Why Taiwan Should Be Added in Every Filipino Traveller’s Bucket List

Invite your friends to travel to Taiwan and you’d probably get tepid responses like “Why there?” or “Nah, maybe not now!” compared to when you ask them to go to Japan or Korea. Well, I couldn’t blame them. I, myself, used to be guilty of this until I finally set foot on this beautiful country for the very first time in March 2017. I fell in love with it, more so when I returned three months later and explored more cities like Kaohsiung, Tainan and Taichung.

Also read: A Filipino Traveller’s Guide to Visiting Taiwan for the First Time

Now, if you’d ask me again, “Why Taiwan?”, my answer would most definitely be “Why NOT?!” With all these amazing reasons, Taiwan truly deserves a spot in every Filipino traveller’s bucket list.

Taiwan is visa-free for Filipinos

Yes, Taiwan is visa-free for Filipinos until 31 July 2020. Read the full details here or visit the website of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines for official news and announcements.

Also read: Entering Taiwan Visa-Free: My Experience & Actual Process for Filipinos

It lets you enjoy the four seasons

Cherry blossoms in Yangmingshan National Park

You don’t need to fly far to experience the four seasons — winter, spring, summer and fall — because Taiwan has it all! Did you know that some mountainous parts of Taiwan get snowfall during winter (Dec-Feb)? Popular areas to see snow include Yushan or Jade Mountain, Hehuanshan, Guanshan, Xueshan and sometimes the Yangmingshan area. And, you’d be excited to know that Taiwan has cherry blossoms, too! They bloom during spring (March-May), and I was lucky to witness these lovely blooms on my first visit to Taiwan.

It’s not as expensive as you think

Would you believe I only spent ₱16,000 (all-in) for 4 days on my first visit to Taiwan? It’s already inclusive of everything, from airfare to accommodation to food to souvenirs. That’s how affordable travel in Taiwan can be, and it could go so much cheaper than that if you’re really on a tight budget.

Accommodation options are aplenty

Whether you’re travelling on a budget or on a grand family vacation, Taiwan has a wide range of accommodation options for you. For budget travellers, hostels and Airbnbs are your best bet like the Airbnb I stayed at on my first visit. But of course, if you want something a little fancy, especially if you’re travelling with your family, do check out these luxe hotels in major cities of Taiwan:

It could take me another book to write about my experiences in each hotel. But trust me when I say that their excellent services and top-notch amenities more than make up for the price you pay. Oh, these hotels are strategically located too, meaning, they are at the centre of each city’s happenings, and that’s already a big plus for me.

Travelling around the country is fast and convenient

Exploring the whole country is a breeze with their efficient public transportation options. Their Taiwan High Speed Rail could take you to distant parts of the country in a matter of minutes. To give you an idea, it takes around 90 minutes to travel from Taipei all the way down to the southernmost city of Kaohsiung. That’s approximately the same distance you travel from Manila to Ilocos Sur, which takes about 10-12 hours of travel by bus.

Getting around each city is also easy, as metro trains and buses follow regular schedules. Learn more about Taiwan’s public transportation here.

Bicycle trails are everywhere

Taiwan is one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world so never leave the country without bicycling in any of its scenic routes. You can even have a DIY trail with their public bicycling sharing services such as YouBike in Taipei and C-Bike in Kaohsiung. I am thankful to have tried this (quite literally) breathtaking cycling adventure in Taipei, starting from Xinbeitou and ending in Tamsui. Read my (mis) adventures as a newbie biker here.

It’s a shopping and food mecca

It cannot be denied that Taiwan is synonymous with SHOPPING and FOOD! Go crazy shopping and food tripping in any of Taiwan’s vibrant night markets like Shilin Night Market and in Taipei, Miaokou Night Market in Keelung, Flower Night Market in Tainan, Fengjia Night Market in Taichung, and Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, to name a few.

Also read: Don’t Leave Taiwan Without Visiting These 7 Night Markets

With so many mouthwatering foods in these night markets, you’ll surely be at a loss of what to try first. Well, watch the video below and read this Taiwanese food list perfect for the Filipino palate. And oh, xiao long bao in the Michelin Star awarded Din Tai Fung is to die for, so don’t miss that one too!


Original Pearl Milk Tea of Chun Shui Tang | Image credit: Juanico Fernandez

Bubble tea deserves a special spot here! Although many Filipinos love pearl milk tea or , I’m no fan of it. But let me tell you this — Taiwan’s made me crave for it each day. It’s that good and addictive! A must-try is the original pearl milk tea of Chun Shui Tang in Taichung. Established in 1983, it is famed for being the origin of Taiwan’s ever-popular drink. If Taichung is in your Taiwan itinerary, do hit up this legendary tea house.

Lots of unconventional activities

There’s more to Taiwan than shopping and eating! Go forth and start your own unconventional vacation with these fun, unique activities:

Home of the phenomenal F4

Needless to say, Filipinos are not over the Meteor Garden craze yet! Although it’s already 16 years ago, who could forget Shān Cài (Barbie Shu), Dào Míng Sì (Jerry Yan), Huā Zé Lèi (Vic Zhou), Měi Zuò (Vanness Wu) and Xī Mén (Ken Chu)? Relive the romantic Meteor Garden moments by visiting the still existing filming locations like the National Taiwan University and P.S. Bu Bu Restaurant in Taipei.

And of course, home of the kindest people on Earth

More than anything, what really captured my heart are the warm, kind locals. I’m sure they’ll capture yours, too! Interact with them, talk to them whenever you get the chance, and you’ll feel their sincerity and genuine soul despite the language struggle. You’ll get what I mean when you’re there.

Also read: Unique Things To Bring Back From Your Visit To Taiwan And Where To Buy Them

So, fellow kababayans (countrymen), prepare your passports, grab your travel buddies and see the beauty of Taiwan yourselves. Enjoy!

Gangztah pose in Taipei with my fellow media personalities | Image credit: Juanico Fernandez

A big thank you to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines and Taiwan Tourism Bureau for allowing me to experience more of what Taiwan has to offer, especially to Filipino travellers. Special thanks to EVA Airways too, for flying me to Taiwan with ultra comfort and excellent service. EVA Airways operates direct flights from Manila to Taipei 3x daily. Fly with EVA Airways and enjoy seamless travel to and from Taiwan like I did.

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