The Ultimate Taiwan Travel Guide: Itinerary + other useful info

hello!! after reminiscing my entire holiday in Taiwan, here’s the general itinerary we had which could serve as a guide if you’re planning a trip to taiwan! (: i spent two weeks there, but the second week was really super duper chill (we woke up at 10plus every day and left the house only around noon haha) and explored areas outside of the usual tourist spots. but especially if it’s your first trip to taiwan, or you’re just interested in the usual tourist spots, one week was just about right for us to explore all the necessities in taipei at a pretty chill pace and we also spent a few days in taichung (: i’ve included details about our accommodations at each location and also some general info.
Day 1
Arrival in Taipei > HSR to Tai Chung > Pick up by driver > Check into Galerie Hotel > Feng Jia Night Market

we landed at the Taoyuan International Airport and were supposed to be headed for Taichung on that day itself! Took at shuttle bus from the Airport to the Taoyuan High Speed Rail (HSR) station – tickets can be bought on the spot at the airport. and from the HSR station, we took the train to Taichung! the journey was super fast (i was really surprised!) – around 45min, and it cost NT$590. there are many timings for the HSR, and i believe the ticket is valid for any of the timings! so you can just check the departure board to find out when the next train is :)
for our single night in Taichung city, we stayed at The Galerie Hotel. booked it through Agoda and paid about S$85 for a twin room! very reasonable price i think! and the hotel was pretty cosy ^^ it was sandwiched between two rather run-down looking buildings and at first we totally didn’t notice it! but if you look closer, you’ll see a ramp leading up to a stylishly-designed lobby. the staff were really friendly and accommodating (we asked them to heat up our food for us and they did so, even though the kitchen was already closed :p oops!). rooms were comfy, though a little dim, but we had a good night’s sleep! :) and breakfast was included! i really enjoyed a simple meal of taiwan porridge with just peanuts and pork floss :P yummmmmmy. haha but there was more to the breakfast than that of course!
our driver in Taichung ^^ Mr Zhang hehe. he was superrrr funny :P hahaha. though he didn’t talk much to us, he was very helpful with recommendations of places to visit, taking care not to be pushy, and cracked us up with his antics like looping 来也匆匆去也匆匆 for our 5 hour car ride back to Taipei. omg!!! haha poor sam in the front seat >.< hahaha. loved his comfy car though!!! i highly recommend him if you're going to taichung ^^ he was so reliable and was really a great help during our trip :') 
not sure whether you can contact him directly, but we actually got him through Mr Huang, who is some sort of a coordinator for drivers in Taipei and Taichung.

Day 2
Drive up to Cing Jing Nong Chang > Swiss Garden > Carton King > Cing Jing Qing Qing Cao Yuan > Check into Star Villa

sleepy faces in the morning cos we made the effort to wake up for sunrise at 4am!!

for our second night in Taichung, we were actually up in Cing Jing Nong Chang 清境农场 (okay i don’t know whether it’s just the farm that is referred to this way or the whole area is called the same thing). anyway, we stayed in the Star Villa Minsu. the view was… :O :O :O paid about S$210 for the family room with balcony if i’m not wrong! (: really thankful for the good weather that day! honestly, if you’re going up to cing jing, it really depends on your luck whether you get clear weather. and it matters A LOT, unfortunately. but it’s really unpredictable, so just hope for the best!!

Day 3
Sun Moon Lake > Drive back to Taipei > Check into Airbnb > Din Tai Fung > Blackball

SUPER LOVE OUR FIRST AIRBNB IN TAIPEI!!! :) We stayed at Joy’s apartment (and this is actually not the one we stayed in bcos somehow that has been unlisted :/ sad….not sure how similar this is, but it’s in the same building!). Joy was the loveliest host ever :) we were delayed on the way back to Taipei because of traffic and everything, but she was super patient and welcoming when we arrived! she explained all the features of the apartment to us – washer/dryer included!! WIFI was also included, and she provided practically all the necessities we needed for a comfortable stay – soap/shampoo/toothbrush/toothpaste/towels/hairdryer all included :’) and really good quality ones! the towels were super fluffy, and she even provided l’occitane hand soap :O WOW?! it was really like a home to us! of course i can’t guarantee that you’ll get exactly the same – especially since it’s a different apartment – but i’m sure you’ll be very comfortable staying in one of Joy’s apartments :) we paid about S$155/night for 5 pax (excluding airbnb service fees & cleaning fees!) 
perhaps the only downside was that the location is quite out of the central area of Taipei, with the nearest MRT station being Nangang Software Park. the good thing is that Taipei’s metro system is really well-connected, and it takes you to almost anywhere in Taipei really easily. the apartment was located a mere 5min walk from the MRT station, and despite the distance from the city centre, it wasn’t too troublesome to travel around.

Day 4
Jiufen > Shifen > Keelung Night Market

Day 5
Sabrina House brunch > Bei Tou Hot Spring > Dan Jiang High School > Dan Shui Fisherman’s Wharf > Shilin Night Market

Day 6
Xi Men Ding > Yong Kang Street > Lao Zhang Beef Noodle > Mr J Restaurant

Day 7
Wu Fen Pu > Formosa Lu Rou Fan > Raohe Night Market > Holiday KTV

we went to Holiday KTV at Ximending! :) i can’t remember what is the price we paid for it, but i believe it’s cheaper than PartyWorld? we had a student price, and it was basically a per pax price, including food. unfortunately we came from dinner already!!! there was actually A LOT of food. definitely would have been filling for all of us. had lots of fun singing there!! ^^ though we felt that the song selection was kinda limited :/ perhaps PartyWorld would be better that way!

Day 8
Move to second Airbnb

i realise i didn’t have any pictures of our second airbnb! but you can check out the website for the images (: the pictures are quite accurate! we were surprised that there were two beds instead of one in fact! and there was still some space to move around, which was great.

Sam & I moved to this apartment when the other girls left, because we didn’t need such a big space anymore. the location was great! right outside the busy area of Xi Men Ding, we could get there in 5mins and also reach the Ximen station very easily. generally a very cosy apartment that was comfortable for the both of us :) amenities such as shampoo/soap and hair dryer were provided as well, which was great! Free WIFI was included, but it malfunctioned on some days, which was quite troublesome. one thing i didn’t like about the apartment was that it was constantly filled with a smell of cigarette smoke!!! >:( it was really quite awful >.< probably bcos it is an old building and so the ventilation wasn't good. but it was quite a big boo-boo for me.

Day 9
Tianmu > Dinner at a Dumpling restaurant

Day 10
Farmers market > Taipei 101 > Creative Park > Meng Jia Night Market

Day 11
Picnic Cafe

Day 12
Dihua Street > Sadaharu Aoki

Day 13
Yongkang Beef Noodle > Yaboo Cafe

Day 14
Fu Hang Dou Jiang > Da An Park > Perfume Dance

for your convenience, here is a guide to Taipei’s metro system! it’s super comprehensive and takes you almost anywhere you need to go. 

i’m still working on the rest of the posts so the details aren’t in yet! but i’ll link the other posts along the way when they come up so that it’s easy to navigate :)) haha this post is really just meant to be a general overview with an itinerary for your reference.

aaaaaand i’m off to my final grad trip! (: bye-bye for now ^^

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