In 2017, my friends and I were playing with the idea of vacationing in Taiwan for the first quarter of 2018 to explore its countryside. We agreed that if cheap fares become available, then we’ll push through with it. In November 2017, two of us – Melvin and I – were able to book a flight with Cebu Pacific Air for PHP 4,500 (USD 86.95) each pax, no check-in bag included. Days before the flight, we added 15kg of check-in bag for PHP 690 (USD 13.33) each passenger per way. Another friend, Carol, decided to join part of the trip and booked her flight in January 2018.
Another thing to consider when you live in the Philippines and you’ll be travelling out of the country is travel tax. For some airlines including Cebu Pacific Air and Air Asia, this can be paid together with the flight booking. The travel tax costs PHP 1620 (USD 31.30) for economy class passenger, with PHP 80 (USD 1.55) processing fee charged by Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. Passengers can also pay it at the airport, or at a TIEZA office. There’s also an online option using the TIEZA website but this option is currently down. I paid our travel tax by visiting TIEZA’s Makati office last January 2018. The Philippine travel tax applies to the following: (1) Citizens of the Philippines, (2) Taxable foreign passport holders, and (3) Non-immigrant foreign passport holders who have stayed in the Philippines for more than one year.
Taiwan is currently on a 9-month trial for a visa-free entry for Philippine passport holders planning to stay “for the purposes of tourism, business, transit, visiting relatives, attending functions or events” not exceeding 14 days. This initiative started last November 2017 and will last until July 2018. As such, my friends and I didn’t need to secure a visa for our visit in Taiwan.
As I’ve mentioned, the plan was to explore the countryside of Taiwan. However, it will be Melvin’s first time in Taiwan (second for me and Carol), so we reached a compromise of allotting the first 2 days for Taipei instead of heading straight to the other parts of Taiwan. Due to this, Carol just caught up with us on the third day.
The itinerary for our seven day vacation was:
- Days 1 and 2 – Taipei
- Day 3 – Taroko National Park
- Days 4 and 5 – Taichung
- Days 6 and 7 – Kaohsiung
Since I already went around Taipei before, I told Melvin that I won’t be joining him in exploring Taipei and that I won’t be making an itinerary for his two days in Taipei. I just referred him to my go to website, Visit a City, which already has prearranged but customizable itineraries for Taipei (and some other cities in the world). I took care of our itinerary for Taichung while Carol did Kaohsiung.
I’m now back in Manila, trying to recuperate from the cold and cough I got after walking for hours in a cold Taiwan weather with my soaking wet shoes and socks. I plan to make separate posts for each of Taipei, Taroko, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. I hope to share with you soon the fun vacation that my friends and I had. For now, I wish you all a lovely day.
Exchange rate used: PHP 1 = USD 0.01932 / USD 1 = PHP 51.415
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