This was a super impromptu trip as hubby realized that his KrisFlyer miles were expiring soon and we needed to redeem! But we didn’t have enough mileage to go anywhere far, so we settled for a redemption of a one way ticket and purchasing a budget airline ticket for the other way… And so, we ended up going to Taipei!
We touched down at 桃園國際機場 Taoyuan International Airport T1 around 05:45 and made our way to T2 to get our SIM card… And we were lost again! So for the record:
- At T1, after clearing immigration, follow sign boards to take lift to 3F to take Skytrain to T2. This will lead you to Departure Hall.
- 中華電信 Chunghwa Telecom is a booth located in front of Row 14, next to the entrance/exit to the airport.
This is the only telco that opens at 7am. The other telcos at Arrival Hall (1F) only opens at 8am. While waiting, do check out the foreign currency exchange 2 shops on the left, to see if the rates were better. We had earlier exchanged some money at a rate of 22.821, but alas, today the rate was 22.51.
At 7am, we were the first customers! We had purchased a Chunghwa Telecom SIM card during our last trip, but it was no longer valid since there had been a lapse of more than 6 months between the last top up. We picked the NT$300 for unlimited data plan and were good to go! This time, we only had to produce our passport, but it would be better if you have 2 types of identification, e.g. driving license and passport.
We took the lift to 1F and followed the signs to take the bus to city. We had earlier got the free 1-way bus ride ticket from Taiwan Tourism Association, so we just had to exchange for a bus ticket. We took the 7:45am 國光客運 Kuo-Kuang Bus 1819 all the way to Taipei Bus Main Station. The bus looked rather old, but was clean. After 70 minutes of journey, we reached Taipei Main Station!
Here’s the Google album for Taipei 2015! And here’s the day-by-day breakdown:
- Day 1 (30 July) – Arrived in Taipei flight 3K723 at 6am, took 國光客運 Kuo-Kuang Bus 1819 to 台北車站 Taipei Train Station, left luggage at 新驛旅店台北車站三館 CityInn Hotel Plus Taipei Station Branch III, Breakfast at 四海豆漿大王 Four Seas Soy Milk King, visited 中山市場 Zhongshan Market, walked along 中山地下街 Zhongshan Underground Mall in search of Pintoo puzzle shop, lunch at 開封包公府的私房麵, back to Pintoo puzzle shop and bought (loads of) puzzles, check-in to hotel and rested because of rain, visited Night Market Part 1 (廣州街觀光夜市 Guangzhou Street, 梧洲街夜市 Wuzhou Street, 華西街觀光夜市 Huaxi Alley, 西昌街夜市 Xichang Street) and 西門町 Ximending, knock-out
- Day 2 (31 July) – Breakfast at 老圓環食品 Lao Yuan Huan Food, walked along 華陰街 Huaying Street, trained to 永康街 Yongkang Street, visited Night Market Part 2 (輔大花園觀光夜市 Fuda Flower Night Market, 三和夜市 Sanhe Night Market), knock-out
- Day 3 (1 Aug) – Breakfast at 老圓環食品 Lao Yuan Huan Food (again), checked out of hotel and trained to 捷運中山國中站 MRT Zhongshan Junior High School Station and left luggage at 新驛旅店復興北路店 CityInn Hotel Plus Fuxing N. Rd. Branch, lunch at 阿鴻豆花店 in 錦州街, trained to 捷運南京三民站 MRT Nanjing Sanmin School Station and bought souvenirs from famous 佳德糕餅 ChiaTe Bakery, checked in to hotel, visited Night Market Part 3 (遼寧夜市 Liaoning Night Market, 饒河夜市 Raohe Night Market), knock-out
- Day 4 (2 Aug) – Breakfast at 鯊魚咬吐司 Shark Bites Toast, coffee at Coffee Remus, checked out from hotel, cab to 松山機場 Songshan Airport (NT$75) to catch the 1:30pm 國光客運 Kuo-Kuang Bus 1841 to 桃園國際機場 Taoyuan International Airport, lunch at airport (豬腳麵線 Pig Trotter Vermicelli, 滷豬腳 Braised Pig Trotter, 甜不辣 Oden, 紅燒牛肉麵 Beef Noodle), flight SQ879 at 5:45pm, arrived in Changi Airport at 11pm, home sweet home 🙂
- 新驛旅店 CityInn Hotels: This is a chain of budget hotel that we liked. We stayed at the Taichung branch on our last trip and we loved it so much we must stay in it again! And we did, not once but twice on this trip, one in Taipei Station and one in Fuxing North Road. Read our review on TripAdvisor.
- 悠遊卡 EasyCard: The EasyCard has been upgraded to a 2nd gen Smart Card with a built-in chip, and requires a non-refundable NT$100 deposit. If you plan to take MRT train rides or city bus rides, but will not quite spend so much to make it value-for-money , go to the EasyCard Service Centre located inside the Taipei Main Station or at the Airport Terminals 1 and 2, to get the old version of the EasyCard, as the initial deposit of NT$100 is refundable, minus administrative fees of NT$20, if you want a refund within 5 years. As we had forgotten to bring our own EasyCard bought in 2009, we had to go Taipei Main Station to get the older version of the card. Note that you cannot use this deposit, as we found out when trying to purchase food from 7-11. Not quite sure why, as the website said that we could use up to NT$60 of the deposit if you have a positive amount when you use the card.
- When we were coming back, we were told that the bus that goes to Taoyuan International Airport would be making rounds in Taoyuan (it is a local bus) before ending in the airport, which meant it would take a long time to reach the airport. Not wanting to be late, we decided to cab down from hotel to Shongshan Airport (NT$75) to catch the 1:30pm 國光客運 Kuo-Kuang Bus 1841, which took us about 70 minutes without much traffic. Note that you can either pay with EasyCard (no discount but remember to tap both when you go up and get down), or purchase a ticket from the bus driver (NT$125, need to have exact change).