South Korea Love

Why am I so in love with South Korea? And why this country is just incredible?! Is it because of people I met there? Or the landscapes? Or of what it has to offer? Or how amazing it is sightseeing a city that is so modern and in the same time it had so much of ancient culture and architecture? This whole mixture makes it one-of-a-kind. And I’m definately coming  back there, next year, for sure! I’m planning it already 🙂
It is funny how much I fell in love with the country, especially that my trip started in the most terrible way it could have. I was landing at 11 PM, late, I know. Yet I wasn’t afraid of landing that late, because I knew the country is a safe one, so even if it happens I need to wander around in the centre looking for the hotel I booked, or any other place I need to look for in the middle of the night, nothing will happen to me. I didn’t know the biggest problem will happen at the airport! So I landed, got my language, exit the area and then looked for an ATM as I needed money. And then problems start :/  It was already Sunday night, as when I got my baggage, it was around midnight.
It occured there was only one ATM working at the moment as there was some maintenance being done on others. And the only one working there was not giving me money! Thefirst thing I did was to call the bank I have account in, and they said everything was okay from their side – would they say anything else? I went then to the information center and they said there might be some problems because of the maintenance time. I did not want to take the taxi to the hotel as I prefered to take the night bus. I hate paying for things I do not really need. Anyway for the bus I could only pay by cash (that I did not have) or use their trasportation card, that of course I did not have as I just landed in a foreign county :/ I had some money to exchange, but because it was late, all of the currency exchange points were closed.
In the meantime my hotel reservation was cancelled, to my big surprise. I have no idea why booking.com cancelled it just because I did not show in the hotel :/ So once I got such an information by mail (the Wi-Fi works just perfectly at the airport!) I called the hotel, explained my issues and asked if I still can check in probaly around 3 am. They were fine with it. What made me angry and sad was the fact that at the airport there is only ONE (!!!) company providing ATMs service. As the ATM was not giving me money, and it was to others, I asked the information lady if there are some different ATMs around the area. To my surprise the answer was there are none :/ So it is Sunday, midnight, I am in such a well developed country, and I have problems withdrawing money at the airport! What the f*** is that? Can you imagine how surprising that was?!
So I took a taxi, had no other choice apart from staying at the airpot till 5 or 6 am untill the day life begins. I prefered to check in to the hotel, so I asked the driver to pull over near one of the ATMs that I could withdraw the money in a different ATM, and see if it is a problem with the card or there is another one. A different ATM also didn’t give me the money :/ Now this whole situation made me a bit nervous. Anyway,  I started thinking logically, what I always do and try to find a solution. I was able to pay for the taxi by card, I could pay for the hotel by card, so why couldn’t I withdraw the money? So instead of going to sleep I was thinking if I am able to get some money in this so-freaking-well-developped country? And the next day, instead of starting it from sightseeing, I had to figure out how to get the money! Fortunately I found, quite close to the hotel I was staying in, the branch of the bank I have account in and their ATM gave me money 🙂  Thank you Citibank, I love you too 🙂 Thinking in advance, I took a bit more that I needed, just in case, because I was not sure if any of other ATMs would give me money. I did not even want to try them again.
By the time I solved my problems it was already past midday. Finding a locker on the central station was a challenge that day because all of them were booked. So I was wandering around the city with my backpack. Fortunately it was only around 11 kg what wasn’t that bad, just a bit inconvenient. And because of it I was moving a bit slow :/ That day I did not see much of Seoul.
At 8 PM the whole crappy situatuion changed as I met my hosts who appeared to be just amazing! We met in the center, they took me to their flat and I spent a great evening with them. They showed me on the map all of the places worth seeing in the city and they were absolutely right! I need to add they were also incredibly prepared for hosting people. There were so many tour guides in the room they offered me for 2 night I could really choose from 🙂 They occured to be such great people that they will stay in my heart for ever 😉 Because that day I was not able to see much of the Seoul, the next one I woke up early, left the flat at 8:30 in the morning to have the whole day on the sightseeing. So I did 23 km by foot and I’m sure I haven’t even seen half of the city that I fell in love immediately! I can only say: I love, love, love it!
I love the palace I saw, I love the stream in the centre I walked by, I love all of these skyscrapers around, I love the Seoul Tower and its view, I love the markets I went to, I love the village I went to, and I just love every single spot I saw! I even went on one of the bridges as I like admiring a city from their view. And it did not disappoint me 🙂
I need to go back to South Korea, I want to go back there, I want more of the city!
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So even though the beginning of my South Korea trip sucked, with every single day being there I was loving the country even more! I knew if I did not allow bad emotions to stick to me, it will only get better 🙂 and it did!
And I had some lovely stars on the ceiling when I was sleeping! 🙂 Thanks to my hosts, of course 🙂
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They occurred to be the best ones, so welcoming and wanting to share a piece of their life with a stranger, that means me. Meeting such people makes me continue my Couchsurfing adventure and because of them I know the website is the right place for me to be in 🙂  I’m very happy and grateful I had an opportunity to meet people like my lovely Seoul hosts! I know if you are a good person, you only attract good people 🙂 I tested it myself so can guarantee it works 😀
My next destination in South Korea was its second biggest city – Busan. South of the country and by the ocean with a nice beach, and going there by train was only about three hours. Ticket price 50 euros. And what’s funny is that nobody even checked if I had one on the train 🙂 In there I spent only one night, anyhow I managed to do a bit of sightseeing and meet a girl I hosted two years ago! Another Couchsurfing surprise 🙂 That’s amazing there are people staying at your house and then it might happen in the future, that in fact you meet them again. So we just grabbed some coffee and a cake. It was nice to see her again in a different place 🙂
In Busan and by the ocean there is a lovely park I had a walk and a nap 🙂 It happens to me that I take naps in different cities when I travel. I did it already in Rome, Nice, Thessaloniki and probably much more 🙂 The coastal view is incredible! Check it yourself 🙂
Some tips now:
1. In Busan I had no problems finding a locker for my luggage and they were available on every subway station. It costs 5000 won for the whole day. The machine was taking only banknotes of 1.000. Listen now: there was also a machine at the station exchanging you money to 1.000 banknots. How great is that? How thoughtful of Koreans is that? Do I find it in Europe? No way 🙂 How come not loving Korea even just for that? 🙂
2. The transportation card is centralised, so the one I had from Seoul also worked in Busan. I love Asian inventions a lot!!!
3. If it happens you land at night – get some money before heading to South Korea. I could have exchanged some before, yet I thought that in such a developed country I will not have any problems. How foolish of me that was! Lesson learnt 🙂
4. Their English level? Totally fine. And the people are amazingly helpful. Even if they sometimes might struggle with their communication, they will always help you. They did when I got stuck in the subway and the gate did not want to let me go 🙂 It occured that one way ticket was not enough for the trip I did. The same as in Taiwan – the subway charges you for the kilometers you do, so one way tickets may not always be enough.
Summing of the trip, I need to say that these four days were quite intense, surprising, amazing and not enough! I am really planning of coming back to South Korea next year. I want more of it! I want all of it! Next time maybe I will manage to visit Jeju island? Who knows? The plan is ongoing 🙂
Is the country expensive? For me it isn’t. Of course I did not expect it to be cheap. If you compare it to Vietnam, or Thailand or the Philippines it is much more expensive, but still, in my opinion, very affordable.
Something for the girls – the cosmetics they offer are of really great quality and totally inexpensive. My luggage was 11 kg when I was beginning my Asian trip and only because of Korean cosmetics it got into 16 kg 🙂  so the plan for next year is to come back for more cosmetics 😉
And I want to see more of Korea – that’s for sure! For me the country in a mixture of Japanese and American style. It is not that strict as Japanese are, yet well-organized and functioning in order. Plus it has this chilled out American mood. At least that is the feeling I had once being there. And I love such feelings! See you soon Korea 🙂

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Philippines

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One of my this year’s holiday destination was the Philippines. I wanted to visit the country after reading, a few months ago, a reportage. It was describing people living there on the cemetery. It sounded terrible and made a big impression on me, especially because there were some moving photos assigned to it. I knew it was only describing the worst part of the country as well as the society that allows such things to happen.  Anyway I decided to check how life looks like on the islands. And moreover it’s a good destination for holidays, because it’s always warm there. Not only warm, cheap too!
Before going there I did a bit of a research, because of malaria existence in some parts of the islands, and my plan was not only staying in the capital. About Manila I can only say that I totally don’t recommend it. I heard a lot of bad things about the city, and these occurred to be true. Terrible traffic jams, lots of poverty around every corner, people wanting only to screw you, lack of sense of security and many other negative experiences about the city :/ However when it comes to islands, all went just fine 🙂
From the beginning now. I landed on an international airport in Manila and immediately flew to Tagbilaran, a city in Bohol, the island I spent some time on.  They impression about the airport is that the international one looks quite similar to all of the international  airports, however the domestic one is very tiny. There are only four gates, and so many flights taking off to all of the Filipino islands, that it is incredibly crowded and it is hard to find a place to sit. I had an impression of being kind of loaded to a plane and then taken to my destination. Apart from that the plane was on time, everything went smoothly, just the size of the airport and amount of people crowding there was stunning.
About Tagbilaran and Bohol island I can only say good things and I really enjoyed my stay there.  The island is connected by two bridges to another one – Panglao that has to offer many interesting beaches. Mostly the islands are about the beaches. When you are on holiday, in a warm country, on an island, you usually sunbathe and rest by the ocean. Both islands, Bohol and Panglao, offer scuba-diving, trips around the area and many touristic  attractions. I went on a daily trip where in the scope I had attractions like:     sightseeing of Chocolate Hills – a very popular spot in the island located in the middle of it. They do make an impression as the view is amazing when you climb one and then have a view around others. Then we were taken to a place where I could see some small monkeys, later on there was a cruise on a river Loboc with lunch on a boat! Next stop was crossing the bridge made of wood, that was really moving when you’re walking on it, visiting  a zoo where I could hold and touch a snake! I really touched it, even though it was terribly scary. There was also a quick stop in the middle of a forest, just to take some pictures as the trees there are incredibly tall what is impressive. There was one thing for people who like to have their adrenaline flowing quickly in their veins 🙂 As far as I recall it was called Zipo-line. You could cross or rather fly from one spot to another. You lay down,  are being  zipped in a straitjacket and just fly between two hills seeing a stream just below and incredibly green landscape of forest around. I did it! It was fun, it was safe, it was good 🙂 If I could I would do it again and take my mobile with me this time to register the view. The whole trip took one day, from 10 AM until 6 PM. In my opinion it was totally inexpensive. To be driven by van, quite a modern one, to all of the above mentioned spots, the trip cost 400 pesos – that is about 7 euros!!! For the entrance to all of these places I had to pay additionally. That day I spent around €25 and my day was full of attractions!
When it comes to Bohol itself, I need to admit I felt safe there. Nobody cheated me, nobody wanted more for a taxi that it should be, nobody harmed me. I did not catch malaria! Before going on holiday I went to a doctor who told me in the Philippines there is malaria. It sounded as if was to catch it immediately if I do not take the drugs she prescribed me. Anyway I did the research on my own and then decided that I’m not going to ruin my liver and take these pills. First of all they are incredibly expensive and  do not guarantee you will not catch malaria, they only guarantee when it happens, you will not die. I checked the WHO website to see how malaria issue looks like in the region I was going to visit. Then realised there’s no point taking the pills.  Most of the time I was going to spend on a beach anyway.  I always listen to myself and I always try to be reasonable. In that case the decision I made was a good one. So if you are planning to visit some Filipino islands, not going on a mission, staying in hotels and not in the middle of forests, I do not think taking pills against malaria is necessary.
When it comes to the beaches on these two islands I need to say they were not that impressive.  They look okay, quite pretty, and the view is totally amazing. However there are so many shelves by the coast, that you need to be careful when you are getting into the water. The water was really clean and just sitting by the ocean and admiring the view was something I will always remember 🙂 Was it a big WOW? Not it was not, it was just nice.
In my opinion the islands are really good spots to go on holiday, if you want to relax, enjoy good food, feel okay, and get yourself into a real holiday mood. I’m not a person that would look for trouble or hang out after dark, or get drunk, taking into consideration the fact I am travelling alone. During the day, on the beaches and in the city everything was okay. 100% safe. However I can’t say the same about the capital. I really don’t like Manila and don’t want to come back there. It was because I got cheated by a taxi driver and I do not like the fact of taking advantage of me just because I am a tourist. I do understand that the country is cheap, because it really is, but it doesn’t allow its citizens to cheat. That’s unfortunetely what happens when you travel in underdeveloped countries. It did not happen on the islands. I think it is because the islands are very touristic and they usually live from tourism, even the internal ones. In Manila however I paid four times more for a taxi that I should have. First of all what I’ve learned about the taxis is that you take a white one, because they are metered. The yellow ones are usually the ones that have no meter and can take whatever price they want. So be careful. I even  heard a story of taking from a passenger, for quite a short trip, around 2000 peso. That is a lot, about 40 euros! I only paid 600 instead of 150 I should’ve. The taxi’s meter was running like crazy. 10 euros for 15km ride is not a lot some may say, and I agree, but I don’t agree with the fact that the local would pay four times less what I paid, just because I am a tourist. Overall I am happy I only stayed one day in the capital. Honestly there is nothing to see there, except for the poverty that you see on every corner and the traffic jam. A good thing was that I met a great person from Couchsurfing. We spent a lovely evening in the Mall of Asia chatting about life over a meal.
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Overall about the Philippines my impression is that it is a good place to go. If you’re going to one of the islands, or to some of them, skip Manila. The country is cheap, you can have a really good rest for not a big amount of money. I think it is one of the cheapest countries I have visited so far!
One thing that made me wonder and started to be annoying after a while was the fact that the Filipinos were always calling me ma’am. Is that because they were colonised by the Americans? Is that because they felt inferior to me? Is that because they wanted to be polite? Is that because that’s how they show respect to another person? I still don’t know the answer to this question. Sometimes when I was shopping and paying for the groceries in the shop or other stuff I’d prefer to hear a simple “thank you” than “thank you ma’am” as if I was a madam myself not a tourist and a normal human being.

Taiwan Round Trip

Why did I choose Taiwan as one of my holiday destinations and why it is worth going there? Because of two Couchsurfing girls that talked about it in such an awe and amazement that I decided I will check myself if they are right. Both were Taiwanese what explains why they wanted to promote their country. I wanted to see if Taiwan, as for me a separate country, is really worth seeing and I would cancel the rest of my trip and stay there for a month, as some people do according to the girls. Well…it is a nice place to visit, but I did not cancel my holiday plans and stayed longer there. Overall I spent 8 in Taiwan during which I managed to do a round trip. The island is about 400km long, what is not really that much.

I started with Taipei, the capital. When I landed the 1st thing for me to do was to get a SIM card and then the transportation one. EasyCard used for the local transport is an amazing invention. You just charge it and then use for subway or buses, not only in Taipei, but also in other cities. Another one I visited was Taizhong, and the card worked there too! At the airport I was also waiting for my friend to arrive, so I had about 4 hours  to figure everything out. Getting a SIM card is a peace of cake 🙂 I am lost without google maps and addicted to Internet, so I need such a card immediately 🙂

The first day in a new place is always kind of getting to know it, so I cannot say I did a lot of sightseeing back then. However the 2nd day was more intense. I was supposed to meet the couchsurfing people who accepted me for 2 nights, only at 9pm. That means I had the whole day of wandering around the city. I left my luggage in a locker at a central station, what was not difficult to use and find a free one. Then I started to walk around the city. When I travel I prefer to walk a lot than use subway, as in such a way I see much more. When you are underground you cannot admire the landscape. Taipei as a capital is well-developed and you can easily move around within it once you get to know how the transportation works. What I mostly love about Asian countries, is that there are so many parks surrounded by the skyscrapers, that it creates an amazing view for me! I just love sitting down on a bench in a park and admire the view around.

That was the 1st sightseeing day around the central station area, Peace Memorial Park, The Chang Kai-Sheka mausoleum, DaAn Park, Taipei 101 building and Tamsui district – north Taipei – a place full of street food, situated by the river with calm and relaxed atmosphere. You can feel you are a bit outside of the city, that is quite busy when you are in the center, as most of the cities are. That day I did 18 km by foot. At 9 pm I met the couchsurfing couple that was supposed to host me and the evening I spent with them was about exchanging life experiences. Like most of people who do couchsurfing, there are interesting human beings and very international as I was hosted by a Serbian guy and his Taiwanese girlfriend. As the guy is European, between me and him there were not a lot of differences. He’s working in Taipei as a programmer and speaks Chinese! That is great! I have never met a European (till that day) that learnt and uses on daily basics Chinese or any other Asian language. Just the thought of learining all of these symbols makes my head spin 😉  In my opinion most of young people now work in IT, and in his case it’s incredible he came all the way from Europe to study Chinese a few years ago, then met his girlfriend and now he is living and working in Taiwan. The only thing he was complaining about was the traffic jam. During the peak hours, in many European cities, especially capitals, you also get it, so not a big deal for me. The evening with them was an interesting one, and exactly what I expect from couchsurfing, as for me this whole concept is not only about free accommodation, but a way to get to know new people with whom I can share my life experience&observations and in return they share theirs. The flat they were living in was quite old with a very interesting architecture, I would say built around  1950s or 1960s.  That’s also another advantage of couchsurfing, as instead of staying in a hotel, I am able to see how normal people live and work in a different country. It’s so great they are willing to share a bit of their life with you and I am grateful I was able to see  Taipei through locals 🙂

The next day, that would be my third day in the capital, I went to Yangmingshan National Park. It is situated a bit north from Taipei, but it only takes just a subway and a bus to get there. Unfortunately it was raining that day, so it ruined my trip a bit. What I noticed about the rain in Taiwan is that when it happens it’s just unpleasant. It was April,  quite  warm, so I cannot say I was terribly cold, couldn’t see anything during my trip and was looking for a place to hide. I knew that probably next time I will not come back to Taiwan that quickly, so I wanted to make the most of it. F*** the rain! 🙂 I said to myself that even though it is raining, I am still sightseeing the park. I went inside, walked around and I did not allow any of the bad weather to ruin my holiday! I had an umbrella anyway 🙂 Yangmingshan National Park is a nice place to visit, and I would call it just a green park that you can relax in from a big city life. There were some waterfalls, lots of amazing paths to walk by and many green areas surrounding it. Morover everything was so beautiful because of the spring season! The rain made its nature even greener than it usually is. I spent there just a few hours as unfortunately it did not stop raining after 10 minutes :/ Yeah, wishful thinking… Waiting for the rain to finish wasn’t a good idea, so I just took a bus down to the city center, where to my surprise, it wasn’t raining. The rest of the day I spent wandering around different Taipei districts.

In the evening I went to see Taipei 101, very popular and one of the highest buildings. The tower is about 500m and when you look at it, it makes an impression of being created from boxes that are put one on another. An amazing building with an impressive view, especially during the evening when it gets dark and you can see how the city looks like with all of its lights on. That day was a bit cloudy, so I could even observe the clouds going through the building. I mean they were literally passing through the building, what also made an incredible impression!

My next stop was Hualien, just about 200 km from Taipei and I chose the city because it was close to another National Park I wanted to see. I managed to find couchsurfing there too, a guy that could host me for two nights. This time the person was a  Taiwanese student, and it was a new experience for me to sleep on a floor, on a mattress that was incredibly thin. Anyway I have to admit finding people who would host me there was very easy and very quick. Was it because I am European? I never really asked hosts why they accepted me. So the next day I woke up very early, because I wanted to get the first bus that goes from Hualien to the national park. It was at seven in the morning. To do so I left the flat around 6 a.m. This is called travelling and not wasting a single minute! 🙂

The bus that goes into the Taroko National Park is very convenient, because it has several stops there and you only need a daily ticket to move within the park. It goes around every hour, what seems to be not that often, but when you are sightseeing all these touristic spots in the park, you find it easy to catch the bus back or to another spot. The only thing that happened during that day was that the bus stopped in the middle of the park. There were some works being done on the rocks. It may happen that not everything goes smoothly when you travel. Sometimes you may get stuck in a place for some time. I knew it was only for my safety, so I didn’t get angry because I’m aware that in such places security and protecting tourists is the most important things. I prefer to be stuck in the bus for about 30 minutes before it moves further, than having a rock fall on my head later on. I am a patient tourist wanting to enjoy my holiday and not rushing anywhere. 🙂 I had the whole day to spend there, and a bit of inconvenience was not a big problem. Unfortunetly I could not say the same about my companion. Anyway the views I had later on made everything up! 🙂

After Hualian, where in the city itself there was not much to see, I went to Kenting. A city totally south. Before writing about Kenting a few more words about Hualien. The city is a good spot if you want to visit the Taroko National Park, and it has a big adventage as the locker is just next to the train station where you can leave your bag for almost the whole day. It does not cost a lot of money, I don’t even remember how much that was, but I remember it was open till 10 PM. So if you arrive in the morning, you can leave the bag there and go sightseeing. I do recommend the park, but as for the city itself it only has to offer an ocean coast. Anyway wandering around is still a good idea.

Kenting now, where there is another National Park, to be more specific – Kenting  National Park. 🙂 I wasn’t even aware that I booked a hotel just next to its entrance. The idea occured to be great, as I am a person that loves walking around and admiring nature. In there I had a national park just around the corner. The hotel was 4 km up the hill from the city centre, however its owners were so kind that they would drive me down whenever I wanted to and pick me up when I wanted to come back. When you spend two nights in one place it means you have one full day for sightseeing.  Mine started from the Kenting National Park, that had to offer lots of lovely landscapes. Some of its spots looked like jungles! Later on, in the afternoon, I went down to the city centre, as it was only 4 km away. I love walking, so I decided not to use the owners to drive me down, but I my own legs. Kenting city centre has several beaches. The weather that day was really nice, sunny, quite hot and there were not a lot of people by the beach, because it still was not a holiday season. I relaxed there, had some lunch and then went back to the beach to watch the sunset. Later on, when the evening started, I walked the main road, admired the night market, street food, and the area full of people where I still felt incredibly safe. In my opinion Kenting is a kind of a holiday spot for Taiwanese. To get there from Hualien wasn’t very easy, because first of all I had to take a train and then change it into a bus in Fangliao. I thought it would take me at least eight hours to get there. It occurred I managed to do so in six, so I cannot say that moving from one place to another in Taiwan takes very long time. For me it was bearable. In my opinion you can easily move from one city to another within this country.

So after spending two nights in Kenting  I took a train north and got into Taichung. My last stop on my Taiwan trip to-see list with another couchsurfing experience. The host was incredible. Even though I was only one night in the city, as the next one I was taking a flight to the Philippines, he spent the whole day with me. And it was on a Monday! I arrived on a Sunday evening and completely did not expect my host to take a day off in order to hang around in the city with me. However he did. 🙂 In that case I did not have to put much effort into checking what to see in Taichung, because I already had a guide and this guide took me to a lovely and colourful village, and later on to the Gaomei Wetlands that I just loved from the beginning and they made a huge impression on me. There, for the first time, I saw so many crabs! What was also amazing was the fact that you could take a walk in the wetlands. Next to all these crabs, if you wanted to. It is a pity I did not manage to see the sunset there :/ Maybe next time? My host also took me to a place where you could eat really good and cheap. That is why, if you see a city through a local’s eyes, you get to know much more about it. And you experience tasty food 🙂

And that was it. The same night I was taking a flight to the Philippines.

My overall impression about Taiwan is that it is very easy to move around there. The lockers are everywhere, so you can store your bag whatever you need to and just go sightseeing. I found them usually in subways and train stations. The biggest problem I had was finding bins in the cities, so the garbage I was usually keeping with me, in my small backpack. I did not want to throw it on a street as some Taiwanese do. Then I was either asking people in the shops to throw it away or taking it to the hotels/hosts. I found some trash bins at the stations, but cannot say that was enough. I am used to having bins every corner. Thank you Europe 🙂

Another thing I noticed was that buildings are very dirty.  I would say they were built around 1950s, but looks like nobody ever renovated them and nobody cares. The dirt for sure comes from the dust or pollution around, but when it comes to the air I can’t say that you found it difficult to breathe in Taiwan or that cities are so polluted you have to wear a special mask. I didn’t observe anything like that.

What is very important, or even the most important to me, is that I felt incredibly safe. People were so helpful and kind, even though their English is not that good, that I could stay there. 🙂 It is amazing how well-developed the country is. I liked it very much, especially the EasyCard that you use not only in Taipei, but also in other cities. Such a card is centralised, and you do not need to figure out how to buy bus tickets or subway ones again in another city, as the card you already have works there. I really would like to have such an option within the country I live in. Who knows, now there is Schengen area that I just love, so maybe one day there will be Schengen transportation card? 🙂 I would love the idea 😀 I support all inventions that make people’s life easier!

When it comes to some surprises or something that could ruin my trip I wouldn’t say there was a lot. I could only mention the rain in the Yangmingshan National Park, what was a bit annoying, but I have no influence over the weather, and one day of rain really isn’t something that will make me feel sad or angry. Second thing that happened to me was a lady who gave wrong information. I know she didn’t do it on purpose. It was when I was going from Hualien to Kenting. She sold me two train tickets and said to change the train. What was interesting and funny about the second train ticket, was that the train number was the same on both. Time for a change was only about three minutes. Anyway I got off at the station she told me to, came up to conductor to figure out the second ticket and ask about the second part of my trip. To my surprise he said that the train I was supposed to take just left. I quickly realized I should have never left the train from the beginning of my trip. My lesson to be learnt – to listen more to myself and instead of guessing just ask over and over again till I get rid of all of my doubts. What was good in this situation, was that I did not have to buy another train ticket for the next train going to my destination. Conductor allowed me to take the next train using the ticket I already had. In Europe they would tell you to buy a new one :/  And the second good thing was that the next train was within one hour. That means I did not have to wait long to reach my destination. It could have been bad, there could be only one train a day going to the place I wanted to go! And that’s all I could mention that did not go according to my plan. So really, nothing 🙂

Is the country expensive? That is a question very often asked by the travellers. For me it was not. Out of 8 nights I spent in Taiwan, 5 were couchsurfing, what means not paying for accommodation and in the same making my trip less expensive. Hotels cost me around 20 euros per night (breakfast included). When it comes to food, I would say for 10 euros you can eat a good dinner or lunch. When it comes to transportation, trains that I was taking to move from one city to another were about 10 to 15 euros for a distance of 200-300 km. Subway in Taipei and busses in Taichung depend on a distance you make. In Taichung if you move around within 10km it is even free!

So looking at how much time I spent there and what did not go according to my plan, I need to say everything went really smoothly in Taiwan. Is it easy to use its transportation, easy to get to information if you don’t allow any misunderstandings to happen, 😉 easy to find yourself when you’re lost, and very easy to do a round trip around Taiwan within 8 days. In my opinion everything is easy there, as their EasyCard is 🙂