Mango Shaved Ice in Taipei

Taiwan Travel Costs for 25 Days

Taiwan was the last country on our initial 15-month adventure; we’d heard many good things about the country so we were anticipating a great finale to the first leg of our travels. During our time in Taiwan we checked out the impressive National Parks and the beautiful scenic areas as well as exploring the night markets and geothermal hot springs. Here are our Taiwan travel costs for three and a half weeks.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei

Shilin Night Market, Taipei

Activity Costs in Taiwan

Our activity costs for Taiwan are some of the lowest of our entire trip, mainly because many of the country’s attractions are free; the National Parks like Yangmingshan and Taroko for example were free to enter and it cost us nothing, or very little, to wander the cities and night markets. There were a few activity costs we incurred though; while in Taipei we visited the Taipei Story House, we warmed up in the Beitou Hot Springs and meandered around the National Palace Museum. While in Tainan, we visited the old Anping Fort, the nature-reclaimed Anping Tree House, the Dutch inspired Chikhan Tower and the unimpressive Eternal Golden Castle. We also had to pay to enter Alishan where we were hoping to see the famous ‘Cloud Sea’, which turned out to be a bit of a wash out for us.

Chikhan Tower in Tainan

Chikhan Tower in Tainan

ActivityCostPer Person
National Palace Museum£6.30£3.15
Anping Fort£2.00£1.00
Anping Tree House£2.00£1.00
Chikhan Tower£2.00£1.00
Eternal Golden Castle£2.00£1.00
Entry to Alishan Scenic Area£4.00£2.00
Beitou Hot Springs£2.00£1.00
Taipei Story House£2.00£1.00
Total£22.30£11.15

Cost of Taiwan Hotels

The price of hotels in Taiwan was the highest out of all the Asian countries that we’ve visited. In fact, the only reason we kept our accommodation costs down to £14.04 per day was because we stayed with Jackie, our amazing Couchsurfing host in Taipei, for five of the twenty five nights we stayed in the country. If you take away those five days our average daily accommodation costs shoot up to £17.55.

Our Couchsurfing host's cat - Muffin

Our Couchsurfing host’s cat – Muffin

Throughout our trip we’ve managed to avoid staying in hostel dorm rooms but when it came to Taiwan, high prices forced us into sleeping in dorms with shared bathrooms for six nights. On the bright side, the hostels we stayed in were some of the best ever in terms of friendly staff, cleanliness and hygiene – our best hostel experience was at Assemble Backpackers in Chiayi City. We managed to afford private hostel rooms for six nights and stayed in a couple of dodgy low-priced hotels for the rest of the time. Overall, we found that accommodation was good quality in Taiwan, as long as you could afford to pay a bit more for it;  the good hostels we stayed in cost about £10 per person per night.

ExpenseTotalPer PersonPer Day
Accommodation£351.00£175.50£14.04

Taiwan Food Costs

Surprisingly, Taiwan was a fairly expensive country for food, it comes in just below Cambodia and the Philippines, despite the fact that we often ate from supermarkets, night markets, 7-11’s, bakeries and at fast-food places like Subway. A few times we splurged on food in ‘proper’ restaurants like the delicious Imma Bakery in Tainan and Thefreen Burger in Chaiyi but generally we had to work hard to keep our food costs down and our health suffered somewhat because of it.

Wonderful Shakshuka at Imma Bakery

Wonderful Shakshuka at Imma Bakery

ExpenseTotalPer PersonPer Day
Food£335.30£167.65£13.41

Cost of Travel in Taiwan

Our transport costs for Taiwan are quite high, although this is mainly due to the cost of flying into the country from the Philippines, if you take this off transport costs average out at £6.98 per day. We found transport easy, quick and extremely comfortable compared to the rest of Asia; trains are modern and fast and Taipei has a wonderfully pristine and cheap subway system. We purchased an Easycard which can be topped up to use on buses and the underground system; you can even use the Easycard to pay for things in convenience stores and on buses in other cities too and you get a refund of whatever you don’t use when you want to leave Taiwan.

The wonderfully organised public transport inTaipei

The wonderfully organised public transport inTaipei

If you want to save more money you can use buses to get from city to city as they’re cheaper than the trains. We found that we didn’t need to rent scooters in Taiwan either, although the cost of public transport to places like Taroko Gorge and Alishan National Scenic Area was quite expensive, local buses in Taipei cost from just £0.14 for a single (five minute) trip. We also took a few boat rides around Sun Moon Lake and a Gondola ride up to the Maokong Teahouses from Taipei.

ExpenseTotalPer Person
FlightsManila to Taipei: £112.40£56.20
BusesTaipei Airport to Taipei Main Station: £5.00£2.50
Hualien to, back and around Taroko: £9.80£4.90
Chiayi to, back and around Alishan: £20.70£10.35
Taichung to Sun Moon Lake return: £13.40£6.70
Taichung to Taipei: £9.00£4.50
Taipei Main Station to Taipei Airport: £4.90£2.45
TaxisSix taxis: £16.40£8.20
TrainsTaipei to Hualien: £17.60£8.80
Hualien to Tainan: £24.70£12.35
Tainan to Chiayi: £3.50£1.75
Scenic train in Alishan: £2.00£1.00
Chiayi to Taichung: £8.80£4.40
EasycardAfter top ups and final refund: £25.10£12.55
BoatsBoats around Sun Moon Lake: £9.80£4.90
GondolaMaokong Gondola return trip: £3.90£1.95
Total:£287.00£143.50

Miscellaneous Costs

We had some of the usual miscellaneous costs like toiletries but we managed to save on laundry since our Couchsurfing host Jackie (legend) let us do a couple of loads in his apartment. We also had no need to get a SIM card as we were able to connect to the internet and use Skype all over the place, especially in convenience stores like 7-Eleven, High Life and Family Mart; we were even able to do a Housesitting Skype interview in one! Since it rained a lot in Taiwan we decided to pick up a poncho each as we were caught without a coat and we also got a couple of gifts to take home.

This poncho was really useful in Taiwan!

This poncho was really useful in Taiwan!

ExpenseTotalPer Person
Payphone£0.60£0.30
Laundry£1.20£0.60
Ponchos£1.00£0.50
Toiletries£12.60£6.30
Gifts£10.00£5.00
Total£25.40£12.70

Total Taiwan Travel Costs for Three Weeks

So, there you have it, the cost breakdown of the last country of this trip. More expensive than most Asian countries but cheaper than Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. Here’s the complete breakdown, I think we did pretty well to keep it below £1,000 in total including flights, what do you think?

ExpenseTotalPer PersonPer Day (two people)
Activities£22.30£11.15£0.89
Accommodation£351.00£175.50£14.04
Food£335.30£167.65£13.41
Transport£287.00£143.50£11.48
Miscellaneous£25.40£12.70£1.02
Total£995.60£497.80£39.82

As always, we use Trail Wallet to track all of our spending; you can see all of our cost break-downs by country here.

Taiwan travel costs

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18 Comments
  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    Posted at 15:30h, 29 September Reply

    We spent a little less overall in Taiwan than you two did (about £10/day lower), but I think that’s because we didn’t move around the country quite as much as you did and we CouchSurfed a lot more. I agree that Taiwan is not the cheapest Asian country to visit, but I think it is excellent value for money. I was surprised to read that you found it difficult to eat healthy while there, as we consider it one of our favorite food destinations and we ate a fair amount of Taiwanese veggie food which was SO DELICIOUS. We found that by eating most of our dinners at night markets that this helped us save on food as well.

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:10h, 30 September Reply

      I think the accommodation was the biggy for us Steph, we were spending up to three times what we would have spent in Thailand for example for a dorm room in Alishan (although it turned out that we got that all to ourselves anyway). Although like you said the value for money is excellent, the hostels we stayed in were simply in a different league to ones in other Asian countries we’ve experienced. Perhaps we thought that since our accommodation costs were so high we needed to cut back on other costs and so our food budget suffered (something we have vowed to never compromise on). We also went back to the UK straight after and we made up for it there by eating well! 🙂

  • Kerri
    Posted at 10:37h, 30 September Reply

    Wow! Great budget breakdown. You guys did really well for the month!

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:00h, 30 September Reply

      Thanks Kerri, we knew it would be a little more expensive than most other Asian countries that we’ve visited but there are quite a few cheap or free activities in Taiwan which helped! 🙂

  • Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    Posted at 21:56h, 30 September Reply

    I haven’t been to Taiwan, but it sounds like an overall cheap destiniation. Thanks for a great breakdown!

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:39h, 01 October Reply

      If take away the high accommodation costs Taiwan isn’t too pricey Miriam; not quite as cheap as other places in South-East Asia but well worth visiting.

  • [email protected] The British Berliner
    Posted at 07:02h, 01 October Reply

    Wow! You did pretty well as I expected Taiwan to be more expensive. Food was a surprise though as I would have thought it would be easier to find nice, cheap food! Anyway, you’ve shown it can be done on a tight budget. Well done!

    • Andrew
      Posted at 12:07h, 01 October Reply

      Thanks Victoria, we probably could have eaten cheaper but we just wanted soem home comforts whenever we could so maybe that added to our costs. 🙂

  • Franca
    Posted at 07:16h, 01 October Reply

    Taiwan is awesome! We spent a little less but we were lucky enough to have a friend living there and we spent almost 2 weeks with her and being her guests which it helped a lot to keep the costs down.
    On another note, your CS host cat is too cute 🙂

    • Andrew
      Posted at 12:10h, 01 October Reply

      It’s such a beautiful little country Franca. You’re lucky to have stayed for a couple of weeks with a friend, that would really have brought costs down I’m sure! And yes, both Muffin and Macchiato are super cute! 🙂

  • Patti
    Posted at 07:29h, 02 October Reply

    I’m really impressed with how detailed your accounts are as you travel the world. It must prove to be helpful for keeping on budget, if you have a monthly budget plan. We don’t make the spreadsheets such as yours, but we save every receipt so we can keep track of what we’ve spent. I love the photo of Muffin looking over the computer, so cute! 😉

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:52h, 02 October Reply

      Hi Patti, we find that tracking our expenses really helps us keep our spending in check. We loved Jackie’s cats, they were so cute and it was nice to have some surrogate pets to help us feel even more at home 🙂

  • Passerby
    Posted at 15:44h, 15 December Reply

    I just returned from Taipei..

    I spent 4 days going to Wu Lai, Yang Ming Shan, Ye Liu, Xiang Shan and Shilin night markets

    I spent about $300 singapore dollars on food and transport.

    • Passerby
      Posted at 15:45h, 15 December Reply

      I also Couchsurfed for the entire duration of my trip there.

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:05h, 16 December Reply

      Thanks for reading and letting us know your cost information. Hope you had a good trip!

  • Pingback:How Much Does it Cost to Travel America? - Our Big Fat Travel Adventure
    Posted at 14:57h, 13 April Reply

    […] Overall, the USA worked out to be the cheapest western country we’ve travelled in and living costs there are certainly less expensive than the UK. This table shows the cost of travelling in the USA compared with more expensive western countries, New Zealand and Australia and the next cheapest countries we’ve been to, Malaysia and Taiwan. […]

  • Ray Patrick
    Posted at 12:22h, 21 October Reply

    Thanks for the tips going to Taiwan tomorrow for a 5 day break.

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:45h, 22 October Reply

      Thanks for commenting, have a great trip! 🙂

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