Why have you never been to Taiwan? Only a 4.45 hours flight away from Singapore, Taipei deserves a trip. You probably have in mind a dense city producing electronic goods, right? We had the same image. However, we just got back from Taiwan and we loved it. Here is why you should go too.

The city itself is full of life and offers great attractions. However, like for many cities in Asia (we feel) the best part is not in the temples or the museums it’s in the streets themselves. You can spend days wandering on the city to explore its small streets. Safe, convenient (MRT, buses, bicycles and taxi work perfectly), Taipei is relatively cheap for a city with that level of development.

Singapore to Taipei journey details

Connections with this trip

If you have more time you can explore another region in Taiwan. The island is very large and offers plenty of opportunities.

Getting from Singapore to Taipei

Fly direct from Singapore Changi Airport to Taipei (TPE). There are many options daily.

Getting there: Jetstar 7 AM – 11:55 AM (4h45 flight)
Coming back: Jetstar 7:55 PM – 00:35 AM (4h35 flight)
Return ticket from SGD 300

Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares. Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight.



Getting from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to the city center

The airport is located 30km from the city center. There are several options to reach the city center:

  • By taxi:  Airport to Taipei: NT$ 1100 – 45 min
  • By Express Airport buses: NT$150 per pax – 1h, departure every 20min or so
  • By train: A train is about to be in service and will link the Airport to the city center (No traffic guaranteed!) within 35 min

Where to stay in Taipei

We recommend to stay in Zhongshan District, which is a quiet place to find a boutique hotel nearby the lively places to enjoy a drink. Zhongshan MRT is very convenient to reach points of interest listed in the See and Do section. Book your hotel now with Agoda

Or, if you prefer, you can book with

To see & to do in Taipei

In central Taipei

You can easily get around by MRT or by taxi (just wave one in the street)

Main Temples:

  • Longshan temple: Nice Buddhist temple with a lot of Taipei citizens praying. Ideal to see the local life and feel the real heartbeat of Taipei. Open every day 5AM- 10PM, Free entrance, Longshan Temple MRT station
  • Baoan Temple: Taoist impressive temple, which became a Unesco site in 2003. You can walk from the ‘Yuanshan’ MRT station.
  • Confucius temple: Just next door the Baoan temple. Less impressive but still worth a visit.

Museum and historic places:

  • National Palace Museum: Mainly for those who are passionate about jade, ceramic pieces linked to China’s history and diverse dynasties. Get ready for some serious collection of Ming plates and pots. Open every day 8:30 AM- 6:30 PM, Entrance fee: NT$ 180 / pax.
  • Chiang Kai-Sheck memorial hall: It is a huge place with a very Chinese (communist?) style building. Nice to see for historical purposes but there is not much life in the area as it is the administrative area. The monument is massive.
  • Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall: Large Chinese pavilion with a yellow roof. It is interesting if you want to learn more about his life and ties to Taiwan. The building itself is not beautiful but you will get to see Taipei 101 from there.

Others:

  • Night markets: you cannot leave Taipei without experiencing one of its night markets and enjoying tasty local food for dinner. The most impressive is the Shilin Night Market. Don’t miss in the food court in the basement. All night markets have small food stalls, these places are busy until late in the night. Try the fish balls, the beef noodles, smashed crispy pastries rolled in a crepe-like,… anything you feel appealing to try (that may exclude the penis-shaped waffle!)
  • Strolling around Taipei streets: Walk around Longshan temple area and get lost in the very small streets. On the left when you exit the temple, take the first street on the left to see the shops selling herbal medicine. Zongshan district is a modern ‘bourgeois Boehme’ area with many restaurants and places for brunch. In Taipei, don’t hesitate to just wander from the modern busy city to the traditional quiet streets

City Tours:

Many hotels or taxi drivers will offer to take you for a city tour. It could be a good option if you are short of time or want to combine many sites in one day. There are a few options as different tours focus on different topics/sites. Ask your hotel or a taxi driver they usually have a list with the sites and rates.

If you go for a tour, don’t forget to spend some time walking in the streets another day. Otherwise you will miss part of the charm of the city. Again, some monuments are nice and interesting but what we loved about Taipei was real life.

Around Taipei

Damshui is accessible by MRT but for the others we recommend to book a driver to enjoy a day-trip around Taipei. All the below points of interest can be explored in a full day trip if you don’t have much time. However, if you really have little time, you should spend time in Taipei rather than to go to these sites. None of them is mind-blowing.

Contact details for drivers:

Taxiwang2237@yahoo.com.tw / +886 917569223 – Wang can speak English, up to 4 passengers, NT$ 1100 for 4 hours and NT$550 for additional hour. He has a Visa machine in his car in case you don’t have enough cash.

Or you can ask any taxi to bring you around for day trips.

Danshui (you’ll see different spelling such as Danshuei, Tamshui, or Tamsui) is nested on the waterfront town in the North of Taipei City. It’s a place to just stroll around the riverside, taste street food and feel the atmosphere. Don’t expect anything extraordinary and genuine, it is recommended only if you have more time and want to walk around old streets. Damshui (Tamsui) MRT, be aware that one train out of two get there (check it on the platform screens to avoid making a U-Turn in Beitou). MRT fees : NT$50 per pax, 40 min ride from Taipei central station.

Yehliu rock formation: You’ll see nice natural rock formation due to the sea and the wind activity. You’ll get the chance to breathe sea breezes and enjoy a pleasant walk (you can easily spend 1hour walking there). Open every day 8AM-5PM, Entrance fee: NT$ 50 / pax, 45min drive from the city center. There are many seafood restaurants nearby the Rock formation site.

Shifen is an old gold mine and a one-main road village with train tracks and lantern making shops. Tourists draw on the rice paper sky lanterns and light it up to the sky, hoping their wishes come true. Be careful as it seems the train tracks are no more in service but trains still cross the village on these tracks. 15 min walk from the train station you can see the Shifen waterfalls. Open every day 7:30AM-6PM, Entrance fee: NT$ 80 / pax and NT$ 20 /child. Getting there by train from Taipei can be a nice ride if you have time.

More info to prepare your trip

Wifi is available in most restaurants, bars, hotels.

What to pack for Taipei

Your main bag

That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.

  • Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
  • Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
  • Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which  you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
  • Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
  • Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
  • Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
  • Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
  • Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
  • Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
  • Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
  • Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
  • Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
  • Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
  • Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.

Your small bag

That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.

  • Your passportcashcredit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag  in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
  • Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
  • Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
  • Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
  • Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
  • Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit  and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
  • Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
  • Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
  • Camera and its protection.

Taiwan

Taiwan

  • Language: Mandarin and Taiwanese Chinese. More and more signs in the streets are in English.
  • Time zone: GMT + 8. There is no time difference with Singapore
  • Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) or (NT$)
  • Phone: + 886
  • Electricity: 220V 60 Hz

Immigration and airport taxes on arrival

Visiting Taiwan when you are from the below nationalities is quite easy as the visa is done on arrival and is free.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland,Israel , Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K. , U.S.A, and Vatican City State : duration of stay up to 90 days

Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Singapore: duration of stay up to 30 days

You can check the embassy website.

National Public Holidays in Taiwan

2015

Date Holiday
Jan-01 New Years Day
Feb-18 Chinese New Year E ve
Feb-19 Chinese New Year
Feb-20 Chinese New Year
Feb-21 Chinese New Year
Feb-22 Chinese New Year Holiday
Feb-23 Chinese New Year Holiday
Feb-23 Chinese New Year
Feb-27 Peace Memorial Day (observed)
Feb-28 Peace Memorial Day
Apr-03 Childrens Day (observed)
Apr-04 Childrens Day
Apr-05 Tomb Sweeping Day
Apr-06 Tomb Sweeping Day (observed)
May-01 Labour Day
Jun-19 Dragon Boat Festival (observed)
Jun-20 Dragon Boat Festival
Sep-28 Mid Autumn Festival
Oct-09 National Day (observed)
Oct-10 National Day

* check the exact date on this website as it varies from one year to another.