Just got back from our 5-day Taipei trip this early morning. We are a group of 14 pax travelling together doing all by ourselves. It's quite taxing considering the huge group using only MRT, buses & train. This forum has been very helpful to us in searching for information. Thanks to all the Taiwan experts here especially Calicocat who has been very generous & helpful in giving tips & advises. Hope I can return the favor if she's going to Philippines. Here's our trip:
Day 1- Arrive airport past 10pm. Quickly search for the Freego Bus counter to buy tickets to Taipei. It's a pity that the bus don't go to Ximending anymore on this late hour. Luckily, the driver was very kind to help us on our transfer to 3 taxis. Plenty of taxis on this late hour. Charge additional NT$20 for late hour. Freego bus drop us off in Sungchiang Road. Paid NT$150 for each taxi. For the Freego bus, we paid NT$1600. We then check-in Neijiang Hotel in Ximendeng. This is very nice hotel with clean huge room & nice bathroom. Also very comfortable bed. No locks on the bathroom door though. We booked 3 quads NT$2200 each & 1 double NT1280 plus NT$200 on weekends.
Day 2- Collect our Hualien train tickets we booked a day before our trip. Booking for 14 pax is difficult. We had no choice but to take the 8pm trip back to Taipei which is ok but slow Chu Kuang. We had time to stop over a jade store on the way back to Hualien. Our trip to Yehliu, Jiufen & Keelung Miaokou was not a problem coz a friend from Taipei went with us on this day. We skip Jinguashih coz of time constraint. Also the seniors of this group were getting tired. I find Yehliu very nice & Jiufen quite interesting. We took bus from Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal to Yehliu for Yehliu Geological Scenic Park & had our lunch near the park. There's a line-up of eateries on the road near the park. Next we took a bus from Yehliu to Keelung & took another bus from Keelung to Jiufen. In Jiufen, there's so much to eat with food tasting as you go along the way. We didn't go all the way up coz my companions were feeling tired already. From Jiufen, we took bus to Keelung Miaokou for the night market where we took our supper. After eating, we explore the area & took a bus direct to Taipei Main Station plus another MRT ride to our hotel in Ximendeng. A relative in Taipei took us around Ximendeng pedestrian area for food tasting. Plenty of food along the way. We bought bread for next day's breakfast coz the hotel only provides sandwiches & juice. We also got some pineapple cake for some relatives back home. Our Taipei relative took us to Hsin Tung Yang to buy these. Costing NT$150/box with 12 pieces. There's a cheaper one for NT$49/box with 8 pieces.
Day 3-Ride 3-hour train from Taipei Train Station to Hualien. 7am trip arriving 10am. We booked Mr. Lui-lai-fu who was waiting for us on the rear station. Quite a nice guy. We paid him NT$6200 for the 2 cars including a van. Initially we agreed on NT$6000 for 13 pax that includes a kid. He want us to add NT$500 for additional kid but I gave him addt'l NT$200 anyway. We went to buy lunch & fruits first before going to Taroko National Park. He is quite a busy guy with unstoppable calls from clients. In the afternoon, he had to run from 1 group to another so that's the only concern I have. He can't concentrate on us 14 pax already. We had lunch overlooking a beautiful view. Lunch is cheap with huge servings plus yogurt & soup for only NT$60 each.
The final leg of the tour is quite a walk with some of us just waiting in the car. You have to walk for kilometers taking 2.5 hours. Not suitable for seniors who have difficulty walking. At the end of the walk, you will go inside a cave wearing raincoat & barefooted with knee deep water. Raincoat for showers inside the cave. If you don't want to wet your feet, you can walk at the side for picture taking. We took our supper at a local Hualien resto eating delicious wanton soup. Also bought some tasty local delicacy bread with fillings inside. We got to the train station just in time. Back in Taipei main, we had to hurry to catch the MRT which will end at midnight.
Day 4-Went to Wulai this morning. Took MRT to Xindian Station. Then took bus outside MRT to Wulai. Walk to the old street where we had lunch. Took tram NT$50/way to the waterfall. Bought some aboriginal clothing at the top. The cable car to Yun-Hsien Holiday Resort cost NT$200. We didn't take this anymore coz we were press for time. There are plenty of cabs in the area but expensive. We took tram back down & eat lunch. Bought mushrooms along the way & took bus back to MRT. Next stop is CKS Memorial Hall. Nice exhibition hall with free entrance. After this, we took MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station where we had dinner at Sogo Fuxing attached to MRT. Cheap food at the foodcourt with very huge servings that we had difficulty finishing the food. We went outside Sogo. The street is really busy & took some photos. After this, we went to Taipei 101. We took MRT to Taipei City Hall Station. There's a free shuttle to Taipei 101 outside the MRT. I was really impressed with the building & really nice upscale mall with only brand items. Imagine looking at a NT$10 million watch!!! Back to the hotel via same bus & MRT.
Day 5- Visit Yangminshan. Took bus 260 at Ximendeng Bus stop all the way to Yangminshan. Walk quite a bit to Flower Clock. Took some photos. Took another bus to Zhuzhihu for calla lily plantation. It was raining & windy. So cold & freezing so take thick jacket with you. We had lunch at a local resto. Food really cheap for NT$2500 for 10 pax having difficulty finishing food. Rice is eat all you can. Really delicious. We took 2 buses to MRT Beitou Station. From there, took MRT to Danshui Station. Walk to old street for some delicious food & tea tasting. Walk downstairs to Danshui wharf. Plenty of food along the wharf. There's a ferry costing NT$50 each way to Fisherman's Wharf. Or take bus R26. Fisherman's Wharf is nicer than the one found in San Francisco, USA according to my mom who's been there. Really nice for strolling. There are plenty of cafes along the wharf. Also nice bridge. Took same bus & MRT for Shilin Night Market at Jiantan MRT Station. Wish to go to Miramar Entertainment Park for the ferris wheel but the seniors were tired already. There's a free shuttle bus connecting MRT & Miramar. Back to hotel to do some packing. Note to buy EasyCard for MRT & buses within the city. Really convenient. You can refund before your trip back home.
Day 6- We checked out our hotel first. Arrange our Freego airport bus trip for tonight. We had to book this in TS Hotel which is a short walk from Neijiang Hotel. Cost NT$150/pax. Freego Bus doesn't pick up from Neijiang Hotel but only in TS Hotel. I find TS Hotel very nice & clean with free internet in the lobby. More costly than Neijiang Hotel with room rates starting NT$2160. Generous of them to let us wait inside the hotel for our bus to airport. We were quite a huge group with luggages! This day is raining cats & dogs the whole day so it's a difficult day. We went to National Palace Museum via Shilin MRT & bus 255. Entrance fee for group is cheaper at NT$120/head. Some of my companions got bored who's really not keen on museums. Very expensive food inside so better eat outside. Take more than 2 hours to explore. We had a late lunch at FE21 foodcourt @ Ximen MRT exit 3 for NT$130/head. Yummy! Wish to go to Martyr Shrine & Longshan Temple but the rain is difficult. We simply made our way to TS Hotel with our luggages. Last Freego bus trip is 5:50pm so we just took it even if we plan to go to the airport at 7pm. Our flight was 10:55pm. It's a good thing coz the bus was late & stopping at various hotels. We transfer bus at one point. The trip took 2 hours. The driver is not friendly unlike the one we took from airport to Taipei. For those Cebu Pacific Air passengers, get down at Terminal 1. There's a Burger King at the airport for snacks. Also Hsin Tung Yang for groceries. We bought noodles for dinner costing NT$48 each. They provide hot water for the noodles. It's a pity we forgot our guavas from Yangminshan & water at our room in Neijiang Hotel. When we inquired about it, it was already gone. After checking in & immigration, we took a look at the duty free shops & bought some items. Really cheap coz it's tax free. Took the plane & arrive Cebu, Phil. around 1am. Really nice unforgettable trip.