(Transferred from TripsWithUs, our travel blog.)
Starting this blog with a brief introduction of our last big trip together to Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan. The trip was in May/June 2010.
When we decided to go to Taiwan, a lot of planning and research needed to be done. None of us were from, nor know much about the country besides what we learn from twdrama (Taiwanese drama).
Here are a few things that helped shaped our itinerary.
1. Taiwanese Pop Concert
We’re actually big Asian pop concert goers, and we went to one when we were in Hong Kong back in 2005. So for Taiwan, of course we have to go check out some live Taiwanese Pop! Searching for concerts isn’t hard, easier if you search in Chinese of course with terms like “2010 Taiwan Concert”. Most of biggest concert productions are held in the Taipei Arena (臺北小巨蛋). Check out http://www.taipeiarena.com.tw/ for schedule of events and how to purchase tickets.
2. Taiwan Travel Guide Book
This was not difficult either. There’s only 2 main publications out there that have Taiwan travel guide: Lonely Planet’s Taiwan and National Geographics Traveler’s Taiwan. Both of the books have pretty much the same content. A plus with the Lonely Planet one is that they also have the Chinese names along with the key attractions’ descriptions, it’ll be much easier to use to communicate to cab drivers or ask for directions with the Chinese name. But I bought the National Geographic one instead, simply because there were more pictures and printed on glossy paper. Makes it an easier read. =)
3. Taiwan Travel Tours
If you can’t speak the language or have the leisure of someone helping you book, check out Viator. They have a pretty comprehensive list of tours. They’re just a platform that helps you book local tours from local travel agencies. After payment, they’ll provide you with the contact information of the local travel agency. All English-guided tours! But be warned, although all prices are listed in US Currency, they actually help converted the prices for you! That means your credit card company might charge you a foreign transaction fee.
Booking hotels can become difficult because you don’t know where it is best to stay and even worse, if you’re traveling with a budget. You want to stay close to the MRT (Taipei’s Subway System) so that you don’t have to worry about getting a cab. Easiest way is to open up Google Maps or MapQuest, look up the area you would be hanging out most and search for nearby hotels. For hotel reviews, I enjoy going through TripAdvisor for traveler reviews, not really to look up reviews but get pictures of the hotel rooms! So there won’t be any surprises. If you can read Chinese, this TaiwanTalker forum shows you pictures of hotels all around Taipei along with their location maps and prices!
5. Studio Pictures!
Studio pictures are pretty much a popular Asian culture for young girls and women to dress up in glamorous outfits and styles that they don’t normally wear. Who doesn’t want to keep albums of beautifully PhotoShop-ped pictures of themselves? Haha. Popular photo studios can be found from searching the web with the right terms. Here’s a forum opened on TripAdvisor on the topic.
6. Taiwan Touch Your Heart
Taiwan’s official travel website http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/ has tons of information from where to stay, eat, and go!
Remember, they wish to SEE YOU in Taiwan!