Our 8-Hour Layover Adventure in Taiwan & How We Almost Got Sent to the Wrong Airport

There are two airports serving Taipei: Taipei Songshan Airport & Taoyuan International Airport. They are 35 mins drive away from each other. We are supposed to check in at Taoyuan International Airport for our layover flight back to the US, but our taxi driver, who can't speak English, got confused about which airport to drop us at. And this is what happened...

Getting A Visa to Taiwan

Because we hold a valid US visa, we are able to avail of the Online Application for Entry Permit to Taiwan. You can check your passport/visa's eligibility here. Otherwise, you'll have to go through the normal visa processing.

I love how easy it is. Right there an then, we got our visas after I click the 'Submit' button.

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

Blank Itinerary

A friend mentioned only a handful of locals can speak English and if they do, it'll still be a challenge to understand each other. Hmm... I thought, why don't we stretch ourselves and explore the city with a blank itinerary on hand and less than 8 hours to spare because this calls for an adventure.

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

Look at that! The husband showing all signs of being a tourist. Lol.

The first thing we did after our arrival is head straight to the Airport's Tourist Information counter. Since we had a few hours to sightsee, we focused on one spot to visit -- Taipei 101.

Getting To Taipei 101

We took the airport bus #1819 from Taoyuan International Airport to Kulun Street. From Kulun Street, we walked for a few minutes to find Yuanshan MRT Station to get us to Taipei 101.

Moving around in Taiwan is so convenient. We had lived in Singapore for 4 years and Taiwan's commuting system feels the same. We journeyed the city with ease because we're already familiar with it.

Gosh, it's overwhelmingly tall! It's no wonder, Taipei 101 is the 8th tallest building in the world (as of May 2016).

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover
Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover
Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

Din Tai Fung is a Must!

After getting tired of being tourists, taking lots of photos with Taipei 101 in the background, we headed back to the train station to search for restaurants. Surprisingly, we found a Din Tai Fung. (Nope, we didn't know they have a branch near the MRT station.)

It was during that time I learned that they were founded in Taipei. (I've been dining with them many times now in Singapore and it was of recent that I've learned about this. Boo.) They specialized in mouth-watering steamed dumplings called xiaolongbao and Huaiyang cuisine. It's a must if you visit Taiwan.

There weren't many customers when we came in, hence we got a table immediately. Usually is a long wait. We just happened to be there at the right time. ;)

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

Remember the Airport Story?

On our way from the city, we took the train ride from Taipei 101/World Trade Center MRT to Yuanshan MRT. However, from Yuanshan MRT, we don't know how to get back to the right airport for our flight back to the US. The best choice is to take a taxi.

We told our taxi driver to send us to Taoyuan International Airport, but he got confused. As mentioned earlier, only a handful of locals speak English. People nearby came near to help but it was futile. We are not understanding each other at all. Oh no!

They thought of sending us to the other airport: Songshan Airport. Although, I'm grateful for their kindness, no, not Songshan!

Our redeeming factor was the brochure we got from the tourist information center at the airport. (Be sure to get one. Just in case.) The leaflet contained Chinese characters printed side by side with the English characters of 'Taoyuan International Airport'. Whew! We are saved. Thank God, we made it on time for our flight back. :D

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

How Much Did we spend?

Here's a breakdown.

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

We spent NT$3,930 all in all. That's $120USD. Not bad, eh?

Things To Do in Taipei Taiwan in a Layover

It was indeed a quick layover adventure in the heart of Taipei. We had a great time nonetheless. Thankfully, the misunderstanding got cleared and we were sent to the right airport. I'll do everything all over again in a heartbeat.

Now I'm jovial to have crossed one item on my bucket list. Talk to you soon. ;)