Compared to neighboring countries like Japan, travelers will find that Taiwan has a lot to offer for less than $100 a day.
Just want the numbers? Skip to the bottom.
A third of your daily budget will easily be spent on lodging. We found the cost to stay in hotels and hostels was a little higher than anticipated, at least when compared to how much you’ll pay for meals and transportation. And the rooms in Taipei tend to be TINY – we had smaller rooms here than in Japan, if you can believe it. Looking back, it would have been a good place to try couch surfing – even more so because a lot of people speak English there.
[ptcPhoto filename=”TaipeiFood.jpg” title=”Night market” caption=”Thankfully Taiwanese food tends to be really affordable. Chicken feet anyone?” position=”center”]
In order to keep lodging costs down we used some reward points from Agoda.com, the site we use to book most hotels. Agoda’s reward program (among others) will give you points worth 5-7% of the hotel price. They’ll also price-match with competitors so you can book with them all the time. Over the course of the year we’ve accumulated over 100,000 points worth about $200, which isn’t trivial to the unemployed. This isn’t a plug for Agoda, merely a RTW money-saving tip!
Transportation costs in Taiwan are really reasonable, especially considering the small size of the country. Use the Easy Card in Taipei for good discounts on the Metro and city buses, and take slower trains between cities to save on long-distance travel.
[ptcPhoto filename=”TaiwanHiking.jpg” title=”Hualien” caption=”Take the train down to Hualien for some great hiking.” position=”center”]
The capital city of Taipei has a lot of free sights and activities (check out my Taipei on a Shoestring article here). Like any great city, you can spend an afternoon just walking around snapping photos of everyday sights. Also, this is random, but if you need to stock up on medicine you can buy antibiotics here without a prescription!
[ptcPhoto filename=”WallArt.jpg” title=”Mural” caption=”A mural in Taipei’s Daan neighborhood.” position=”center”]
The daily average cost for our visit was $90.40 (or $45.20 per person per day), so we came in under our budget of $100 a day.
Here is a breakdown of all our costs during our stay. This table does not include costs to enter the country, which included an $40 flight from Sanya, China (we used miles for this flight and only paid taxes). Visas are not required for US citizens, so there were no other costs associated with entering the country.
|Type of Expense||Total Cost
(for 21 days)
|Lodging||$735.08||$35||Our lodging choices ranged in price from $30 on Green Island to $41 in Taipei. The use of Agoda points brought one room down to only $12 a night.|
|Food||$560.18||$26.68||You can get a meal of potstickers and boba tea for as little as $3.|
|Transportation (within country)||$273.23||$13.01||Use the Easy Card in Taipei for good discounts on the Metro and city buses. Slower trains between cities are also discounted.|
|Entertainment||$53.43||$2.54||Includes snorkel purchase, the Taipei National Palace Museum, the saltwater hot springs on Green Island, and the Taipei Zoo.|
|Alcohol||$131.36||$6.26||Large cans of beer are about $1.40 in convenience stores.|
|Incidentals||$145.18||$6.91||Includes the costs for items like sunblock, internet, clothes and donations.|
|Grand Total*||$1898.46||$90.40||*Total reflects expenses for two people. It does not reflect costs to enter the country (i.e., visas or airfare)|
[ptcPhoto filename=”TaiwanPieFinal.jpg” title=”Pie” caption=”The breakdown of costs in a pie chart.” position=”center”]
Average cost of a sit-down dinner for two – $600TWD ($22.50)
A cup of boba tea – $30TWD ($1)
Metro fare, one way – $25TWD ($.85)
Cost of a 120-minute massage (sadly, I never did get one) – $1,300NTD ($45)