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Taiwan Port Excursions—Taipei or Coast?

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We are going to be in Taipei fro a long day—7 am to 9 pm on March 18. For those who have been to this port, do you recommend taking a Taipei City tour or a tour of Taiwan’s northeast coast and villages? This will be our only visit to Taiwan. Thanks for any advice.

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Haven't been there via a cruise, but we did stay in the Taipei area for a week.

 

City tour if your into museums (National Palace), temples, gov't buildings, high rises (Taipei 101), memorials (Sun Yet-sen).

 

During our week we spent a few days on the coast; fewer people (not by much), quieter, scenery, local vibe (how ordinary folks live), less hectic pace. 

 

Taiwan has made a reputation for itself for its night markets and street food.   The food is 1st world safe and cheap.  Please have local coin if you partake.    If you're asked to try "stinky tofu", IMO it tastes like it smells.

 

 

Edited by Philob

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Philob, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I guess my real question is will we regret not seeing Taipei?  I’m not sure we will have time for the Night Markets. Do they open by late afternoon? When you were in Taipei did you take the gondola or visit the Hot Springs? Do you recommend either or both? Thanks for your opinion.

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55 minutes ago, tenmile said:

Philob, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I guess my real question is will we regret not seeing Taipei?  I’m not sure we will have time for the Night Markets. Do they open by late afternoon? When you were in Taipei did you take the gondola or visit the Hot Springs? Do you recommend either or both? Thanks for your opinion.

Hours of the night markets vary, some are open late afternoon and stay open late, other shut down early like right after "dinner" time.  

 

We took the gondola ride, it was rainy that day due to incoming typhoon, but at the top there are tea shops and farms along the narrow road.  You can do tea tasting & have a light snack.  Pay extra and get the glass bottom gondola,  they're spaced like one of every five.  Cats.  If you like cats they're all over the place.  The station up top, I think, is loosely translated to "Cat Station", if it isn't it should be.  There's an entire village dedicated to cats: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houtong_Cat_Village

 

We also visited the hot springs, got a day room here for a couple of hours,  I did a review on TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g13806427-d2095241-Reviews-Grand_View_Resort_Beitou-Beitou_Taipei.html

 

If you can swing both and still make it back to the ship do the gondola first.  Unfortunately I think they're geographically on opposite sides of the city.

 

We took the subway for most of our travel around Taipei.  Most of the hot springs hotels will have a courtesy shuttle to/from the subway station.

 

 

Edited by Philob

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For first timers, I do recommend going into Taipei. It shouldn't be too hard taking a train from Keelung to Taipei. The train station is walking distance from the cruise port if mobility is not an issue. Once you are in Taipei, the subway system is nicely designed and you can get to most major tourist places using public transportation. 

 

Have been to Taiwan countless times (husband was born there) and know my way around but we did hire private drivers for our port day there in December for a very good price. Here is the report on our day there if interested. There are also other entries under Taipei or Taiwan on the index list if you go on my blog. 

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Thank you Philob for the additional details in Taipei. Thank you RoCruiser for sharing your day in Taipei tour and the great pictures. Does the private tour company you used have a website? We may decide to do Taipei on our own since the train station is close to the port, but thought I would look into the tour information.

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16 minutes ago, tenmile said:

Thank you Philob for the additional details in Taipei. Thank you RoCruiser for sharing your day in Taipei tour and the great pictures. Does the private tour company you used have a website? We may decide to do Taipei on our own since the train station is close to the port, but thought I would look into the tour information.

Sorry can't help you with the tour guide; we did it on our own. SWMBO (wife) planned it out and did all the bookings.  She's from mainland China and we visit her family every couple of years.  Taipei was a side trip for us. 

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On 1/18/2019 at 7:20 PM, tenmile said:

Thank you Philob for the additional details in Taipei. Thank you RoCruiser for sharing your day in Taipei tour and the great pictures. Does the private tour company you used have a website? We may decide to do Taipei on our own since the train station is close to the port, but thought I would look into the tour information.

Sorry, did not notice this until now. Our driver in Taiwan, Mr. Sung's information is on the left margin on my blog. You can possibly reach him via his FB message.

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