Taiwan Diaries 2016, 1st Night: Airports, AirBnb, Taipei Main, Ximending

After sharing with you my Taiwan travel & budget tips, it's time to officially start our (yes, kasama kayo! hehe) journey/adventure! As I said in my first post (click link above), I bought our Taiwan plane tickets from Cebu Pacific last June, on sale. We only paid P4800 each for a 2-way ticket. AirAsia now offer cheap flights to Taipei, so be sure to check that out! You just gotta be patient when looking for cheap flights. ;) So anyway, here are photos and stories from our first night in Taiwan, once known as Formosa-- which means "beautiful island". Also find out why I fell in love with this place, maybe even more so than Hongkong. Let's go!

The day of our flight started rather measly. I had a job interview which finished late so I had to rush home to have my phone fixed, take a bath (yes, naginterview ako ng walang ligo because late haha) and finish packing. My phone got busted the night before (it wouldn't freakin' open even if it's charging!) so after the interview I headed straight to Gateway Mall only to find out that apple devices could only be fixed in service centers. I called the nearest one which is SM North and I was told that repair could take up to 2 weeks. Seryoso ba??!! So since feeling desperate na si ate girl and I cannot part with my ONLY phone that long, I took a cab going to Greenhills. Carmageddon that day, so the trip took longer than expected and I was slightly panicking na because it was already half past 12pm and our flight was at 5pm. From the cab, I ran to the first iPhone repair shop I saw. I silently prayed that abot kaya lang ng budget and that quick repair lang. The kuya repair man (who has this kind uncle vibe hehe) told me P3,000 nalang (versus P4000 to P6000 via Apple service center) and it will only take 10 minutes max. YES PO GAME NA!!! I waited for 10 minutes, paid, got my newly restored phone (yaassss! no more endless charging coz okay na battery) and hopped in the nearest taxi. I was home before 1pm! My sister, brother & Nico were all waiting for me so I quickly took a bath, finished my packing and we were out the door in 15 minutes. Si The Flash ata talaga ako in my past life. Booked an Uber going to NAIA Terminal 3. EDSA was a little congested but we still made it in time! Woots!

 May excited!

Seque, let's talk about the airport muna! I love to people watch especially when I'm bored haha. While we were waiting in line, I observed how people are now more relaxed compared to before. People including me. Hehe. There were no more mummified luggage, meaning bags wrapped in plastic protective wraps. I remember the days when super intense pa the Laglag Bala, I panicked too. I felt ashamed and I was extra cautious borderline crazy when traveling. I would lock my luggage twice (as in 2 locks baket haha) and then put masking tape or scotch tape with my signature over it for security. I would also see a lot of bags wrapped in plastic with signatures too. Now everything's back in order!  

I also saw more security personnel inside and more airline people assisting passengers. I wasn't able to take a photo of the restroom but it's cleaner (I heard the same thing sa Terminal 1 restrooms!), there's water and free tissue! Woots. I read somewhere that DOTr Secretary Art Tugade partnered with local airline companies to improve airport facilities especially the upkeep of public restrooms. Good job! There are more restos sa 2nd floor, more seats and ang pinaka winner, FREE WI-FI!!! And not just in Terminal 3, but all 4 terminals of NAIA. Powered by PLDT-SMART, all terminals now have a Wi-Fi capacity of 1 gigabit per second, allowing up to 3,000 users to access the Internet simultaneously. And hindi to yung Wi-Fi na paasa guys. It' really working. Nico was even able to stream his favorite Koreanovela (clue: The Legend of the Blue Sea hahaha) while waiting. Haha. I remember last March when my childhood friend Sheila came home from the US, she had to buy a local sim just to be able to contact us and her sundo. Communication could have been easier if there was free internet sa airport, but there was none. Now, balikbayans & tourists could just message their loved ones or friends through FB messenger, Viber, iMessage etc! This is such a huge help for travelers talaga.  

We waited in line for almost an hour before we were able to check-in our bags and get our boarding passes. Hello, Cebu Pacific, please assign a separate counter for each flight next time. We were in line with passengers from other flights so it took soooo long. We barely made it in time for boarding. Buti nalang immigration was fast (we submitted our passports and supporting documents with flights & accommodation details as a group) and there was a Cebu Pacific personnel at the immigration entrance na nagraradio sa plane to inform them that there are still passengers on queue sa immigration. Also, our boarding gate was at the super far end! We walked for 15 minutes just to get there. Effort haha. We didn't have time to grab a quick bite (haven't eaten lunch yet and it was almost 5pm) or buy food. So hangry. Haha. 

 There was a separate line for mobile check-in but it was also long hehe. Wish they assigned a separate counter for individual flights.

 Our boarding gate! We were not the last ones to board. Yas. Haha.

 Yey, we made it!

 Run, Forest. Run!

 Nico suddenly had a vertigo attack (usually triggered by large number of people which was the scene sa check-in area) so I had to cover him with my black jacket and I made him wear black tinted shades. It helps!

 Early take-off!

I took my assigned seat, buckled up, and after a few minutes the plane got ready for take off. I love how we were right on schedule and we experienced no delays. We also arrived in Taiwan 10 minutes ahead of our arrival time! I watched the recent interview of MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal and he said that from 40% the airport authorities are now aiming for 90% on time performance of airlines. Right now it improved from 40 to 70%. Many thanks to the joint effort of DOTr and the Manila International Airport authorities to prioritize commercial flights. They also started putting a stop to "colorum" airlines (those who do not follow their approved slots and just fly in and out as they please) which causes delays. The airport authorities are now strictly implementing the slots and schedules. Hurray!

  You're a beauty, Manila:)I have so much hopes for you. :)

 But, bye for now!


 I love sunset flights :)

 I don't normally order airplane food but we still haven't eaten lunch (I haven't eaten anything), so no choice. Haha. Ordered cup noodles and croissant just to appease my stomach. I think I paid P250 for this including a bottle of water. 

 After 2 hours of flying... TAIWAN. :)

Taoyuan International Airport has this NAIA vibe hehe. In terms of size and design ha not the facilities.  

First order of business? Money Exchange!!! I read from numerous forums and blogs that banks usually give the best rates in Taiwan. So we had a few pesos changed here for food and commute. I exchanged P10,000 (NT$5,900+) and Nico exchanged P6,000. We decided to just exchange more money in the coming days but turned out, we didn't have to! It was more than enough for us. Taiwan was not that expensive as I expected it to be. Bongga. 

Immigration line was so long. Haha. We had to wait in line for more than 30 minutes.

After getting our passports stamped, time to retrieve our luggage...

 And headed straight to the bus station located at Basement 1!

Taoyuan airport is 45 minutes away from Taipei and sadly, there are no direct train rides from the airport to the city. We chose the best and cheapest option to reach Taipei Main (where our Airbnb accommodation is nearest) which is the Kuo Kuang Airport Express bus! It is the best option if your hotel is located in the vicinities of Zhongshan, Taipei Main Station/HSR Terminal and Ximending. Ticket price is NT$125 or P195. Not bad! :) There are also other buses there so choose your ride wisely!

 Price list

 My ticket!

 You would be able to see the terminal immediately upon exit.  Buses leave every 15 minutes!

 Aura? haha!

 There's an outlet for charging!

 The ride was smooth and comfortable :) I was able to use Google Maps to check our location using my portable WiFi hotspot, SKYROAM

 We got off in front of Taipei Main train station! 

 Nakuha ko pa mag OOTD haha! Thank you #HMPhilippines for my outfit! :)

From the bus, we walked towards the first corner and crossed the street

 You would see the Taipei Main station building on the right. 

Just walk straight ahead...

...until you reach this intersection. You'd see H&M and Mcdo

From the other side, you'd see the Taipei Main train station. 

Crossed the street again walked past H&M and turned right sa first corner before reaching Mcdonalds

There's a Body Shop store at the corner!

As I said, I booked a room via AirBnb (using my SMART AirBnb code which got me a P1,200 discount yay) near Taipei Main and near Ximending. :) From Taipei Main it's just a 5-7 minutes walk. When you see The Body Shop (see pic above hehe) just walk straight past 2 corners until you see the Bank of Kaohsung on the left. The AirBnb building will be on your right. You'd see an elevator in front. :)

                                 This elevator! It's not always this open. They enclose                           it inside a gate come 9-10pm:)

Our lovely host Kenta waited for us and escorted us to our room. 

The hallway is small hihi

Our room! So nice!

The bathroom is small but it had everything we need! It had toiletries and even a washing machine!

Bedroom slippers yey!

Kenta showing my brother how to turn on the TV haha

BFFs na sila haha

Loved the shampoo ha hehe

Free toothbrush and they have a hair dryer!

Towels for everyone

A refrigerator inside to store food and drinks

View from our window

After settling in, we went out to explore a little and to slook for someplace to eat or buy food!

Feel na feel niya eh

From our place, as soon as we exited the elevator, we turned right, walked straight up to the main road, crossed the street, walked a little more and voila! Ximending!

It was a little quiet na coz it was already 11pm. Most stores close by this time.

Saw lots of boutiques selling trendy and super fasyown items! 

Shopping could be more expensive here than compared to Shilin market.

And then we saw light! Este food!

And what do you know! It's the most famous street food in Taiwan --torched beef cubes or torched wagyu! YAYYYY

There are also other food stalls  in the area

Gutom na sila haha

Only NT$100! I chose rose salt & chili powder as seasoning. OMG it's soooo good. As in inaraw araw ko sha. Huhu. I super miss you torched beef.

We also tried this breaded chicken with honey mustard. Also NT$100

YUM! Actually you could just buy rice from 7-11 or Family Mart and pwede na shang ulam!:)

We also bought from that stall sa far right. Fried squid naman. It became one of our favorites too! Sooo good. My sister and Nico couldn't stop eating it. Haha.

Happy kids

More food stalls selling stinky tofu (which I did not like haha), mochi, corn, sausage, oysters, so much fooood.

I love Taiwan's street food SO SO SO MUCH

Another street/alley filled with street food vendors! Gaaah


We were still full from all the beef and squid and chicken we ate so we skipped all the others muna. We decided to just buy food from 7-11 which we planned to eat later on. We got rice meals, water and beer! Can I just say, Taiwan has the nicest people, always helpful and smiling except for the 7-11 crew we encountered that night. Haha. Anyway, we were just happy we were there so we didn't dwell on it. Hehe. 

I also saw these cute souvenirs!

Outfit from H&M Philippines. Thanks Nikki!!! Best travel outfit. So comfy and light. Hihi.

Stores were already closing so we went back to our place immediately

Hot Star was all over the place! But didn't try it. Not very fond of breaded chicken. Hehe.

Pagod mga beh?

My bro chillin. Ikaw na! Haha.

So this ends my 2nd Taiwan post! Will share with you our Day 1 itinerary very soon.  :) Thanks for reading!:)

EXPENSES/BUDGET in NT$ or TWD (Night 1):

Bus from Taoyuan to Taipei Main - 125
Street food - 150
7-11 meals and water - 500
TOTAL = NT$775 o P1,200

Link to all my travel posts:

Link to all my travel posts:

1 comment :

  1. I loooove Taipei. Sobrang nice ng mga tao & ihahatid ka pa nila sa destination mo kapag naligaw ka huhu. So glad so many more people are going there! <3


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