Taipei For Less Than $25 A Day

Taiwan is often overlooked as a Southeast Asian travel destination – it is a little bit off the standard path, and it is somewhat more expensive then places like Thailand, or Cambodia.

Taiwan Taipei 101 Skyscraper Top2
Taiwan, Taipei, Skyscraper Top

 

Don’t let these factors dissuade you! Taiwan is very much worth the extra flight, and compared to places like Europe or even the United States, it is still very affordable. The fact that is it is off the normal Southeast Asia travel circuit works to its advantage, in that it hasn’t yet been tainted by the dark heart of the tourism industry. Taiwan has class, exquisite culture, and insanely delicious cuisine. Most importantly, on a budget of $25 a day, you can enjoy Taipei in relative style.

Taiwan Subway
Taiwan Subway

 

 Public Transportation

Public transport in Taiwan is clean, efficient, and available almost everywhere. The subways are clean, easy to use, and make traveling within major cities a breeze. If there isn’t a subway, the bus system is reliable, comprehensive, and will take you anywhere the subways can’t. On top of their efficiency, Taiwanese subways are extremely cheap between 15-30 TWD (50 – 90 cents) per trip, depending on how far you’re going.

Accommodation

Taipei Guest House
Taipei Guest House

 

Unfortunately, accommodation in Taipei is a little more expensive than a place like Bangkok, Thailand. This being said, it’s also tends to be much nicer, and includes a more amenities. There is a wide array of hostels available, some for as low as $10 USD per night, to others for as much as $30 USD per night. The cheaper ones tend to be more on the outskirts, rather than smack dab in the city center. Be sure to verify that your hostel is at least on a subway line, this way you won’t be stuck taking taxis everywhere. So, while cheap accommodation is definitely available, keep in mind that this expense will probably take up around half of your $25 a day budget.

Free/Cheap Attractions

Taiwan is steeped in rich culture, and as it is an island the natural landscape is simply phenomenal. Taipei is full of fantastic historical landmarks, and it is even relatively easy to escape the city and experience Taiwan’s natural beauty.

Taiwan Taipei Chiang Kai shek Memorial2
Taiwan Taipei Chiang Kai shek Memorial

 

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial (Free): This memorial is takes is comprised of several massive structures, and takes up several city blocks. Though he did play an important role in Taiwan’s history, Chiang Kai-shek is a rather controversial character and many Taiwanese people do not look upon him favorably. All that aside, the memorial grounds are immense, interesting to behold, and definitely worth a visit.

Taiwan Taipei 101 Skyscraper
Taiwan Taipei Skyscraper

 

Taipei 101: ($9 for elevator entry, $0 just to look) – A visit to Taipei would not be complete without a trip to its crown jewel: the Taipei 101 financial center. This massive skyscraper is windowed in stunning blue glass, and is strangely elegant for something of its size and stature. Of course, it is totally free to simply stand outside and look; however, if you want to ride in the super fast passenger elevator to the top floor that will cost you. The fee is a little bit hefty (300 TWD or around $9 USD), so it’s up to you if you really want to splurge. As long as you keep you other costs down for that day, you can still make it to the top and stay under the $25 budget.

Taiwan Taipei Wulai Hot Springs2
Wulai Hot Springs

 

 Wulai Hot Springs ($2.50 for bus far/Spring and river free): I would highly suggest taking this day trip. The springs are located on a section of the Wulai River that is about an hour away from the Taipei city center by bus. If you take this trip your only expense for the day will be the bus fare, and whatever snacks/food you might want. The river is stunningly scenic, the springs are warm and relaxing, and the atmosphere is vibrant yet serene. A truly unique experience, and perfect for travelers on a budget.

Taiwan Taipei Wulai Hot Springs3
Wulai Hot Spring

 

Four Beasts (Free) – There are four mountains that rise up in and around the city of Taipei: Tiger, Elephant, Leopard, and Lion. These mountains are easily accessible by subway, provide unparalleled views of the city, and are perfect for anyone looking for a quick nature getaway. For the best views of Taipei 101, head out to the Elephant either a little bit before sunrise or sunset.

Lungshan Temple (Free) – Unlike many popular temples in Southeast Asia, Lungshan is a living, breathing area of Buddhist and Daoist worship. Though the temple itself in not reported to be overly unique, visiting during the day provides a unique opportunity to experience unadulterated local culture. Breathe in the incense, listen to the chants, and respectfully observe authentic religious practices in action.

Ximending
Ximending

 

Ximending Red House (Free)Amongst locals, this area is known for its popularity with a younger age group. However, the bustling streets and vibrant atmosphere provide a perfect place for the curious travel to take in the massive neon store fronts, indulge in a  multitude of shopping and dining opportunities, or simply just wander about.

Dadaocheng – Known for its rich historical background, colonial Japanese architecture, traditional shops, and the Ningxia night market, this area provides a plethora of sites and activities for travelers on a budget. Rent a bicycle for cheap and pedal along the river, check out the various structures leftover from Japanese colonial rule, or indulge in some delicious eats at the Ningxia night market.

Maokong Gondola ($2) – For a relaxed and scenic ride to Maokong Station, consider taking the Maokong Gondola. One can choose between the glass bottom carriage and the regular carriage, but both options provide unparalleled views of Taipei 101 and the lushly forested mountains that surround Taipei as a whole. Once you reach Maokong you can head towards the zoo, do some hiking, or wander the small village that surrounds the station.

Eat Cheap

Taiwan Food Travel Black Pepper Beef
Black Pepper Beef

 

In terms of eating cheap in Taipei, I only have two words for you: night markets. Taiwanese food is ridiculously delicious, and there are several night markets dotted around Taipei. Here you will find a huge variety of mouthwatering street food that will leave your stomach satisfied and your budget intact. The food is always fresh, the flavors are bold, and the variety is immense: sautéed squid, spicy black pepper buns, succulent fresh fruit, sweet Taiwanese sausage, savory green onion pancakes, tender soup dumplings, crispy fried chicken, and so much more. The most popular night markets in Taipei are Shi Lin, Tonghua, Huaxi (also known as Snake Alley).

Have you been to Taipei? If not, is it on your bucket list?

Author’s bio

300x225 Head ShotHello! My name is Morgan Sullivan. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, I lived there for 22 years before moving to South Korea to teach English. I have suburban sensibilities, penthouse dreams, and am currently pursuing my lifelong dream of international travel. I am always looking to meet new, interesting people, devour delicious foods, and partake in unique experiences – my current goal is to make it to six continents by the time I’m 25. Find me on my website A Beautiful View, on Facebook, or tweet to me at @abeautifulview0.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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41 thoughts on “Taipei For Less Than $25 A Day”

  1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Wow I’ve never thought of going to Taiwan before! The hot springs and glass bottom gondola sound like wonderful experiences and reading about that night market food is making me so hungry!!

  2. It’s so amazing you can do so much on the USD in other countries. I have a Ukrainian exchange student here with me now and she keeps talking about how much cheaper everything is back there. It makes me wish I could go there–even in this war zone! Can’t wait to go to Taiwan someday.

  3. Nice tips! We went up to the Taipei 101 and regretted it, the view is nice it’s just that we aren’t really panorama lovers. Anyway we liked Taipei a lot and we surprisingly discovered a lot of street art too which is free to look at and, if you like street art as much as we do, it’s definitely something to considering whilst in Taipei ;)

    1. Morgan Sullivan

      Hey Franca! I can definitely see how not everyone would be into getting to the top of Taipei 101 – I was with an architecture buff when I went, so that’s why it was on our must-do. Seeing the building from the outside is quite a sight in and of itself :) There did seem to be a great art scene in Taipei, as well as the rest of Taiwan. Glad you enjoyed the article!

  4. Hi Morgan,

    What a feat!

    But as you note, Taiwan isn’t as expensive as other spots. Maybe not the cheapest spot in SE Asia but if you’re living there for $25 a day, without going bare bones, you’re doing well.

    Tweeting from Ubud.

    Ryan

    1. Morgan Sullivan

      Ryan,

      It’s certainly much cheaper than anywhere in Europe, or even Korea where I live. Not on the same level as Thailand, Vietnam, or Cambodia but certainly doable if you’re conscious of your spending. I loved it there and want to go back! Thanks for reading :)

      Morgan

  5. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam

    Taiwan looks good! It’s never a place I’ve thought of going to before, but the food picture and possibility of viewing the sunrise or sunset from one of the mountians have me convinced :)

    1. Morgan Sullivan

      The hot springs was one of my favorite parts :D Definitely worth a stopover, even with only a few days you can get a lot done!

  6. I can’t believe I didn’t make it to Taiwan when I was living in China. Taipei kind of looks like the love child of Shanghai and Tokyo, with the super modern architecture, Chinese temples and cute details. I really want to go!

  7. Joella in Beijing

    I haven’t been to Taiwan yet but, living in Beijing, it is definitely on my list of places to get to soon!

  8. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    I definitely agree about the good cheap food, especially at night markets. Taiwan has so many great snacks and dishes to try – that is one of the reasons why I love living here!

  9. Vanessa @ The Travelling Colognian

    I have heard many good things about Taiwan before and I know people who have been there and loved it. But this post puts the island higher on my bucket list and it’s not that far away from mainland China. Hopefully I will make it there in case I decide to become an EFL Teacher in China next year.

  10. Tim | UrbanDuniya

    I am so going there- looks great! Taiwan is a bit off the beaten track as far as Asia travel goes (certainly compared with Thailand and Hong Kong), but that just makes me want to go even more!

    1. Morgan Sullivan

      Honestly, that was one of the these that I really loved about visiting. Thailand has such a HUGE tourist presence it’s kind of overwhelming sometimes, but Taiwan was the perfect mix of accessible and authentic :)

  11. Rich - RichyFeet

    Love this guys! Getting me really excited for my trip there, and is definitely going to be helpful in keeping my budget down!

    If you need an “Under $25 guide to Rio de Janeiro” then let me know and I’d be more than happy to do one :)

    1. Morgan Sullivan

      I hope you have a great time on your trip! The other cities besides Taipei are even more affordable so you shouldn’t have any troubles with the budget :D

  12. It’s amazing how much there is to see in places we’ve never even considered before. When I think about visiting places in the East, I’ve never thought instantly of Taiwan, but after reading this, that has changed! I suppose the only excuse for not travelling anymore is not bothering at all with it, it’s been proven time after time here that it is affordable and enjoyable with even a tiny amount of time!

  13. Yay Taiwan! I really wish more people could see the beauty of the country as it constantly gets skipped over when people plan their Asia trip. It’s a great country and way cheaper than Japan and South Korea but with just as much culture, history and nature. Taipei is really fun and the MRT makes it so easy to get around. Plus the people are wonderful! (Biased as my family is from Taiwan but it’s true!)

  14. meidiana kusuma

    actually I have a dream to travel around two months, from Taipei – South Korea – Japan, and your articles really help me a lot :D

    thanks for sharing Agnes

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