Ever since my last post on traveling Taiwan, there have been numerous people asking me about the affordability of the country and how to travel Taiwan on a budget. To be a good Samaritan to the curious travelers out there, I will share with you guys how I did it on a budget. Or rather my budget of SGD 1000 in 21 days. Before I went on my trip, I gave myself a daily budget of SGD 50 for autonomous expenses. This includes accommodations, transport, food and probably one or two booze every night. I did a clockwise tour of Taiwan, down the east coast and back to Taipei via the west. Some of the major places I traveled to include Taipei, Hualien, Taitung, Kenting, Kaoshiung, Tainan, Taichung, Alishan and Cingjing.
Singapore has one of the best flying hub in the world, which means there are a lot of airline options making prices really competitive. For people doing transits, check out your flight combinations involving a stop in Singapore. Singapore – Taipei route offers one of the best price for the distance covered. There are numerous budget airlines such as Scoot, Tigerair, AirAsia and Jetstar. I booked my return tickets with Scoot at an outrageous discounted price; return tickets Singapore-Taipei at SGD 82.67. I snatched the deal when it was on promotion, the price was inclusive of the yellow seat selection which provided extra leg room. My 6 feet frame needed that very much.
- Scoot Return Flights SGD 82.67
Always travel with insurance, you wouldn’t want to spoil your vacation by paying more because of unexpected adverse circumstances. I always ask myself this defining question; “Do I want to pay the insurance premium or risk paying at least ten times more if I don’t buy insurance”. The answer is obvious. So do it, buy travel insurance! I got mine from MSIG on a 25% discount, which comes to SGD 58.12. It came with a complimentary Adidas travel pouch. My advice for you is to compare between different travel insurance agents and get the best deal for similar coverage. Always read the wordings so you know what to do when claims arise.
- MSIG Insurance SGD 58.12
Here’s the important part of your budget if you really want to do it cheap. When I was in Taipei, hotels prices were pretty crazy, even hostels. I got my hostel near Zhongxiao Dunhua Station which was the perfect location in terms of accessibility. But when you travel out of Taipei, hotel prices drops dramatically. At some cities, I stayed in hotels provided they are of equal cost, if not slightly higher than hostel. I was able to do this because I was traveling with a friend which makes private accommodation more cost efficient. Try to factor the cost of breakfast because some accommodations provide free breakfast. If breakfast is included, that’s a plus. Some of my hostels provided free bikes to explore the surrounding areas, a good extra service I say. Well these things matter when you are on a budget. On the average, I spent a total of SGD 421.59 on accommodation which comes to around SGD 21 per day. It is a large percentage of my budget if you have realized.
- Accommodation SGD 421.59
Transportation in Taiwan is pretty straight forward. I travel either by trains and buses. I took a taxi twice, the first one was because I had no other choice; I was at some night market and buses were not running anymore. The second time was from Kaoshiung to Kenting, it was a car-pool so the price was the same if I had taken a bus. The best bet to saving transportation cost is to stay away from taxis unless you have friends or you are car-pooling. Travel like a local and you will experience more. I walked a lot because I want to see more, you will miss out some things if you don’t travel by foot. My total spent on transportation was SGD 202.51, which is roughly SGD 12 per day.
- Transport SGD 202.51
This is the reason most people are traveling to Taiwan for. Even though you are on budget, but remember you might also be on vacation. The food is cheap in Taiwan, A normal meal will cost a couple of dollars; a plate of beef fried rice for example will set you back SGD 3. I ate mainly from street stores and night markets. I spent a total of SGD 214.39 on food, average of SGD 11 per day.
- Food SGD 214.39
I had two laundry runs over the period of 21 days. Yes, laundry because I traveled light and I can’t stand dirty clothes. Self explanatory.
- Coin Laundry SGD 4
I hit some clubs twice in Taipei and once in Kaoshiung. I spend an average of SGD 20 per visit, including free flows of beers and selected alcohols; I know this is sick. If Las Vegas got anything like that, their business would have been folded.
- Clubs Entry SGD 60
My grand total comes to SGD 1043.28, this means I was spending SGD 52.16 per day. This is inclusive of flights and insurance. If you have notice, I wasn’t really on budget. I stayed in hotels for some nights and I went partying. Because throughout this trip, I reminded myself that I’m on vacation and the most important thing was to enjoy myself.
The only major improvement I can do to reduce the budget further is to Couchsurf. I never tried it in Taiwan because I was traveling with a friend. At the same time, we were traveling without fixed plans, and we are willing to pay for the flexibility; hostels in this case.
That’s all I have. What do you think of my trip?