetti, served in hilarious toilet bowls. Hah, you should see the chocolate ice cream swirl. The food was tasty enough, but my beef curry was a little bland in my opinion. The meals will set you back around NT$300 but the delightful decor was worth it.
Looking for a nightcap and some drinks? I liked Intention, a cozy little lounge nestled in Da’an District. It’s famous as a bar that crafts your drink by ‘mood’ or preference. There is no menu for drinks. Cool, right? The bartender will ask your base (rum, gin, whiskey, etc) and mix in flavors to suit your preference; maybe sweet and fruity? Or bittersweet with a spicy kick; you decide. The ambiance is really chill. I loved the very vintage feel of the chandelier and specialty bottles, plus the wooden interior of this dimly-lit bar.
- Nearest MRT Station: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Day 3: Last day to sightsee and shop
If you still have some time to spare, visit these stops before you head for your flight back. (READ: More Unique Food Experiences around Taipei)
I’m a bit of a history buff who’s endlessly fascinated by Taiwan’s cultural richness, so the National Palace Museum was definitely on my list! Taipei’s National Palace Museum houses some of the finest Chinese art worldwide. There are so much beautiful calligraphy, ceramics, and paintings. Stroll the Zhishan Garden and admire the harmony of feng shui and Chinese architecture. They have cool digital exhibits too, where you can interact with the paintings!
Do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs if you haven’t already. I bought lots of pineapple cakes, assorted mochi, oolong teas at markets we mentioned above. Meanwhile, there are a lot of cheaper Asian skincare and beauty products compared to the ones back home (Missha, Shiseido, Banila Co.) in Taipei Cosmed and Watson (click for your nearest branch). Case in point: my Missha M Magic Cushion only cost around NT$400 (less than 800 Php) compared to 1,200 Php in Manila!
- What to wear: Dress according to the weather. You’ll find that locals and other travelers are quite fashionable, so feel free to dress your best and look fab!
- What to bring: EasyCard in a good ID strap, cash, toiletries, bottled water, passport or official IDs, umbrella
- Be polite! Locals are very orderly when it comes to queues, so you need to line up properly. Forget Filipino time; don’t be late when you book a tour or risk offending everyone! Observe the proper way to use chopsticks too
That’s all, folks! With my itinerary and personal recommendations on where to stay, food, attractions, and tips, I hope you’ll book your own wonderful Taipei 3D2N adventure soon. Don’t forget to share your experience with us at @KKday on IG. Tag us in your stories and pics to get featured.