19 January 2013

20 Hour Layover in Taiwan: How to get out of Taipei Taoyuan Airport and Eating at Ning Xia Night Market

I finally paid Manila a visit after 10 years of living in New York City. Last summer, I went on a smorgasbord trip to Italy, Israel and France (and havent blogged most of it yet - soon, I will do it!)

I ended up in Taiwan because some flights to Manila involved 20 hour layovers. The choices were Japan and Taiwan. I picked Taiwan because I have never been there, and it was 20 hours both ways (as opposed to Japan having 20 hours only one way) and it was a cheaper place and the visa for Philippine passport holders with US/Schengen Visas/GreenCards were easy to obtain online. To me, the 20 hour layover is a "free trip"!

20 hours is good enough if you know how to get out of the airport like a pro. And i did it like a pro, thanks to this youtube video!

Note that there is the NT$90 and NT$125 fare. The difference is 30 mins faster. Kuo Kang bus lines will charge NT$125 but will be 30 minutes faster than CitiAirBus. It seems "a lot" but really, you are paying less than US$2 more. On my first try, I took the cheaper bus because I didn't know any better, and I was being a cheapskate. This proved to be lucky because the CitiAirBus takes you back to the bus terminal itself. The Kuo Kang bus let us out at a regular bus stop somewhere around the Taipei Main station, and it could be a little troublesome to find the bus terminal back to the airport. IF YOU GET LOST, JUST ASK!

Bus Ticket Counters

My Baggage Tag and Ticket. They stored my carry-on under the bus.

This was my bus, dont worry - the stands are numbered.
If you are still confused, just show your ticket to the drivers
and keep saying "Taipei Main Station."

The driver's cockpit. He has his own ticket machine.
My bus driver was doing some comedy while driving,
but I couldn't understand a thing and everyone was just laughing at the jokes.
After his comic stint, he started using the PA system
as a Karaoke and serenaded the passengers!
The bus will take you to TAIPEI MAIN STATION. If you are staying for the night, make sure that your hotel is walking distance from the bus station, because it's easier to deal with than finding a cab to take you there.

The bus ride is convenient, cheap and safe. I generally prefer taking public transportation out of any airport because it's I know it wont charge me extra, or do some touristy upsell. Take note, most airports are NOT IN the city itself, so it is cost effective to learn how to take the bus out of the airport and into the city.

One lesson to learn, HAVE YOUR HOTEL NAME WRITTEN IN CHINESE CHARACTERS SO DIRECTIONS ARE EASIER TO ASK. A lot of people in Taiwan speak English, however, the English spelling of the streets will be different from the street sign and different from the one you will get from Google maps.

As soon as I got off the bus, I didn't understand where I was, nor did I understand the orientation of the streets. First, I asked a bus driver where my hotel was, but he didn't understand my map. So I asked two twentysomething girls where my hotel was and they walked me to my hotel (it was about a 15 minute walk, and it was half past midnight!!!) They were mapping it out with their phones and such and didn't even think that my little hostel existed. I gave them both a hug and they thought I was brave enough to travel by myself.

After I dropped my stuff off at NiHao Taipei, I asked the building guard (the hostel is not the entire building, it just rents a couple of units in the building.) to find me a taxi to take me to the night market - mind you, the guard was apprehensive because it was already late. I thought I was going to Shilin Night Market - however the cab driver brought me to the Ning Xia Night Market.

And I ate my ass off.

The first stall I saw. OH MY! YUMMY!

Get a basket, put your choices in a basket and they will grill it for you.



The night market was half empty and some stalls were closing.

I didn't eat these. I was too scared of deboning while walking.

I think this was the small intestine in large intestine. I didn't try it

Eggs beside mop and bucket.

Braised pork feet
I ate it on this table with steel chopsticks!
It is served with rice a side of tea egg and bamboo shoots.

Oh what an exciting time!
These in addition to fried chicken...
Plenty of yummy innards choose from!

IMHO, these had too much MSG, and i didnt even finish it.

In this trip, I realized that grilled is the way to go, and if you can point to a picture menu - you can order. People are happy to serve you food as long as you are not squeamish.

The stalls were about to close when I got here, so for the "full experience" in photos, you can go to My Kafkaesque Life.


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  2. Seems like you had great time over there. You are quite in love with your this trip. Keep Sharing.

  3. it seems great to eat after getting out from the airport and eating at Ning Xia Night Market, such a pleasing dine out adds much to the flavor of travelling. Meet and greet car parking Heathrow

  4. Great. It seems that you really enjoyed your food. Will soon visit My Kafkaesque Life. Gatwick valet parking

  5. Seems like you enjoyed your trip alot. Food looks great...!!! gatwick meet and greet

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