July 04, 2019 – Ally Soriano
Nothing breaks up the monotony of everyday life like packing your bags and going gallivanting cross country. If you’ve got a constant case of wanderlust and want a change of pace from the local tourist spots, we’ve good news for you. Taiwan has just extended its visa-free entry period for Filipino travelers!
In a statement released earlier this week, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines announced that the visa-free privilege for Filipinos will be extended another year from August 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020.
There are lots of experiences Filipinos wouldn't want to miss out on in the land where milk tea was invented. But other than coursing through the night markets filled with street food and alleys painted with murals, Taiwan is a country that has consciously preserved its history and culture. It's a good thing we can plan a cultural trip that can last two full weeks (or 14 days) without having to apply for a visa.
The best time to visit Taiwan is from September to November when the weather is warm and rain is seldom. So map out your itinerary, plan out your outfits, and visit Asia’s Treasure Trove yourself. Here are some spots you shouldn't miss:
Of course, we can’t miss out on the capital city itself. Aside from the must-see Taipei 101, which was once the world’s tallest building, there’s also Elephant Mountain which you can hike in only 20 minutes. It provides some of the best views of Taipei. Located at the heart of the city is also the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. It’s a grand historical landmark where world-famous musicians have performed at its National Theater and Concert Hall. If you’re looking for a relaxing place to blow off some steam there’s Ba Yan Wild Hotsprings in Yangmingshan National Park.
A city rivaling Taipei in modernity, Kaoshsiung is less crowded and not as cold. The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas located in the Zuoying District and are beautiful examples of the city's traditional culture. Its Formosa Boulevard MRT Station is the largest glass work in the world by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata and is known for its dazzling “Dome of Light.” And lastly, the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum which actually sits a few kilometers outside of Kaohsiung has the tallest sitting bronze statue in the world.
Hualien has lovely beaches where you can do dolphin and whale watching. Nature enthusiasts can visit the Tarokoro National Park to witness amazing landscapes and waterfalls for free. And if you stay till night, you can score goods for affordable prices and delicious local food at the Dongdamen Night Market.
If you’re looking for something a little different from the usual sights, you can catch the Hot Air Balloon Festival at Taitung City. This year it’s celebrated from June 29 to August 12. If you go soon you might catch some of their 39 unique hot air balloons during the festival such as Christ the Redeemer, Stuart the Minion, Mickey Mouse, and the house from “Up.” You can even book a ride and experience the marvel yourself.
End your trip with the breathtaking sight of the Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County. It’s the largest body of water in Taiwan and is overlooked by picturesque mountains. Though swimming is prohibited, the sight alone is mesmerizing enough to warrant a visit.
Banner photo by Thomas Tucker
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