A May 2005 trip
to Taipei by Kez
Quote: We had an enforced stopover in Taipei, a stopover that was to allow us enough time to see a little of the city. Unfortunately, a very delayed flight curtailed our plans somewhat.
Still, it was a taster to ensure that we would desire to see more of this bustling city.
The old town section is located near the river and still has one of the original city gates. The area is very atmospheric; you could imagine the old-time illicit gambling dens and almost smell the opium. The shops in the surrounding areas where we stayed are an eclectic mix, selling everything from ancient remedies to high-tech mobile/cell phones and computers.
As you can imagine, the city is a gadget-lover’s delight. Even the public phones have technology that has to be seen to be believed. If you are in the market for a mobile/cell phone, this was the cheapest place that we found on our jaunt through Southeast Asia, and the range was incredible.
Shop around for accommodation. At first glance, I was horrified at the cost of somewhere to put your head, but we found a very reasonable hotel in a great location for not a lot of dough.
Don't waste your money on an expensive taxi to and from the airport. The bus service is frequent and inexpensive at just NT, less than , but it can take 1.25 to 1.5 hours. Our bus driver was trying to be helpful and dropped us off with directions to our hotel before arriving at the main bus station, but he was way off mark, never mind that we stepped into a nearby hotel, which rang our hotel, called a taxi, and sent us on our way.
When returning to the airport by bus, make sure that you know which bus station your bus leaves from. Our taxi driver dropped us at the Main Station, and it took some fancy footwork to explain that we needed to return to the East Station, not the Main Station, as this was where our bus left from.
The rooms were comfortable, with fluffy pillows, quilts instead of blankets, a modern marble bathroom, and good security including an in-room safe and card swipe instead of a key for access to your room.
The only drawback was a bit of a musty, closed-up smell, as the windows are quite difficult to open and the nonsmoking room ethos hasn't quite settled in totally here as yet.
Our reservation was handled efficiently, and a credit card was not required to confirm, as they will hold the room until 9pm and later if you advise them of a later arrival.
There are cafés and restaurants nearby to grab a bite to eat.
Taxis to the bus station were cheap, costing about $2, and are easily flagged down along the road. Make sure you have where you wish to go written down, as the drivers we received spoke almost no English.
Unfortunately, as our flight was left earlier, we missed out on sampling the breakfast.
Their website contains a great amount of information on transport, sites, exchange rates, maps, and a host of other useful information. Just have your volume button ready to be turned down ready for the kitschy music, although the site is almost worth listening to it.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 8, 2005
Dong Wu Hotel
258 Yanping North Road, Section 2
Taipei, Taiwan 103
Broadbeach Waters, Australia