Taipei 101. Ximending 西门町.

Grabbed my Taiwan return tickets when Air Asia first opened their Taiwan route last year April. RM101 per way per person, all-in fares including check-in luggage came up to RM391 return per person. What a steal! But if you do not like to cramp in such a small aircraft with so many people and so much noise, Air Asia may not be your choice then. Everything on board of Air Asia, you’ve got to pay. If it wasn’t for the air ticket price, I would have chosenMAS, which would make the whole journey more pleasant. I’ve decided to go for a week as I know that 5 or 6 days wouldn’t be enough for us. So, 8 days 7 nights it is. Anyway, let’s move on to Taiwan.

After the 5 hours of tiring flight, we reached Taoyuan International Airport (台湾桃园国际机场) around 3pm, 20th January 2010. It was a Wednesday, not so much of crowd in the airport. We then proceed to Hall 2 tourism center for the Digital Tour Buddy (宝贝机) and Youth Travel Card (青年旅游卡). I strongly encourage you to apply for the Digital Tour Buddy online 2 weeks before your trip to Taiwan. It definitely cut down a lot of waiting time and hassles. You will get a handphone, SIM card and a charger, absolutely free. You just need to top up the talk-time and voila! You can call to anywhere. You need to deposit your identification card/driving license with them upon receiving the handphone. Read the instructions on the website to apply. As for the Youth Travel Card, you can get a lot of discount with the card. You can’t apply for the Youth Travel Card online, you may apply for it at the tourism center in the airport. Youth Travel Card is for those who age from 15 to 30. If I traveled to Taiwan again next year, I wouldn’t be able to apply for it anymore. :(

We took FreeGo bus from Taoyuan airport to Ximending (西门町). FreeGo is the only one that stops right in front of Rainbow Hotel (长虹大饭店), not really right in front, few steps away. Hehe. It costs NTD140 for one way. We thought might as well buy return since it is convenient and we could get another thing off our mind. For 2 ways, it is NTD260, not as expensive as we thought it might be. It took 1 hour from Taoyuan to Ximending. But in the middle of the journey, we were asked to change to a different bus.

We have done a lot of studies and search on the hotels in Taipei city. Our first choice was CityInn behind the Taipei Main Station, but they didn’t have triple room anymore for most of the days. They have the trendiest look. Our other choices were Redcabin Hotel (红绫阁旅店)Miyi Hotel (名邑旅店) and Future Star Hotel (明日大饭店). Rainbow Hotel is a good choice. The double bedroom is a little small, but our triple bedroom is spacious! That surprised all of us. It is clean and tidy. Way, way, way better than we thought. All in all, it was a good stay. :) The staff there are friendly too. Breakfast was normal, but that seems to be the healthiest meal we had in a day. Hahaha.

After unloaded our luggages and bags, poof we went to scout for Ah Zong Mee Suah (阿宗面线) in Ximending! Finally found it! Just about 2 streets away from Rainbow hotel. It was delicious! Yes, my dream of eating the real original has finally came true. Hahaha.

After a satisfying meal, we went to Taipei 101. It is very convenient to stay in Ximending. The Ximending MRT station is just not more than 10 minutes walk away. Before everything, do remember to get the Easy Card from the MRT information counter. It costs NTD500, which NTD100 is deposit and NTD400 is the value. And please, please, please do take great care of your Easy Card. Bended, damaged or scratched card can’t be returned and your deposit will be forfeited too. It happened to one of us who got the card bended (but still usable) and they refused to refund the deposit because it is considered damaged. Also, they will charge you a NTD20 as handling fee for card returns in less than 3 months of usage.

From Ximending, we took the MRT blue line to Cityhall (台北市政府站). From there, we walked. We didn’t feel it was far as we were so thrilled with the Taipei city streets and views. The entrance ticket to Taipei 101 observatory deck can be purchased at the fifth floor of the Taipei 101 shopping mall. It’s NTD400 per person, but with the Youth Travel Card, it is NTD350.

After Taipei 101, we had a brief stop in New York, New York Department Store and Muji Store. Then we went back to Ximending to do some shopping. :D So, there goes our first half day in Taipei. :)

Getting Around:
Ximending (西门町) – MRT blue line to station Ximending (西门町).
Taipei 101 – MRT Blue line to Cityhall, Exit 2, either take free shuttle bus or walk 10 minutes.

The last few photos were food we found in Ximending. The braised minced pork rice (卤肉饭) in Taiwan is so delicious!!! Personally, I do not eat or like smelly tofu (臭豆腐). Wan Yi was kind enough to offer me a bite and I still do not like it. :D If you feel brave enough to try, go ahead. It’s the experience that counts. ;)

28 thoughts on “Taipei 101. Ximending 西门町.”

  1. Nice to read such a detailed description upon your arrival in TW. May I know which stop is the one that leads to Rainbow Hotel? I’m going there next month too :)

    1. Hi Allie, thanks for dropping by. :)
      You were asking which stop that leads to Rainbow Hotel, meaning the bus stop in Taoyuan Airport? We were at Hall 2, walked towards the exit, then you will see the FreeGo bus counter on your left hand side. But after you got the ticket, have to walk to the other end to wait for the bus. You can ask the people in the counter for directions. They’re all very friendly.
      Enjoy your trip! :D

  2. Great post. Very helpful indeed. Can you advise on which bus stop to alight to get to Rainbow? How long was the walk from bus stop to hotel? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for dropping by. :)

      We took the FreeGo bus from Taoyuen airport. The driver dropped us at the main street of Ximending, just one street across the Rainbow hotel, not even 5 minutes walk. :)

    1. Hi Jujukwan, thank you!

      My itinerary was not the best. However if you would like to have a less hassle journey I’d say go ahead then. :) If you’re not so much of a shopping person, perhaps you will then find time to go to Yehliu Ecological Park, a great place.

      Hope you enjoy your trip like I did. :D Happy New Year.

  3. Hello… I’m searching the transport from Taoyuan Airport to Xi Men Ding, the Free Go Bus in which floor of the Taoyuan Airport? I found some review is bad that about that shuttle bus to xi men ding, because need to change bus and the bus conditions is bad, is that true?


    1. Hi there, thanks for dropping by. :)

      FreeGo bus counter is the same floor after you come out from the departure hall. However I can’t recall whether it’s located in Hall 1 or Hall 2. No worries, you can go to the tourism counter in Hall 2 to ask.

      We took FreeGo bus was because we were staying in Rainbow Hotel which located in Ximending. If you’re staying in somewhere else, you may want to check with FreeGo first before you purchase the tickets.

      Yes, we changed bus once on our journey from Taoyuan to Ximending. It was indeed a hassle but we were all okay with it. I guess it really depends on the group of people that you travel with. Perhaps it is not so convenient if you’re travelling with children of young age and old folks with difficulty of going up and down the bus. As for the bus condition, I am not sure of how bad of the bad others have described. To us, it was a bus. We only travelled in it for that 2 hours journey, to and from Ximending. We didn’t feel uncomfortable or if the bus condition was bad. Again, it is individual’s experiences.

      Hope the above helps. :)

    1. Hi Teresa,

      I’m not sure about that. But since you’ll be at the airport, I’m sure there are a lot of bus services counters and one of them would definitely have bus travel to Wufenpu. I suggest you go to the travel information counter in the airport, the personnel there are all very helpful and they should be able to help.

      Sorry that I can’t be of much help on this.

    1. Hello Merry, thanks for reading. :)

      We saw that Snoopy on our way to 101 Taipei, it was on the street, some decorations. Not sure if it would still be there since it was 2 years ago. :)

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for your blog on your trip to Taiwan. Can I just ask you about the Digital Tour Buddy (宝贝机) and Youth Travel Card (青年旅游卡)? Isn’t it a bit worrying to leave behind our ID card with the Visitor Center in Taipei? Or do you mean leaving behind a photocopy of our ID card with them? Thanks.

    1. Hi Lee, thanks for dropping by.

      About the Digital Tour Buddy, they required us to leave our original ID with them as a guarantee. I’m sure it is pretty safe to leave it with them. You can just leave your driving license, which they also accept. When you return the handphone, they will return your ID.

  5. Hi Ashley,

    Can I check with you the FreeGo bus, where to get ticket? Can the EasyCard be used on the bus instead of the ticket?

    1. Hi Doris, I got the FreeGo bus ticket from Taoyuan airport. There’s a lot of bus counters there. You can check with the information counter in the departure hall how to go to the counters. Don’t think EasyCard can be used for FreeGo. Anyway, you can check with the information counter again. :)

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