When I take long-haul flights, I usually like to include a long layover in a stop-over country. This is an easy way to add another country to your travel itinerary. I mean, why not get a small taste of a new country before heading off to your final destination?
With my last trip to the Philippines I flew with Japan Airlines and had a 15hr layover in Tokyo, which was a lot of fun, so I decided to find a flight that had a minimum 15hr layover in another country. After some research I came across Eva Airways, a Taiwanese Airline, they had a 15hr layover in Taipei on the flight going to the Philippines – this was perfect as I’ve never been to Taiwan before.
Once my flight was booked, I dug a bit deeper and found out that the Taoyuan International Airport provides free half-day tours of Taipei! #winning
They have a morning tour (8:30am – 12:30pm) and afternoon tour (2:15pm – 6:15pm), both visit different locations. With that said, the only bummer is that you can only take one tour during each stopover.
Morning tour stops
Qingshui Zushi Temple
Sanxia Old Street
Yingge Ceramics Old Street
Afternoon tour stops
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall & Memoiral Park
Sightseeing from the bus – Taipei City Government, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
My flight arrived in Taipei at 5am and my next flight departed at 8pm, so figured it would be best to take the morning tour and I wasn’t disappointed! It was nice to see some of the Taiwan landmarks. The best part about the tour is that you don’t have to go back with them at the airport after the last stop. I was able to leave the tour and do some of my own sightseeing. This gave me a chance to experience their transit systems and see some other landmarks such as Taipei 101.
During my 15hr layover, I exchanged about $100 CAD which gave me about $2,287 TWD. I actually used all of the cash during my layover to eat and buy small souvenirs. In terms of cost, Taiwan isn’t the cheapest (not like other countries in Asia; i.e: Singapore). Purchasing a meal is comparable to what it costs for a meal in Canada. For example, we purchased two beef brisket soups for $11 each, which is pretty costly as in Canada we can get beef brisket soup for $7 each.
I highly recommend doing this tour if you have a long layover in Taipei. There are some limitations to participating, so if you’re planning to do a stopover in Taiwan and want to take advantage of their free half-day tour make sure to check out this website for all information.
Honestly, I think Taipei is one of the most underrated destinations in Asia. It’s an amazing city, not too crowded, less expensive than other cities in Asia (i.e. Manila) and is tons of fun with an abundance of delicious food. My stopover has definitely given me a little taste of what Taipei can offer and I cannot wait to be back.
Although, the one thing I wish I did was visit the Shilin Night Market in Shinlin District, Taipei, Taiwan. It’s said to be one of the largest and most famous night markets in the city. If you love food then you MUST visit the Shilin Night Market.
Until next time Taiwan!