anybody from taiwan? need travel advice.

Discuss about travelling to or living in another country.
warmpi
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:07 am

anybody from taiwan? need travel advice.

Postby warmpi » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:15 am

so i'm going to taiwan in a few days for the first time ever.

is there any advice you'd give to an asian who doesn't speak a word of mandarin?
(e.g. how to not get ripped off, how to not get food poisoning, etc. etc.)

thanks!

User avatar
habukie
AiRen
AiRen
Posts: 1649
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: away

Re: anybody from taiwan? need travel advice.

Postby habukie » Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:23 pm

warmpi wrote:so i'm going to taiwan in a few days for the first time ever.

is there any advice you'd give to an asian who doesn't speak a word of mandarin?
(e.g. how to not get ripped off, how to not get food poisoning, etc. etc.)

thanks!

i'm not from taiwan, but i've been there many times. of course, i have the advantage of being able to speak mandarin. however, i was once there with several other people who weren't able to speak mandarin at all or not well. so if you have any questions, i may be able to help you.

i think the most important thing to mention is that the people in taiwan are extremely friendly to foreigners...especially if you look like a foreigner. some of the people i mention who weren't able to speak mandarin were able to travel the island by themselves, sometimes with the kind help of locals.

however, you mention that there might be concerns of getting ripped off. if you don't speak the language, then you'll definitely be at a disadvantage when bargaining for prices. what can you do? not much. unless you bring a local to help bargain for you, they'll smell blood in the water, so to speak. even i had problems, because they could hear my accent. the best thing to do is to go to places with fixed prices as much as possible. however, sometimes you might see something from a sidewalk vendor that you want. well, just do your best to bargain.

you also mention concern about food poisoning. taiwan used to have a huge problem with hep A, but they've taken steps to decrease the problem. one thing you'll notice is that many places use plastic utensils and paper plates. it seems bad from an environmental standpoint, but the good thing is that it cuts down on the transmission of diseases that might come from improperly washed utensils/plates. so you can be proactive and try to only eat at places that you see are using disposable silverware. the other thing you can do to be proactive is to just look at a place before sitting down to eat. i once was eating at a "restaurant" and after sitting down and ordering, i noticed that there were dogs climbing all over the other tables and chairs. needless to say, i was expecting to get food poisoning, but luckily nothing happened.

you didn't mention how long you would be there, but it might be worth it get an easycard. you can use this card when traveling on bus or by MRT, so it is very convenient. speaking of the MRT, i think it's a very easy way to travel to be able to see all the touristy sights, and even some non-touristy sights. also, every stop has its name in english clearly written, and they announce it in english at every stop. it's a little harder, but not impossible, to travel by bus.

another concern is that you will be going during the summer season, which is extremely hot. i don't know where you're from, but it may surprise you just how hot and humid taipei can be. and not every place is air conditioned, even in taipei and especially if you travel to smaller cities. so be sure to stay hydrated and look out for places that have air conditioning. you may very well have to stop for a while in one of those places to eat shaved ice or something.

warmpi
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:07 am

Postby warmpi » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:21 am

thanks for your reply

ya from what i've read and heard, it's going to be smoking hot. so i'm guessing it'll be strictly shorts and t-shirts? (i'm a guy btw).

i hadn't heard of the easycard, but i'll be sure to look for it when i get there. as per the bus, i think i'll just go the safe route and stick a map in front of the busdrivers face and point to stuff.

generally the tap water isn't good to drink though right? better off boiling?

and ya i'm hoping to buy some electronics while i'm there (it is taiwan after all, right? heh). phones, or even a laptop maybe. do you know where the best place would be to go without getting ripped off?

doudoujane
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:27 pm

Postby doudoujane » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:39 pm

Hi! I'm from Taiwan. :lol
It's good to see people being willing to visit Taiwan and not saying anything too bad about it. :-)

I guess I might be able to help you or even be a tour guide if you'd tell me more detsils about your trip. :-)

User avatar
habukie
AiRen
AiRen
Posts: 1649
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: away

Postby habukie » Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:44 pm

@warmpi: yup, i'd expect you to be living in your shorts and t-shirts, and taking breathers in air-conditioned shops.

as for transportation: i don't know if i'd recommend buses for you if you'll have to resort to the map thing. first of all, you'd have to know which bus to take. many bus stops have more than one bus, and unless things have changed, they aren't in english. in addition, the signs don't have maps on them, just a line detailing the route and stops. here's an example. but if you're staying somewhere where people can help you by telling you which bus you need to take...hopefully someone will help you by telling you which stop to get off. the MRT is very convenient unless you want to visit some out-lying areas.

for food/water: i don't know where you'll be staying, but a lot of places have water coolers - with cold, room and hot water. i don't know cause i've never stayed in a hotel, so maybe they'll have them and maybe they won't. in that case, you'd probably be better off buying your water/drinks. it's pretty cheap anyways, and there are convenience stores and drink vending machines everywhere. btw, don't forget to visit the night markets. the major one to go to, of course, is Shilin, but you can also visit Gongguan or even Xi Men Ding. i don't know where you're living, but all these locations are easy to reach by MRT. and they are a part of the Taiwan experience. :-)

for electronics: i can't really help you there, since i've never really bought electronics. i do know that it won't be cheap. i remember trying to buy a cellphone with some friends, and they just wanted a cheap one to use. even with a calling plan, it was pretty expensive. computers will be in chinese, i believe. but you might find something you want. :-) if you want to make sure you're not getting ripped off, it might be better for you to go with someone or to get it from a reputable store.

gixo
Fansubber
Fansubber
Posts: 875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:22 am

Postby gixo » Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:56 pm

warmpi wrote:thanks for your reply

ya from what i've read and heard, it's going to be smoking hot. so i'm guessing it'll be strictly shorts and t-shirts? (i'm a guy btw).

i hadn't heard of the easycard, but i'll be sure to look for it when i get there. as per the bus, i think i'll just go the safe route and stick a map in front of the busdrivers face and point to stuff.

generally the tap water isn't good to drink though right? better off boiling?

and ya i'm hoping to buy some electronics while i'm there (it is taiwan after all, right? heh). phones, or even a laptop maybe. do you know where the best place would be to go without getting ripped off?


I visited Taipei quite often so I know some nice places.
There is a place in Taipei where you can buy electronics like DVD-players etc cheaper. However it's a place where most of the things have no price tags and where you have to bargain. It's the MRT stop before Sogo coming from the main station. But if you don't speak Chinese I would recommend you to go to the department stores to electronics. However that place is really nice to buy Chinese and Japanese VCDs/DVDs. They are cheaper compared to the department stores and the variety is bigger.
As for food you should be careful at the beginning and bring along some medicine against diarea (sorry, not sure about spelling). Just to be sure. i love the food from the night markets etc. But these places are not the cleanest. Luckily my stomache is really healthy.

User avatar
habukie
AiRen
AiRen
Posts: 1649
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: away

Postby habukie » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:56 pm

^^gixo, you sound just like my parents. :D they always say that if your stomach is strong, then you'll be able to eat in the night markets without a problem. i've never had a problem eating at the night markets or anywhere else in taiwan (and i've eaten at some shady places) but i agree. you should take some medicine with you, just in case. and also, as i mentioned, be cautious of what you eat. try new things, but if it doesn't look fresh or well-cooked, stay away.

as for that electronics place, hmm...the stop before sogo. sogo's stop is 忠孝復興 (zhong xiao fu xing), right? so the stop before that would be 忠孝新生 (zhong xiao xin sheng). that sounds like a good place to go. i wish i'd known about it the last time i was there. :roll

gixo
Fansubber
Fansubber
Posts: 875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:22 am

Postby gixo » Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:46 pm

habukie wrote:^^gixo, you sound just like my parents. :D they always say that if your stomach is strong, then you'll be able to eat in the night markets without a problem. i've never had a problem eating at the night markets or anywhere else in taiwan (and i've eaten at some shady places) but i agree. you should take some medicine with you, just in case. and also, as i mentioned, be cautious of what you eat. try new things, but if it doesn't look fresh or well-cooked, stay away.

as for that electronics place, hmm...the stop before sogo. sogo's stop is 忠孝復興 (zhong xiao fu xing), right? so the stop before that would be 忠孝新生 (zhong xiao xin sheng). that sounds like a good place to go. i wish i'd known about it the last time i was there. :roll


haha, next time you know where to go. hehe, maybe we are there the same time. who knows?
yes, it should be the stop 忠孝新生. And I think you have to leave at exit 5 or so. But I am not sure about the exit. You have to ask. Oh and if you want to go to a night market, be sure to visit "wu fen pu". it's even bigger than "shilin"

yeah, if you have a strong stomach you can enjoy all the food in Taiwan. It's so yammy. Expect for "stinky tofu". it's disgusting. (once I smelt it at the street and started to eat backwards, how can people actually eat this and call it delicious? :scratch: ) The thing is that a lot of my friends who weren't accustomed to so much Asian food spent about 2 weeks at the toilet 'coz the stuff you get there is not as clean as in most of the Western countries.

:offtopic:
@doudoujane
you are from Taiwan? Hmmm... if you have some time could you give us a hand sometimes with some tranlslations we are having? Pink-Mafia-FS is translating a TW-drama and we could need some extra-help with Taiwanese slang sometimes.

doudoujane
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:27 pm

Postby doudoujane » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:53 am

haha, next time you know where to go. hehe, maybe we are there the same time. who knows?
yes, it should be the stop 忠孝新生. And I think you have to leave at exit 5 or so. But I am not sure about the exit. You have to ask. Oh and if you want to go to a night market, be sure to visit "wu fen pu". it's even bigger than "shilin"

yeah, if you have a strong stomach you can enjoy all the food in Taiwan. It's so yammy. Expect for "stinky tofu". it's disgusting. (once I smelt it at the street and started to eat backwards, how can people actually eat this and call it delicious? :scratch: ) The thing is that a lot of my friends who weren't accustomed to so much Asian food spent about 2 weeks at the toilet 'coz the stuff you get there is not as clean as in most of the Western countries.

:offtopic:
@doudoujane
you are from Taiwan? Hmmm... if you have some time could you give us a hand sometimes with some tranlslations we are having? Pink-Mafia-FS is translating a TW-drama and we could need some extra-help with Taiwanese slang sometimes.

Hey I live near Wufenpu! :-)
I'm in Xinyi District; the nearest MRT station is Houshanpi.
But the actual name of the night market is Raohe St.
I never get sick after eating the food in night markets...
My stomach is strong or maybe I'm just lucky, hehe.
And you forgot a must-go, Taipei 101.
You have visit it before it is no longer the tallest building. :lol

I haven't watched TW-drama for about 4or 5 years...
But I guess I can help with slangs.
You need to tell me how it works and what I can do for you. :-)

User avatar
habukie
AiRen
AiRen
Posts: 1649
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: away

Postby habukie » Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:14 am

@doudoujane: it sounds like you're right in the thick of things. you're so lucky to live there. :-)

hmm...you recommend Taipei 101? if i had to choose, i'd say that the places to visit in Taipei are (in no particular order):
1. National Palace Museum - i love the jade section. and the story about how the treasures got moved around until they ended up in taiwan is pretty nice as well.
2. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
3. Night Markets - great food and shopping. need i say more? good ones that i've been to are Shilin and Gongguan. i'm not sure if you can count Ximending as one...but it's a good area for shopping and entertainment as well.

other places to go if time permits:
1. Danshui (Tamshui) - it's a nice place to take a stroll
2. Hot springs - Peitou has some nice ones.
3. Temples - there are many in Taipei, but some bigger and more touristy than others.

doudoujane
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:27 pm

Postby doudoujane » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:31 am

So you don't like Taipei 101 at all? :O
I didn't know about it...
Maybe it's just a spot for common tourist groups.
That's fine anyway because I hate that place personally; something terrible happened to me there.

gixo
Fansubber
Fansubber
Posts: 875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:22 am

Postby gixo » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:55 am

doudoujane wrote:Hey I live near Wufenpu! :-)
I'm in Xinyi District; the nearest MRT station is Houshanpi.
But the actual name of the night market is Raohe St.
I never get sick after eating the food in night markets...
My stomach is strong or maybe I'm just lucky, hehe.
And you forgot a must-go, Taipei 101.
You have visit it before it is no longer the tallest building. :lol

I haven't watched TW-drama for about 4or 5 years...
But I guess I can help with slangs.
You need to tell me how it works and what I can do for you. :-)

Just check the Chinese speaking thread from time to time. I post some Chinese phrases/words of which I am not sure there. Another way to do it would be to send you the files and my translation and you just fill in the blanks. That would be even easier coz I don't have to type in Chinese.

Taipei 101 is ok. It has some nice shopping possibilities around the area there. Love the bookstore there.

The national Museum in Taiwan is great. I like the ivory miniatures there. So tiny but also so detailed.
Another nice place to visit is ... :scratch: forgot the name of the place. It's southern from Taipei, it's on a mountain and it has a lot of pretty onsens/ hot springs.

User avatar
Wattstax
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: Schwerin

Postby Wattstax » Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:38 pm

Sorry, but what is Taipei 101?

The most important question for me is always the Hotel, because the flight is expensive, so I would like to save money in staying there. Do you know, if 2-star-hotels are good enough? I looked on asiarooms.com but the reviews are mostly from business travellers. What troubles me most is the fact, that many hotels doesn't seem to have any english-speaking staff :-(

habukie wrote:
in addition, the signs don't have maps on them, just a line detailing the route and stops. here's an example.

:crazy: That looks demoralising.
"I once said 99 true words, no one believed me. I once said a single lie, everyone believed me. From then on, I realized that we are living a life full of lies." - Bump Off Lover

gixo
Fansubber
Fansubber
Posts: 875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:22 am

Postby gixo » Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:49 pm

Wattstax wrote:Sorry, but what is Taipei 101?

The most important question for me is always the Hotel, because the flight is expensive, so I would like to save money in staying there. Do you know, if 2-star-hotels are good enough? I looked on asiarooms.com but the reviews are mostly from business travellers. What troubles me most is the fact, that many hotels doesn't seem to have any english-speaking staff :-(

habukie wrote:
in addition, the signs don't have maps on them, just a line detailing the route and stops. here's an example.

:crazy: That looks demoralising.


Taipei 101? It's just the highest building in the world (right now)

Can't help you with hotels, sorry.

User avatar
Wattstax
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: Schwerin

Postby Wattstax » Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:03 pm

gixo wrote:
Taipei 101? It's just the highest building in the world (right now)

now that you mention it - Please excuse my ignorance.
"I once said 99 true words, no one believed me. I once said a single lie, everyone believed me. From then on, I realized that we are living a life full of lies." - Bump Off Lover

User avatar
habukie
AiRen
AiRen
Posts: 1649
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: away

Postby habukie » Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:37 am

hi Wattstax! are you planning on visiting Taiwan? i'm sorry, i don't know much about hotels, since i've never stayed in any there. however, if you're worried about english-speaking ability of staff, you might consider staying at the International House in Taipei. it's mostly for foreigners who are studying in Taiwan. so you won't be alone there. or maybe some international hostels or ymca?

as for the bus system, i think you're quite right to be worried. however, just be comforted by the fact that most of the major attractions can now be accessed by the MRT. and if you do go somewhere where you need to take the bus (eg Palace Museum), i'd suggest that you figure out which bus to take first (either through a travel book or your hotel staff). and also maybe have one of them write up something like a card, so that you can show it to the bus driver to let him know where you want to go. though i think the stop for the Palace Museum should be pretty easy to spot, it'll be the place where all the other tourists get off. :D

User avatar
Wattstax
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: Schwerin

Postby Wattstax » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:21 am

Yes, I plan to go there. Hopefully next Year (although I'm moving soon and already promised a friend to go to Korea. I can see my money fly away...). Travellers Guide is already bought but I think I will experience Taiwan it by coincidence. Go there where your feet will take you :)

I personally would prefer a hotel, because I don't like to share the bathroom with lots of different people. In London I stayed in an Hostel and you can't imagine how it looked there. Never again.
International House sounds good. Do they have a internetpage with further information because I can't find it.

Thanks for the tip of following the biggest crowd but I practised this already very often :)
"I once said 99 true words, no one believed me. I once said a single lie, everyone believed me. From then on, I realized that we are living a life full of lies." - Bump Off Lover

User avatar
habukie
AiRen
AiRen
Posts: 1649
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: away

Postby habukie » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:29 am

here's what i found: http://www.geocities.com/soho/6271/ihmain.htm
it doesn't list the rates or anything...and looking over the site, it seems like they are very much geared towards students. the people i know who stayed there were students as well, so i don't know if they will welcome travellers. but i guess it doesn't hurt to ask. :-)

oh, and as for your non-directional travel: go for it. :thumright: i know people who were non-Chinese-speaking who were able to get around the island fine. they often received help from locals, sometimes paid outrageous prices, but all-in-all had great fun. :D i'm much more of a planner-type person, so that doesn't fit my style. i like to know where i'm going and staying ahead of time. :roll

User avatar
kylagurl
Fansubber
Fansubber
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 4:42 am
Location: on top of the star
Contact:

Postby kylagurl » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:20 am

habukie wrote:here's what i found: http://www.geocities.com/soho/6271/ihmain.htm
it doesn't list the rates or anything...and looking over the site, it seems like they are very much geared towards students. the people i know who stayed there were students as well, so i don't know if they will welcome travellers. but i guess it doesn't hurt to ask. :-)

oh, and as for your non-directional travel: go for it. :thumright: i know people who were non-Chinese-speaking who were able to get around the island fine. they often received help from locals, sometimes paid outrageous prices, but all-in-all had great fun. :D i'm much more of a planner-type person, so that doesn't fit my style. i like to know where i'm going and staying ahead of time. :roll


Haha, I think it's possible that no one ever visits this thread again but I'm just trying my luck. Habukie, you mentioned you never stay in hotels. Why is that so? You're taiwanese but living in US/Canada? That's the impression I get of most people on d-addicts. They are asians but they live in US/Canada or some other european countries ahha...

I might be going to taiwan end of july/start of august for a few days. It's a stopover on my way back to Singapore from USA. Wow, I spent so much money... The expression to use: All my money fly away, inspired frm one of the posts above aha.
Dun cry because it is over :thumleft: ... Smile because it happened... :) Everything happens for a reason. :blink:

User avatar
Wattstax
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: Schwerin

Postby Wattstax » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:37 pm

I will revive this thread, because I now booked a trip to Taipei for February 2010 (06.02-11.02.)

I already found some attractions in Taipei (101, Zoo, Yangmingshan, Night Markets) but are there any nice One-Day-Trips outside of it? I like hiking and beautiful nature.
Do you know, if I can get the easycard at the airport or hotel?
"I once said 99 true words, no one believed me. I once said a single lie, everyone believed me. From then on, I realized that we are living a life full of lies." - Bump Off Lover

ali_sen
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:30 am
Location: US

Postby ali_sen » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:58 pm

Two decent day trips:
Yingge, the city of pottery... there is a great pottery museum and you can make something yourself. Its quite famous.
Also Yilan is a VERY worthwhile day (or overnight) trip. It's famous for fabulous hotsprings but there's several nearby attractions and museums nearby that are worth seeing. It's a gorgeous place for hiking, as well.

zenitse
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:08 pm
Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Postby zenitse » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:35 am

You've already mentioned Yangmingshan. I didn't go there (although I had intended to) but I think it can be a nice day trip exactly meeting your requirements - hiking and nature.

When I was in Taipei I did a one-day trip to Jiufen (which can be combined with Jinguashi) and Keelung. Another day, we went to Danshui (terminal station of MRT), you can visit the markets, we had an enjoyable relaxing walk and you can also visit other places by a ferry there. It is also popular for watching sunset over the sea.

And if you can get up very very early, visiting Taroko Gorge in one day from Taipei might be possible too. It's wonderful. However, it is probably better to stay in Hualien when visiting Taroko.

You may also check out on Yehliu (I didn't go there either but it seems to be popular and is not far from Taipei).

User avatar
Wattstax
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: Schwerin

Postby Wattstax » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:51 pm

Thanks. Yilan and especially Yehliu seem to be very nice. Hope to find the right bus though. :scratch:
"I once said 99 true words, no one believed me. I once said a single lie, everyone believed me. From then on, I realized that we are living a life full of lies." - Bump Off Lover


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest