Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Solo Trip to Taiwan: Taichung . Day 1 . 24 Jun 2013

Why are you flying to Taiwan alone? Seriously alone?! Those were the questions my friends/relatives asked when they found out about it. Some said that I'm crazy, some said it's cool and some were impressed with my 'bravery'. Yup, I booked the air ticket and hotels, planned the itinerary etc, everything on Saturday morning (22 Jun 2013) when the haze condition was really terrible (PSI > 300) in Singapore due to the slash and burn activity in Indonesia. I could not stand breathing in the contaminated air and my throat was so sore that I just want to get out of Singapore. HOWEVER, the haze condition got SO MUCH BETTER in the afternoon and persisted till today (hailing in the west lol, 25 Jun). Oh well, I've already booked and I've been wanting to travel alone for a different experience. So Taiwan here I come!!

I couldn't sleep the night before the flight on Monday (24 Jun) as I was feeling very nervous about flying alone, afraid of all the possible unforeseen circumstances and I'm going off for not just a few days, but almost a week (6 days), ALONE. =( With a heavy heart, I boarded the plane in the morning at 8.55am, Changi Airport Terminal 2, to Taipei. 

TR2994: SIN-TPE 8.55am Flight
I was sitting next to an old couple who were going to Taipei to visit their daughter. The grandmother next to me spoke to me and touched my hand, asking me to be careful in Taiwan alone. =') Felt so touched that I wanted to cry. The flight was around 4.5h and it was a smooth touch down, 20min ahead of schedule. (Y)

Taoyuan Internation Airport


The most important thing when one is travelling alone - Handphone, to remain contactable. If you land at Terminal 1, exit immigration, turn left and walk straight all the way, turn left again upon seeing Subway, and you will see Chunghwa Telecom. I bought their SIM card at NT 300, including 5 days unlimited data usage and NT50 call value (NT 8.80 per min to Singapore). 
Lunch, NT 49 set I bought from Hi.Life

There're lots of electricity plugs in the airport, around the bus terminal
There are a few buses going straight from Taoyuan Internation Airport to Taichung, however I only chose between  KuoKuang Bus 1860 and UBus 1623 as these are the only two buses that will stop at Taichung Railway Station (台中火车站). It was already 2.20pm, KuoKuang 1860 schedule was 2.25pm, 3.25pm; UBus schedule was 2.25pm, 2.55pm, so I took UBus 1623, NT240. 

Ubus 1623 - NT240 from Taoyuan International Airport to Taichung Railway Station

Bus Interior: Very comfy seats!
Can holder on the bus for you to put your drinks! Oh look at the beautiful sky :)

This was really very picturesque - many blocks of buildings and a long bridge
You can never see this in Singapore
The bus ride was supposed to be 2h10min, but it's near 2.5h when I reached my destination. Throughout the ride, I was very emotional when I looked out of the window. The sky was really gorgeous, blue sky with many white clouds. I didn't see this in Singapore for a week due to haze and finally I'm seeing it. Of course, the sky in Taiwan is nicer than Singapore at all times, given the best conditions. I couldn't control my tears as I realized how blessed we were and how a negative change in weather condition could affect everyone's life. I really do appreciate all the good weathers now. Please stop the fire in Sumatra and hopefully our neighbour will stop this culture once and for all. It's affecting both Singapore and Malaysia on a yearly basis - health deterioration, economy costs, to a huge extent. Health is always more important than money. 

Cityinn Plus Taichung Branch is situated behind Taichung Railway Station. One has to walk through the underground pass to the rear of the station. Once you've exited the station, walk straight and turn right, you'll see the hotel (orange panels). 

Main Entrance of CityInn Hotel Plus Taichung Station Branch
The staffs were very friendly and the checking in process was pretty fast. After 8h of traveling from Singapore to Taichung, I was really exhausted... The hotel room was so welcoming, clean and nice! The snacks and drinks in the room (Dorito, Tea, Coffee & Mineral Water) are all free of charge. =)


Carpet and leveled wood flooring
Queen sized double bed

Bathroom

FOC (Except the cups and boiler of course)
The view out of my room's window was quite nice too, overseeing the railway station and the buildings behind. 

View from hotel room
Not forgetting the nice corridors of the hotel!! I stayed at level 10, the highest level. 

My Room


Cute Ukuleles

My initial plan was to go Feng Chia Night Market on the first day, but the bus journey to the night market will take approx. 1h and it's already 7pm+. Thus I changed my plan and headed off to Yizhong Street. There're many buses going to Yizhong street from Taichung Train Station. Took bus 55 and dropped off at National Taichung University of Science and Technology (國立台中科技大學), NT20. 

Moving off to Yizhong Street, OOTD

Yizhong Street






Long queue
Singaporean mind set: long queue = nice. Thus I joined in the queue and got myself one packet of chicken chop, NT 55.

Yummy chicken chop


原味烙饼 NT 25


Fried Mushrooms!!! NT 35 <3
Lemon with Jelly NT40? (don't really rmb the price)
One bad thing about night markets in Taiwan is that it isn't easy to locate a toilet. I went into Chungyo Mall, the only atas shopping mall in Yizhong Street and the toilet was so well designed!

Ladies' in Chungyo Mall
I didn't buy anything and was really tired so I've decided to call it a day. Took a bus back to Taichung Train Station at National Taichung University of Science and Technology (國立台中科技大學). 

National Taichung University of Science and Technology (國立台中科技大學)

Bus ride back to hotel
Day 1 alone was not so bad. Was very emotional at the start but it gets better after awhile. Wish me luck for the rest of my journey!!! =)


More on Solo Trip to Taiwan:
Day 2: Taichung 
Day 3: Taichung to Taipei
Day 4: Taipei
Day 5 & 6: Taipei

69 comments:

  1. I went solo to Taiwan too.. visited Kaohsiung, Taipe and neighbouring places.. It is really an experience traveling alone and taking care of myself :-)

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    1. I went Kaohsiung, Kenting and Hualien before too. Those were with friends though. Yup, traveling alone was a whole new different experience! :)

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  2. Sometimes travel alone is good cos you don't need to accommodate or rely on others.

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    1. Yup I agree. Will learn to be more independent as well. I would encourage everyone to go for it at least once in their life. =D

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    2. thank you for sharing on your trip!! im considering a trip to taichung thus found this blog.

      i totally agree with your comment! travelling alone gives you time to discover yourself and time to observe life and nature all around too. hopefully one doesnt get too hooked up and connected to their mobiles. Just be more cautious and avoid dangerous neighbourhoods or isolated places esp for female solo travelers!!

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    3. Hi Edwin! No worries. I hope you do visit Taichung to discover a more 'local' side of Taiwan. Yea, avoiding dark corners will be fine for female solo travelers. Cheers!

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  3. I'm comp-tempting if i should travel alone cause my friend who is suppose to go with me pull out the last min... :(

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    1. Hello, it's a little disappointing to hear that but this could be your chance to travel alone. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I think you should give it a try. Just make sure that you will be well connected - having a phone with Taiwan sim card, preferably with data plan so that you can check google map in case you got lost. Don't worry, Taiwanese are very warm and kind people, you will be fine. :)

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    2. Hi Lynne can you share which sim card you bought? :)

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    3. Hi Daphne, I bought it from ChungHwa Telecom. The details were mentioned right in the paragraph just after the 2nd picture (Taoyuan Intl Airport) of this post. =)

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    4. Oops I just realized it really is in your blog post. So sorry I didn't read carefully. I know how annoying it is to have to repeat oneself when all the details are there... So I do apologize! I really enjoyed your blog posts.. Read thru them all to get ideas of what to do and where to go in Taipei. :) Thanks for writing in such detail.

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  4. May I know which camera u used for this trip? Im going to get a camera since i think iphone is not good enough, looking for a cheap but good one :)

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    1. Hi, I was using Canon S100. It's a semi pro camera so the pictures taken are pretty decent. I bought it at about $450 during IT Fair as S110 already released when I got my S100 so it's slightly cheaper. I would advice you to invest in a slightly better camera if you love to take pictures. :)

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  5. Hi,
    I'm also planning to travel alone to taiwan too...after finishing my final exams..
    can check with you..for the cityinn hotel plus..how much is the stay for 1 night?
    i'm on budget..hehe

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    1. Hi Wei En, good to hear that you intend to travel alone. It's not an easy decision. It was about SGD 70-80 a night. Cityinn is not exactly a budget place so if you wanna save on some cash, maybe you can try out hostel? You can meet people from different countries in hostel too. However if you prefer to go for comfort, Cityinn would be a great choice. :)

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  6. Hi Lynne, I've been procrastinating to go for my 1st ever solo trip. Lots of considerations went through my mind. However after reading through your experiences, I decided to book my air ticket right after this. =)

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    1. Hi Javier, I'm glad to hear that. You will definitely reflect and learn some valuable things throughout your solo trip. All the best! :)

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  7. Just chanced upon your blog when I was searching for itineraries in Taichung! Applause for a great decision to travel solo! :) I've always believed in travelling solo at least once in my life, although I haven't done it yet hehe.

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    1. Thanks Sheryl! Yup, you should do it while you are young!! It would be unforgettable. =)

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  8. Hi,

    am embarking on my taiwan trip next week and would like to know more about other attractions besides the Sun Moon Lake. will be staying in a hostel in Taichung too. Oh and is the bus from taoyuan airport direct to Taichung railway station the best way to travel? where do you buy the tickets?

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    1. Hi Jarrold, I only inserted Feng Chia Night Market, Taichung Metropolitan Park, Yi Zhong Street and Taichung Station in my itinerary. You can visit "http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0002112" to see other attractions in Taichung. Taking bus (Kuo Kuang 1860 or Ubus 1623 at NT 240) is hassle-free as it's a direct transportation but it will take longer than trains. You can purchase the tickets at the bus terminal at the basement of Taoyuan Airport.

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  9. Hi Lynne,
    found ur blog while searching for taichung. always been contemplating going on a solo trip to tw or korea but have too much considerations.
    good job for your great decision!!

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    1. Hi Sherine, thanks! Both Korea and Taiwan are safe destinations for a solo trip. Do not hesitate anymore, just go! :)

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  10. Hi there Lynne. Reader from Malaysia here. Have been thinking about going to Taipei alone for quite sometime already. But kept postponing due to this mind set. Will a hijab wearer solo traveler be safe there. Hihi. Am going to give it a try this Oct. Taking lots of points & tips from ur blog. Tq so much for sharing.

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    1. Hello Bibie, no worries! Taiwan is recently ranked 2nd on the list of the world's top 10 safest countries to live, according to Lifestyle9 (US based fashion & lifestyle website). You will be absolutely fine in Taiwan. :) However, Taiwanese can not speak English very well so I would suggest you to maybe learn/print out the common words, address, road names and stuff if you do not understand Chinese. Don't hesitate anymore, book a ticket and go! =D

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  11. Hi, Lynne~ Your entries has become one of my great reference for my trip to Taiwan next year xD~
    I personally am quite particular of accommodations, I would really prefer comfortable lodgings like Cityinn~
    Is SGD 70 - 80 the lowest rate per night for all accommodations like Cityinn?
    I tried to look up the bathroom at Cityinn, i realise that the toilet door is transparent, can the person bathing be seen through to the door from the bedroom?

    Thanks =) ~~~

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    1. Hi WenYi, thank you for your trust in my posts. I'm glad that my travel experience could help you in your future trip to Taiwan. I guess if you want to stay in better and comfy hotels, the price range would be S$70-80. The toilet door is not transparent, it's just translucent. Probably can see the shadows but definitely cannot see through. Don't worry. :)

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  12. Hi, Lynne

    I am going taiwan in Nov 2014. Around Taipei area only for 6 days.

    May i know where is the accomodation you may recommend?

    Thanks.

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    1. Hi Kiat Siong,

      Of all the 4 times I've been to Taipei, I stayed around Ximending area. I would recommend Hotel Puri and SWIIO Hotel. Kingshi hotel was not bad too if your budget is slightly lower. Otherwise you can try amba hotel which is always full whenever I try to book. Please avoid Happiness Inn as I didn't really enjoy it.

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  13. Hi Lynne

    Am embarking on a solo trip to taichung and Taipei this coming weekend and ur blog has been my inspiration... Can I check why did u choose ubus instead of Kuokuang? Is it more comfy? I'm scooting to Taipei so my flight will reach very early so I decided to bus there as it can 'waste some time' and I can rest on the bus for 2hrs...

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    1. Hello Rebecca! Thanks, I'm glad to hear that. I chose ubus purely due to the schedule of the bus as I didn't want to wait too long for the next bus by Kuokuang. I've not tried Kuokuang before so I couldn't actually compare but I guess both service providers won't differ too much in terms of comfort. Yea, Scoot's flight arrive very early in Taipei. I'm in Taipei now actually! Might bump into you. =p Enjoy your trip!

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    2. thanks for the reply.... such a coincidence... yup, who knows we may just bump into each other... Have a great trip too :)

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  14. Hi nice blog, I been to Taichung few times, usually I prefer to alight at ChaoMa which is nearer than Taichung railway station and is much nearer to FenJia University where my hostel is.

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    1. Hello, thank you. :) Icic but I was staying nearer to the stop that I alighted I think. I'd probably stay somewhere else the next time I visit Taichung. Thanks for your comment.

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  15. Hi Lynne,

    How was the weather like in oct?planning to bring my 1yo kid this end oct together with my family..shopping wise will there still have summer clothes selling or mostly winter clothes?Thanks!

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    1. Hello,

      Depending on which part of October you are going. Early October weather will be around 20-29 degrees, where you should be able to find summer clothes (limited though). If you are going in late October, the temperature may drop to below 20. There's will be a mix of both winter and summer clothes but the selection for summer clothes will not be as much as compared to May-August.

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  16. Hi Lynne,
    i'll be going on end oct maybe ard 19-24th oct..heading to taichung & taipei..that time u went do u still see much selection of summer clothings or limited..and also,did you experience any typhoons when u are there?i'm still hesitating whether to bring them on june or aug..thanks!

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    1. Hello, I've been to Taiwan for 5 times and was lucky not to experience any typhoon. You may check online for weather forecast to determine if the weather is desirable for you to bring your kids there. Cheers.

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  17. Hi Lynne,

    I am heading down to taipei and taichung next week. It's my first time there so your blog is really thorough and good for my planning.I wanna ask if its possible to take the Kuo-kuang bus/ HSR/ metro with a huge 15kg luggage? Do they have a allocated place for you to put your barang barang?

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    1. Hi Joe, I'm glad that my blog has helped you in your planning. Yes! Kuo-kuang bus has a storage for you to place your luggage, the bus driver will help you with it. What I did was that I sat on the window seat on the side of the storage opening, to check if anyone mistook my luggage when they alight. It's common to see people holding on to their luggage on the trains. Don't worry too much and hope that you will enjoy your trip!

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  18. Hi Lynne, just want to check with you is there any possibility to do day trip to Taichung from Taipei?
    Thanks.

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    1. Hi Connie, yes it is possible but I would recommend you not to as traveling to Taichung is pretty time consuming and the night markets are more happening at night that you would want to spend your night time at.

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  19. What makes you want to be a solo traveller?

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    1. I wanted to experience travelling alone and was curious how difficult it would be mentally/emotionally. This is my only solo travel trip and I never regret doing it as it's a great adventure exploring my favorite country as well as my senses. If you ask me if I'd do it again, I may. =)

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  20. Hi Lynne! how are you? greetings from new jersey :) im just wondering if you would recommend traveling alone to taiwan if you dont speak mandarin? Taiwan is really on my bucket list as i heard many great things about it and witnessed how beautiful it truly is through taiwanese dramas :P lol The only thing stopping me from traveling to taiwan is the language barrier. I speak english and can understand minimal mandarin after taking CHN 101 for a semester, which is basically kinder/grade-1 mandarin. Thank you so much in advance, i really appreciate it. Although im not traveling there any time soon, im hoping in the near future i will be able to :D

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    1. Hello! I'm good, thank you. If I were to do solo travelling for the first time, I will not go to somewhere that speaks the language which I can't understand. However, it sounds like you have been to many places by yourself and I'd say give it a try, given that you are able to understand kinder/grade1 mandarin, which is good enough. The fun part of travelling is to encounter the unexpected! Taiwanese are really friendly and helpful. Also, the teens in Taipei (North of Taiwan) are able to communicate in English as well, though not 100% fluent. I'd recommend you to print out your accommodation names, addresses and places where you wish to visit in Chinese. They can be helpful when you are lost and wish to ask for direction. Hope that you'll visit the lovely country in the near future! Feel free to approach me anything if you have more questions. :)

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    2. Thank you so much for your response, it helps a lot. It really is hard to go somewhere that speaks a language you can’t understand but like you said its part of the experience. I haven’t really traveled alone, but with family, yes and i can say traveling to a place that is unfamiliar is frustrating but its totally worth it in the end. I haven’t really had a chance to explore on my own as i am still a student but im planning to be able to study abroad in china for a semester, and the university is only about an hour or so away from taiwan by plane. This would really be the perfect opportunity to visit Taiwan, so i hope everything will work out :) Is it okay for me to email you if ever i have further questions in the future? and thank you again, I really appreciate it :D

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    3. You are welcome! Well, if you are going to study in China for a semester, you can probably visit Taiwan at the end of the semester where you have a better grasp of mandarin which may boost your confidence as well. Feel free to drop me an email at lynnechua1@gmail.com if you have more questions. =)

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    4. Thank you thank you! You're an awesome person :D i really am thankful for the help and i'll sure email you once and if ever i get closer to this dream to study in china and visit taiwan :) i hope everything will eventually work out cos its also expensive so im hoping to find scholarships to help me through it hehe

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  21. Hey! I'm arriving at taipei airport at 1am what options are there to get to the city travelling alone...?

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    1. Hello! I'm not sure about getting into the city with public transport at midnight as I've never arrive this late before. You can probably take a taxi? It'd cost about NT 900-1000 to get into Taipei.

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  22. Hi Lynne, Clara Here. i have a few question to ask.

    1. where does the U bus stop at ?
    2. how you travel from the bus top to the cityinn hotel plus
    3. how to travel around taichung. :)

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    1. Hi Clara!

      Qn1&2) U Bus stops at somewhere near the Taichung Railway Station. I did ask for direction to the railway station when I alighted from the bus. It's a very short walk. As mentioned in my post above, at the Railway Station, "walk through the underground pass to the rear of the station. Once you've exited the station, walk straight and turn right, you'll see the hotel (orange panels)."

      Qn3) I took buses to travel around Taichung. For example, from my hotel to Yizhong street, I took bus 55 from the bus stop at Taichung Railway Station. I mentioned all the bus numbers that I took in this and the next blog post (day 2). =)

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  23. Hi,
    I wish to confirm the Bus you ride from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung, did they have the luggage storage compartment at below for passenger to put big luggage (24"-28" bags) ?

    Like those Airport bus to Taipei cities, the driver will tag our luggage bag before place on the allocated storage area.

    Mandy

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    1. Hi Mandy, yes they do have that. The driver will not tag it but he will help you with the luggage. I sat on the right hand side of the bus so I could observe if anyone took my luggage on mistake.

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  24. Hello! I was planning on a solo trip, but all my friends said it's dangerous even for taiwan :(. So I googled and your blog came up first in the search.
    You're very brave! & your blog posts helped me in planning my trip (if I were to go successfully) THANKS!

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    1. Hi there! Taiwan is very safe! Haze was the push factor to help me get out of Singapore for my solo trip back then but I was glad that I did it. Thank you and I hope you will go and try it on your own. =)

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  25. How did you deal with the accommodation when almost everywhere only provides a room for 2 (price also for 2)?

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    1. Hi, yes that was the pain because I chose to stay in hotel and I was paying for a room which could be divided between two people. You can choose to stay in hostel which would be cheaper but I prefer to have the privilege of my own space so I paid for a hotel room. Just use several websites for comparison and find the rate that you can accept.

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  26. Hi Lynne! Happy to find your blog as i'll be solo travelling to Taipei this oct too. 1 out of 5days will be in Taichung visiting a friend! Everyone was saying i'm crazy too but i don't think so. I love the experience! I had a solo trip to Phuket in 2014(but this was really spontaneous and i too had a heavy heart because... well it's not exactly a safe country afterall lol) I feel that i need some serene times to unwind myself from the fast pace of Singapore.

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    1. Hello M, I am happy for you to be brave enough to go on a solo trip! Wow, Phuket is another level! I hope you will enjoy solo-traveling in Taipei, this time round you can be rest-assured that you will be safe! Just avoid the dark areas, low crime doesn't mean no crime (like Singapore). =) I feel like going on another solo travel too, but I didn't have the time to do so. Hence, relax and have fun in Taipei!

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  27. I am an engineer of software,I lived in Taipei, If you need local tour(No charges , in order to learning English),please let me know.(hunter1124@gmail.com)

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  28. Hi Lynne, im gonna travel solo to taiwan soon and i came across your blog. It's my first time travelling alone and i cannot believe it im doing it! Hahaha anyway how much did you roughly spend for 6 days? Im planned for 6 days too. And it will be a budget trip, so yeah.

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    1. Hi Mich, I spent about SGD 1.2k in total for the 6 days. Taiwan isn't expensive so don't worry about it! All the best and have fun for your first solo trip! :)

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  29. Wow.. $1.2K for 6 days.. haha..
    U really gd saver and great recommendations 😀..
    I went taipei last time 7 days $2K, great that saw your post for great deals .. thanks.. 🙄

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    1. Thanks Jensen. $2k for 7 days is actually decent, you must have enjoyed yourself. =)

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  30. Some benefits of travel:


    1 - It makes you feel relaxed.

    2 - It's a good chance to see another country.

    3 - It helps you to learn a foreign language.

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  31. Hi Lynne, I'm going to finish my exam soon and I'm contemplating if I should travel to Taiwan alone before I enlist cause it's been very long since I last travelled cause of my parents busy work schedule. I can't manage to arrange time with my friends to go with me. Would you recommend me to go Taiwan alone? If so, how should I go about planning for a short trip?

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    1. Hello Ming Xian, yes for sure! Taiwan is a great place for solo travel. It has all range of activities from hiking, relaxing at the beach and city/shopping. It depends on what you want to do for your holiday. If you are a city person, Taipei is good enough. If you love food, Maybe go to Taichung like what I did in my solo travel posted here. Nevertheless, you can visit Hualien/Yilan for scenery. If you are a beach person, Kenting is a great place to visit too! :)

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