Welcome to Taipei –Transport In Taipei
Travel around in Taipei City
Hi all. I’ve been living in Taipei for roughly four days and feel now is a good time to post some of my initial impressions of the city. The days have been (mostly) action packed with sightseeing type activities which have been easily accessible due to the variety of transport options in Taipei City:
Travel using the metro system (MRT)
As you would expect, provides a quick and reliable transportation around the whole city. I have to say, the MRT in Taipei is amazing and has really helped me to feel at home in a city which is otherwise foreign. The best thing about the MRT is its simplicity and ease of use. I have had no issues in purchasing tickets or navigating from station to station because everything is so well sign posted in English. For travel on the MRT, I would highly recommend getting hold of an EasyCard which can be purchased for a deposit of 100TW$ (£2) at any metro station across the city.
You’ll soon realise that the EasyCard is very appropriately named. After updating the card with funds you will be able to access any station line by scanning it at the barrier when entering. The cost of travel (which varies between 16 – 45 TW$ per journey) is then automatically taken from your EasyCard upon exiting at the desired station. Needless to say, I’m really enjoying use of the MRT in Taipei. It is by far the easiest, most cost effective way of navigating the city.
Taipei Transport: Taking a Taxi
Travel by taxi is also a valid transport option. It is slightly more expensive than the MRT but nothing compared to the cost in western countries. It is also more difficult for someone like me, who can say around five words in Chinese, to explain to the driver exactly where you want to be taken. Luckily for me, I have been accompanied by Chinese speaking friends the two times I have had to use a taxi so far which takes much of the hassle out of the situation. If you are planning to stay out in the city late at night, you may be forced to use a taxi service as the MRT stops running at midnight. You’ll find taxis all over the place and as far as I’m aware you just call them over by waving at them…I think? I was pretty drunk when we had to do this.
Walking around the city
Walking around Taipei is enjoyable as it is good way to discover little places that are unreachable by other forms of transport. The exception to this are scooters which seem to be everywhere, literally everywhere, including driving at a high speed towards you when you’re walking down the side of the street. I’m asleep at night and think I’m dreaming about scooters but then realise that it’s just a scooter revving its engine right outside the door.
You also need to be careful when crossing the roads here because for some reason a red light doesn’t mean anything and quite often the drivers just ignore them. I was not used to this but I think it’s something that you adjust to over time. With this being said, cars do seem to stop for you if you just walk out anyway, so it’s worth being a little bit daring.
Of course, there are other transport options available that I have not mentioned, such as the bus, but I would prefer not to comment on this just yet and I have not used a bus here. I hope you found part one of my Taipei series helpful. More to come in the near future.