Are you looking to experience Asia, but don’t know if your wallet can afford the trip?
Taiwan is one of the most dynamic and exciting places to visit in Asia. From the incredible food culture, friendly locals, and ample attractions, there’s nothing you can’t do in Taiwan. However, traveling to Asia from the West has a reputation as being a pretty expensive endeavor. So what’s the bottom line? Is Taiwan expensive to travel to?
In a short answer, no, Taiwan is considered a relatively affordable destination for tourists- so get excited! I’m going to give you the full budget breakdown of what a trip to Taiwan looks like and ways you can reduce unnecessary costs if you choose to go.
The first thing you need to know about costs when traveling in Taiwan is the currency exchange rate. Currently, the USD is worth far more than the Taiwanese currency, meaning you’ll be able to buy more for less.
For instance, a beer in Taiwanese NT costs 55.00 NT (that doesn’t mean it costs the equivalent of $55 to them, though). You could buy this for the equivalent of less than $2 USD, which is less than you’d be paying at home on average.
One of the most expensive aspects of travel to Asia is airfare. Unfortunately, that figure is going to stay the same pretty much anywhere you choose to travel there- no matter the destination. This is because no matter what, airline companies have to pay to lug your baggage across the ocean, and fuel costs don’t change much.
On average, you can expect round-trip plane tickets to Taiwan to cost you about $1,000- yikes. It can be more or less depending on the number of layovers, length of layovers, and seat class you choose. Thankfully, you can expect this to be the only budget-breaking aspect of your trip.
It doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be $1,000, though. If you’re young and in good health, consider taking one of the cheapest options and having extra-long layovers. It may double the time of your trip, but if your body can handle it, you can save up to $500 if you’re willing to wait the extra time.
Another good option for finding cheap plane tickets is using Google Flights and Momondo in tandem. If you find the cheapest dates for traveling to Taiwan on Google Flights, go ahead and plug those into Momondo. These dates are usually a little cheaper on there.
Lastly, if you’re willing to get risky, there’s always the process of “hidden city ticketing.”
This involves buying airline tickets to a destination other than your own that has a layover at your destination. This can make your airfare costs go down a shocking amount- but this does come with some risks. Things like visa requirements and last-minute schedule changes can change things, but if you’re willing to take the risk, you can save big-time.
Taiwan’s lodging situation is a little interesting. It’s cheap compared to a lot of other travel destinations, but many people find that the quality of luxury (or even regular) hotels is… disappointing to say the least. A hotel can cost a visitor around $100 a night for a sub-par experience, and hostels can still cost half of that at around $50 a night. This is why I recommend choosing Airbnb for your lodging. You can find entire apartments with good customer reviews for around $20-$35 or less a night, making this a more budget-savvy option. Not only that, but Airbnb’s are often run by locals who actually live in the host country. This means you’re getting a more unique and perhaps authentic experience if you
Food and Attractions
Taiwan is especially cheap when it comes to eating- but there’s a catch. If you’re eating at a Western-style restaurant, you can expect to pay prices similar to what you’d find here in the States.
If you’re eating domestic cuisine, however, this is going to be extremely cheap. You can get a full meal’s worth of street food for only $3 in Taiwan, and you’ll be eating like royalty.
Things like xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), scallion pancakes, spring rolls, and guabao (meat-stuffed buns) are all extremely cheap to buy on the street in Taiwan. If you eat smart and choose to eat domestic cuisine for the majority of your trip, you can expect this to make up very little of your budget.
As far as attractions go, many of the sightseeing spots in Taiwan are actually free to visit. Taiwan has an incredible amount of national parks and hiking spots that are entirely free and offer some of the most expansive mountain views you’ll ever see. Other historical spots like Chiang Kai Shek’s memorial hall and Longshan Temple are free to visit, too.
If you’re interested in some of the more shiny and contemporary attractions, like the Taipei 101 tower, there will likely be an entrance fee. In the case of the tower (and many other similar attractions), this entrance fee is as low as $10.
Food and attractions in Taiwan, which can be the most expensive parts of your budget in other parts of the world, will likely make up the least amount of your budget! Great news, huh?
Taiwan is a wonderful choice for people looking to travel to Asia on a budget.
Airfare can be expensive, but there are methods one can use to try and reduce these costs. If you choose the Airbnb route for lodging, you can easily find quality rooms/apartments for an average of $20-$35 a night. And when you’re pigging out on foods and snapping photos at attractions, you can rest assured that these won’t be breaking the bank.