Tap, tap, tappin’ on Taipei’s door

Finally, travel.

I was running out of stories to tell, so the trip was both relief – that I’d be able to write about a new adventure, and excitement – as the next destination was a new one for me.

Taipei, I must confess, was not in my bucket list. But you know how fate works; it smoothly weaves whatever it is needs to be done and confronts you. To accept or not to accept, there is always a choice.

I accepted mine.

Taipei was presented by way of an airline seat sale. The airfare was really cheap, cheaper than the regular round trip Davao-Manila fare and having a current US Visa made it easier to obtain an entry permit to the country. I jumped at the opportunity.

Friends who have been to Taipei love the place, the food and the Japanese influence is ingrained in the culture. The last excited me most.

 

Ready to land in Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport
Taipei, Taiwan. Why not?

 

So did the idea of staying at the W Taipei and Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza hotel, my hosts in the city. I have to thank Cassandra Cuevas of Shangri-La Cebu and Fah Supichayangkul of W Bangkok for hooking me up with their counterparts in Taipei.

With a collaborated list of must-do and must-eat from friends plus research materials on my part, I was ready to explore a new place on my own.

Since the first flight to Manila can’t connect to the flight to Taipei, a night in Manila was necessary. Aruga at Rockwell was a wise choice. Care is what they do best.

Before sunrise, I was at the airport to catch the flight to Taipei.

 

Manila Airport Terminal 2 before daybreak
At the Manila Terminal 2 before sunrise. A new adventure kicks off here

 

A window seat is rarely a choice, but on this first visit to a new city, documenting the arrival from air to land was needed (to accompany this story you’re reading).

 

airplane's window seat view of Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan
Asked for a window seat this time to document the arrival in Taiwan

 

Two hours and twenty minutes later I was doing so as the plane landed at the Taoyuan International Airport, the former Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. It’s one of the five airports in Taipei, the largest, busiest, and one of the two servicing Taipei City and Northern Taiwan, with Songshan the other airport.

 

 

Maybe it’s what I wanted to see it or maybe it is what it is, but Terminal 1 arrival hall at Taoyuan had the same vibe as Tokyo’s Narita airport—clean, no crowd and systematic. I like its minimalist look and the modern Oriental ceiling design element that welcomes the natural light in artistically.

 

Interior design of Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1
Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1’s minimal yet impressive terminal design

 

Art installation at Taoyuan Airport Taiwan
I see a Japanese rock garden. An art installation at the arrival concourse of Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 in Taiwan

 

I was offered to try the airline’s pocket wifi, but it never made it to the plane as arranged. The good thing was there were three mobile network booths at the concourse where I was able to secure a local 4G SIM card with free LTE data for five days. I had instant and fast connection to the net to surf and post on social networks, and cheap I might add at P90 per day. How sweet is that?

Immigrations clearance was quick, not to mention the officers were young and very polite. It was hassle-free, the officer just wanted to see the current US visa I used in my application and I had the entry stamp.

It’s always wise to use the baggage claim area to showcase what the city has planned in currently. In Taipei’s case, they are gearing to be a design and manufacturing capital and champion the “Made in Taiwan” products.

 

Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 baggage claim area. So clean.
The baggage claim hall

 

Made in Taiwan is the next big thing
“Made in Taipei”, the design & manufacturing program of Taiwan showcased at the baggage claim area.

 

From baggage claim to bus stop at Taoyuan Airport Taiwan
Clearing customs via nothing to declare. Follow the signs where you need to be.

 

Just follow Taoyuan Airport directional signs to know where you need to be
Systematic. Directional signs to your choice of traspo to the city

 

There are several choices of rides to get to the city—rent a car, hotel service, taxi, train or the bus. The last two are the cheapest means at NTD145, with the bus I see a more convenient since the bays of the bus stop are a few steps away from the door.

 

Bus stops at the lower level of the Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1
The conveyor belt to the lower ground where the buses are

 

to-the-bus-ticket-counters-bays
To the bus ticket counters & bays

 

Bus numbers and schedules at Taoyuan Airport Taiwan
Complete info posted. Ticket counters bus numbers & schedules to your point of destination

 

After locating the counter, I bought my ticket and stood waited for the scheduled bus to arrive.

 

Bus ticket counter at Taoyuan Airport
It’s so much like Japan. Located my bus serivce from the transportation information board, where the bus schedules, ticket counters & bays are posted.

 

Bus ticket to downtown Taipei
Ticket bought NTD145 to town. Bus departs at 10.25am at Bay 10.

 

It was like the system in Japan, my luggage was tagged and was handed a claim stub before I entered the cool interior of the bus.

 

My assigned bus stop at Taoyuan Airport Taiwan
Bay 10. Waiting forthe bus to arrive.

 

Checking in luggage at bus to city center in Taipei
Bag tagged & claim stub received.

 

Tagged luggage loaded at Taipei bus
There goes my lchecked-in luggage. To be claimed at my point of destination.

 

The drive to the city was scenic through verdant mountains and concrete towns. An hour later I had the first glimpse of the city’s iconic tower, the Taipei 101.

 

Bus ride from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei city center
Not a fancy ride, but cool, clean & spacious. The bus ride takes an hour to the city center.

 

Scenic ride to Taipei city center from Taoyuan Airport
Bus ride scenery- verdant countryside alternating with concrete towns.

 

First time to see the Taipei 101 tower from the bus window
First glimpse of the iconic Taipei 101 Tower from my bus’ window seat.

 

W Hotel building in Taipei
And there’s my hotel. The letter peeking through two towers.

 

After three stops in the city, I alighted at the terminus, the City Hall Bus Station. Right beside it was the first hotel hosting me—the W Taipei.

 

Terminus of Bus 1960- the City Hall Bus Station
The City Hall Bust Station, my host hotel, W Taipei, is attached to this building.

 

Knock, knock Tapiei, here I am. Show me your city.

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit ofapplesandlemons.com and jeepneyjinggoy.com

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 + four =