Fly To Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei is a big city, and while 20 years ago it would have been considered a colossal ugly duckling, it’s gone through a dramatic evolution in recent times. City Planners have had a field day, and the congested streets, grey, blocky high rises and polluted air and rivers of the past are a rapidly fading memory.
These days, Taipei has stricter environmental laws, a good light-rail network, and parks on every river bank. Its citizens are wealthy, and demand a quality of life that reflects their success and that of their city. As a result, the balance of business and entertainment, functionality and beauty, is something Taipei continually strives to achieve.
And they’re not far off their goal. Taipei is officially one of the most dynamic and liveable cities in Asia, and offers tourists a fascinating kaleidoscope of history, culture, shopping and cuisine.
Book your flights to Taipei around February/March to take advantage of cherry blossom season, or in winter to get the most from the natural hot springs. The online flight search tool above will help you find the cheapest flights to Taipei at any time of year, across all major airlines.
Visa Requirements and SA Embassy Details
- South African Passport holders do need a Visa to visit Taipei, Taiwan. Leave plenty of time for Visa processing, and make sure your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date, and that you have 3 blank pages available for entry stamps.
- The South African Liaison Office to Taiwan is in Taipei. Suite 1301, 13th Floor, Bank Tower Building, 205 Tun Hwa North Road, Taipei 105, Taiwan. Phone: + 886 2 8175 8588. Website: www.southafrica.org.tw.
See and do
For a big city, it might surprise you that several of Taipei’s most popular attractions are nature-based. Its gardens and parks are beautiful, and along with the cliffs, meadows and lakes on the city’s outskirts, are a riot of colour in spring and summer.
You won’t want to miss the hot springs, either. Beitou has the most famous resorts, but Yangmingshan National Park’s hot springs feel a bit more historic and authentic. The park itself is also spectacular, and offers hiking, biking, lodges and restaurants.
Talking of restaurants, Taipei is full of them, and they run the full gamut of local and international cuisines. The street food is also irresistible, and you’ll find it difficult not to leave here a few kilos heavier than when you arrived.
Shopping is equally wide-spread, with malls all over the city. Try the Weekend Jade Market for something a little different – you can pick up some wonderful, handcrafted jade trinkets and jewellery, which make lovely souvenirs and gifts.
There are, of course, museums, galleries, and landmarks aplenty, but you’ll need some form of transport to get you to them all. Thankfully the MRT system is clean, efficient and safe, and the station names are written in English as well as Chinese. The bus system is also very accessible, but taxis remain the most flexible way to get around. It’s not advisable to rent a car in Taipei, since traffic tends to be frantic, and parking spots are rare and pricey.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport – TPE
Food and beverage: Barista Coffee, Casamila Garden Café, Starbucks, Iris Café, Mr Brown Coffee and Omni Café.
Currency Exchange: The Bank of Taiwan offers foreign currency exchange, among other services, and has 10 outlets at Taoyuan Airport.
Lost Luggage: Lost hold luggage should be handled by your individual airline’s help desk. Report items lost or found within the terminals to the Lost and Found centre, situated in room 1025 on the 1st floor, at the North end of Terminal 2.
Airport Hotels: Evergreen Transit Hotel, Novotel.
Car Hire: Hotai Leasing Corporation, and Ching Bing Auto Leasing Co.
Airport Hub: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (code TPE) is a hub for China Airlines, EVA Air and TransAsia Airways, and a focus city for Cathay Pacific.