An island country with delicious night market foods and metro-accessible hiking trails, Taiwan is a semi-affordable country that can be visited with a budget of $40 to $100 USD a day.
My one-week trip to Taiwan cost a total of $1,956 USD. In this post, I share:
- 💰 Taiwan expected costs
- 💡 Taiwan-specific budgeting tips
- ✈️ My trip’s travel expenses by category
- 💵 How much cash is needed in Taiwan
- Is Taiwan Expensive?
- How Much Is a Trip?
- About My Trip
- Total Trip Cost: $1,956
- Do You Need Cash in Taiwan?
- Taiwan Trip Planning Template
Is Taiwan Expensive To Travel To?
Taiwan is a semi-affordable country to visit. Given that it’s a more developed country, Taiwan is not as budget-friendly as some of the nearby countries like Vietnam, Malaysia or Thailand, but it’s more affordable than other popular destinations in Asia like Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong. I’ve visited all countries mentioned and will write a full cost comparison in 2023.
*My Cambodia trip could have easily been closer to $85 per day, but I chose to splurge on accommodation.
How Much Is a Trip to Taiwan?
Here’s how much a budget and mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend in Taiwan on a daily basis and during a one-week trip.
🎒 Trip Cost for a Budget Traveler
A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $40 per day or $280 for one week of travel in Taiwan, excluding flights.
To travel on a budget in Taiwan, here are some things you can do:
- Accommodation: Stay at a hostel for $15 to $20 per night. In popular cities outside of Taipei, including Kaohsiung, Hualien and Tainan, you can find hostels for as cheap as $9 per night.
- Food: In Taiwan, you can save significantly on food by eating at the numerous night markets, where you can have a meal for as cheap as $5 per meal.
- Transportation: When getting around Taiwan, save money by taking advantage of the country’s excellent public transportation. In Taipei, metro rides can be less than $1 per ride. Trains between cities can be as low as $15 one-way (e.g., a train ticket from Taipei to Hualien or a bus ticket from Taipei to Sun Moon Lake can be as low as $14).
- Attractions: Taiwan offers many attractions, both indoor and outdoor, that are completely free.
💰 Trip Cost for a Mid-Range Budget Traveler
A mid-range budget traveler, such as myself, can expect to spend approximately $80 to $100 per day or $560 to $700 for one week of travel in Taiwan, excluding flights. Read on for my mid-range budget travel breakdown.
About My Taiwan Trip
To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip to Taiwan:
✌️ Two travelers. I traveled with one other person, so I was able to split accommodation, transportation and food costs while in Taiwan.
☀️ Low season. Taiwan tends to be popular year-round and the peak season is from May to September. I visited in October and November, so I traveled during the low season.
💰 Mid-range budget. I don’t aim to travel on a budget, but I’m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.
💵 US dollars. All costs listed in this post are per person and in US dollars, converted from Taiwan’s local currency, the New Taiwan Dollar. The exchange rate was $1 USD = 30 NT at the time of writing.
Total Cost for a Taiwan Trip: $1,956
My one-week trip to Taiwan cost a total of $1,956, including flights. I did a Taiwan itinerary similar to this one.
💰 Cost Breakdown for Taiwan
Here are my Taiwan travel expenses by category:
|Cost||% of Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|⭐ Activities & Misc||$224||12%||$32|
💵 Daily Budget in Taiwan: $102
If I include my flight costs, my Taiwan trip came out to $279 per day.
A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $80 to $100 per day in Taiwan. This generally means not staying in a hostel or luxury hotel, eating at some $$$ restaurants, but also at many $ night markets, and being willing to pay for an Uber, but mostly taking Taiwan’s public transportation.
✈️ Flight Cost to Taiwan: $1,240
Round-trip flights between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and the US east coast were $1,240.
The flight took 18 hours in total: five hours to fly into SFO from the east coast and 13 hours to fly from SFO to TPE.
The most expensive months to fly to Taiwan from the USA are November, December and January and the cheapest month to fly to Taiwan is March, according to Kayak.
I redeemed $725 worth of points through my travel credit card, so I only paid $515 for my Taiwan flights.
🏠 Accommodation Cost in Taiwan: $243
My average cost of accommodation in Taiwan was $35 per night.
|Accommodation||Total Cost||Cost Per Night|
|Hotel near Dongmen Station||$144||$36|
|Hotel in Ximending District||$80||$40|
|Hualien City Airbnb|
to visit Taroko Gorge
Taiwan’s accommodation is relatively affordable. It’s worth doing some research on where to stay as I found that for less than $50 a night, you can get vastly different experiences (e.g., room service vs. not, tourist vs. residential area). Here’s more information on where I stayed in Taipei.
🍜 Food Cost in Taiwan: $165
My average cost of food in Taiwan was $24 per day.
- My most expensive meal in Taiwan cost $40 at Orange, an upscale shabu-shabu restaurant.
- My most affordable meal in Taiwan cost $3 at Fuhang Soy Milk, one of the most popular breakfast locations. My second most affordable meal cost $5 for a bowl of beef noodle soups at Lao Shandong.
Taiwan is known for delicious and affordable food. You can easily spend less than $10 at a night market or even some local restaurants. When you go to a night market, remember to bring cash. I outline some of my favorite restaurants and night markets in this Taiwan travel guide.
🚇 Transportation Cost in Taiwan: $84
My average cost of transportation in Taiwan was $12 per day.
- My total cost for public transportation (the MRT or bus): $25
- My round-trip train cost to Hualien to visit Taroko Gorge: $28
- My total cost for Ubers or taxis: $31
Taipei’s public transportation is awesome. If you’re going to be frequently riding the MRT like I did, I recommend getting an EasyCard, despite the 100 NT (~$3) non-refundable fee. Any remaining balance on your EastCard can be refunded at the end of your trip. Here are more tips on getting around Taiwan.
🌳 Activities and Miscellaneous Cost in Taiwan: $224
My average cost of entertainment in Taiwan was $32 per day. Some of these include a ~10% tip, but know that tipping is not mandatory in Taiwan.
|Activity or Miscellaneous||Cost|
|Taipei 101’s observatory entrance fee||$18|
|Taroko Gorge day tour||$93|
|Spring City Resort hot spring access||$25|
|Massages (2 sessions)||$46|
Do You Need Cash in Taiwan?
Taiwan’s economy is largely based on cash transactions, even at established businesses, so make sure to bring some cash. However, you can use a credit card in plenty of places as well.
Here are some tips on bringing and using cash in Taiwan:
💵 Tip #1: Withdraw cash in New Taiwan Dollars.
Taiwan’s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT or NT$) and shops in Taiwan do not take USD.
🏧 Tip #2: Bring at least $10 worth of cash per day to Taiwan.
During my 1-week trip in Taiwan, I spent roughly $115 in cash (or $16 per day) at cash-only places. I otherwise used my credit card whenever possible. I spent approximately the following amount in cash:
- $25 on public transportation
- $35 on food at night markets and cash-only restaurants
- $5 for tipping a tour guide
- $50 for massages and a haircut, including a tip
💵 Tip #3: Certain places in Taiwan are cash-only.
In my experience, the following places in Taiwan were cash-only:
- MRT stations’ kiosks. MRT kiosks surprisingly don’t take credit cards.
- Night markets
- Some restaurants and dessert places. Most big, established and nicer places took credit cards (e.g., Din Tai Fung, Chia Te), but they were otherwise cash-only. In Jiufen, most vendors were cash-only. In Taroko Gorge, some Trukku stalls were also cash-only.
- Tipping tour guides
- Some haircut and massage locations. All three haircut and spa places I visited were cash-only.
💰 Tip #4: Tipping in Taiwan is not generally expected, except for a few instances.
Tipping is not widely customary in Taiwan. However, there are some exceptions:
- Some nicer Taiwan restaurants will add a 10% service charge for dine-in.
- You can tip tour guides and some service workers (e.g., haircutters, masseuses), so bring cash for those.
- Generally, taxi drivers in Taiwan do not expect a tip.
This Taiwan travel guide has other essential travel tips.
Taiwan Trip Planning Template
To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planning template below and use it as a starting point. The template has country-specific travel information as well as an itinerary, packing list and map with recommended places pinned.
The template is built on Notion, which is what I use for all my travel planning (I’m not paid to say this; I just like the tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
🧋 This site is run entirely by me, Lukiih. I spend hours writing each article to ensure its accuracy and conciseness. If you find my site helpful, you can say thanks by buying me bubble tea!