Taiwan Cycling 2019 Day 10

Taipei MRT station, kids were carrying bags without complaint.

May 6th, We flew from Taipei to Tokyo.

7:00AM We saw Ruthy off at the MRT station because she boarded earlier flight than us.

8:00 AM We left and walked to MRT Taipei station carrying bikes and got MRT to Taoyuan International Airport.

After checked our bikes, we gave a sign of relief.

10:00 AM We checked in at the Vanilla Air counter, bought souvenir and had brunch.

Last meal at the airport was even delicious!

12:05 AM We left Taiwan to Narita.

Note

We had wonderful time in Taiwan and I want to visit Taiwan again. I will write information and my impressions about Taiwan here. I hope it will help who plans to visit Taiwan.

Cycling

During cycling on roads, I felt safer than in Japan because most roads have bike lanes fo scooter and bicycles. (However I hadn’t rode in Taipei City. It looked scarcely…) I hadn’t met many cyclists especially tourers. Most of all cyclists rode on road bikes without paneer bags. I think it is common phenomena in the world.  

Weather

In the first half of our tour, we battled the hot and humid climate. After plum rainy season started the temperature decreased and became more comfortable.

Public safety

I think Taiwan is one of the safest regions in the world. Especially in rural areas. 

Train

As in Japan, Railway transportation is convenient. We didn’t have to wait long to catch trains or transfer. However there are many kinds of cars and seats, and it is a little bit difficult for people who don’t speak Chinese.

We got on long-distance trains and there were some venders walking from car to car. We could buy hot lunch boxes, sweets and drinks. (In Japan we can buy lunch boxes too but they are usually cold due to sanitary regulations. However they NEVER sold any alcohol. It is the biggest difference from Japan. ( In Japan passengers enjoy drinking on the cars.) I think Taiwanese don’t drink too much.(Is it true?)

Bus

Buses are also convince but it is hard to find timetables on website in English.

Food

We enjoyed food in everywhere in Taiwan. All cuisine is cheap, delicious and healthy. The taste is mild, not spicy and there are various ingredients including vegetables, tofu and fish.
I love especially eating at local restaurants. The prices were very low. I couldn’t understand the menu, but everything was delicious.

Local restaurants in Taiwan reminded me of my childhood.
During Showa era Japan(Until 1989), there were many small local restaurants managed by individuals. We called them “Shokudo 食堂 or Teishoku-ya 定食屋 ” and they supplied cheap and simple home cooked dishes. But post millennium, those kinds of restaurants disappeared due to old age, lack of successors or economic reasons and were replaced by restaurant chains. When I found lots of Japanese restaurant chains spreading out and became popular in Taiwan, I had mixed feelings.

People

Taiwanese are very kind, cheerful and easy-going. We were moved by their hospitality. People are very curious and talkative.

Japanese culture

I found lots of Japanese stores, restaurants and TV programs spreading in Taiwan. We could buy Japanese food (Onigiri, Oden and Japanese confectionary) in convenient stores, but could not find salt tablets. (Salt tablets is the best protection for dehydration. I can find the tablet in every convenient store in Japan.)

Salt Tablet

Money

As in Japan, Taiwan is still mostly dependent on cash. Even in convenience stores, I could not pay with my credit card. 

In Seven-11, I could find only Hello Kitty design Easy card for adults. Not available for Kids.

Easy card(悠悠卡) is very convenient like SUICA in Japan. We can use to catch trains and pay in convenience stores. But we can only deposit it with cash.

Custom

I found lots of Taoism shrines in many towns. They looked similar Shito shrines in Japan. I think Taiwanese are good at keeping their old culture and customs. 

The most confusing custom is how to deposit of toilet paper. Some places asked visitors to put paper in the toilet, others asked to put in the basket. 

English/Japanese

I heard Taiwanese start learning English from elementary school, but people don’t speak English so well, especially in South Taiwan. I think the percentage of English speaker is the same as in Japan because we don’t need to speak English in daily life, but I could find many people can speak Japanese. 

WIFI and SIM CARD

We registered iTaiwan at Taoyuan International Airport. It was useful in big cities. I could use wifi in all accommodations.

SIM card in Taiwan was wonderful. It was easy, cheap and high-speed. I bought Pripaid SIM card at Chunghwa Telecom 中華電信 counter of Taoyuan International Airport. The staff put the SIM card in my iPhone and I could use it immediately.

I bought 4G day plan pre-paid card -10 day pass NT$500
It includes 10 days of unlimited Data and NT$100 credit for voice.

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