FAQs about our recent trip to Taipei:
1) Do you need a visa to visit Taiwan?
Filipino visitors with visas to the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, or the European Union can now visit Taiwan without a visa (but I think you have to apply online for an exemption?).
If you don't have those, here are the requirements, check out the Taiwan Embassy website
For those who intend to travel to Taiwan, Republic of China
for a short visit, submit the following:
A duly filled up visa application form which can be downloaded from http://www.boca.gov.tw
Indicate N/A if not applicable
Two (2) passport size photos 1.5x2 with white background (taken w/in the last three months)
Passport valid for at least six months and old passport showing previous travels
Birth Certificate issued by NSO
Marriage Contract (if applicable) issued by NSO
Supporting documents such as:
a) Air ticket or Booking Certificate
b) Letter of permission to leave from the employer
c) Financial statements of the applicant such as:
c.1)Income Tax Return
c.2)Bank Book or Bank Statements
c.3)Certificate of Employment and Company ID
Or Certificate of Business Name Registration
2) How much are the Taiwan visas?
Single Entry: Php2,400
Processing Time: 3 working days
Expedite Fee: plus Php1,200
Processing Time: 1 day
3) Where's the Taiwan Embassy in Manila?
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines
41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1200
Metro Manila, Philippines
Visa Filing Time: Monday to Friday, 8:45-11;45am
Visa Releasing Time: Monday to Friday, 1;45-4:45pm
Personal note: We had a better experience at the Taiwan Embassy compared to the very crowded Chinese Embassy (see my "Travel Visas to China" blog entry). We arrived first, was given number one (yey!), we accomplished the filing and paying in less than 30 minutes (8:45am-9:10am). It could have been faster if the cashier opened on time. =)
4) Was it stinky in Taipei?
There were stinky alleys in the night markets but nothing you cannot take, especially if you've survived (and actually enjoy - we do!) Quiapo and Divisoria.
5) How was the shopping?
It was OK. Based on our limited travel experience, Hong Kong is still the shopping mecca of Asia.
Actually, I was not in a shopping mood while we were in Taipei (I was on tipid-ity mode for the September trip).
If you're into brands, almost all the malls we visited house luxury boutiques. If you're into bargain finds, you'll be excited by the night markets.
I got me a navy summer dress from one of the stalls at the Ximen Pedestrian Area for only NTD380 (around Php500). It looked something like the F21 (Megamall) dress I wanted but didn't buy because it was over Php2,000.
Check out the local store Net, branches may be found everywhere. Got basic shirts, a military jacket and an Alexa-inspired bag from there. Their shopping bags look like Zara's (navy blue paper bags, and Net carried a similar font). Their website: Net
6) How was the train?
Efficient. Clean. On time. Affordable. There are helpful maps all over the stations. It wasn't as crowded as Hong Kong, Singapore or Shanghai (Grabe tao dun! Ramdam ko talaga ang pagiging World's Biggest Population!)
5-min walk from our hotel
Single journey: between NTD20 (Php26) and NTD65 (Php85)
Taipei Pass: 1-day Pass for NTD180; 5-day Pass for NTD700
Green efforts at one of the Taipei City Hall train exits
6am to 12midnight
The train arrives every 4-7 minutes