Taiwan Solo Trip 2019, Day 1 & 2: Arrival, Cherry Blossoms, City Tour & Pinglin Tea Plantation

Hi guys!!! I got a lot of messages asking me if I already blogged about my solo adventure in Taiwan, so here it is!!! I emailed my itinerary to many of you but will post here (and in my next blog posts) details about my whole trip. I've been to Taiwan a few times before, so I set a goal for this particular trip-- explore places I've never been to and to finally see cherry blossoms! I took a chance hoping I'd come across kahit 1-2 trees in full bloom. And what do you know? Goal achieved agad on my 2nd day in the city! So, so happy I finally got to tick that off my bucket list. Sakura in Japan or Korea naman next! :) Anyway, here are stories and photos from my first 2 days in Taiwan, plus tips on itinerary creation, booking and of course, budget! Read on...

 Airport outfit! Shirt from JHAJING!

Since I'm such a motherpacker (haha), I was able to save on extra baggage fees 'coz I didn't check-in any bag flying out! I only brought 1 coat, 1 pair of shoes (which I both wore na going there) and I planned my outfits carefully so I won't exceed the 7kg handcarry allowance. I also brought a small backpack where I kept my important belongings. Would you believe that I have 10 outfit sets inside that luggage bag? I didn't bring clothes that are bulky or too heavy so it won't take too much space and weight. Good job, me! Hehe. 

For my first 2 nights in the city, I booked a bunk bed in MINIINN Hostel, just a few steps away from Taipei Main Station. I paid 1,128 TWD for 2 nights or roughly P1,900. For its location and delicious free breakfast, it's a pretty nice deal! My only complaint was the bed bug bites I got after. Huhu. 

Hostel is along the main road

Nearest train entrance! Just a few steps away from the hostel

I love that there's a 7-11 convenience store almost beside the hostel

From Taipei Main, just turn left and you'll see the sign!

They have an elevator. Reception is at the basement

 Common area and dining area

Reception area. I borrowed a towel from them:)

 I am not a breakfast person but I was able to eat on my 2nd day 'coz I had an early morning tour! It was good!

They have sausages, eggs, fruits, lettuce, toast and jam, juice, water, coffee!

 Toast anyone? I love mine with butter and jam!

Free drinks

Time for a ROOM TOUR!!!
This is their Ladies Only dorm room

The room has 16 bunk beds inside. I still had privacy though 'coz each bed has a curtain and everyone was super silent. Upon check-in you will be given your own slippers, key card and keys for your lockers. Can you see my luggage? That's where my spot is! 

My bed for 2 nights! Each bed has 1 pillow, comforter, lamp, sockets, hanger and small sabitan ng clothes.

View from our room's window

Main road

Whenever I make an itinerary, I usually mark the first day as a free day. Since I usually book discounted fares, the flights available are mostly late night flights. Same with this trip! I arrived in Taipei at around 1am, so after a 40-minute bus ride from the airport to Taipei Main Station, checking-in the hostel, eating, taking a shower and settling down, I dozed off at around 5am na! Woke up at around lunch time and I was out the door after an hour. I was so excited 'coz it was the first day of my solo trip! 


Using my Google Maps app powered by TEP Wireless portable WiFi, I navigated my way through the city. Guys, super useful talaga if you have a consistent internet connection and a map 'coz you can research anytime, anywhere and you will never get lost! :) Anyway, I just followed the map, walked along Civic Boulevard and decided to visit the park near our hostel, YIXIAN PARK! It's a small yet beautiful Japanese style garden that houses the more than a century old Sun Yet-San Memorial House. It's amazing how in the middle of the busy Taipei streets you'd find this peaceful zen garden right in the middle!

Zen garden

I found a Yoshino (not sure though hehe) cherry blossom tree but kalbo na! Got excited and disappointed real quick. Hehe.

No cherry blossoms but the park has other beautiful flowers! 

When I got there, was surprised to see a lot of locals in costume (cosplayers) and mega pictorial sila. Hihi.

The traditional Japanese-style wooden house in the middle of the park is where the "Founder of the Nation" Dr. Sun Yet-San stayed for a few days in the year 1913 before heading to Japan. It was a former Japanese hotel named Ume Yashiki (梅屋敷) or "Plum House" in English. You can go inside, just pay for the entrance fee.  I decided to skip it 'coz the place was pretty small and I wanted to take photos but it was not allowed. 

Photoshoot galore sila 

After so many failed attempts to take a decent photo in the park, I gave up and left. Decided to visit Chiang Kai Shek Memorial next! Walked back to Taipei Main and boarded a train going to Chiang Kai Shek. Commuting in Taiwan is pretty easy and straightforward. You just need to know how to read signs. :)


The most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan, the CKS Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China, and was opened in 1980 as part of a national park and gathering area. The octagon-shaped white building rises 76 meters and is covered with blue tiles and red accents, echoing the flag of the Republic of China. The eight sides represent the Chinese cultural symbolism of the number eight which is traditionally associated with fortune and wealth. The two sets of 89 steps represent Chiang's age of death and lead up to main hall housing a large bronze statue of Chiang protected by military personnel which change hourly.

Hirap ng self-timer dito huhu

 Taipei Main is the biggest station in Taiwan! It has an underground mall, it's also connected to other malls and has lots of  restaurants and shops inside.

 Nico's favorite store. Char. Haha

 Just follow the train signs

 Saw these 2 trees when I exited the train station. Kalbo again! There were a few flowers but not nice sa pics hehe. 

Self-timer hits! Pinatong ko sa bushes my cam haha

 It was a Sunday so the place was packed! 

Liberty Square

Didn't go up na this time

Well, I was  supposed to enter the memorial hall but as I was walking towards the stairs, I looked to my right and like an oasis in a desert, I saw 2 cherry blossom trees!!! OMG I wanted to cry. You can still view my IG srory vids via my Instagram Highlight "Taiwan 2019". It's there! Hihi. So I ran and looked for a nice spot to set up my camera. 

My self-timer pics! Hihi pwede na

This photo was taken by a fellow Pinoy tourist. Thanks Ate!

I was so happy that I was literally skipping with joy. And then when I was strolling around I saw a whole road full of trees in full bloom! Waaah! Okay pawala na sha but still more than I wished for! :) I was actually planning to go to Yangmingshan to search for trees but sa city lang pala ako makakakita. Thank you, Lord! So lucky. :)

One of the trees at the back of the memorial hall. There were a lot! Struggle mag self-timer but naitawid naman haha.

So beautiful


From Chiang Kai Shek I walked all the way to Ximending! I just used my Google Maps. :)

It was just a 10-15 minute walk. :)

Thank to my TEP Wireless portable wifi I never got lost!


3rd Stop: XIMENDING!

One of the most popular destination for tourists, XIMENDING is the center of the district, and accessible from Exit 6 of Ximen Station. The area is very popular with tourists and Taipei youth, and, along with shopping and restaurants, also hosts street performances and exhibitions. The words Ximen stand for west gate, as the district is located by the historic western gate of the old Taipei City. 

I don't usually hang out here when I'm in Taipei because I find the food and merchandise more expensive than other night markets. Love the street performers though! Also the vibe and energy is amazing. 

That's the street na puro street food! Their torched wagyu here is 200 TWD. Sa Ningxia Night Market 100 lang. 

Street performer!

The famous noodle food place called Ah Zong Mian Xian / Ay Chung Rice Noodles/ Ah-Zhong Mee Sua! Yes it has many names hehe. Box office yung pila! D nako umeffort coz hangry. 

This is how it looks like. Looks delicious! It's vermicelli rice noodles with pig intestines. (Photo grabbed from http://danielfooddiary.com)

Another random food stall

It was my first meal for the day so I decided to eat something heavy. As in a bowl of Ramen Nagi noodles! Haha. For some reason, I can't finish talaga one bowl of noodles. Sayang though. Huhu.

Saw this cute corner inside a store in Ximending! Sayang wala lang magpipic sakin and wala mapatungan cam. :(

Weather was still cold, mga 20 degrees celsius so keri ang pagcoat ko

From Ximending I used Google Maps again and walked home, back to Miniinn! It was a 15-20 minute walk. Mabilis ako maglakad guys so baka longer sa iba hehe. My feet died after walking for hours! All worth it though. Was so tired I slept immediately which was good coz I had an 8 a.m. scheduled tour the next day! 

4th Stop: Pinglin Tea Museum, Shiding Bagua Tea Plantation and Thousand Island Lake

Taiwan may just be one of the many countries known to produce tea, but they became quite famous for their high mountain teas! They also take great pride in their traditional tea production and ceremony that has become such a huge part of their lives and their culture.  So aside from hunting cherry blossom trees, one of my ultimate goals during this trip was to visit a tea plantation. I'm not much of a coffee person (only when absolutely necessary) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE tea. It's one of my pantry staples. Can't live without it! I did a lot of research and ended up choosing Pinglin Tea plantation. Tea plantations in Taiwan are mostly not commutable, so I booked a half-day guided group tour via KLOOK for convenience. So glad I did! It's easy peasy and hassle-free! 

Just taking in this beautiful view of the Shiding Bagua Tea Plantation and the Qian Dao Hu Reservoir :)

I wanted to go sa gitna but its dangerous coz the soil is super soft and slippery and bawal ata. Hirap din mag pic.

Pinglin is a quiet mountain town surrounded by lush green scenery, marvelous landscapes and beautiful blue water from the lake/dam. It's just a 1-hour drive away from downtown Taipei so our tour only took 6 hours. 80% of the residents who live here are involved in the tea business. I guess that's pretty obvious since the town's claim to fame is their super rich Bao Zhong (Pouchong)  "full aroma" Oolong tea! 

Viewing deck for the Thousand Island Lake!

Thousand Island Lake or Qiandao Lake! It's also a water reservoir. Our guide said it's where Taipei get their water supply. Enge po char. 

The Thousand Island Lake is located in the south of Shiding District, New Taipei City. It's a beautiful lake that is surrounded by thousands of small islands. The natural terrain and climate make the surrounding area of Feitsui Reservoir an ideal farmland for tea-growing, including the well-known Wenshan Baozhong and Dong Fang Mei Ren.

Restaurant near the viewing deck:)

So anyway, I woke up earlier than my usual because I wanted to be ready before my service arrives. The Klook tour package includes hotel/hostel pick-up within Taipei City. Convenient! My scheduled pick-up was 8:30 am and I had an hour to spare so I was able to eat breakfast, chill, surf the net and read the news! Lavet. Service arrived a few minutes late but that's okay! It's inevitable naman depending on the traffic situation. Anyway, we were 5 in the tour group! :)

Our tour was fulfilled by Taiwan Tour Bus company via KLOOK! This was our service! :)

Our guide and my tour mates hehe

Another tea plantation and the beautiful lake!

Thanks to our guide for my photo! (not edited)

Edited and higher angle! Hehe. I was quite disappointed coz I thought pwede magpic inside the plantation. But may harang lahat. I had a photo peg sana haha! It's okay though, safer for the leaves! :)

Kaya selfie nalang tayey

After visiting the lake and the plantations, we then headed to a local tea shop for some tea appreciation lesson and ceremony! Now this what I was most excited about. For about an hour, we indulged in an amazing traditional tea tasting, we tried different types of teas while listening to interesting trivias. So cool! :)
Forgot the name of the tea shop though huhu. But included na sha sa Klook tour.

We tried Baozhong Oolong Tea, Alishan High Mountain Tea, Honey Black Organic Tea, Red Tea (I think) etc! 

Tea preparation and serving it is not that simple. It's not just about boiling leaves and pouring it in a cup. It's much more than that! 

Honey Aroma "Grasshopper" Tea! The insect's saliva reacts with the tea leaves that produces the floral and honey flavor. It also preserves the tea. Because of the chemical, no expiration! WOW. 

We were shown different types of tea. I also smelled them. So good! Hehe.

They also sell tea! Cheaper sila compared to Jiufen or other tea places and mas legit. 

Also, the big jars you see in the photo are century old teas! Not for sale though. Pamana sha ng ancestors to future generations. Enge po. Char. 

Super enjoyed this tour!

Saw this temple outside the tea house

There's also restaurant next door serving local dishes! 

Interesting beans in a jar! Tour mate said it's good. :)


Last Stop: Ping-Lin Tea Museum!!! Located beside the Beishi River in Pinglin, New Taipei City, Pinglin Tea Museum presents the Chinese tea culture and if you're a tea lover like me, it's truly worth a visit! The exhibitions include physical aspects and cultural aspects, presenting all information concerning tea drinking in Taiwan. It's a nice way to get a better understanding of tea making and history. 

Beishi River

Entrance fee is 80 TWD! Included na sa tour 

We headed straight to the Exhibition Hall where we learned about tea history, tea making and tea leaves, introducing how tea culture has developed in the Chinese history, rituals of tea making and commercial development of tea. :)

Exhibit about how tea leaves are processed

Leaves are dried here

Different types of leaves

Went back to the city after our brief museum tour! Whole tour just took 5 hours. Driver/guide also dropped me off in front of my hostel. Hassle free! Even if the tour was just half day worth it na din naman for P2,300. If you want to book this tour, click link below!

Checked out of Miniin after the tour, ate lunch first at a random local resto and headed to my next home in Taipei-- CHECK INN HOTEL! Will feature the hotel in my next post! :)

Just a few steps away from Miniinn and Taipei Main Station

Chinese ung menu but naka order naman hehe

Ordered their Pork Chop Fried Rice for 120 NT

Dami serving! Mejo dry but sherep pa din 

That's all for now! Days 3-5 next! :) Have to wrap this up muna 'coz nakikiwifi lang ako sa kapitbahay. Haha! Currently here in my Mom's hometown in Negros and hina signal! Anyway, hope this travel guide helps if ever you're planning to go to Taiwan. Bye for now. Love you all! :)

BUDGET per person in PHP:
Airfare = P5,300 (with 20kg check-in baggage going home)
Airport tax = P1,620
TOTAL = P7,520

Taiwan Budget for Days 1-2 in TWD:
Miniinn Hostel = 1128
Bus from airport to Taipei Main = 125
Convenience Store buys = 500
Train = 20
Ramen Nagi dinner = 300
Klook Pinglin Tour = 1400
Lunch - 120
Train to Check Inn = 25
TOTAL = 3,618 TWD or P6,071 (ung tour nagpamahal pero keri)

* Budget depends on traveler's preference and spending habits. :)

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