Taipei in 16 hours! ~ part one (get around Taipei)

Posted on: February 1, 2011

HA! I know that I’m no good at routines…. I promised myself to write weekly on my blog, and yet, I prefer sleeping than writing 😛 Since these past 3 days, I’ve been sick as hell and am VERY bored, I decided to write a blog (or travel tips if you may) on traveling in Taipei.

So, here’s the background. During my 2010 summer holiday to my home country in South East Asia, me & my boyfriend had to transit at Taipei before going back. We had around 18 hours to kill! So, we decided to go out and did some sight-seeing. Luckily, one of my cousins studies Mandarin there, so he joined us to walk around Taipei. For some foreigners, traveling to another country that speaks little English can be nerve-wracking. In general, youngsters in Taipei understand a little bit of English. Some of the older people understand too, but they were uncomfortable to reply you back in English. So, my tip is ask the youngsters and they’ll be able to reply you in decent English 😛
Note: this is totally from my own perspective and experience. I know that maybe the native Taiwanese would disagree with me in some points, but all corrections and critics are welcomed 🙂
P.S. I didn’t know that the Taoyuan Airport (in Taipei) has a FREE city tour for those who have long hour transit (seven hours or more). This tour lasts for approximately 4 hours. You MUST have Taiwan Visa OR come from countries with visa-exempt entry. You can register at Arrival Lobby Tourist Service Center. If you catch the morning bus, it only goes to nearby city. The afternoon bus goes further to Taipei 101.
More info: –> click on Free Half Day Tour
As for me… I did apply for Taiwan Visa online. The process is simple. Just fill in the online form, submit, and within a minute, you can print the proof. NOTE: you MUST print the proof and give it to the immigration offices when you’re going out from the airport! As for the link, my boyfriend has it. Leave me a message to find out.
Now the ‘tricky’ part! We landed at Taoyuan Airport at 6 am. Thankfully, everything (incl. the immigration) was smooth. Since we both had a small hand cary luggage, we went down to lower floor, where the departure is, to get a temporary luggage storage ( We paid NT$100 for each luggage and since they’re closing at 9.30 pm, we had to come back around 9 pm to pick up our luggage.
1. We then went back to the Arrival area (upstairs) and to the buses area. So, if you’re straight from Arrival gate, turn right, and walk along the hallway. On your left side, there’ll be some bus stands. We took U-Bus #705 (the green bus). For one-way trip, the cost was NT$30 and round-trip was NT$60. The bus service is pretty good, each bus goes every 10-15 minutes whether it’s full or not. This bus goes from Taoyuan Airport to HSR Taoyuan. HSR is High Speed Rail train and this will take you to HSR Taipei Main Station (which also the main MRT station). It’s way faster than took a regular bus to Taipei Main Station.
Website: ( — only in Chinese though.
2. HSR Taoyuan is the last stop of U-Bus, so you won’t miss it. (
Here, you need to buy a ticket to go to HSR Taipei Main Station (NT$160). The ticket vending machine has English, it’s easy peasy… It even accepts credit cards!
Make sure you know your “car#”. When we got our ticket, we didn’t pay too much attention and ended up running along the platform to get into the right car 😛 We got the unreserved seat ticket, so this meant no assigned seat for us. When we got to the train, it was pretty crowded, so we ended up standing all the way to Taipei 😦 The trip from HSR Taoyuan to HSR Taipei Main Station was about 20-30 minutes. The train itself has its own schedule, so depends on what time you arrive at the HSR Taoyuan, you might have to wait up to 30 minutes before the train comes.
3. HSR Taipei Main Station is the centre of Taipei. From here, you can go anywhere!
One thing I recommend is that you go to the HSR booth to buy return ticket to HSR Taoyuan for later, especially if you return during rush hour, it can be a hassle to get to the airport on time. This will require you to know the exact time for the train you’ll be catching. The sweet thing is that you get the reserved seat! You can sit and relax your legs after hours of walking!
What my cousin recommended was buying One Day Pass (NT$200) for the MRT. This will give you unlimited MRT ride for any lines! Plus, when you are ready to head back to HSR Taoyuan, you can refund the card for NT$50. I think it’s a pretty good deal since you don’t have to worry to figure out how much you should pay for MRT all day 🙂 You can get this in the locket (NOT from vending machine!).
continued to part 2…

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February 2011
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