Taiwan is a tourist haven, and for good reasons. This country is rich in culture, stunning views, and is inexpensive to visit. It has always been on top of my travel list. Unfortunately, I will not be talking Taiwan’s absolute perks in this article. I talked about all the things that I learned from Taiwan in my #LearnFromTheWorld campaign. This article, on the other hand, is a travel guide on what can be done if you happen to layover in this beautiful country for 2 days and 1 night. If you happen to be into that, read ahead!
Why layover in Taiwan for 2D1N?
First and foremost, why the hell layover in Taiwan for 2 days and 1 night? Well, there are just countries that are great for quickstops, and Taiwan is one of that. Major reason is because Taipei City literally has it all. If you want to explore Taiwan as it is, you actually don’t have to go far away from Taipei. And for people like me, who always travel via Multi-city, I look for these kinds of countries.
11:30am : Arrival at Taoyuan Airport
Unfortunately, I was only able to book a flight that arrives at 11:30am. It would’ve been better if I arrived earlier. The earlier the flight, the better. Immigration took around 30 minutes, so I starved a little, and was grateful that there were many restaurants in Taoyuan Airport. I had my lunch there.
- 4G Pocket Wifi or Local Sim Card
I got my 4G Pocket Wifi for only JPY 350 (PHP 161) from Klook, here. I recommend booking neccessities like this using apps like Klook, because they are usually cheaper. If you buy from stalls in the airport, they are really expensive. Plus, apps like Klook have online support and are paperless!
- Money Exchange, please
It is really difficult to do money exchange in Taiwan after leaving the airport. Take it from a person who went mad looking for Money Exchange stores after she ran out of cash. Haha! So, determine how much you need in advance and exchange all your needed money at the airport.
- Have you booked your Hotel yet?
Of course, you would need to settle down, put your heavy luggage safely because you’re staying for 2 days, right? If you have not prepared for your stay yet, this time would be the perfect time to do so. In my case, I booked my stay 1 month before the travel via Trip.com. I basically book everything for my travels in this app. It’s literally a lifesaver for me. Anyway, below is where I stayed in Taipei for 1 night. It’s very accessible, cheap, and comfy. I definitely recommend it you.
JPY 1,335 (PHP 614)
*It’s a bedspacing service. Go and meet instant friends!
12:00 : Settle in your Hotel and power up!
Since my hotel is very accessible via Train, I of course, took the train to Cheers Loft. I am really impressed by their Railway System, by the way.
Route: Airport Station – Taipei Station – Ximen Station
Cost: NTD 170 one way (GMaps)
Took a lot of time to find Cheers Loft because it is just a floor inside a condiminium, so email me if you want some directions. I unfortunately don’t want to make this article longer as it already is. Eventually, after 15 minutes of looking for it, I finally found and settled inside.
I am such a fan of sleep, so for the rest of the afternoon, I just slept and powered up for my planned trip to Ximending and Shilin Market in the evening. I really hate doing sightseeing when I’m tired. I will absolutely not enjoy it, so I prefer to rest first. But, if you want to start your sightseeing right away, I would recommend that you visit either Beitou, Tamsui, OR Jiufen for that whole afternoon.
18:00 : Ximending and the famous Toilet Restaurant
I finally woke up, and since my hotel is just at Ximending, I roamed around the shopping district at 6pm. It was really fun roaming around Ximending at night. The whole place is lighted up, is clean, looks safe, and the stores are countless. Shopping in Ximending is really a pleasure. It’s a legit shopping district. Good for those who have lots of money for shopping, but I don’t, so . . .
One thing not to miss in Taipei City is the famous Toilet Restaurant. There, I had my dinner literally from a food placed in a toilet bowl.
Cost: NTD 490 for all
And the dessert? Served in a toilet squatter. Haha!
21:00 : Have fun at Shilin Market
Shilin Market is the most popular night market in Taipei, so I really expected a lot from it. When I got there, I was kind of disappointed that there were not many shopping stores in it.
What’s in Shilin Market?
1. Stores for games, like gambling and the likes.
2. Souvenirs Stores
3. Lots and lots of street foods
4. MILK TEAAAAA!
Route: Ximen Station – Taipei Main Station – Jiantan Station
Cost: NTD 40 one way (GMaps)
Some delicacies I bought from this very nice lady who knows Tagalog.
And here’s a cute kid doing her best catching fishes. Haha!
So that’s all for my first day. I went back to the hotel at around 10:30pm and made sure to sleep until 10am the next morning. Yes, I’m that kinda person. What can I say?
11:00 : Set out!
Since I woke up at 10am, my whole morning has been offered to rest, chill, and sleep. But if you are an early-riser, I suggest you spend your morning in either Beitou, Tamsui, OR Jiufen. That is enough time to visit those places roundtrip.
For me, I slowly prepared at 10am, then checked out from my hotel at 11am. Travelled to Taipei Main Station to meet with some friends for lunch, and also to drop my luggage in a Locker.
Route: Ximen Station – Taipei Main Station
Cost: NTD 20 (GMaps)
Locker: NTD 30 per hour for huge luggages
13:00 : Walk around Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial is an absolute must-go place in Taiwan. You just can’t miss this symbolic place. Entrance is for free.
Tip: It’s really hot to visit this place at this time. It was a mistake of mine to not consider the hotness of the weather. I suggest that you visit this place around 4pm. Perhaps visit this after the Taipei 101 below.
Route: Taipei Main Station – Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Station
Cost: NTD 20 (GMaps)
What I really appreciate about this place is that, they were able to use it up until now for local and national events. It’s not just a cold empty museum. Plus, they were able to conserve its glory and form at the same time. Kudos to Taipei City for taking such a good care of it.
14:30 : Selfie with Taipei 101
Another must-go place is the once called tallest building in the world; Taipei 101.
Tip: I personally did not go inside the building. I didn’t do the usual Taipei 101 Observatory tour, because for me, I felt like there’s nothing to see there, except if you want to see Taipei’s aerial view, which I am not interested of. Plus, that tour is usually jampacked with people, and it takes a lot of waiting time. So what I did was just go to this nearby park, took some photos with the building, and relaxed there for a while, because it’s such a quite green openspace.
Route: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Station – Taipei 101 Station
Cost: NTD 20 (GMaps)
It may no longer be the tallest building in the world, but it is the tallest building I have seen by far, so you can just imagine how starstruck I was. Moreso, I really appreciate how it showcases Taiwan’s culture in its architecture.
16:00 : Free Time spent Shopping in Ximending
At first, I was thinking of going to either Beitou, Tamsui, OR Jiufen for this free time that I have, but I decided to not risk the chance of missing my flight, which was at 10pm that night. So, I just went back to Ximending and did some shopping.
Route: Taipei City Hall Station – Ximen Station
Cost: NTD 25 (GMaps)
I only have one negative comment for Ximending. The prices are really expensive. Well, maybe for a broke person like me.
I really think that everything’s there in this shopping district. It’s very huge. Many restaurants are around. Plus, brands are here. It’s crazy. Even shrines are also situated here.
18:30 : Travel back to Taipei Main Station
I travelled back to Taipei Main Station to get my luggage and eat dinner there.
19:30 : Travel back to Taoyuan Airport
And so, I went back to the airport. I am very careful when it comes to the time during my travel, so I always prefer to be at the airport 1.5 hours or more before my flight.
And also, I didn’t forget to return my 4G Pocket Wifi to Klook’s airport stall. Don’t forget that as well!
And that’s my whole Taiwan layover adventure! Nothing much? Or just right? Do you have suggestions? Drop them in the comment section below!
What I really love about Taiwan is that, it is very inexpensive to travel there. Even though it is such an advanced country, it is totally affordable. Such a great country to travel to.
For your reference, below is my Summary of Expenses, plus some tips.
- NTD 372 : Hotel
- NTD 525 : Local Transportation
* Everthing is accessible by train, and their train fare is very cheap. Just go by train always.
- NTD 740 : Food
* The biggest food expense I had was from the Toilet Restaurant, which was NTD 490. Other than that, food meals are usually at around NTD 200 only if you eat out.
- NTD 1250 : Souvenirs and Shopping
*I bought a lot. Don’t be like me. Haha!
- NTD 98 : 4G Pocket Wifi
- NTD 210 : Locker fee for 7 hours
* If you can travel around with your luggage, the better. Or if your luggage is smaller, you will only avail the NTD 20 per hour locker, so you can do that instead.
* The only station with lockers is the Taipei Main Station.
NTD 3195 in total
Some Tips and Tricks
- My flight fare for this trip is actually for FREE.
A little background why it’s for free: I came from Nagoya, Japan and is on my way home to Cebu, Philippines. Direct flights are more expensive, which are usually JPY 20,000 – JPY 50,000 one way. So I booked via Multi-city mode, because I know those paired flights are cheaper. I was able to book Nagoya-Taipei-Cebu for only JPY 20,904, which is one of the cheapest flights from Nagoya to Cebu, plus, I get to control the time of my Taipei-Cebu flight. Since I’ve always had this plan of visiting Taiwan, I didn’t mind the JPY 11,485.09 additional expenses when I dropped by Taiwan for 2 days and 1 night.
- If you have a plan of visiting Jiufen, might as well stay there for the night.
This is one mistake that I wasn’t able to consider when I went there. That’s because I didn’t know about Jiufen before I came, so I booked that hotel from Ximending. If I have known about Jiufen in advance, I would’ve stayed the night in that lovely place.
- I think Shilin Market is overrated. I don’t know about the other Night Markets, but I was really not impressed with Shilin. I suggest you don’t prioritize it.
- Public Bicycles are available!
If you want to bike around the city, there are public bicycles for rent.
- Day Tours in Taipei? YES, I totally recommend!
Search for “Taipei Day Tours” here to find the tour fitting for your schedule.
And that’s a wrap. I personally want to go back to Taiwan just for Tamsui and Jiufen, because I really regret not being able to visit those beautiful places. Not that big of a deal tho, so maybe someday if I’ll be given another chance to layover Taiwan, I’ll definitely go straight there. For now, I am just thankful that I found this great deal and was able to visit Taipei City, because I really think that Taipei City showcases majority of what Taiwan is about. It feels great to finally meet it.