Jeff and I got married five years ago, in April 20, 2012, after dating for only a year and a half years. Although many people were happy for us, some were thinking that we’re a joke. Well, joke’s on them now haha!
Jeff planned this whole thing. He actually thought it would be great for us to travel together without Taglet. Parenting detox and go back to our crazy selves for just a weekend. He planned to book it, surprise me, and bring me to the airport on the day of the flight. Good thing he has low EQ and told me two weeks before the flight, because surprise trips without my son will not work for me. I had to condition myself that I will leave him for a few days. I even installed an IP Camera or CCTV (I’ll write about this next time) at home so I can see him while we’re away.
Jeff told me that going to Taiwan for a weekend is cheaper than going for a three days and two nights trip to Cebu or Boracay.
Taiwan Trip Initial Expenses
Cebu Pacific booking MNL-TPE for 2 pax: Php 4176.00
PAL Mabuhay Miles redemption TPE-MNL: Php 0.00*
PAL Taxes TPE-MNL for 2 pax: Php 3800.00
AirBnb in Shilin for two nights: Php 3200.00
TOTAL: Php 11,176.00
*Taipei is 9500 miles per person per way.
Of course it wasn’t easy for me to decide to leave my son for a weekend, because I’m clingy like that. As mentioned, I bought an IP Camera aka a CCTV that’s hooked to the internet. I’m so amazed that I can actually view it real time! I will post about it next time.
It took me a few days to say yes to Jeff, and he finally booked it. He also called PAL to redeem our Mabuhay Miles points from last year and convert it to a one-way flight from Taipei to Manila. Last year, we earned about 13000++ miles from all our trips, and we only need 9500 miles to fly from Taipei to Manila. BUT, we had to pay taxes amounting to P1900 per person. So basically, the price of our flight to Taiwan was the same as the flight going back.
Other expense: P1600 per person for Terminal Fee in NAIA
Arriving in Taiwan
Our flight from Manila was at 10PM of April 20, but the flight was delayed for about an hour. I kept checking on my son through my sister-in-law and according to her, he was still awake before our flight left.
Our flight arrived around 1AM in Taoyuan International Airport. The line in the immigration was too long because of overlapping flights that are arriving, and I think it took us about an hour.
There are three options to get to Taipei City from the airport. Taxi, train, and bus.
1. Taxi. Since I was super sleepy already, I asked Jeff if we can just take a cab. But upon checking, it costs around TND 1200 which is around Php 2000 when converted. Too much for a one-hour drive. There was a taxi driver who came up to us offering his service at TND 400 per person, which will be around Php 1350. I wanted to consider it, but it’s still too expensive!
2. Train. Taking the train was a great option, but it only opens at 6AM. We thought of waiting for it to open, but then again, I was already too sleepy.
3. Bus. This will be the most feasible option. Bus 1819 is a 24-hour bus service from the airport to Taipei City and arrives every 20 to 30 minutes. Travel time is around two hours and ends at Taipei Main Station. The bus fare is TND 165 per person, or Php 275. We were able to board the bus at around 3AM. The usual two-hour trip took only an hour. Jeff said it looks like it didn’t take the usual route and just went straight to the Taipei Main Station.
TRAVEL TIP: Take the bus. It is so much cheaper and convenient. They have comfortable seats and your luggages are safe at the compartment.
We took a cab from the Taipei Main Station to our Airbnb in Shilin District. The cab driver didn’t seem to understand us even if we gave him the address in Chinese. It also didn’t help that didn’t speak a single English word. I told Jeff to just turn on his data roaming service so we can find our Airbnb soon. He asked the driver to drop us off at Shilin train station instead. By the way, they pronounce it as Shu-leen, not Shee-leen. We walked from the station and arrived before 4AM.
Jeff picked Shilin District for our accommodations for a few reasons. 1.) Because our main reason for going there is to eat, and 2.) because this Airbnb is so cheap. You can check out the listing HERE.
Taipei Day 1
This was our neighborhood for two days. It is located at Fude Road, around five-minute walk to the train station and 10 minutes to the Shilin Night Market.
TRAVEL TIP: Renting AirBnb units are so much cheaper than hotels. Our family prefers AirBnbs over hotels for a lot of reasons. 1.) We get to wash our clothes which proved to be very helpful when we were in Japan last winter. 2.) They usually have portable wifi that you can bring anywhere. This one that we got here in Taipei didn’t have one, but we really didn’t expect that given the price range of the place. 3.) We get our own kitchen which means we can buy food outside and heat it in the morning. 4.) We just love the idea of living like a local in a real neighborhood for a few days. It’s quite an experience! If you don’t have an AirBnb account yet, you can sign up here and use my referral link so we’ll both get some credits hahaha!
I really loved taking trains when we go abroad. Taipei is no different. It feels more like Singapore than Hong Kong (I expected it to be more like HK haha!). We bought the 2-day pass train card for TND 310 or Php 515. This gave us unlimited train rides for 48 hours. That’s really a good deal! You can get this at any information booth in the train stations.
TRAVEL TIP: Usually, there are different train cards that you can choose from when you travel to a country. Research on which one you will need. In our case, we just picked the two-day pass because we really are staying for two days in Taipei. Getting a card is a lot more cheaper than buying single ride train tickets.
Our first order of business was to get breakfast at Fuhang Soy Milk. I’m not so sure how we got there because Jeff was the one Googling it, but what I remember is that we took the train and then transferred to another line (blue I think) before we went out and walked.
Fuhang Soy Milk is located at a food court on the second floor. Of course we didn’t know that before we arrived. We just found a string of people queueing and we just followed.
Like what I said, it was on the second floor. It took us about thirty minutes to get to the counter. Jeff kept reading about it and decided we should order the sandwich with egg and something crispy and soy milk of course. The price ranges from TND 35-55. Our total spend here is not more than TND 200 or around Php 350.
Next on our itinerary was Ximending, because why not! Ximending is so much like Myeongdong in Seoul. Like seriously!
We went here because I was hunting for the Taiwanese masks called My Beauty Diary. My friend Jeannine, was raving about it and I know I MUST try it. Haha! You can get to Ximending (or Ximenting) by going to the Ximen Station which is along the blue and green line.
Ximending is Taipei’s shopping district, much like Myeongdong of Seoul and Akihabara of Tokyo. There are shops selling stuffed toys everywhere, street food, skin care, clothing, and more!
I really fell in love with the charm of this Starbucks shop in Ximending. It’s so much like the one in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, but prettier! We spent quite a lot of money here, because shopping hahaha!
After hours of walking in Ximending, we decided to go back to our Airbnb and take a rest. It was so hot in the afternoon with the temperature going up to 28C. If feels like Manila! We also wanted to Facetime with Taglet before we head out again.
By the way, Taglet didn’t seem to mind that we weren’t home for as long as we Facetimed him often. His caretaker told us that he doesn’t cry. The only issues that they had was that he looked for us once in while, dragging her around the house to find us, and he wouldn’t sleep right away. I’m still breastfeeding him now that he’s two years old and seven months and he mostly nurses when he’s about to sleep.
To our surprise, it rained later that afternoon when we went to Brick Works. It’s a Lego themed restaurant that also sells Lego sets. Of course we had to go. It is located at the Taipei Arena. We just had some (expensive) snacks so Jeff could look around. Haha!
IKEA was just around the area, so we decided to drop by (and spend some money hahaha!) hoping that the rain will stop. We got some boxes for my essential oils and Jeff’s Lego bricks, knife sharpener (I don’t know what that’s called!), fridge lock, and of course, meatballs! To our surprise, the rain didn’t stop. No choice but to come home again and change. We also bought TND 99 raincoats at Family Mart because Jeff didn’t want to buy the one at IKEA earlier, which costs five times more. Haha! The raincoats proved to be very useful because it rained the whole day the next day.
Our last stop for Day 1 is Shilin Night Market. That’s where we planned to get dinner. We wore our raincoats and walked in the rain, Jeff in his already drenched rubber shoes and me on my slippers. That was not quite a good idea because my feet almost froze haha!
We didn’t eat a lot. We just had Taiwanese sausages (three pieces for TND 100), Taiwanese sponge cake (one huge cut for TND 100), takoyaki, stinky tofu, and chicken chops. I also asked Jeff if we could go grab some hot tea in Starbucks because I feel cold. I wasn’t able to take so many photos because it was raining and I was afraid that my camera will get wet. Anyway, I would really suggest to that you find that sponge cake because it was so damn good. Like seriously! My MIL will leave for Taiwan in a few weeks and we kept telling her to buy a lot of it. Haha!
I capped off our Day 1 in Taipei with 27000+ steps. Wow, that’s a loooot!
Taipei Day 2
Our second day in Taipei was quite short. We woke up not too early and found this little brunch place near the Shilin station called TWOS Brunch Cafe. I was a little disappointed because they only serve sandwiches. Who eats sandwiches for breakfast?! It was already our second day and we haven’t eaten any rice meal yet! Haha! Their food was not bad, but there’s nothing very special about it.
It was still raining when we headed to the famous Taipei 101 after eating. We didn’t really plan to go up the building. We only went there to exchange money and buy me a Pandora charm haha!
TRAVEL TIP: Exchange enough money in the airport as they don’t have a lot of foreign exchange shops in Taipei.
I only buy Pandora charms in each country that we visit. Jeff also buys me charms on special occasions. During this trip, he bought me the last Alice in Wonderland charm that I don’t have. I bought myself a Chinese lantern charm, because Taipei is technically a Chinese country. So far, I have six charms: Cherry Blossoms murano for our Japan trip in 2016, Disneyland colier and Alice in Wonderland Openwork charm for our Hong Kong trip, Alice in Wonderland Drink Me charm which Jeff gave me on my birthday last year, Letter I charm which is the first letter of my son’s name for our Seoul trip, and these last two that I recently got. I still don’t have a charm from Singapore, which is a great excuse to get a Chinese doll charm hahaha!
TRAVEL TIP: Get yourself something to remember that trip. I really wanted to buy a piece of jewelry from places that we go to, and Pandora being not too pricey is just perfect.
We visited the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall before we went back to Ximending for more shopping. It was still raining at that time and I really loved walking around in my raincoat.
We had to go back to Ximending to buy the stuff that my friends asked me to buy for them. We then headed to Taipei City Mall for pasalubongs. It’s located underground at the Taipei Main Station. We have quite a lot of bags already so we decided to get a locker at the station before we roamed around. It looks something like this, but not really. 😀
Our Day 2 was super tiring! We decided to finally get some rice meal at a Japanese restaurant in Shilin station. It wasn’t so special though haha! Maybe I’m just expecting too much because we’re heading to Japan again at the end of May. We came home, packed, and rested because we have a very early flight the next day.
Our flight to Manila leaves at 9:30AM, so we left our Airbnb at 5:30AM. I asked Jeff if we could take a cab to the airport, but he said it was too expensive. So we took a cab to Taipei Main Station and took the 6AM train to the airport. Sure we had to wake up so early, but it was very convenient! The train line is very new as it just opened, and is specially designed for travelers. The trip took about 30 minutes. We had breakfast when we arrived in the airport and headed to the counters to check in our luggages. We planned to go around the airport to buy more pasalubongs, but their Duty Free was quite disappointing. They have very few selections!
TRAVEL TIP: Taiwan’s airport duty free is very small so don’t think that you can buy pasalubongs here. Get them in Taipei City Mall or Ximending instead.
The flight was a bit delayed, like for 30 minutes. To our surprise, our family friend Vince was the captain of the flight! He is currently the youngest PAL captain. So happy to be in his flight!
We arrived in Manila past lunch time and my in laws were there to pick us up. Taglet was ecstatic when he saw us! He literally jumped at me when I opened the car door!
Here’s a short video of our Taiwan trip.
This trip was Jeff and I’s first without Taglet. At first, I was so scared to leave him. I felt like he’s just going to cry a lot and look for me and my dede. But he didn’t. I was quite sad and disappointed that he was actually okay that I left him. Haha! My son has grown up huhu. I got reminded that before being a mom, I am Jeff’s wife and he’s my priority. I actually had fun not having to push a stroller around! Now that we’ve experienced traveling without our son, I’m quite afraid of our upcoming Tokyo-Nagoya trip. I’m sure Taglet will keep running around the streets of Japan.
‘Til our next trip!