If you book an international flight, you’ll most likely land at Taoyuan airport.
Tip: On your way out of Taipei, if you’re leaving from Taoyuan airport, arrive a few hours early to give it a good go around. It’s one of the most well put together airports I’ve traveled from. There are food courts, souvenir shops, money changers, comfortable seats, lounges and even prayer rooms in each section of the airport.
If you’re staying in downtown Taipei, a taxi will set you back between TWD $1000 (CAD $40) and TWD $1300 (CAD $52). I took a taxi to my hostel for no other reason than I wanted to sit in an air conditioned car and not have to think about where to go. It was also the fastest way to get there. Can’t be cheap with everything, right?
The easiest way to reach downtown Taipei is by combining the bus (many of the buses will take you directly downtown) and MRT (subway) systems. Have your address on hand (even better if it’s in Mandarin Chinese), ask someone at the tourist information centre which is the best bus for you and they’ll be glad to assist (something the Taiwanese have become famous for).
Once you arrive at one of the downtown stations, follow the MRT map to your hostel/guesthouse/inn/hotel. This should cost no more than TWD $200 (CAD $8). If you plan on bouncing around from place to place all day, spend TWD $150 for an unlimited MRT day pass.
As a newcomer to certain cities, using public transportation can be challenging, but I strongly advise you to make this a habit. First, it’s always the most affordable thing aside from maybe cycling if the weather allows for it, and walking, which is admirable but also insane depending on the city.
Second, it’s one of the best ways to feel out the city you’re in, which takes you one step closer to being a traveler and not a tourist (big difference). Third, in a city like Taipei, the MRT system is easy peasy—it’s the easiest system I’ve used aside from my hometown of Montreal.
Advice: Make an effort to see more than popular attractions listed by big time sites. This isn’t an attack on these sites. They’re great and I consult them all the time. But there is much more to any given location than popular tourists attractions. Speak with locals about the places they enjoy the most that are still traveller friendly. If there’s a language barrier, find someone bilingual. As a last resort (or first), you can read travel blogs or smaller sites for suggestions. Your future self will be thankful.
Thanks to Drift Away Travel for the content sharing.