The first thing that struck me the first time I went to Taiwan was how friendly the people were. I had thought Taipei would be similar to Hong Kong, a big city with surly, fast-walking people, but nope.
If you’re a fan of the Taiwanese entertainment scene, you’ll love a visit to the capital. Celebrity endorsements are everywhere, from cartons of yoghurt to posters on the subway, so if you can tell your Jay Chous from your Jacky Wus, this is the place for you. Here’s how to do Taipei on a budget.
Return tickets to Taipei on budget airlines tend to be in the 300++ SGD range, but during sales they can dip to under 280 SGD, so keep your eyes peeled. If your dates are flexible, subscribe to all the budget airlines’ newsletters and then book once tickets go on sale. The cheapest tickets are usually around 260 SGD.
Cost: 260 SGD
Breathe a sigh of relief, because accommodation in Taipei is fairly inexpensive thanks to Airbnb. If you are travelling alone and seriously on a budget, your best bet is to rent a single room on Airbnb—this one is going for 14 SGD per night, while this one is 16 SGD. That’s even cheaper than the cost of a bed in a hostel dorm, which is typically around 25 SGD to 30 SGD.
If you’re travelling with a friend, you save quite a bit. Rooms in budget hotels are about 40 SGD to 50 SGD per night, but it’s even more cost effective to rent a room or studio on Airbnb. This room for two is just 25 SGD, as is this one, while this studio apartment costs 41 SGD a night.
Cost: 15 SGD a night / 90 SGD for a week
Khaw Boon Wan recently said Singapore’s MRT should try to emulate the Taipei Metro. Well, let’s just say we have a long way to go. If you’re used to being elbowed by aggressive aunties on the MRT, the Taipei Metro will come as a breath of fresh air. It’s more reliable and people are less rude.
The sticker price of Metro rides is 20 NTD (0.84 SGD) to 65 NTD (2.73 SGD).
A day pass / 24 hour pass / 48 hour pass / 72 hour pass costs 150 NT (6.31 SGD) / 180 NTD (7.57 SGD) / 280 NTD (11.78 SGD) / 380 NTD (15.98 SGD).
If you’re not buying a day pass, get an EasyCard, which is their version of EZ-Link, and instantly enjoy 20% off all rides. There are also student discounts, so bring your student card and ask before you buy anything.
Cost: 30 SGD for a week
If you actually have some time leftover for shopping in between stuffing your face with night market snacks, here’s a sampling of how much it costs to visit some of Taipei’s key sights.
- Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall: Free
- Shin Lin Night Market: Free
- National Palace Museum: 250 NTD (10.51 SGD) / 150 NTD (6.01 SGD) / free for adults / students / children under school age
- Longshan Temple: Free
- Danshui: Free
- Ximending: Free
- Taipei 101 Observatory: 500 NT (21 SGD) / 450 NT (18.93 SGD) / free for adults / students / children under 115cm
Cost: 30 SGD to keep yourself entertained for a week
Taipei is a foodie’s paradise, and no matter what your budget you’re going to eat well. Your cheapest options are meals at food courts, small local food stalls and night markets. A bowl of noodles should cost around 120 NTD (5 SGD), and if you’re eating at night markets snacks cost much less.
Eating at mid-range, western-style restaurants or themed cafes will cost more. For instance, a meal at that infamous toilet-themed restaurant will cost you about 250 NTD (10.50 SGD) to 300 NTD (12.61 SGD). Slightly more atas options can go up to 500 NTD (21 SGD).
Cost: 20 SGD per day / 140 SGD for a week
Total cost of a week-long holiday in Taipei: 550 SGD
Have you ever been to Taipei? Share your experiences in the comments!
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