Traveling to a new country can be overwhelming. New people, new place, and new cultures that tend to differentiate from what you are familiar with. For example, in the PH, it’s usual to find prepaid sim cards sold in most convenience stores. But that’s not the case for the other East Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, etc.
Focusing on Taipei travel, let me show teach you the tips I have gained from exploring the city.
Mobile Data and Wi-Fi
Getting a sim card during the day can be difficult as a lot of shops open late. Usually the shops open at around 11am. That’s already half day of no mobile data, not to mention a hassle to you to look for places where they sell sim cards rather than exploring Taipei more! If possible to buy one in the airport for data, or rent before going to Tapei is recommended.
If all else fails, most convenience stores like 7Eleven offer free wifi. The big train stations also offer free wifi, however, I’ve found these more unstable than those of convenience stores. This fact is especially useful when lost or there’s something wrong with your pocket wifi or mobile data.
Their prepaid cards for transportation works well with both trains and buses. I used Easy Card. You can buy this at the airport or any big train stations.
Since buses and trains have strict schedules to follow (unlike the PH, my homeland); Google Maps are the best guide you can have since updates real time. You can even disregard the transportation guide from the itinerary and rely solely on GMaps.
The commute to Shifen is tolerable but the commute to Pingxi is more difficult. I recommend doing DIY trips to Shifen but taking a tour bus is to Pingxi. I used klook to book my tour ro Pingxi. It also included the North Coast tour so that’s an added bonus!
Night Market and Food
Night markets can be very very crowded in Taipei. Take care of your belongings and keep alert.
Street food are a huge deal here. I recommend their dumplings and flame thrown steak. If you’re feeling adventurous, the stinky tofu is a great local cuisine you can try.
Don’t be afraid to ask if the stall or restaurant carries an English menu. It would be helpful for you and your server if you have something to point towards. Non-verbal communication becomes key when you have language barriers!