๐Ÿ’ฐ My 2024 Taiwan Trip Cost: A Budget Breakdown

A woman smiling at the camera with red lanterns and small vendor shops in the background.

Taiwan, an island country known for night markets and metro-accessible hiking trails, can be visited with a budget of $45 to $90 a day.

My one-week trip to Taiwan cost a total of $1,956. In this post, I share:

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected travel costs
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Budgeting tips
  • ๐Ÿ’ต How much cash to bring
  • โœˆ๏ธ My trip’s costs by category

Planning a trip? Here’sย what to know about Taiwan.

Is Taiwan Expensive To Travel To?

Taiwan is a semi-affordable destination in Asia. It has affordable public transportation and a cheap street food scene, but it also has moderate accommodation prices, and guided tours there can add up.

Taiwan is less budget-friendly than nearby countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. However, it’s more affordable than popular places like Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip Daily Budget for Destinations in Asia

For comparison, I visited these countries in Asia within a year of visiting Taiwan, and here’s how much I spent per day at each one:

DestinationDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$145
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$123*
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore$122
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$102
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$89
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand$77
Daily Travel Budget for Destinations in Asia

*My Cambodia daily budget is high because I splurged on accommodation.

See all my daily budget for each destination I’ve visited.

How Much Is a Trip to Taiwan?

This section covers estimated trip costs depending on your travel style. I share my actual travel expenses further below.

๐ŸŽ’ Budget Traveler โ€“ Taiwan Trip Cost

A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $45 per day or $225 for five days of travel in Taiwan, excluding flights.

Here’s a quick overview of my expenses by travel category:

CategoryCost per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$15
๐Ÿœ Food$15
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$5
โ›ฐ๏ธ Entertainment$10
Total$45
Taiwan Daily Budget for a Budget Traveler

Traveling Taiwan on a Budget

To travel to Taiwan on a budget, here are some things youโ€™ll need to do:

  • ๐Ÿ  Accommodation โ€“ For the cheapest option in big cities like Taipei, stay at a dorm-style hostel for as low as $15 a night. In popular cities outside of Taipei, including Kaohsiung, Hualien, and Tainan, you can find hostels for as low as $10 per night.
  • ๐Ÿš‡ Transportation โ€“ Save money by riding the country’s excellent public transportation. In Taipei, metro rides can cost less than $1 per ride. Train tickets 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).
  • ๐Ÿœ Food โ€“ You can save significantly on food in Taiwan by eating at the numerous night markets. Plenty of cheap eats cost less than $5 per meal.
  • โ›ฐ๏ธ Entertainment โ€“ Skip the guided tours and prioritize Taiwan’s many indoor and outdoor attractions that are completely free.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Travel Season โ€“ For the best deals on accommodations, travel to Taiwan during the low season, which runs from January to February. These are the coldest months of the year, with temperatures dipping into the mid-50s ยฐF.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-Range Budget Traveler โ€“ Taiwan Trip Cost

A mid-range budget traveler like myself can expect to spend approximately $90 per day or $450 for five days of travel in Taiwan, excluding flights. I break down my trip expenses by travel category below.

About My Taiwan Trip

To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip:

  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ One week โ€“ I spent seven days in Taiwan, visiting three places:
  • โœŒ๏ธ Group traveler โ€“ I traveled with one other person, so we were able to split some costs, such as housing.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Low season โ€“ I visited in October and November, which is considered the low season.

Taiwan tends to be popular year-round, but the peak season is from May to September.

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget โ€“ I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler, and these expenses reflect that. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend.
  • ๐Ÿ€ Self-funded โ€“ My trips are self-funded, so I paid for everything listed below. None of my excursions or experiences are sponsored.
  • ๐Ÿ’ต US dollars โ€“ 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 = 32 NT at the time of writing.

The blog author sitting on a railing with an elephant symbol, with a tall building in the background.
Elephant Mountain in Taipei.

Total Cost for a Taiwan Trip: $1,956

My one-week trip to Taiwan cost a total of $1,956, including flights.

See the highlights of my trip in this Taiwan itinerary.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost Breakdown for Taiwan

Here’s a quick overview of my expenses by travel category:

CategoryCost% of TotalDaily Budget
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$1,24063%
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$24312%$35
๐Ÿœ Food$1658%$24
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$844%$12
โ›ฐ๏ธ Entertainment$22412%$32
Total$1,956100%$102
Taiwan Trip’s Cost Breakdown

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Daily Budget in Taiwan: $102

My Taiwan trip cost $102 per day, excluding my round-trip flights from and to the United States.

Daily Budget
Excluding flights$102
Including flights$279
Taiwan Trip’s Cost Per Day

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend about $90 per day in Taiwan. This generally means not staying in a hostel or luxury hotel, eating at some $$$ restaurants and many $ night markets, and being willing to pay for an Uber, but mostly taking Taiwan’s public transportation.

โœˆ๏ธ Flight Cost to Taiwan: $1,240

My round-trip flight from the East Coast of the United States to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was $1,240.

A round-trip flight between the US and Taiwan that costs under $750 is considered cheap; international flights typically cost over $850. 

๐Ÿ  Accommodation Cost in Taiwan: $243

My average cost of accommodation in Taiwan was $35 per night. I was able to split accommodations with one other person at all times.

Here are the accommodations I stayed at and how much I paid for each:

AccommodationTotal CostCost per Night
Taipei hotel (Dongmen Station)$144$29
Taipei hotel (Ximending District)$80$40
Hualien City Airbnb$19$19
Taiwan Trip’s Accommodation Costs

Accommodations in Taiwan are relatively affordable. It’s worth researching 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).

A hotel room with a queens bed.
My hotel room in Ximending District.

๐Ÿœ Food Cost in Taiwan: $165

My average cost of food in Taiwan was $24 per day.

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend about $20 per day on food in Taiwan.

Cheapest Meals in Taiwan

Here are the most affordable meals I ate during my trip:

MealLocationCost
Meat and veggie rice bowlFood stall (Jiufen)$2
Soy milk breakfastFu Hang Soy Milk (Taipei)$3
Beef noodle soupLao Shandong Homemade Noodles (Taipei)$5
Cheapest Meals in Taiwan
A chef with a mask proudly holding out fresh, handmade noodles.
Handmade noodles at Lao Shandong.

Taiwan is known for its delicious, affordable food. You can easily spend less than $10 per meal at a night market or local restaurant. When visiting a night market, remember to bring cash. I share some of my favorite restaurants and night markets here.

Most Expensive Meals in Taiwan

Here are the most expensive meals I ate during my trip:

MealLocationCost
Upscale shabu shabu Orange Shabu (Taipei)$40
Peking duckXiang Duck (Taipei)$23
Soup dumplings and appetizersDin Tai Fung (Taipei)$20
Most Expensive Meals in Taiwan
Two people sitting at a dining table with dozen of soup dumplings in front of them.
Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings.

If you are unfamiliar with Taiwan’s local eats, you can take a highly-rated private street food tour to discover delicious spots.

๐Ÿš‡ Transportation Cost in Taiwan: $84

My average cost of transportation in Taiwan was $12 per day.

Here are the transportation methods I took and how much I paid for each:

TransportationTotal Cost
Taxis and Ubers$31
Train to Hualien for Taroko Gorge$28
Public transportation (MRT or bus)$25
Taiwan Trip’s Transportation Costs

Taipeiโ€™s public transportation is excellent. If you plan to ride the MRT frequently, like I did, I recommend getting an EasyCard despite the 100 NT (roughly $3) non-refundable fee. At the end of your trip, you can refund any remaining balance.

The blog author standing in line and waiting for the metro at an indoor station.
Waiting in line to board the MRT.

Despite the busy streets, Taipei’s infrastructure is very cyclist-friendly. I saw visitors taking a Taipei biking tour that looked like a great experience, and I wished I had done it.

โ›ฐ๏ธ Entertainment Cost in Taiwan: $224

My average cost of entertainment in Taiwan was $32 per day. This total includes a 5% to 15% tip at certain places.

A typical mid-range traveler in Taiwan can expect to spend about $25 a day on entertainment.

Here are all the activities and attractions I paid for and how much each cost:

Activity or ShoppingCost
Taipei 101โ€™s observatory entrance fee$18
Taroko Gorge day tour$93
Spring City Resort hot spring access$25
Two 60-min massages$46
Haircut$30
Shopping$12
Taiwan Trip’s Entertainment Costs

You can take a guided tour of some of Taipei’s top attractions to learn more about the country’s history and culture.

Two people jumping and posing in front of a light-up sign that says "Taipei 101".
Taipei 101’s photo station.

Free Things To Do in Taiwan

Taiwan is known for its natural beauty, so there are many free outdoor activities and attractions available.

Here are the attractions and activities I did in Taiwan that were free:

  • Hike up Elephant Mountain for amazing views of Taipei.
  • Visit Lungshan Temple, a beautiful, 300-year-old temple.
  • Check out Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the beautiful surrounding park.
  • Explore Yehliu Geopark, which is known for its unique rock formations.

See other great free things to do in Taiwan.

A decorative, Asian-style building with red columns.
The National Concert Hall near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

Do You Need Cash in Taiwan?

Taiwan’s economy is largely based on cash transactions, especially in non-tourist areas, so bring some cash. I frequently needed to use cash when I visited.

Below are tips on bringing and using cash in Taiwan.

๐Ÿ’ต 1. Withdraw cash in New Taiwan Dollars.

Taiwanโ€™s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT or NT$), and the US dollar is not widely accepted.

ATMs are readily available in many tourist places in Taiwan, but if your debit card doesnโ€™t reimburse your ATM fees, youโ€™ll want to withdraw a higher amount less frequently to save on fees.

๐Ÿง 2. Carry about $20 to $30 worth of cash per day in Taiwan.

On a typical day, a mid-range budget traveler in Taiwan will need at least $20 in cash to cover food, transportation, and attractions. A daily cash expense breakdown can look like this:

  • $10 at night markets, cafes and restaurants
  • $5 for tipping and entrance fees
  • $5 for transportation

On my Taiwan trip, I spent a total of $115 (about $16 per day) in cash. Here’s a breakdown of how I used my cash:

CategoryTotal Cash
๐Ÿœ Food$35
๐Ÿš‡ Public transportation$25
๐Ÿ’‡โ€โ™€๏ธ Massages and haircut$50
โ›ฐ๏ธ Tour guide tip$5
Amount of Cash by Category for Taiwan Trip

I keep my cash in my crossbody bag, but if you want extra protection against pickpocketing, carry it in a hidden money belt instead.

๐Ÿ’ต 3. Several places in Taiwan are cash-only.

Based on my experience, the following places in Taiwan tend to be cash-only:

  • Public transportation โ€“ Surprisingly, none of the MRT kiosks take credit cards.
  • Dining โ€“ All night markets and most restaurants were cash-only. Only bigger and more established places took credit cards (e.g., Din Tai Fung, Chia Te).
  • Tours โ€“ All tour guides had to be tipped with cash.
  • Spas and other service providers โ€“ All three haircut and spa places I visited were cash-only.

๐Ÿ’ฐ 4. Tipping is not customary in Taiwan.

Tipping is not widely customary in Taiwan. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

  • Dining โ€“ Several nicer restaurants will add a 10% service charge for dine-in.
  • Tours โ€“ Tour guides and some service workers (e.g., haircutters, masseuses) will accept and appreciate tips, so bring cash for them.

See other essential travel tips for Taiwan before visiting.

Taiwan Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.

The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of Taiwan trip planner.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

Lists by Lukiih is Readers-Supported

If you find my travel tips helpful, say thanks with a bubble tea๐Ÿง‹!

2 Comments

  1. SK

    Thank you so much! Planning a last minute travel to Taiwan and this was super helpful with the recent cost breakdown and details. The pictures are great too! Glad you had a great time, now I’m also looking forward to Taiwan!

    1. Lukiih

      Hey SK, glad to hear this was helpful. Enjoy Taiwan; I loved it!

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