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In recent years, travel passes have become a big thing around the world, and Taipei is no exception. Besides choosing where to stay in Taipei, travelers to Taiwan now have to decide whether they should get the Taipei Fun Pass while planning their trip. There are actually a few pass choices, with the most popular being the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass. Is the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Worth the money? We’ll soon find out.
There is actually quite a lot to know about these passes, and since I often recommend them in my Taiwan travel articles, I’ve decided to write this detailed guide to clarify a number of issues you will face while creating your Taipei itinerary and help you answer the question, “Should I get a Taipei Fun Pass?”
Taipei Fun Pass vs. EasyCard
A Taipei Fun Pass is totally different than an EasyCard. Fun passes are for short term visitors who plan to use public transportation a lot and see many attractions in a short period of time. You pay a set price for the card, and you get an unlimited number of rides on buses and MRTs in Taipei, New Taipei City, and Keelung, as well as five tourist shuttle buses outside of the city (see the shuttle bus route details below).
EasyCards are IC cards, just like EZ-Link in Singapore, Octopus Card in Hong Kong, and the numerous IC cards in Japan and South Korea. Everyone in Taiwan uses them because they are convenient, and you get a 20% discount on regular fares. They work on all public transportation in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taichung (where you even get free bus rides under 10 km when you use them) and Kaohsiung. They also work on regular train rides that don’t require a seat reservation, but they don’t work on the High Speed Rail or long distance buses. You load as much money as you want onto them and then use them to pay for bus rides, MRT, taxis, non-reserved trains, a few ferries, and even items at convenience stores.
You can order an EasyCard online for pickup when you arrive in Taiwan, or buy one in any MRT station. You always need to pay a TWD100 deposit, which you get back if you return the card within two years (and there’s no damage or stickers on your card). When you order it online, you can choose for it to come empty or pre-loaded with TWD200 or 400. They call this a “deposit” on the Klook page, but its actually just money pre-loaded onto the card so you don’t have to do it in the MRT station (or at 7-Eleven) after you pick it up.
In short, if you decide not to get a Taipei Fun Pass, you pretty much MUST get an EasyCard for your time in Taiwan, unless you hate convenience and saving money 🙂
What is a Taipei Fun Pass?
The Taipei Fun Pass is a handy little card that gives short term visitors to Taipei a whole lot of convenience, including unlimited MRT and bus rides in Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Keelung (with one exception; see below), entrance to numerous major (and minor) attractions, and free rides on five tourist shuttle buses which travel to dozens of attractions outside of Taipei City.
There is a whole government website dedicated to explaining the Taipei Fun Pass (you might have to switch the setting to English when you land on the page). The page can be a little confusing and overwhelming though, like most government and tourism department websites in Taiwan, so my main goal here is to make all the information about Taipei fun passes 100% clear!
What are the different types of Taipei Fun Passes?
We wouldn’t want this to be too simple, right? So there are actually three kinds of Taipei Fun Passes. There is even a fourth one on the Fun Pass website called the “Classic Taipei Fun Pass”, but I don’t even see this pass available on Klook, so I’m not going to describe it below.
1. Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass
The Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass is the most popular type of Taipei Fun Pass, and it includes everything that I have described above. When you order it online, you will have the option of 1-day ($1200), 2-day ($1600) or 3-day ($1900). These prices may change with time, and sometimes Klook offers great promos, like 50% off your second pass or free gift bags and coupons.
You will also have the choice of picking it up at Taipei Taoyuan Airport or at Taipei Main Station, with very clear instructions on how to pick it up when you order your pass here.
What’s included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass?
Here is the link to see exactly what is included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass. You can scroll past all the attractions to see the full routes of the five tourist buses at the bottom. And of course, all your bus and MRT rides in Taipei, New Taipei City, and Keelung are included. The only exception is that buses with four digits are not included. These tend to be longer distance buses, for example bus 1815 from Taipei to Jinshan.
The three big attractions included on the pass are the Taipei 101 Observation Deck (worth TWD 600!), National Palace Museum, and Maokong Gondola.
Others popular ones include Yehliu Geopark, Juming Museum, Tamsui Historical Museum, ferry ride to Fisherman’s Wharf, Jinguashi Gold Museum, Taipei Zoo, and Miramar Ferris Wheel.
The remaining less popular/valuable ones include Chiang Kai-Shek Shiline Residence, Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, Heping Island Park, Sky Lantern Police Station in Jingtong, and National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Keelung.
You can also use the pass to get discounts at over 150 shops in Taipei.
2. Taipei Transport Fun Pass
The Taipei Transport Fun Pass is exactly the same as the Unlimited Fun Pass, but with only the transportation included, and none of the attraction tickets. This means you get unlimited rides on Taipei and New Taipei City buses, as well as the five tourist shuttle buses.
The pass costs $180 for one day, $310 for two days, and $350 for one day plus the Maokong Gondola (these prices may change after the time of writing). There seems to be no option for 2 days + Maokong Gondola. And even though the above pass says “5 day” on it, only the 1-day and 2-day passes seem to be available here on Klook.
What’s included on the Taipei Transport Fun Pass?
All the transportation options from the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass are included, but no attraction tickets are included. Essentially you get unlimited MRT and bus rides in Taipei and New Taipei City, the five tourist shuttle buses. Maokong Gondola is an optional extra that you pay more for.
Like the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, you can also use the Taipei Transport Pass to get discounts at over 150 stores in Taipei.
3. Taipei Explore Pass
The least popular Taipei Fun Pass is the Taipei Explore Pass, which comes with the option of 2-day ($650), 3-day ($850), or 4-day ($1050). Personally, I think this pass is an unnecessary option and just makes everything more confusing.
What makes this pass especially inferior is that it doesn’t include any transportation. Instead, it works like an EasyCard, so you have to load more money onto it in order to use on the MRT, buses, and shuttle buses.
What’s included on the Taipei Explore Pass?
The pass includes 20 attractions (more than the Unlimited Fun Pass), but guess what? You don’t get the two most popular ones. No Taipei 101 Observatory and no National Palace Museum. What?
Instead, you gain six more attractions, which are all museums (some popular, and some pretty obscure or difficult to reach): Taipei Astronomical Museum, National Taiwan Science Education Center, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology in Bali, and The Lin Family Mansion and Garden in Banqiao.
Just like the above two passes, you can also use the Taipei Explore Fun Pass to get discounts at numerous stores.
Which Taipei Fun Pass Should I Get?
The Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass is the clear winner here. However, if you don’t visit enough of the attractions or take enough rides, it may not be worth it for you. See more on that in the following section.
The Taipei Transport Fun Pass is best for people that want the unlimited bus, MRT, and shuttle bus rides, but don’t plan to visit so many attractions, especially Taipei 101 Observatory (the most expensive attraction on the list).
You already know my feelings about the Taipei Explore Pass. Clearly this pass is designed for attraction and museum lovers, though. If you plan to visit tons of museums in your short time in Taipei, then I guess this pass is for you. Except it doesn’t include the most famous museum in Taipei, which I feel is ridiculous. You’ll after to pay more and order your National Palace Museum ticket online.
Is the Taipei Fun Pass Worth It?
So now we come to the million-dollar question: Is the Taipei Fun Pass a good deal? To decide whether a Taipei Fun Pass is worth it for you, you are going to need to do a little math, and some guessing too. Why?
Well, you don’t know exactly which sights you are going to visit, adding up the price of every single MRT is going to be troublesome, and tourist shuttle buses rides can range from NT$15 to 90, depending on how far your go, with no clear information available online about how these fares are determined.
1. Is the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Worth It?
“Should I get a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass?” you ask. Well, this is what you need to do to determine the answer for you.
1. Go to this page and add up the price of every attraction that you plan to visit on your trip. Taipei 101 Observatory is the most expensive one, so this makes a big difference. If you did all 16 attractions, this would be worth $2920, but of course you probably won’t visit all of them.
2. Guess about how many times you might take the MRT during your stay, and multiply it by 30 NTD (average cost of an MRT ride). Add another 15 NTD for each short bus ride.
3. Guess about how many times you might take the tourist shuttle bus on your trip. Add 50 NT (average cost) for each ride. Remember that these tourist shuttle buses go to a huge number of places outside of Taipei, including Jiufen, Jinguashi, Yangmingshan, Pingxi, Shifen, Yehliu, Baishawan beach, Fulong Beach, Shen-Ao Elephant Trunk Rock, and more!
4. Add these three numbers together to get your total. Is it more money than the pass you want to get? (1-day for $1200, 2-day for $1600, or 3-day for $1900). If so, then a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass is a good idea!
2. Is the Taipei Transport Fun Pass Worth It?
If you’re wondering, “Should I get a Taipei Transport Fun Pass?” the answer can be found by the same process as above, minus the attractions.
If you are only traveling around Taipei City, you’d have to take quite a few short MRT rides in one day for it to be worth it the $180 fee. MRT rides range from TWD 20-65 (with a 20% discount for EasyCard users, which is most people).
I think the real value of this card is if you are planning to do a day trip from Taipei and take advantage of the tourist shuttle buses. These shuttle buses can cost anywhere from NTD15 to 90, depending on how far you go. If you plan a day trip from Taipei with multiple stops on one or more shuttle buses, this pass could become a great deal that saves you a lot of money.
Adding a second day only costs another $130, so it’s an even better deal, even if you only stay in Taipei City for your second day.
3. Is the Taipei Exploring Fun Pass Worth It?
In my option, the Taipei Exploring Fun Pass is not a good deal. It doesn’t include any MRT rides or other transportation. And the second big strike against it is that it doesn’t even include Taipei 101 Observatory or National Palace Museum.
If you somehow managed to visit all 20 attractions covered by this list, this pass would have a value of $2350. So that seems not bad, considering the pass only costs $650 for two days, $850 for three days, or $1050 for four days.
However, it would be virtually impossible to visit all of these museums and attractions, even in four days. They are all located in different directions from Taipei, and some of them are totally obscure places that you would probably never go to anyway.
Moreover, for some of the attractions, you’d probably want to spend several hours, or even half a day there. This makes it less likely that you’d see many other places on the list in that day.
This explains why only around 200 people have bought a Taipei Explore Pass on Klook, and many of them leave reviews saying they were confused about how it works, not realizing they had to load money on it for taking the MRT and buses. Meanwhile, 20,000+ people have bought a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass and 10,000+ a Taipei Transport Pass.
The only kind of traveler I can imagine would make good use of this pass would be someone who loves to rush around and see a ton of attractions, especially museums.
Should I get a Taipei Fun Pass for Kids?
If you are traveling to Taipei with kids, you might be wondering “Do children need a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass?” The answer is that it depends on the age of your kids. In Taipei, kids under six years old (or under 115cm) are free on most things, including the MRT, Taipei 101, and many other attractions. Therefore, the answer is NO, young kids don’t need a Taipei Fun Pass.
However, for kids age 6+, the answer becomes more complicated. Students receive a discount for the MRT and at most attractions, but often it’s pretty tiny. For example, students pay $540 at Taipei Observatory instead of the usual $600. That’s pretty much the same discount that is given to adults if they book their Taipei 101 ticket online.
Therefore, you are going to have to see even more things to make your Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass worth it for older kids, but it might still be, and does save you the trouble of paying for individual attractions for your older kids everywhere you go. You’ll just have to do a little extra research to look up all those student prices and make the comparison.
Also see my detailed guide to planning a trip around Taiwan with kids for planning your trip.
Taipei Fun Pass: The Final Verdict
Based on lots of research and consideration, I think that the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass and Taipei Transport Fun Pass are a great deal and can save you a lot of money and hassle, even though they include some obscure and unnecessary attractions.
If you are planning to go to the Taipei 101 Observatory, that already covers half the price of the 1-day Taipei Unlimited Pass.
Still, I recommend adding up the attractions you plan to visit and rides you plan to take in order to decide whether these passes will really be worth it for you. Even if it’s a close call, I would say it’s worth it to get the Taipei Fun Pass simply because it makes traveling around and entering attractions more convenient.
If you decide not to get the pass, then I would strongly recommend just getting an EasyCard for all your transportation needs, and paying for the attractions as you go. You can also find individual attraction deals for most of the major sights included on the pass, many of which come with little discounts, including the following:
– Taipei 101 Observatory online ticket
– Taipei 101 Observatory Priority (skip-the-line) pass
– National Palace Museum online ticket
– Yehliu Geopark online ticket
– Miramar Ferris Wheel online ticket
– Maokong Gondola and Double Decker Bus deal
– Jinguashi Gold Museum ticket with lunch
– Juming discounted entrance ticket
It’s up to you to decide whether its worth the trouble buying all these individual passes though!
Good luck, and I hope this article has helped you to decide whether the Taipei Fun Pass is worth the money for you!
I never travel without a guidebook! I recommend these: