Our much anticipated first out of the country this year has finally arrived (pagod nakong mang-stalk sa IG ng mga Taiwan trips ng iba LOL! ) We booked out ticket on May 1 seat sale because of the initial announcement that we are already visa-free when entering Taiwan R.O.C. We were able to score a P2074 (each) roundtrip ticket. But as of this writing, as you may have know now..they recently approved it just this month (October) and the effective date is yet to be announced.
I know that there are already a lot of blogs about their Taiwan trip but I just want to share our own experience as well 🤗
So without further ado, here’s our 4 day itinerary:
7 PM – arrived in NAIA Terminal 3
Payed for Ph Travel tax (P1620)
Checked in (no check in baggage)>As early at this point, the CebuPac staff has already asked for our e-visa. She already ok’d the 2 passports (mine and Paolo) while she held Maricon’s e-visa and walked towards to the other staff or maybe her manager (looks like she wanted to confirm something) but after a few minutes, she gave us our boarding passes. I suspect that it is because of the “Middle Name”. Apparently, I included Maricon’s middle name in the “Given Name” field but I’ve already done some research and it should be totally fine. See sample below:
Then we proceeded to the Immigration, fill out the departure card and once again, face the lovely Immigration officers 😍. I handed over my e-visa together with the passport, boarding pass and departure card but she returned it to me — This is because as I’ve read on some articles, that their database already contain our visa details. Usually, there are only few questions or none at all. This time, I was asked if until when are we going to stay in Taiwan and where do I work and that’s it.
Our boarding time was 9:30 PM as we are scheduled to take off at 10 PM. SO basically, we were early pa kaya we had dinner, coffee, huntahan and all 😂 For some reason, NAIA 3 has currently AC issues that time so — haller ang ineeeet sa airport! but for good vibes purposes — kiber na lang! ☺️
We boarded a very huge plane which loaded a lot of (I assume) OFWs
We arrived in Taiwan around 12 AM.
Taoyuan International Airport is a simple airport, nothing fancy but very orderly. After the picture taking, we headed to the immigration and one of the officers are already assisting the tourists while waiting in queue before proceeding to the Immigration window. He inserted the evisa into our passports.
IO: Where are you staying?
Me: Galaxy Mini Inn – in Ximending
IO: Who are you with?
Me: I am with my friends. We are a group of 3
IO: Until when are you staying?
Me: We’ll leave on the 22nd, Friday.
IO: Look at the camera, biometrics please.
My take is that you really have to know your itinerary such as hotel bookings, etc so you can answer these kind of questions confidently. (Maybe simple but whenever you are in front of an IO, I am still somehow nervous and this is a one chance to defend your case to enter their territory👌🏻
After we had our passports stamped in the immigration, we looked for free Taiwan maps and a money changer. You have to exchange your money before leaving your country or at the airport as I only saw 1 Western Union near Taipei Main Station or as other tourists have advised, you can withdraw from an ATM.
For BPI, you may contact them the day before before or on the day of your departure to activate your ATM for international transaction. Note that your ATM card should have a Cirrus logo.
Just before the exit, there is a money changer which charges NT 30 per transaction. Exchange rate at that time was NT$ 1 = Php 1.67
Finally, after having our Taiwan dollars, we looked for the real Exit haha! We passed by a 7-11 and because we were already hungry, I bought myself a bread and a milk tea!
It’s almost 1 AM and there is only 1 counter open at that time where we purchased a bus ticket heading to Taipei Main Station (NT$ 125). Before leaving the counter, I asked if I can eat in the bus 😅 and he said it’s fine..yay!
After 45 minutes or so, we reached the Taipei Main Station, now the challenge is to look for our hostel. We have our printed copies of our hotel booking and made sure that the Chinese address is shown because most of them is not aware of the “English” address. So, we took a cab, I showed him the address and he said ok (not literally 😚 ). He stopped in Ximending shopping district area. He said to walk straight and turn right — nabudol kami bes! Hindi ganon eh 😅 In short, naliligaw kami in the middle of nowhere sa alanganing oras — we’re shookt! 😵 After asking a lot of people in English plus sign + body language, Paolo found a couple who actually took us to the location of the hotel — and we are really really thankful to them. #PagodaBes It took us an hour to find the hotel but at least we were not disappointed when we get there.