What beachy vacation can take en route to Taipei?
April 1, 2012 5:29 PM   Subscribe

I live in Toronto, and I have to go to Taipei in June for my brother's wedding. (I've never been to Taiwan.) In addition to the week i spend in Taiwan, I also want to go somewhere culturally interesting with good food and beaches, and i want to either fly there on my way to taiwan, or i want fly there and back from taiwan. Where can i fly to and from taiwan, cheaply? Or where can i stop en route to taiwan, without it breaking the bank? (Right now, my ideal beach vacation stop is Bali, but it appears to be an expensive flight from Taiwan, and it isn't a place i can get to as a stop en route.)

In case that's confusing, here are my desired flight route options -

- Toronto - Yummy Beachy Place (vacation) - Taiwan (wedding) - Toronto (this would be ideal)
- Toronto - Yummy Beachy Place (vacation) - Taiwan (wedding) - Yummy Beach place (change planes) - Toronto
- Toronto - Taiwan (change planes) - Yummy Beach Place (vacation) - Taiwan (wedding) - Toronto

So, my questions are two - fold:

1) WHERE SHOULD I GO? I have a pretty flexible budget (i'll spend up to $150/night for something amazing but i'd rather stay in the $40-75 range for something semi-rustic but still 'comfortable'), I am a very experienced traveller, and I'll be travelling alone (somewhere very social isn't necessary, but i don't want to go somewhere that's 99% couples-in-love. I'm 35 yr old canadian woman, young at heart, blah blah)
2) HOW CAN I GET THERE (relatively) CHEAPLY? Would i need to get my brother in Taiwan to buy me cheaper tickets? Should i go to a chinese/taiwanese travel agency in toronto? Any specific airlines to look into? What route makes sense?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
posted by Kololo to Travel & Transportation around Taiwan (9 answers total)
It would also depend on how long you have in addition to the week. If not a lot, Taiwan itself in June would be great for beaches. Taiwanese food is also yummy IMHO. On a two-month tour of Asia I took a while back, Taipei was my last destination and one of my favourites.

I could be biased because it also came as somewhat of a relief after a month in Southeast Asia and an unhappy GI system.
posted by waterandrock at 6:25 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here are some more details.
posted by waterandrock at 6:32 PM on April 1, 2012

I'm looking to go somewhere for 7-10 days, and lets just assume, for the sake of argument, that i don't want to spend the whole time in Taiwan.
posted by Kololo at 6:46 PM on April 1, 2012

It will depends where your destination is, but doing a three stage trip will cost you much more than doing it in two pairs (your 2nd and 3rd option).

If you're going with your 3rd option (and maybe your 2nd, depends where you're going) have someone Taiwan purchase the plane tickets for you. When I was making Taiwan <-> Japan trips regularly the tickets cost half as much buying them in Taiwan, even when the trip originated in Japan.

Unfortunately I don't have another recommendation of where to go since Taiwan IMHO has some of the best food and beaches for several hours of flight time around.

How many hours on a plane from Taiwan would it take to reach your pain threshold?
posted by Ookseer at 7:14 PM on April 1, 2012

Hmm, eight hours from taiwan to my beach destination would probably be my max.
posted by Kololo at 7:17 PM on April 1, 2012

I live in Taipei. In terms of beach destinations, the nearest choices are:

1) Philippines. I went to Boracay this past Chinese New Year. There are two-hour flights from Taipei (Taoyuan International Airport I guess I should say) direct to Kalibo, which is a two hour bus ride/ferry ride from Boracay. There's also El Nido on Palawan island, which I visited several years ago. You can get there by flying though Manila to Puerto Princessa (about four hours total) and then a long seven hour bus ride to El Nido (supposedly there are charter flights from Manila direct to El Nido, but those seemed hard to book and uber-expensive). Better scenery and diving in El Nido, but Boracay has a much better beach and restaurants/night life.

2) Thailand. You can get fairly cheap tickets from Taipei to Bangkok (about four hours) and then hop on a cheap Air Asia flight to just about anywhere in southern Thailand.

3) Malaysia. A couple of years ago I took a pretty cheap flight Air Asia flight from Taipei to Kuala Lumpur, then another flight from KL to Penang island. Mediocre beach, but Penang has been my absolute favorite place in all of Asia in terms of food.

I'm not sure about the rainy season for any of these places in June, though.

Mind you, there are some fairly decent beaches in Taiwan, especially if you have access to a car. If you drive from Hualien south through Taidong to Kenting, you'll be able to see a lot of clear blue Pacific.
posted by alidarbac at 7:50 PM on April 1, 2012

How about Okinawa? It's so close to Taiwan you could practically swim! Nice beaches and great food!
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:08 AM on April 2, 2012

alidarbac has logical suggestions especially re Phillipines, Thailand ad Malaysia providing you are good with HOT and humid conditions at that time of year.

You could also consider a stopover in Hawaii which would nicely break up all of that flying and would mean a stopover that is more or less on the way to and from Taipei. Hong Kong is also in that area and a very close flight. The beaches aren't quite so yummy there but the food is.

I think Tokyo would also be a stopover worthy of consideration. Perhaps not so much about the beaches but a stellar city none the less and perhaps you could get your beach fix in Taiwan.

If you are really dedicated to the beach theme then I'd have to support Thailand. It will be the most affordable option for the best beaches - go south not north.
posted by YukonQuirm at 2:47 AM on April 2, 2012

I think option 3 is generally cheapest. I've visited Hong Kong a few times and have always booked at a agency there as they have a lot of cheap packages for pretty much any where in Asia. For beaches, I think Thailand is great and the price is generally very good (Phuket was my favorite).
posted by drug_dealer73 at 10:41 AM on April 2, 2012

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