I went to Taipei with three friends last weekend and our trip was filled with fun and food…and, um, a bit of getting lost and quite a bit of rain 😀 but it was all good. We had wonderful activities but we also had times when we just chilled. 🙂 It was a great introduction to Taipei, I think, and I’m already looking forward to going back for another food trip with family. People have since been asking for a copy of our itinerary and budget; our itinerary can be found in Taipei for First-Time Visitors: A Fun- and Food-Filled Long Weekend Itinerary and this post will be about our Taipei long weekend budget.
Here’s our budget in a nutshell. (I’ll go into details below the table.) The total below excludes the airfare — which can vary wildly, depending on your airline and whether or not you were able to get discounted fares — but round-trip tickets can go for as low as ₱2,066.97.
|— Accommodations: Miniinn family room||₱5,111.10||— Shared by 4 persons at 11,600 NTD per night x 4 nights|
|— 4G SIM with unlimited internet for 5 days||₱447.50||— Pre-booked at Klook with P65.50 discount using app|
|— Pocket money (including transpo, food, etc.)||₱6,825.00||— 3,500 NTD bought in the Philippines at 1.95 exchange rate|
|— Jiufen and Northeast Coast Tour||₱2,301.00||— 1,300 NTD/pax prepaid by credit card|
|— Night Tour (including Din Tai Fung dinner)||₱2,655.00||— 1,500 NTD/pax prepaid by credit card|
|— Shifen (Sky Lantern) Tour||₱2,655.00||— 1,500 NTD/pax prepaid by credit card|
|— Private guided tour (half-day only)||₱3,120.00||— 240 USD/4 pax|
|— Hot spring bath at Marshal Zen Garden||₱1,057.47||— 1,200 NTD shared by 2 pax, paid onsite by credit card|
Our Taipei Long Weekend Budget
Accommodations. We stayed in a family room with shared bathroom in Miniinn, a well-reviewed hostel just meters away from the Taipei Main Station M7 exit. The family room was actually good for 5 persons — a friend had to bow out of the trip — and so we divided the cost among the four of us. We stayed there for 4 nights because we arrived on Thursday night and went home on Monday morning, but if you want to save on accommodations, you can try flying in on Friday morning and leaving Sunday night so you’ll only have to stay for 2 nights.
4G SIM Card. I pre-booked mine at Klook, which offered a discount of ₱65.50 for the first booking using their app. (It didn’t seem to matter that I deleted the app right after the purchase he he.) The SIM card comes with a 50 NTD value that you can use for text messages or calls and, more importantly, unlimited internet for 5 days. You pay the same if you go for 3- or 5-day internet; the price goes up when you opt for longer than 5 days.
- You also have the option of just renting a pocket WiFi but you’ll have to return it at the airport when you leave, which means you’ll have to allot time for that and also, if you can’t connect properly to the airport WiFi, you’ll be internet-less after you return the router. Not major problems, of course, but a 4G SIM is just more convenient.
Pocket Money. The 3500 NTD includes everything I spent in Taipei that’s not separately itemized here. I bought Taiwanese dollars in the Philippines and got an exchange rate of 1 NTD = 1.95 PHP. Some of my friends exchanged their money in Taiwan and got a poorer rate, so it’s a good idea to buy NTDs before you leave the Philippines. That said, the exchange rate used by my credit card company (Citibank) had a better exchange rate at 1 NTD = 1.77 PHP so, if you can, try to charge your expenses to your credit card instead.
- You also have the option of informing your bank that you’re going to Taipei and then withdrawing Taiwanese dollars from an ATM there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try this myself in Taipei, so I can’t say if the exchange rate will be better this way.
- The EasyCard (100 NTD) that we used for going around the city (loaded with a total of 470 NTD) is included here.
- Meals are also included here. The cost of a meal varies on where and how much you’re eating. We were able to buy a serving of rice with braised pork for 30 NTD at Ningxia Street Market. (It was kinda small though — great if you’re at the market to sample lots of different food, but not enough as a meal in itself.) I think the most expensive meal I purchased was a bowl of braised beef noodles for 270 NTD at the airport. Our Din Tai Fung dinner — which was ginormous! — was covered by the cost of the Night Tour but I expect that would have been the most expensive otherwise.
- Pasalubong is also included in this pocket money total. I think I bought 4 boxes of pastries, 1 pack of assorted mochi balls, 1 pack of coal peanuts, 1 pack of sesame seed cookies, 1 pack of…I’m not sure what that was 😀 some kind of sticky food, and 2 fridge magnets. You’ll get a better price for stuff like pineapple cakes at the street markets — we bought ours at Raohe Street Night Market — than at tourist spots like Jiufen or Shifen.
*Tours. Actually, we spent less than the amounts reflected here because we were able to negotiate discounts with the tour companies (Edison Tours and MyTaiwanTour) but these are the original (published) rates.
Airfare. It goes without saying that if you can get tickets during airline promos, do.
Obviously, this isn’t the most bare-bones frugal budget for a Taipei trip — I think you can manage to cut costs down to around ₱12,000 if you really want to — but we had a great time, we were always full, it was a stress-free trip, and we were able to recharge and treat ourselves to a nice, long girls’ weekend.
Taipei Long Weekend Budget © Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains
food and fun, huh… say no more, I’m in 😀
love the new layout of your website, Gaya ♥
Thanks Alex! So glad to see you back here on WordPress. Followed your new blog already. Hope you and the boys are well. xx
Great tips! I’ve been to Taiwan recently and I think this budget is very doable. 🙂
Thanks Mariel! Just read one of your Taipei posts and can’t wait to read more. 🙂
Hi Gaya, I was wondering why I haven’t seen any blog post from you lately. Somehow it shows I’m not following you which is very strange. This happened to other blogs I follow too. WordPress is acting really strange lately. It unfollows the blogs I follow!!!
That’s happened to me before too. Maybe it happens when they have an update or something, I don’t know. But thanks for the follow and the comments and everything. <3 🙂
Nagulat nga ako. I was wondering why I haven’t read any posts from you lately. Then I went to visit your blog and I saw that I’m no longer following you.
Btw, I replied to your comment on my post asking if you liked Marseille? Did you write a post about it?
Yikes! I didn’t see the notification till now. Sorry! Will reply there. 🙂
Nice! I’ve been to Taiwan recently pero medyo gumastos ako – solo traveller kasi. Good tips though!
Thanks Mariel! Yeah, it’s nice to splurge din. 🙂