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Experience Taipei for under SGD 220: budget Taipei travel guide

Looking for a Taiwan vacation without breaking the bank? Feast on Taipei street treats at Shilin and Raohe Night Markets, get all Japanese in Ximending and be awed by views from Taipei 101. Experience the best attractions and food on the cheap with Skyscanner’s Taipei travel guide for travelling to Taipei on a budget!

What to know before your trip:

1. When is the best time to visit Taipei?

The shoulder seasons of September to November and April and May offer the nicest weather and most reasonable hotel prices. Taipei has four seasons so choose your vacation dates carefully. Budget travellers will find the greatest discounts on Taipei hotels during the winter months, though they will also find the coldest weather. Check out our list of 10 best Taipei hotels! High season is the summer months of July and August when hotel prices rise rapidly and the weather is extremely humid.

2. How should I get into Taipei?

The cheapest option for travel from Taoyuan International Airport is the express airport bus which departs every 10-15 minutes and terminates at Taipei Main Station (SGD 5.50 /NTD 125). The MRT from the airport to town runs every 15 mins from 0600-2300 and costs SGD 7/NTD 160. The journey takes 37 minutes.

3. How can I get around Taipei?

Taipei’s MRT and bus systems are clean, efficient and excellent value. Buy a stored value Easy Card for SGD 4.50/NTD 100 and top up as you go along (Fares start at SGD 0.90 / NTD 20) or buy a Taipei Day Pass (SGD 8/NTD 180) for unlimited use on buses and MRT for a day. These can be bought at 7-eleven stores or MRT stations across the city. You can find a 7-eleven store on just about every corner. For other useful Taipei travel tips, take a look at Top 10 travel tips for Taipei.

Taipei travel guide: budget itinerary (Under SGD 220)

NOTE: The following budget excludes flights. The cheapest return flights to Taipei cost around SGD 215.

  • Suggested duration: 3 days/2 nights
  • Highlights: Shilin and Raohe Night Markets, Longshan Temple, Taipei 101, Wistaria Tea House, Wulai Hot Springs
  • Accommodation: 2 nights in a budget hotel start at SGD ~60
  • Transport: Bus to and from the airport and 3 days unlimited transport around the city: SGD 35
  • Food and drinks: Around SGD 80 (depedning)
  • Total: ~SGD 200
Book your flight to Taipei! 

Where to stay in Taipei:

Mr Lobster’s Secret Den Design Hostel

Check into a cosy room in the heart of town at Mr Lobster’s. Photo credit: Mr Lobster

Located in the heart of town and a mere 10-minute walk from Taipei Main Station and Taipei Bus Station, Mr Lobster’s minimalist den is sleek and friendly and features super-fast Wi-Fi throughout. There’s a variety of rooms available, including dorms and female-only dorms and, for large groups of pals, family rooms that can comfortably fit four.

  • Share room (8 people) price: SGD 30-36 (NTD 690-800)
  • Address: 9F, No. 22, Section 1, Chongqing Nord Road, Datong District, Taipei
  • How to get there: Walk from Taipei Main Station
  • Visit their website: Mr Lobster Secret Den Design Hostel

Read more: Where to stay in Taipei: 10 best hotels

Best places to visit and things to do in Taipei:

Day 1:

1. Try a Taiwanese breakfast

Savor a scrumptious breakfast as the locals do! Photo credit: 

Do as the Taiwanese do and join the morning queues for a scrumptious Taiwanese breakfast. A typical Taiwanese breakfast consists of a you tiao (deep fried dough stick), a shao bing (baked wheat cake that can be filled with beef or egg) washed down with a glass of dou jiang (hot soybean milk). Most places have additional items on the menu so pick and choose as you like and remember, get there early as all the food is prepared fresh and sells out well before noon. (There are always queues, so prepare for that as well!)

  • Where to eat: Yong He Soy Milk King
  • Breakfast price: SGD 3 (NTD 70)
  • Address: 102 Fuxing South Road, Section 2, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Walk from Daan MRT station

2. Visit the National Palace Museum

Enjoy the history at the National Palace Museum! Photo Credit: eazytraveler

Anyone with even the most moderate of interest in all things Chinese must make a visit to this amazing museum that is home to the finest collection of Chinese art on earth. The museum has artefacts dating back through the Chinese dynasties back to Neolithic times. Displays are well-marked and contain calligraphy, weapons, silks, ritual objects and an amazing jade cabbage. There’s a traditional teahouse on the top floor and bargain hunters will rejoice in the free English language tours daily at 10am and 3pm.

  • Entrance fee: SGD 11 (NTD 250)
  • Address: No. 221, Section 2, Zhishan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City 11143, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Walk from Shilin MRT
  • Visit their website: National Palace Museum

3. Test your vertigo at the top of Taipei 101

You can’t miss the views from Taipei 101! Photo credit: SeanPavonePhoto

Standing at 508 metres, the ninth tallest building on earth dominates the city skyline and demands a visit. Head to the ticket office on the fifth floor where you’ll be whisked up to the 89th floor in a hair-raising 37 seconds. Yes, this pressure-controlled lift travels at a face-contorting 1,010 metres per second! The views from the top are outstanding. There are free audio guides available on the 89th floor and if it’s not too windy, get your hair ruffled by the strong winds at the outdoor observatory on the 91st floor.

  • Entrance fee: Adult ticket: SGD 29 (NTD 600)
  • Address: No.7, Section 5, Xinyi Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City 110, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Walk from Taipei 101 MRT station
  • Visit their website: Taipei 101

4. Visit Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Get into the art scene at Huashan 1914 Creative Park! Photo credit: 
黃 基峰

Housed in an abandoned former wine and sake factory, the Huashan Creative Park was founded in 1997 when the beautiful empty structure was discovered by a theatre group and used for performances. Using contemporary ideas of urban regeneration, the site has evolved to become a cultural art centre with an ever-changing selection of arts and theatre offerings alongside hip shops and stalls and cool bars and cafes with live music after dark. If you want to get in touch with the city’s artsy community, this area is a good first stop.

  • Entrance fee: Free (charges for some exhibitions) 
  • Address: 1 Ba De Road, Section 1, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 100, Taiwan 
  • How to get there: Walk from Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT 
  • Visit their website: Huashan 1914 Creative Park

5. Grab a bite at Raohe Street Night Market

Have a culinary adventure at Roahe Night Market! Photo credit: winterduel

Possibly the most Taiwanese of all the famed Taipei night markets, Raohe Street Night Market runs down a street for 600 metres and is packed with weird and wonderful things to buy from mobile phone cases and purses to trainers and shades. The market sells a good selection of Taiwan’s famed street grub including blood cake, grilled mushrooms, stinky tofu and utterly delicious pork buns. If you’re still in the mood for bargain browsing after your street fair extravaganza, take a short walk over to Wufenpu market where you can find clothes and accessories at amazingly low prices.

  • Street eats start at: SGD 0.90 (NTD 20)
  • Address: Raohe St, Songshan District, Taipei City 105, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Walk from Songshan MRT

Read more: 9 best things to do in Taipei

Check out cheap flights to Taipei!

Day 2:

1. Get spiritual at Longshan Temple

You can feel the peace at Longshan Temple. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

You’ll need to be up at the crack of dawn to get the most out of your visit to the highly venerated Longshan Temple. The temple was founded by migrants from Fujian in 1738 and is still pulling in the crowds today. The temple is devoted to the goddess of mercy, Guanyin, though there are also more than 100 other deities worshipped here, so you can cover all your spiritual needs in one visit. If you have any pressing questions about your future, then this area is the right place for you. The underground mall at Longshan Temple MRT is packed full of fortune tellers; get your palms or your face read or let a bird pick out the answers to your query and spend the next few hours bathing in the glow of your newfound knowledge.

  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Fortune telling: Around SGD 4 (NTD 100)
  • Address: No. 211, Guangzhou St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Longshan Temple MRT

2. Get your caffeine fix at Wistaria Tea House

Drink away the afternoon with a hot cup of tea! Photo credit: 胤 李

Sipping a glass of tea with a few snacks and having a chinwag with mates has been a part of Chinese culture for centuries. Taipei has a number of delightful teahouses worth visiting and one of the best is the magical Wistaria Tea House. Located in a wooden structure that was built in the 1920s as a residence for the Governor of Taiwan the building later became a tea house and social hot spot for the city’s intelligentsia. Today, it is still a popular hangout for artsy types and with its lashings of 1930s style matched with calm vibes and comfy seats you can happily spend a chilled few hours here sampling the different varieties of teas which include Guanyin, oolong and smoky pu’er. Your host or hostess will show you exactly how to prepare and drink your tea, so that you can get the most out of the flavor! Film geeks might notice that the tea house was used for scenes in the celebrated Taiwanese film, Eat Drink Man Woman.

  • Pot of tea for one starts: SGD 14.50 (NTD 320)
  • Address: 1, Lane 16, Section 3, Xinsheng S Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City 106, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Daan MRT
  • Visit their website: Wistaria Tea House

3. Join a free walking tour

Take a tour through the beautiful Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes getting to know a city takes local knowledge so we recommend looking up Tour Me Away, a group of passionate city residents that offers foreign visitors a selection of brilliant free walking tours to the best places to visit in Taipei. Though the tours are free, you’re able to tip the guide at the end of the walk. Varying free tours are offered: Old City tours, temple tours and chill out tours. Most tours start in the mid-afternoon. There are also a couple of chargeable evening tours including a pub crawl (SGD 31/NTD 700) and local food tour (SGD 36/NTD 800).

Reserve your spot and find at more: Tour Me Away

4. Visit the Harajuku of Taipei: Ximending

Party with the best of them in Ximen! Photo credit: financeguy 高志傑

If you want to see where all the cool cats of Taipei hang out, then make a beeline for vibrant Ximending. Situated in Wanhua district, Ximending came into being during the Japanese colonial period and was founded as the city’s main recreation district. Fast forward almost a century and the area is still heavily influenced by Japan with its bright neon lights, cool bars and cafes and shops selling Japanese anime, clothing and books. At weekends, it gets packed with ‘harizu’, Taiwanese lovers of all things Japanese.

How to get there: Ximen MRT 

5. Indulge yourself at Shilin Night Market

Indulge yourself with the local cuisine at Taipei’s most popular night market! Photo credit: Shoji Kawabata. a.k.a. strange_ojisan

As darkness descends, make your way to Shilin Night Market for another evening of street food gluttony. The maze of alleys here is filled to the brim with roadside stalls hawking merchandise and flogging some of Taipei’s most famous street snacks including huge steaks of fried chicken, oyster omelette and small sausage in large sausage. Wash all these down with a bubble tea before taking yourself off to one of the numerous karaoke bars that line the street for a night of warbling tunes. In case you need some guidance, take a look at 10 must-try Taiwanese foods

  • Street eats start at: SGD 0.90 (NTD 20)
  • Address: 101 Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City 111, Taiwan
  • How to get there: Jiantan MRT Station

Day 3:

1. Iron out all your creases with a day at a hot spring

Just relax with a hot spring. Photo credit: Anthony Brown

After a couple of days in the city, it’s time to get out, breathe in some countryside air and dip yourself in the hot springs at Wulai, a short bus ride from Taipei. There are a number of hotels including the Gwoji Hotel where you can enjoy the hot springs, a sauna and other facilities for around SGD 20 (NTD 450). However, the true bargain hunter will be pleased to know of the free hot springs on the opposite side of the Nanshih River. Follow the signs and go to the stairwell to the springs, which are well-maintained, and feature a sauna and changing rooms. You can even have a swim in the clean river here. After you have soaked away your city aches and pains, you can try out one of the well-marked hiking trails in the mountains above the town for an invigorating walk or visit one of the town’s famous restaurants such as renowned Taiya Po Po where you can sample some of the region’s aboriginal dishes like pickled pork and mountain boar.

Entrance fee to hot springs: Free

  • How to get there: Take Bus 849 to Wulai from Xindian MRT. Departures every 15 minutes (SGD 0.65 / NTD 15, bus accepts EasyCard) 
  • Entrance fee to hot springs: Free

2. Eat a bowl of scrumptious beef noodles at Lin Dong Fang

Beef Noodles are a must-eat when you come to Taipei! Photo credit: Chen Hui

Before you head to the airport, don’t forget to fill yourself up with one last tasty Taipei treat. Beef noodles are held in such high regard in Taipei that there’s an annual festival devoted to the comforting delight. One of the best places to grab a bowl is at Lin Dong Fang, where you’ll notice a huge bubbling cauldron of frightening cow parts. Don’t run away; this is what makes the soup so darn tasty! The restaurant is a bit rough and ready and you’ll first need to choose your meat to tendon ratio before this gets covered with their signature “eternally brewing beef broth”. The broth can be topped up throughout your slurp and has supposedly medicinal qualities. This amazing bowl of beef noodles will have you hurrying to Taipei for another trip!

  • Beef noodles start at: SGD 10 (NTD 240)
  • Address: No. 274 Bade Road, Section 2, Zhongshan District
  • How to get there: Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station
  • Visit their website: Lin Dong Fang
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Originally published in June 2016 and updated in November 2018. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

Read more: 10 most fun family trips in Asia