Travel in Asia





HUALIEN (花蓮) - TAROKO (太魯閣)







Dear Luo-Mu Jie,

Hi! Just me call "Dani girl" and I'm an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) here in Taichung. I just want to know, is it possible to have a private tour and visit Gaomei Wetlands, Xinshe Castle, Houli Flower Farm and Rainbow Village in one day for only NTD 600?


No Dani girl! NTD 600 is way too cheap that taxi or even private car drivers will be losing money instead of earning. The cheapest that I know is NTD 797 per person and that is via tripool taxi (web app: And if and only if you will bring with you, your daughter Marga, Carlos, Savannah, your Ninang and at least 3 of your yayas. I know you don't want Romina and Cassie to join the trip so that makes a total of 8 people (Marga+Carlos+Savannah+Ninang+3 yayas+you). Haha!

Look at the table below to see the prices for each pick-up point-drop-off point.

Suggested tripool taxi itinerary of 8 people for Gaomei Wetlands, Xinshe Castle, Houli Flower Farm and Rainbow Village. If you want to follow this itinerary, you should make separate bookings in the tripool web app for each pick-up point - drop-off point pair.

tripool taxi web app:
Pick-up pointDestinationEstimated fareSuggested pick-up time
TRA Taichung StationXinshe CastleNTD 1,3809:00 am to 9:30 am
Xinshe CastleRainbow Military Dependents` Village
(Rainbow Village)
NTD 1,45711:30 am to 12:00 noon
Rainbow Military Dependents` Village
(Rainbow Village)
Chungshe Tourism Flower Market
(Houli Flower Farm)
NTD 1,2641:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Chungshe Tourism Flower Market
(Houli Flower Farm)
Gaomei WetlandsNTD 1,2184:30 pm to 5:00 pm
(adjust depending on estimated sunset time)
Gaomei WetlandsCingshuei StationNTD 1,0567:00 pm to 7:30 pm

If you will check the table above Dani girl, the final drop-off point for this NTD 797 budget trip for 8 people is Qingshui Station. So you must still ride a local train back to TRA Taichung Station. For a more hassle-free travel back to downtown, you can opt to choose TRA Taichung Station as your final drop-off point, but that will increase the budget per person to 859.50 NTD. But I know, that you Dani girl as the CEO of Camila Sardines, you can afford to pay this amount of money. Haha!

Before I end this post, let me remind you of some things to be able to accomplish this NTD 797 per head Taichung budget challenge:

1. You have to book five times in the tripool web app for each drop-off point-pick-up point and you will have the pay the full amount first. For your convenience, collect the money from your friends before you book the trip on the online app.

Also, the Houli Flower Farm and Xinshe Castle require tickets before you can enter these tourist attractions, so don't forget to bring extra money.

2. If you choose to return to TRA Taichung Station from Gaomei Wetlands, then the budget per person will be ~NTD 860.

3. Book tripool taxi before 3:00 pm, at least one day before your trip.

4. You create your own itinerary with tripool taxi, so you can add or remove a tourist spot in Taichung based on your interest.

5. The tripool taxi fares I listed above are estimated prices and they can be higher or lower when you check them in the web app, depending if there is a sudden change of price or if you got some discount coupons.

And oh! Before I forget, you can bring your red luggage with you. Just ask the tripool taxi driver to put it at the boot/trunk of the car.

"Dani girl" refers to the main antagonist of a popular Filipino afternoon drama.


NTD 600 per head Gaomei Wetlands + Houli Farm + Xinshe Castle + Rainbow Village [Ask Luo-Mu Jie]

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Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai. Also known as the Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival, this is the most anticipated event in Taiwan every summer. Come and join the event this 2019. The one-man team luomujie blog created this travel guide to help you have a wonderful hot air balloon experience. From the various ways to go to Taitung up to the scheduled events, everything you need to know about the festival is on this page.

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks
Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

1. When is the 2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival?

The 2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival will run from June 29 to Aug. 12

2. How to go to Taitung

The easiest way to go to Taitung is to fly from Taipei Songshan Airport, but most people prefer to ride the TRA train to Taitung Station. If you're coming from Taipei, it will be difficult to get tickets for the Taipei-Taitung trip. The demand is so high that it becomes impossible to go to the east coast of Taiwan. Luckily, the High Speed Rail along the west coast of Taiwan makes it possible to travel to Kaohsiung, and then transfer to a TRA express train at Xin Zuoying Station to get to Taitung Station.

People from Taoyuan, Taichung, Chiayi and especially Tainan, should just go south to Kaohsiung via the High Speed Rail network. I have included the klook links so you will get 20% discount for your HSR tickets. To book a train ticket for the TRA, just follow the link that I have given. You will be directed to the English version of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) online booking website [Reserve here]. Select your origin, destination (ex. Taitung Station) and the date you want to travel. The train timetable will be shown for your chosen date. To book a seat, click the ticket icon under the "Order tickets" column. A new page will open where you will type your passport number. Press the inquiry button again. You will know if there is a seat or not. If you got a seat, continue the booking process. If not, just opt for the HSR method.

Read the table below to know more about the different ways to go to Taitung.

Comparison of the different ways to go to Taitung, where to buy tickets online, prices and expected travel time
RouteMode of transportationTerminalWhere to buy tickets onlineTicket priceTravel Time
TAIPEI to TAITUNGby train via TRATaipei Main Station

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 783 3.5 to 4.5 hours
(Puyuma or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)

[high demand]
[difficult to get tickets]
by plane via
Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA)[Google Map]

[to Taitung Airport (TTT)]
UNI Air website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,566 (promo)

NTD 2,280 (regular)
65 minutes
by plane via
Mandarin Airlines
Mandarin Airlines website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,560 (promo)

NTD 2,303 (regular)
50 minutes

(then follow the Kaohsiung to Taitung route below)
by train via HSRTaipei Main Station (or HSR Banqiao Station or HSR Nangang Station)

[to HSR Zuoying (Kaohsiung) Station]
NTD 1,1921.5 hours to
2 hours and 15 minutes
[route and timetable]
Kuo-Kuang bus
Kaohsiung Bus company
Kaohsiung Main Station (Kuo-Kuang bus terminal)
[Google Map]

[to TRA Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
buy your tickets at the bus stationNTD 1863.5 to 4 hours
by Bus 1778
[route and timetable]
Kuo-Kuang bus company
Kaohsiung Main Station (Kuo-Kuang bus terminal)
[Google Map]

[to Taitung Bus Station/Taitung Transfer Station]
[Google Map]
NTD 540
by train via TRATRA Xinzuoying Station[Google Map]
(connected to HSR Zuoying Station)

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]

Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 294
(Chu-Kuang Express)

NTD 370
(Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
3 to 4 hours
(Chu-Kuang Express)

2.5 to 3 hours
(Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains)

(then follow the Hualien to Taitung route below)
Taipei Main Station

[to Hualien Station]
NTD 340
(Chu-Kuang Express)

NTD 440
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
2.5 to 4 hours
(Chu-Kuang Express)

2 to 3 hours
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
by bus then local train
via combo ticket
Taipei City Hall Bus Station to TRA Luodong Rear Station [Google Map]
by bus

TRA Luodong Station to TRA Hualien Station [Google Map]by train
Taipei City Hall Bus Station (MRT Taipei City Hall Station [Blue Line] Exit 2

[buy the combo tickets at Taipei City Hall Bus Station]
NTD 209
(if there are no local trains when you arrive at Luodong Station,
will need to add ~NTD 70 to upgrade for an express train ticket)
3 to 4 hours
(the earlier, the better)
HUALIEN to TAITUNGby train via TRAHualien Station

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 220
(local train, no need to reserve)

NTD 343
(Puyuma or Tze-Chiang Limited Express train, book online to reserve)

more than 3 hours
local train

1.5 to 3 hours
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)

(then follow the Hualien to Taitung route above)
by plane via
Mandarin Airlines
Taichung Airport

[to Hualien Airport]
Mandarin Airlines website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,159 (promo)

NTD 2,318 (regular)
60 minutes

(after arriving at Hualien Airport, board a taxi to TRA Hualien Station)
[Google Map]

(2 or 3 trains depart per day)
TRA Taichung Station[Google Map]

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 641 to NTD 8065.5 hours

(then follow the Kaohsiung to Taitung route
by transferring to a TRA express train
at Xinzuoying Station)
HSR Taichung/Taoyuan/
Tainan Station

[to HSR Zuoying (Kaohsiung) Station]
NTD 632~1 hour
TAOYUAN TO KAOHSIUNGNT$ 1,0641.5 to 2 hours

3. Airport transfer options to the nearest TRA/MRT or HSR Stations

The Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) is the best gateway to go to Taitung for travellers planning to enter Taiwan. Just look for an airline like AirAsia that has a direct flight to KHH. If you are able to book, then congratulations! You are just one step closer to Taitung.

List of international airports and transfer points to MRT/TRA/HSR Stations
AirportTransfer PointWhere to go
Taoyuan International Airport
Airport MRT A12 (Terminal 1)
or A13 (Terminal 2) Station
Taipei Main Station (A1 Station)

HSR Taoyuan Station (A18)
Taipei Songshan Airport
MRT Taipei Songshan Airport Station [Brown Line]Taipei Main Station

or fly directly to Taitung Airport
Taichung International Airport
Bus 156
(Taichung Airport to HSR Taichung)
HSR Taichung Station
Kaohsiung International Airport
Kaohsiung MRT R4 Station [Red Line]
(Kaohsiung International Airport)
Kaohsiung MRT R16 Zuoying Station [Red Line]
(HSR Zuoying Station/TRA Xinzuoying Station)

4. What to do after arriving at TRA Taitung Station

After arriving at TRA Taitung Station, you can go to your hotel or go directly to the festival if you are too excited to see the hot air balloons. Follow the links that I have given below on the table, to know the location of the bus stops.

Transfer options at TRA Taitung Station bus stop[Google Map]
DestinationBus number
Taitung Bus Station/
Taitung Transfer Station (臺東轉運站)[Google Map]
Urban Anticlockwise Circular Line
Bus 8168
Bus 8167
Luye Highland aka Luye Gaotai[Google Map]

(if you want to go
to the hot air balloon festival directly after arriving at Taitung Station)
Bus 8168 [Taiwan Tour Bus East Rift Line]

(Ask the driver first if the bus is going to Luye Gaotai,
or else the vehicle will go to Taitung Bus Station)

5. Schedule of events for the 2019 Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Tethered balloon activity, Morning Glow and Night Glow Show schedules for the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival
June 29 to Aug. 12Luye Gaotai[Google Map][Tethered Balloon Activity]
5:30 to 7:30

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Bus Station/Taitung Transfer Station (臺東轉運站)][Google Map]

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station]
morning tethered balloon activityReserve online or register on-site to join the tethered balloon activity

The 5:30 am and 5:00 pm tethered balloon activities
is also the the time to watch the hot air balloons
while sitting on the grass at Luye Gaotai.

morning bus fare: NTD 75
afternoon/night bus fare: NTD 120
[Tethered Balloon Activity]
17:00 to 19:00

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station (The bus will also make a stop at TRA Taitung Station after 18 minutes.)]

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station]

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station
after the Night Glow Show
on June 29 and Aug. 12]
afternoon tethered balloon activity
June 29 and
Aug. 12
19:00Night Glow ShowBalloon tethered activities are affected during these dates
(ex. The afternoon balloon tethered activity for June 29 is suspended to give way for the preparation of the Night Glow Show at 7:00 pm

If you want to attend the Night Glow Show at Green Island, you will have to stay there for at least 1 night.

For the Dapo Lake venue: walk from TRA Chishang. It is possible to go back to Taitung Station before midnight but you will need to ride a taxi to go back to downtown

For the Zhiben Hot Spring venue: there is bus that will take you from TRA Zhiben Station
July 13Green Island[Google Map]
July 20Dapo Lake[Google Map]
Aug. 3Zhiben Hot Spring[Google Map]
Aug. 16Taitung County Stadium[Google Map]
July 6Sanxiantai[Google Map][Morning Glow Show]

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Sanxiatai]

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Taimali Dawn Park]

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Dawu Coast Park]

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station from Sanxiatai,Taimali Dawn Park or Dawu Coast Park]
Morning Glow Show
July 27Taimali Dawn Park[Google Map]
Aug. 10Dawu Coast Park[Google Map]

6. Online Booking for the Tethered Balloon Experience

To join the tethered balloon activity, you can book a slot online (only the July 29 to Aug 12 are available) or just go to Luye Gaotai to register on-site. If you are able to book online, just show the QR code to the Taitung Fun Card representatives.

Just a reminder, if you will join the tethered balloon activity, then you might not have time to sit on the lawn area to watch the hot air balloons. To catch the hot air balloons soaring in the sky and not just held by a rope, when you go to the event the weather forecast must be super good. I suggest going for the 5:30 am sessions to get the best viewing experience.

Online selling of tickets for the tethered balloon activity
Online selling datesScheduled datesStatus
June 10 to June 23June 29 to July 13Online tickets are SOLD OUT!
(must register on-site to join the activity)
June 17 to June 30July 14 to July 28
June 24 to July 7July 29 to Aug 12Open
[Reserve here]

7. Where to stay in Taitung?

The technique during the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival is to choose a hostel or hotel which is walking distance from the Taitung Transfer Station (Taitung Bus Station). So if you want to go to the 5:30 am event or even on the Morning Glow Show, you can just walk from the hostel or hotel to the bus station.

When I went to Taitung, I stayed at Hostel Who Knows. The dorm rates at that hostel was very affordable and the host speaks good English. He even helped me buy a ticket to Green Island and Orchid Island. If ever the owner asked you about who recommended Hostel Who Knows, just tell this: "that guy from the Philippines who travels every week in Taiwan".

Recommended hostels and hotels to stay in Taitung during the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival
NameLocationDistance from Taitung Transfer Station/
Taitung Bus Station
Estimated price per night
(1 adult)
Hostel Who Knows [Reserve here][Google Map]450 metersNTD 375
Le Da Backpackers Hostel [Reserve here][Google Map]400 metersNTD 600
Inn by the Village [Reserve here][Google Map]220 metersNTD 2,900


2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks

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Matsu Islands. A territory of Taiwan that is so close to Mainland China. Rich with military history, thrilling views and the deep blue sea. It is often ignored by visitors in Taiwan. But an exciting world that is worth to explore! The luomujie blog made a trip to this archipelago to discover what it has to offer and try to understand it's public transportation system for the benefit of future travellers to the Matsu Islands.

The Matsu Islands archipelago.  It is territory of Taiwan off the cosat of Mainland China and composed of five major islands: Nangan, Beigan, Dongyin, Xiju and Dongju.
Questions and Answers about travelling to Matsu Islands

When is the best time to visit Matsu?

The best time is from September to October when the weather on the islands is already stable. It's rainy during summer months of June, July and August. Not to mention the 4 to 6 typhoons that visit Taiwan every year. February to May is the fog season and ferry trips can be cancelled. Though Sept. to Oct. is considered as the best time to be here in Matsu, more people come to the archipelago during summer because of the "Blue Tears" phenomenon.

Do I need to bring my passport when I visit Matsu Islands?

Yes, that is a must. When buying a ferry ticket to any of the islands, a passport is always asked. If you're a foreigner with an ARC card (that is expected as a substitute for a passport in Taiwan!), it's better to bring your passport with you. I was asked once by the coast guard at Nangan Harbor after showing my ARC. It was a good thing that I brought it with me. Or else, I would have been in great trouble and missed my ferry.

Is there a tour bus on Matsu Islands?

No. If you're looking for the classic Taiwan Tour Bus that will take you to the island's famous attractions, then you will not find one here. However, two of the major islands, Beigan and Nangan have a public bus that you can hop-on and hop-off. Sad to say the islands of Dongju, Xiju and Dongyin don't have such buses, so you will need to ride a scooter, board a taxi or walk to visit the tourist attractions.

You mentioned about scooters. But I don't know how to ride one! Will walking be ok?

It will be ok but you will need to focus on the important tourist attractions because walking will eat your time and energy. Just carry a light backpack so it won't be difficult to go sightseeing. The islands of Dongju, Xiju and Dongyin are not that big and it is possible to see most of the attractions. With a little help of boarding a taxi to the farthest point of the island and walking back, will help you save a lot of time.

I want to know more about the bus of Nangan and Beigan Island? Are there dedicated bus stops?

Yes of course! You can even track the bus through the Google Maps app. There is a so-called Mountain Line and Ocean Line but that wouldn't matter. Just use the Google Map app. Remember that all buses start their trip at Jieshou town in the morning with the exception of one route. If your chosen hotel is located on that area, that will be great for you. Last departure of the buses at Jieshou is at 17:40.

Nangan Island bus routes: 1)Jieshou to Magang, 2) Nangan to Magang. Once the bus has reached the Magang town, it will continue running until it reaches the town of Jieshou. So there is no need to get off the bus at Magang stop and wait for another one if you're going to Nangan Harbor. It's like a circular route. The same buses from Jieshou will also pass by the Nangan Airport. The Google Maps app will show you the entire bus routes making it easy to go around the island of Nangan.

For Beigan Island, there is a bus stop just beside the wharf and another dedicated bus stop for Baisha. The most important tourist attraction in Beigan Island is Qinbi Village. You can ride the bus to go to "Qinbi" and and just walk if there is no bus that is coming back to Baisha Harbor. Another reminder: the last ferry from Beigan to Nangan is at 5:30 pm. Don't forget this if your hostel is located on Nangan Island.

Where did you stay at Matsu Islands?

I stayed at the No. 55 Hostel when I went to Matsu this month of June. [Reserve here]. It is located on the town of Jinsha on Nangan Island and the rate per night is very cheap for a price of NTD 700. If you're going to stay at the town of center of Nangan and Beigan, then you would have to pay more than NTD 1,000 per night. What's nice about the No. 55 Hostel is that, it has a rooftop, where you can watch the "Blue Tears".

How do I go to the deer island and are there regular trips?

The are regular trips every summer season. Just register for the Daqiu boat at the Nangang-Beigan counter of the Matsu Visitor Information Center and pay the NTD 350 ticket. The earliest boat leaves at 9:50 am. Upon arriving at the Daqiu Island, ask the boatmen on what time will be the departure time. Based on my experience, the owners of the ferry are in a hurry to take passengers back. They don't follow the supposed schedule. Worst-case scenario: you will be able to board the 3:00 pm boat back to Beigan or Nangan.

How to go to Matsu Islands?

To go to Matsu Islands, you can either fly via Uni Air or board the Taima ferry. I prefer the second one because it is cheaper and it gives a different kind of feeling. It feels adventurous to cross the Taiwan Strait rather than flying for less than 1 hour.

To book a ferry ticket, just go to the ematsu website. I have put the link on the transportation options table of this Matsu Travel Guide. On the booking platform, choose the date of your travel, the Chinese characters for Keelung (基隆) as your origin and for your destination, it can be either Dongyin (東引) or Nangan (南竿). If you are successful in getting a slot, you can choose either an economy bed (經濟艙單人床) or a business class (商務艙) type of bed. See the pictures below.

Step 1: Select date of travel, origin and destination.  If you are going to Matsu from Taipei, choose the Chinese characters for Keelung as your origin.  Your destination can be the island of Dongyin or Nangan.  If you want to see most of Matsu, then choose Nangan.

Step 2:  Double check your selected origin, destination and date of travel before confirming your selection.  The departure time at Keelung port is 10:00 pm but boarding time starts at 9:00 pm. 

Step 2a. If you choose the economy class single bed, put how many beds you want to reserve. Then select the left black button at the bottom portion of this image to move to the next page.  You will then be asked to confirm something (in Chinese).

Step 3. Fill in your personal information like full name, birthday, passport number and whether you are a male (男) or a female (女). The info you give must match those of your passport or Taiwan ARC.   Don't forget your e-mail address.  The $1050 refers on this photo, refers to the NTD 1,050 cost of a single economy bed.  You can pay using your debit card and a text message will be sent on your smartphone during the payment process.

To book a return ferry trip to Keelung, just repeat the process but you will have to choose from either Dongyin or Nangan as your origin. If you have already booked and paid online, you can get your tickets at the Nangan-Dongyin counter of the Matsu Visitor Information Center if your chosen origin is in Nangan. For Dongyin Island, you will have to get the physical ticket at Laoye Hotel the day before your trip between 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

A Uni Air airplane preparing to fly from Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA)

If you have a budget of at least NTD 4,000, then you can fly via Uni Air from Taipei or Taichung. For residents of Taipei, there is a ferry and plane option. If you're living in Taichung, then you have to travel to Keelung first, to ride the ferry or just fly directly to Matsu Islands.

If you're not prone to seasickness and want to try something different, I suggest sailing across the Taiwan Strait.

Transportation options to Matsu Islands from Taipei and Taichung
Mode of transportationRouteTerminalWhere to buy tickets onlineTicket priceNotes/Comments
via Taima ferryKeelung to Matsu
(Nangan Island or Dongyin Island)
Keelung West Passenger Terminal

Taima ferry ticket office
ematsu website
(in Chinese)
Select date,
origin and
to book a trip.
[Reserve here]
NTD 1,050
(economy single bed)
8 to 10 hours travel time

To claim your ticket: TRA Keelung Station->walk->West Passenger Terminal
->Go to the 2nd floor->
Present your ARC/passport at the Taima ferry
ticket office.
If you can't speak Chinese,
just show them the e-mail
that you have received
after booking from
the ematsu website.

Odd-numbered dates:

Even-numbered dates (ex. June 10):
by plane via Uni AirTaipei to Matsu
(Nangan Island or Beigan Island)
Taipei Songshan Airport

[to Nangan Airport (LZN) or Beigan Airport (MFK)]
Uni Air website
[Reserve here]
~NTD 2,00055 minutes travel time
Taichung to Matsu (Nangan Island)
Taichung International Airport

(to Nangan Airport (LZN) only)
~NTD 2,50065 minutes travel time
How to go to the other islands of Matsu by ferry
Matsu inter-island transportation system. Where to buy tickets, ferry schedules and prices
RouteTicket priceFerry scheduleWhere to buy ticketsTicket buying timeWhere to board the ferry
Nangan to BeiganNTD 160first ferry at 7:00
last ferry at 17:00
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
[Google Map]
At least 15 minutes before departure Nangan Fuaogang
[Google Map]
Beigan to Nangan
first ferry at 7:30
last ferry at 17:30
連江縣北竿港務大樓[Google Map]Beigan
Baisha Harbor
[Google Map]
Nangan to Dongju
NTD 20007:00
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
[Google Map]
Buy your tickets on the same day preferably
at least an hour before the departure time.

But you can still buy tickets
at least 15 minutes before the trip as long as there are seats available.

Odd-numbered month:

Even-numbered month (ex. June):
Nangan Fuaogang
[Google Map]
Nangan to Xiju
NTD 200
Dongju to Xiju
NTD 10007:50
Dongju wharf
Xiju to Nangan
NTD 20008:10
Xiju wharf
Dongju to Nangan
Dongju wharf
Nangan to Dongju
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
[Google Map]
Nangan to Xiju
Xiju to Donghu
NTD 10007:50
Xiju wharf
Xiju to Nangan
NTD 20007:50
Xiju wharf
Dongju to Nangan
Dongju wharf
Nangan to Dongyin
NTD 3507:00 (even numbered date)Matsu Tourist
Information Center
[Google Map]
07:30 to 08:30
Dongyin to Nangan07:00 (odd numbered date)Laoye Hotel
(located near
the post office)
[Google Map]
The day before the trip
from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
連江縣港務處東引站[Google Map]
Nangan to
Daqiu (The deer island of Taiwan)
NTD 35009:50
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
[Google Map]
Must register first
at the Nangan-Beigan ferry counter
The earlier, the better
Nangan Fuaogang
[Google Map]

Matsu Islands Travel Guide - How to go, Tips and Tricks

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Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

The Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival enters another exciting year in Shimen Reservoir. If you don't want to travel to Taitung on the east coast of Taiwan to see colorful flying machines, then this event is for you. There are tethered balloon rides every day and a Night Glow Show every night during weekends to satisfy everyone's craziness of hot air balloons. Just remember, that you will only see them flying if the weather is super good.

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Schedule of events for the 2019 Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival
June 15 to June 235:30 to 7:30morning tethered balloon activity
16:30 to 18:30afternoon tethered balloon activity
June 15, 16, 22 and 23 only19:00 to 19:20Night Glow Show
How to go to the Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Location: Nanyuanshengtai Park (南苑生態公園) [Google Map]

Online reservation for the tethered balloon activity [Reserve here]

Expect the buses to be locked in traffic for 2 hours as you get near to the Shimen Reservoir. Lots of locals will also visit the park, so the earlier the better. Everyone will be looking for a nice spot for the Night Glow Show. Bring also your own food, unless you want to join a very long queue just to buy some sausages.

See the table below if you want to see the hot air balloons at Shimen Dam. Notice that the last return departure times of Bus 501, 502 and 503 will not make it to the end of the of the Night Glow Show. Visitors must ride the festival shuttle bus (weekends and holidays only) [Google Map] going to Daxi Bridge before 19:30, to be able to leave Shimen Reservoir at night. Once you are at Daxi Bridge, walk towards the Daxi Bus Station, to board Bus 5096 to get to TRA Taoyuan Station. If you want to go to the 5:30 am event, you must board a taxi from downtown Taoyuan or stay at any of the hotels near Shimen Dam or Daxi town then ride a cab to the event.

Buses going to the Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival
Bus numberBoard the bus atGet off the bus atdeparture time of last bus
going back to downtown Taoyuan
501HSR Taoyuan Station
first bus at 08:10
last bus at 16:10
Xinjiewei (Heping Old Street) [Google Map],
then walk to towards the other end of Daxi bridge [Google Map].
There are festival shuttle buses (weekends and holidays only) that will take spectators to the bus stop of Shimen Reservoir
Bus 501 runs every day but the last bus returning back to downtown will leave at 16:10 on weekdays
Not efficient, also need to walk from Heping Old Street.
502Taoyuan Bus Station
first bus at 08:30
last bus at 13:30
[Google Map]
(just walk from the rear exit of TRA Taoyuan Station)
Bus 502 is only available during weekends and holidays.
503Zhongli Bus Station
first bus at 07:30
last bus at 16:00
[Google Map]
(just walk from the front exit of TRA Zhongli Station)
Shimen Reservoir terminal stop [Google Map]17:20
Bus 503 is only available during weekends and holidays
Direct route, more efficient
5096Taoyuan Bus Station
first bus at 05:20
last bus at 21:50
Daxi Bus Station [Google Map]22:30, daily serviceMust ride the festival shuttle bus (weekends and holidays only) located on the other end of Daxi Bridge [Google Map].


Taoyuan Hot Air Balloon Festival - How to go, tips and tricks

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Dear Luo-Mu Jie,

Hi! I'm Vida and an avid reader of your blog. My friends are going to visit Taipei from June 15 (arrival at the Taoyuan airport at 8:45 am) to June 18 (departure at 11:25 pm). They will be staying at one of the hotels near Taipei Main Station. Can you create an itinerary for them?

They are not the typical Gen Z people who have the energy to explore every corner of the city. Please consider this for their travel plan.



Sure Vida. No problem! Here is the 4-Days, 3-Nights Taipei Itinerary that I have made for your friends. Just remember that they will need to have a pocket wifi to help track their location in Taipei easily.

4-Days, 3-Nights Taipei Itinerary
DateTimeActivity/Places to visit
June 158:40 amArrival at Taoyuan Airport
9:40 amAllot 1 hour at the Immigration
10:00 amGet your EasyCard & 4G SIM Card at the Unite Traveler service counter, Arrival Hall of either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2
Get your Taoyuan Airport MRT tickets at the Ezfly service counter, located in front of the Airport MRT gate
11:00 amArrival at Airport MRT-Taipei Main Station/walk to your chosen hotel
12:00 noonArrive at the hotel/have some rest/eat lunch at the nearby 7-eleven stores
1:30 pmBoard the Taipei MRT at Taipei Main Station, get off at MRT Sun-yat Sen (SYS) Memorial Hall Station [Blue Line]. Get inside the SYS Hall [Google Map].
Watch the changing of guard ceremony at 2:00 pm.
2:30 pmBoard the Taipei MRT and get off at Chiang-kai Shek Memorial Hall Station [Red Line]
Climb the staircase [Google Map] and watch another changing of guard ceremony at 3:00 pm. Don't forget to visit the museum located at the ground floor.
3:30 pmBoard the Taipei MRT and get off at Taipei 101 Station [Red Line]. Go to the 5th floor to buy your entrance tickets for the Taipei 101 Observatory. You can also book them online through the klook platform
5:30 pmBoard the Taipei MRT and get off at Jiantan Station [Red Line]. Transfer to Bus Red 30/R30 to get to the National Palace Museum
[Google Map]. You can get your entrance tickets beforehand through the klook platform.
7:30 pmAfter a two-hour tour at the National Palace Museum, board Bus Red 30 again at get off at MRT Jiantan Station. Walk towards the Shilin Night Market[Google Map]. This is the time to eat your dinner and go buy some souvenirs.
10:00 pmGo back to hotel
June 167:00 amPrepare for a new day in Taipei/eat breakfast
8:30 amBoard Taipei MRT to Taipei Zoo Station [Brown Line]
9:30 amArrive at Taipei Zoo
[Google Map]. Pay the entrance by your EasyCard. You might need to get a number to get inside the pandarium.
12:30 pmLeave Taipei Zoo and walk towards the Maokong Gondola
[Google Map] Station. There are restaurants inside the zoo or you can eat your own packed lunch.
1:00 pmRide the Maokong Gondola. Choose the crystal cabins.
2:00 pmAt the Maokong Station, ride the cable car again back to Taipei Zoo Station.
3:00 pmRide the Taipei MRT to Ximen Station [Blue Line]
4:00 pmArrive at Ximending. Shop till your drop. You can also visit the Modern Toilet if you feel hungry again
7:00 pmBoard the Taipei MRT to Nanjing Sanmin Station [Green Line]. Walk towards the Chia Te Bakery [Google Map] and have a taste of their delicious pineapple cakes
8:00 pmBoard the Taipei MRT to Songshan Station [Green Line]. Explore Raohe Night Market.
10:00 pmGo back to hotel
June 177:00 amPrepare for a new day in Taipei/eat breakfast
9:45 ammeet-up at from MRT Ximen Station Exit 4 [Blue Line]
10:00 amklook activity: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Shuttle Bus, must book the 10:00 am shuttle bus
June 187:00 amPrepare for a new day in Taipei/eat breakfast
8:30 amBoard Bus 260 at Taipei Main Station. Get off the bus at the Yangmingshan terminal stop [Google Map].
9:30 amTransfer to Bus 108 that will go to Xiaoyoukeng directly. Or you can ride Bus 108 twice, by boarding again at Erziping stop.
10:30 amArrive at Xiaoyoukeng [Google Map]. Listen to the roar of the Taipei's fumarole
12:00 noonRide Bus 108 again. Get off at Qingtiangang [Google Map] and this time you will have a leisurely stroll at Taipei's famous grassland.
3:00 pmRide Bus 108 again to go back to the Yangmingshan terminal stop
4:00 pmTransfer to Bus 260 or R5 to go to Taipei Main Station or MRT Jiantan Station [Red Line] respectively
5:30 pmArrive at Taipei Main Station. Have an early dinner and then go back to your hotel to pick up your luggages
7:30 pmBoard the Taoyuan Airport MRT to Taoyuan Airport
11:25 pmFly back to Manila. See you again Taiwan!


4 Days, 3 Nights Taipei Itinerary from June 15 to June 18 [Ask Luo-Mu Jie]

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