Formosa, the Republic

This country was once named as Formosa. Now, it has been well known to all travelers and is a must visit country. Their travel slogan is Taiwan, the Heart of Asia. Yes, I am talking about Taiwan. It was called Formosa a long time ago and this person, yes, me, got the chance to set foot in Formosa, the Republic.

newlist countries

Updated List of Countries That I Would Love to Visit

tpe23

Welcome to Taiwan

Taiwan is on the ninth of the countries that I would love to visit. Taiwan is officially called as the Republic of China and is a state in East Asia. Its neighbors include the People’s Republic of China to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. It is the most populous state but is not a member of the United Nations and the largest economy outside of the UN. With regard to the name of the country, Taiwan is still somehow called Formosa on some history books and older people.

tpe13

Tourist Service Center

I left the TPE or Taoyuan International Airport at 0800H and took advantage of the free half day tour in which the airport has offered to travelers who have 7 to 24 hours of layover. The half day tour is for free and offers two selections of either morning or afternoon tours. I chose the morning half day tour and here is the itinerary:

First stop was at Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple at 0848H.

tpe24

Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple is an ornate Taoist temple founded in 1769 dedicated to a Song Dynasty General defied as the ‘Divine Ancestor’. Most of the artwork in the present structure was created by a team of the world’s best master artisans beginning in the late 1940s. It is a unique among temples. All of the walls and columns of the temple are sculpted from stone. The intricate details are also carved with a wide variety of styles from ancient to modern or even western-influenced due to western art education of some artists.tpe26tpe25

tpe30

View of Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

tpe32

Closer View of Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

tpe31

The Intricate Details of Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

tpe29

The Sun God who Sits on the East of Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

tpe28

The God of Fortune of Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

tpe27

Upstair View of Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple

Then, the tour proceeded to Sanxia Old Street which was just the street beside the temple.

tpe34

Sanxia Old Street

Sanxia Old Street is a beautiful old street, renovated red-brick merchant houses and residences dating from the late Qing Dynasty/ early Japanese colonial era. Houses on the street feature ornate façades with late Qing, Japanese, and Baroque elements. The street also features stores selling art, ceramics, and local specialty foods. It is a very well preserved example of Japanese colonial architecture of the time.

tpe35

Sanxia Old Street

tpe33

Sanxia Old Street is known for its famous and delicious French croissants

Yingge Ceramics Old Street was third on the list. The street itself appeared like ceramics made put together tile by tile.

tpe36

Yingge Ceramics Old Street

Yingge is the pottery capital of Taiwan, producing high quality ceramics since the early 1800s with over 800 resident artists. The street is made up of cobblestone with over 100 attractive outlets selling everything from inexpensive cups to costly handcrafted statues.

tpe37

Yingge Ceramics Old Street

tpe38

One of the Many Ceramics Stores in Yingge Ceramics Old Street

tpe39

Ceramic Products

tpe40

Ceramic Products

Next on the list was Tai-Hwa Pottery and arrived at 1110H.

tpe41

Tai-Hwa Pottery

Tai-Hwa Pottery is a great treasure-house of beautifully crafted ceramics pieces, from traditional Chinese to modern/abstract; produces diplomatic gifts for the ROC President’s office. Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister, visited this store and fell in love. Thus, she decided to collect their products and make a memorabilia and a museum out of it.

tpe42

San Yu Contemplation

tpe43

Margaret Thatcher

tpe44

Collections

tpe45

The Grandest Crystal Glazed Vase in the World

The tour ended around 1215H and headed back to the airport. We arrived at the airport at 1250H and went for lunch. After lunch, I decided to venture out of the airport and wandered around downtown Taipei. It wouldn’t be a complete tour of Taiwan if I haven’t visited the most talk-about  landmark of the country, Taipei 101.

tpe49

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 was formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center. It is a landmark supertall skyscraper in Xinyl District, Taipei. It was officially called as the world’s tallest building in 2004 until the title was claimed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. I rode the bus 1819 route going to Taipei Main Station and took a train ride to Taipei 101/ Taipei World Center.

tpe15

Bus 1819 to City just outside of Terminal 2

tpe48

Taipei 101/ World Trade Center station

tpe47

Closer view of Taipei 101

tpe46

Other view of Taipei 101

Whatever it is called, Formosa, Republic of China, or Taiwan, it is indeed the Heart of Asia. It is rich of history, culture, modern technology and it is peaceful and orderly. Taiwan is just a small country/ state but it sure is worth to explore. So, to travelers out there who are planning to have a layover in TPE, make sure to check out the free half day tour and discover Taiwan as one of the must-see destinations in Asia.

Check my travel vlog thru my YouTube channel by clicking here.

Advertisements

IATA Code: TPE – Taoyuan International Airport

International Air Transport Association (IATALocation Identifier uses a 3-letter code to identify locations of airports throughout the world.

Taoyuan International Airport is an international airport serving the capital city of Taipei, Taiwan and the northern parts of the island. It is located in Taoyuan, Taiwan and is the largest and busiest airport of the country. It was previously known as Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport.

tpe02

Welcome to Taiwan Sign at TPE

tpe01

A 12-hour flight from LAX to TPE

TPE has 2 terminals and serves as the main international hub for China Airlines and EVA Air. It also serves flights of Asiana Airlines, Korean Airlines, Air Japan, and etc. It is a busy airport but no reports of delays when I stayed there for a whole day.

tpe04

Flight Board Status

Once traveler deplane the aircraft, the first is the quarantine. Observing every passengers for signs of increase body temperature or infection.

tpe06

Directions to the Quarantine, Immigration, Customs Check and the Arrival Hall

tpe03

Quarantine

Next to the Quarantine, passengers have to turn right and will see the immigration and passport control. It is well manned that will take the immigration processing less than 15-20 mins from the time you lined up for the queue. The counters have been split to non-citizen, ROC resident with multiple entry visa and citizen.

tpe07

Immigration and Passport Control

After immigration and passport control, it will be customs check and clearance.

tpe08

Customs Check

Once getting out of the customs check, travelers will enter the arrival hall. Arrival Hall is well equipped able to help tourists in their needs. It has the airport MRT service, tourist service center, maps and directions.

tpe12

Universaide Taipei 08/19 to 08/30

tpe05

Arrival Hall

tpe09

Taoyuan Airport MRT Service

tpe10

Terminal 2 Arrival Hall Map

tpe11

Arrival Hall Wall Decor

Taoyuan International Airport is too spacious. It is wide with a lot of stores, amenities and services.

tpe16

Gadget Store

It is also linked to different modes of transportation. It can be reached by bus by riding the Bus 1819 from Taipei Main Station or thru MRT express link also from the main station. It is very accessible that traveling in and out of the airport is a breeze.

tpe15

Bus 1819 to City just outside of Terminal 2

tpe18

MRT Taoyuan Airport Rail

It also has charging stations for mobile devices and the best service they offered is from the Tourist Service Center for they offered a free half day tour.

tpe14

Charging Stations for Mobile Devices

tpe13

Tourist Service Center

Getting off at terminal 2, the tourist service center is just located the arrival lobby. The free half day tour offered by the government of Taiwan has been provided for layover tourists to see the beautiful and rich history of the said country. Giving options for the tourists to sight-see if their layover is more than 6 hours. Tours offered are morning tours and afternoon tours. If an individual wants to take advantage of the said service, he/she can visit this site by clicking here. But transit passengers need to meet the requirements though, just read the information at my previous post, Visa to the Republic of China (Taiwan).

TPE Terminal 2 has 4 floors. 1st floor is car park and ground transportation, 2nd is arrival hall, 3rd is the departure hall, and lastly, the 4th floor is the food court.

tpe22

3/F Departure Hall

tpe21

3/F Departure Counter

tpe20

4/F Food Court

tpe19

4/F Japanese Restaurant

In summary, Taoyuan International Airport is indeed one of the best airports I have been. It is the main hub of a progressive first world country of Taiwan with too many flights going in and out but it is well planned, avoiding congestion. They also made sure that layover tourists or travelers will enjoy their stay in Taiwan even if it was just for hours. TPE looks on the travelers’ perspective and it’s a plus. Kudos to Taoyuan Internationa Airport and the government of Taiwan.

tpe17

The Beach View within the Boarding Gates

Visa to the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Visa is a form of documentation issued by the nation’s government allowing the bearer to enter or leave that country.Photo Aug 09, 2 35 41 PM copy

Travel Authorization Certificate is issued to citizens of  India, the Philippines, VietNam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos to enter the country of Taiwan or Republic of China. Travel Authorization Certificate serves as visa to gain entry to the said country.

The residents of the Philippines have been given the freedom to apply for travel authorization certificate thru online or eVisa. It has been amended a lot of times. Before it used to be single entry visa but nationals of the countries mentioned on the certificate seen above can have multiple entry.

The basic requirements for a traveler to be eligible are:
1. the applicant’s passport must have at least 6 remaining months validity starting from the date of the arrival in Taiwan;
2. the applicant must possess an onward/return air ticket; and
3. the applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.

Additional requirements are applicants must possess at least one of the following documents issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States such as valid resident or permanent resident card or status, valid entry visa, or resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the arrival date in Taiwan, and the applicant possesses an entry visa or resident card issued by Taiwan at any point in the past 10 years and has no record of immigration irregularities or law violations in Taiwan.

The travel authorization certification is valid for 90 days making multiple entries allowed within those number of days. The holder of the certificate can stay in the country for 30 days starting from the arrival day. For online application of ROC travel authorization certificate, click this site here.

I got my travel authorization certificate in a jiffy. It took me about few minutes with my information at hand. I made sure to have my passport and permanent resident card ready. After I filled out the form and submitted it online, I automatically got the visa right at that moment. It was convenient and easy breezy. Now, it’s time for me to fly and discover Taiwan.