Guide to Taipei & Taichung : Tips to plan for your Taiwan Free & Easy Trip [Part 1]

By 11:00 PM

Hi there! :D
Today I will be sharing on my Taiwan  (Taipei + Taichung) itinerary and some tips to aid you in planning for your free and easy trip! I will be sharing about where I've bought my air tickets, accommodation options, where to rent your Pocket Wifi device in Singapore for unlimited data usage overseas, Taiwan driver recommendations and also the places to go to for shopping, eating and photo-taking!^^ 
1. Air Tickets
 I've booked my flight to Taipei via Scoot and got it for approx S$300 nett (FlyBag includes 20kg baggage to & fro). It was pretty cheap as I bought it at a 1 for 1 deal via UOB credit card promotion by Scoot. So, if you are looking for cheap and affordable tickets to Taipei, you might want to keep a look out and stalk Scoot's Facebook page for any upcoming promotion!
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2. Travel Insurance
You can book it via Scoot or other insurance companies. For me, I've book via MSIG insurance for my Mum & I. This will set you back by approx S$50 for the Premier Traveller Shield (booked without any other promotions). So similarly, to achieve the best deal, you will want to look out for the different credit card and insurance companies promotion via mailers or Facebook pages.
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3. Accommodation
As this is not my first trip to Taiwan, I was more open to trying more interesting yet affordable and clean places to stay!^^ This round, we did not stay in the usual hotels, but opted for Airbnb options (except for Cingjing) :D I'm so glad we did that as it was more affordable and just felt so comfy to stay there! Of course, not all of the Airbnb options are up to our expectations but there was one which I highly recommend all to try. I will elaborate more in a separate post (to be updated^^). Here's the pictures of the three places we stayed at during our trip:
{Cingjing - Dream Forest Villa}
{Taichung - Taichung Venice Suite}
{Taipei - Mini's Home} *BEST Airbnb experience so far!*
Total accommodation expenditure: ~S$880 in total for 4 people (5 nights) which works out to be about S$220 per person.

You can sign up for Airbnb and get your $33 bucks voucher here ^^
www.airbnb.com.sg/c/cteo123?s=8
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4. Data Connectivity / Wifi
After booking your accommodation, next will be data connectivity issues! :p That is a very important part for every single free and easy trip. I am a Wifi addict and seriously find it really hard to survive without Wifi. Haha.. I feel that especially for free and easy trips, having data connection will save you alot of trouble. You can use whatsapp or line to contact the accommodation owners, Google Maps to search for your next destination, and even Skype with your family as well as updating Facebook & Instagram on the go~
For this, I will recommend renting this portable wifi device from VisonData! :D
PS: It's pretty small and easy to carry around.
Yup, I did not need to rely on the lousy wifi connection at some of my accommodations and definitely came in handy especially when the apartment we rented in Taichung had no wifi at all! In addition, you would not need to worry about losing your sim card and bringing sim card adaptor etc. This is what I will bring out with me everyday when I was in Taiwan ^^ (including my passport & a portable charger with the different cables not featured here)
And of course, the unlimited data is one of the main draw for me!^^ No worries about exceeding the data usage like I did when I last went to Taiwan and bought the prepaid SIM card instead (had to top up the value and search for the shops to do so >.< too troublesome). No worries about streaming videos, uploading videos, photos on the go! The connection was great (comparable to the 4G network in SG lol)! Download and uploading speed was fast! Didn't really experience any downtime while using the wifi device even when we were high up in the mountains at Hehuanshan chasing the sunrise.
Oh yes, as I was travelling in a group of 4, this wifi device definitely works out to be the most viable & economical option! We did not need to purchase four prepaid sim cards (would have cost a bomb :x and there's no unlimited data) haha.. Even my Grandma was using her Xiaomi to whatsapp my uncles the pictures we took!^_^
Here's some tips on using the wifi device:
VDSG also offer rental services or powerbanks (that's the one in blue & white) for only $2/day
The power bank has a capacity of 8400 mAh with two outputs (1.5A/1A) and one input. It also indicates the percentage of battery left once you switch the power bank on.

How many times can a device charge using the powerbank? 
It depends on the battery capacity of the device as some needs more than the other. So for average devices (with battery capacity of 2000 mAh), the power bank can charge the device up to 4-5 times.

Based on our experience, the device could last for at least 6 hours before we need to charge it with the portable charger. We connected approximately 5 devices to the wifi router. :p

How to connect?
Simply on the wifi device. Then flip over to the back of the wifi device and you will see the wifi network name and password. Locate the wifi network on your phone/tablet's wifi menu then key in the password. Then you will be automatically connected!^^

How much does it cost?
You can refer to this link: http://www.visondata.com.sg/index.php#pricing for more details :)

How to order?
Ordering process is simple as item will be couriered to the designated location two working days before traveling (extra costs required). Alternatively, you can also choose to pick up item from VDS office (at IMM building)

For more details & queries~
Website: http://visondata.com.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VisondataSG
Email: enquiry@visondata.com.sg

Thank you Visondata SG for sponsoring the wifi device for my Taiwan trip, which also explains why I was actively posting on instagram (@chloetwl) hehe!^^
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5. Chartered Driver
If you are travelling in a big group, or if you are travelling with the elderly/ bringing young kids along, you might want to consider these two Taiwan driver recommendations I have for you!^^
I have messaged several Taiwan drivers to enquire on their rates before I booked with Mr Liu.
(not sponsored/ given discounts to advertise for them :) Just a review from a truly satisfied customer.)
Here's Mr Liu & me :D
Requested a picture with the kind uncle before we bid our farewells! He was really nice to us, trying his best to fulfil all the pre-arranged itinerary and adding in a few local food places which sold really cheap & good food! Just check out the yummy food below! We wouldn't have been able to try this local delight if not for Mr Liu's recommendation :D He even went to order the food for us and ensure that we had seats in the crowded eatery.^^
Furthermore, he bought fruits for us when we were at the strawberry farm. Thumbs up for the service! He was also really patient sharing with us on the different places we drove past. Personal tour guide hehe!

Really regretted not booking for his chartered taxi for the first day up to Cingjing and to the Lushan Hot Spring as well as travelling within Cingjing itself. We got "ripped off" by some other unscrupulous taxi drivers when we were at Cingjing. Bad experience. Drove for less than 3 minutes, charged us 200 TWD despite the road to our minsu was being blocked and asked us to climb up the hill on our own.  At the very least, he should have gave us a discount. Argh.. These kind of drivers seriously are not the kind you will want to engage. 

Mr Liu and his company of drivers are worth considering if you are thinking of hiring a driver for your Taiwan trip :) I felt that he was very honest when quoting me the prices and did not attempt to rip me off like some other drivers whom I have contacted. The cab that he drove us in was also pretty comfy for 4 and definitely could fit all our luggages in :D 

PS: You will want to think of roughly which places of interests you want to visit before messaging them to ask for a quote :) As inclusion of certain places of interests might cost more due to the distance covered.

Here's Mr Liu's namecard:
As for the one day chartered tour in Taipei, Mr Liu arranged for another driver Mr Chen to bring us around as he had other bookings beforehand and could only fetch us for two days :)
Mr Chen was also really friendly and prompt in fetching us, arriving 10 mins earlier than the stipulated time. 

The good thing about hiring a driver to bring you on a tour would be the flexibility to change your plans and their personal local recommendations on souvenirs to buy as well as things to eat :) Thanks to Mr Chen's recommendations at Jiufen we managed to try lots of yummy food! And also, he helped us to lug our shopping bags back to the taxi. So we shopped around Jiufen without the heavy shopping bags of tea & pineapple tarts etc. Really thoughtful service hehe! He even took some group pictures for us using his phone and forwarded to me at the end of the trip^^ Personal photographer! What more can we ask for? :D

Here's Mr Chen's namecard:
Total chartered taxi expenditure for 3 full days was approx S$570 which works out to about S$190 per day. Given the distance covered, service rendered and convenience factor for us and especially my Grandma, it was definitely worth my moolahs!^^

As this is a pretty lengthy post, I will be covering the itinerary and places to visit in Part 2 of my Guide to Taipei & Taichung ^^

Hope that the tips mentioned above will help you to plan your wanderlust trip to Taiwan!

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34 comments

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Chole,
      Agreed with you that this driver Liu is very honest man. My sis also recommended this uncle;)

      Delete
  2. I wanted to book Mini's home for my trip in June but its not available. Boo!:( Please upload your part 2 soon.. I am still planning my itinerary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for taking so long dear! Work and other commitments have been taking up too much of my time. Thank you so much for the support thus far!

      Delete
  3. hi, Thanks for sharing the tips. I would like to travel free and easy to Taiwan, your post sharing is awesome. where do you book the suite in Cingjing - Dream Forest Villa? May I know where can I find your part 2 post. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi dear, i booked the Dream Forest Villa online via this link: http://www.dreamvilla.com.tw/. You can email them to check :) Sorry for taking so long dear! Work and other commitments have been taking up too much of my time. Thank you so much for the support thus far!

      Delete
  4. As per the rest here, might I know where in part 2? Anyways, if you wish to check out various sights in Taiwan, could see the huge collection of photos at http://www.hotelsandphotos.com/in-photos-taiwan-2015 Happy traveling and stay safe! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Chloe,
    Does Mr. Liu or Mr. Chen take booking for trips up to a week? Or are they just for one place?
    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Jasmine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi dear, think you can contact them via email or whatsapp for further details :)

      Delete
  6. Hi. how did you create ur blog which website ? mind sharing ? really love your blog <3

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi, thanks for the tips! Is it possible for you to update on your Part 2 for the trip? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for taking so long dear! Work and other commitments have been taking up too much of my time. Thank you so much for the support thus far! :)

      Delete
  8. Hello Chloe, I saw your blog and contacted the driver Mr. Liu. I contacted him on the 4 Feb 2016 and started our conversation. Our last conversation was on the 6 Feb 2016. Since then I didn't get any respond and reply from him via WhatsApp anymore. It is very dangerous to engage people like him. Because during the communication stage is vitally important. This is because if the driver cannot communicate well during this stage, he cannot do a great job on the actual day. He is like suddenly gone now. Imagine if I decided to engage him and he is gone suddenly. The term "gone" means uncontactable. Is a comment from me Chole for you to consider removing him from your list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelvin,

      Thanks for the honest feedback! Sorry to hear that there's some communication breakdown. Probably you could try to email him? He might be busy due to the CNY period? :) Not too sure what's the reason but based on my personal experience, i did not experience any communication breakdown and he was pretty responsive. Therefore, I will not remove my review of Mr Liu as it was based on my experience as of 2015. Hope that you will understand :)

      Delete
    2. I have engaged Mr Liu also in 2015. He is a good driver and did not complain nor rush us even though we have exceeded our time.

      Perhaps you can contact him through here http://airfne.com/listing/taiwan-mr-liu-劉大哥/

      There are also other drivers listed in the website but I have not engaged them before.

      Delete
  9. I've read several blog posts to plan for an upcoming trip to Taiwan and found yours the most detailed and applicable as I'll be travelling with my grandma too, so thank you so much! Kind of bummed that there's no part 2 as many parts are left hanging :( hope you've not planned to give up writing part 2!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for taking so long dear! Work and other commitments have been taking up too much of my time. Thank you so much for the support thus far! Nope, i do not plan to give up writing Part 2, will try my best to get it done by these two weeks! Sorry to keep you waiting!

      Delete
  10. Hi Chloe,

    Can you kindly share the link of your airbnb apartment?
    I'm planning one to taichung and taipei

    Hope to hear back from you soon !

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi! Would like to know if you paid the driver on the day itself, or it is prior to your trip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi :)

      We paid the chartered driver on the day itself. Hope this helps!

      XXOO,
      Chloe

      Delete
  12. Hello, for the chartered driver, did you pay on the day itself, or way before when you booked your trip? thanks

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi :)

    We paid the chartered driver on the day itself. Hope this helps!

    XXOO,
    Chloe

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Chloe Thanks for the great review. You chartered the driver for the entire trip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eva,

      Thanks for the support! :) Nope i did not charter for the entire trip/ Probably about 75% of the trip. We travelled via the mrt when we were in Taipei (except for places like JiuFen & Pingxi area :))

      Hope this helps!

      XXOO,
      Chloe

      Delete
  15. Just back from taiwan! Thanks much for the tips. I stayed at dream forest villa in cingjing too. Love their cats, the bbq service and the games room!

    Nicole
    Blogs @ Shinyvisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi dear!

      Thanks for the support! :) I love your blog too!!

      XXOO,
      Chloe

      Delete
  16. HI Chloe thanks for sharing your experience, I like it especially the visondata which is very useful to everyone traveling. I will get one when going to Taiwan trip in this coming November with my 3 best classmates cum friends. We have already booked our airtix and now need to do some planning. Thanks dear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Winnie

      Hi dear! Thanks for the support! Glad you find the tips useful! Hope you will have an enjoyable trip ^^

      XXOO,
      Chloe

      Delete
  17. This page is very helpful. Thanks for posting!
    sharing my experience

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Chloe! Thanks for sharing part 1 and still waiting for part 2 with excitement. Planning to take my mom there and hence, your beautiful blog is indeed helpful. I love your blog..so lovely! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you very much for sharing information that will be much helpful for making coursework my effective.

    ReplyDelete