EXPERIENCE A HALF DAY IN TAIWAN
by Joe Meny
Taiwan, an island destination rich in culture, history, and natural beauty, is always on the top of our list of travel destinations. Any visit to Taiwan is sure to be amazing and unforgettable. But if you find yourself in Taiwan on a layover while heading to another Asian travel destination, you now have an opportunity to make the most of your time there. Throughout all of 2017, Taiwan Tourism is offering half-day morning or afternoon bus tours that will ensure you get to see this incredible country…even if only for a few hours.
The morning tour departs from Terminal 2 of Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport at 8 am, and Terminal 2 at 8:15 am. This half-day morning bus tour will bring you to the areas of Sanxia and Yingge. These two former towns, now formally “districts” within what is called New Taipei City, offer wonderful insights into the island’s history and traditional crafts. And as is the case with many trips in Taiwan, there is delicious food and plenty of history and culture to enjoy.
Your trip to Sanxia begins with a visit to the impressive Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple. The temple brims with intricate wooden carvings, beautiful cochin ceramics (also often called koji ceramics), and awe-inspiring stone-relief sculptures. The beauty and ornateness of the temple is a testament to the fact that cultural preservationists have been systematically restoring it over the past few decades. Moving on to Sanxia Old Street, be sure to check out the Zhenxing Noodle Shop, which we highly recommend, and order a bowl of oil noodles with a side order of pickled cucumber. But try to leave some room to sample some of the excellent fare at the very affordable Dong Dao Diner Pavilion. This restaurant specializes in traditional local Taiwanese specialties. You’ll also be able to spend some time at the New Taipei City Hakka Museum.
Once in Yingge, be sure to visit the Yingge Ceramics Museum. You’ll be impressed with the open-air style of the museum – the grounds and lobby areas seemingly fused into one through the liberal use of glass, giving the facility a grandiose quality. There is a great deal of green space surrounding the museum, which is beautiful to see no matter what time of year. The museum’s mission is to educate visitors about Yingge’s unique role in the history of Taiwan ceramics. The first floor provides an introduction to traditional ceramic-production methods in Yingge and Taiwan. The second floor is dedicated to history, and consists of four exhibition halls introducing the history of ceramics in Taiwan and exploring the relationship between ceramics, religion, and architecture. Be sure to visit the museum’s gift shop, which is well stocked with locally produced handicrafts.
This morning tour will have you back at the airport by 1:15 pm.
The afternoon tour is all about Taipei City and departs from Terminal 2 at 1:45 pm, and from Terminal 1 at 2 pm. From one of the world’s tallest buildings (Taipei 101) to the biggest collection of Chinese art, Taipei invites you into a world of fascinating contrasts – a mix of the modern and traditional, with a generous dash of energy and friendly smiles to make this one of your most memorable trips to Asia.
This tour will bring you past Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Presidential Office Building, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and the Grand Hotel. You’ll be able to visit the world-famous Taipei 101 skyscraper and take in a 360-degree panorama of all of Taiwan, the beautiful Longshan Temple, and the very peaceful Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Park.
This afternoon tour will have you back at the airport by 6:30 pm.
Who can participate in these tours?
Transit or transfer passengers with 7- to 24-hour layovers before their next connecting flight, who have valid R.O.C. visas or come from countries eligible for visa-exempt entry. For detailed qualification and application information, please refer to the website of National Immigration Agency: https://niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/nia_southeast/. Registrants must print out the “Travel Authorization Certificate”, which is required for both arrival and departure immigration inspection in Taiwan.
Which travel documents are required?
1: Passport valid for at least six months
2: Completed immigration embarkation/disembarkation card available at immigration counter.
And here’s how to register: Each tour is limited to 18 passengers, and passengers can join only one tour during each stopover. There are 12 seats for on-site registration; please book your tour after arrival at the Tourist Service Center located in the Arrival Lobby of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. If you would like to reserve a tour in advance,please fill in an application form and e-mail it to email@example.com We will then make a reservation for you if you are eligible.