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Taiwan Trip Budget: How Much Should I Change & Bring?

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 22 February, 2024

Known for its eclectic mix of Chinese, Japanese, and indigenous cultural influences, Taiwan has become a haven for culture enthusiasts, urban adventurers, avid shoppers, and those who thrive in the vibrant nightlife.

And since 2020, Taiwan has witnessed a remarkable resurgence in its tourism sector, emerging as a preferred destination for travellers worldwide, especially those from Singapore. 

In a survey on holiday destinations among travellers from Singapore, Taiwan stood out as a post-pandemic favourite. As a matter of fact, Taiwan accounted for 39% of the top holiday destinations by flight among Singaporean travellers. This surge in interest is not just a testament to Taiwan's allure but also to its accessibility and the variety of experiences it offers.

This is further evidenced by Skyscanner's internal search data, which recorded a staggering 1376% year-on-year increase in searches for Taipei, Taiwan.

This increasing fascination with Taiwan among Singaporeans is a reflection of the island's unique charm, combining traditional heritage with modern amenities, all set within stunning natural beauty. 

Whether it's the lure of historical sites, the excitement of city life, or the tranquillity of its natural settings, Taiwan offers a compelling mix of things to do that continues to draw visitors from Singapore and beyond.

But here's the big question: how much should you be bringing for your next trip to Taiwan?

 

Table of contents



Is Taiwan more expensive than Singapore?

For Singaporeans eyeing Taiwan as their next destination, the good news is that Taiwan makes it on the list of affordable travel destinations, especially when compared to the cost of living in Singapore.

Exchange Rates

Not sure how much to change for your Taiwan trip?

At the current exchange rate (S$1 = NT$23.32, according to xe.com), S$50 is equivalent to just over NT$1,165.

Such an exchange rate not only makes the trip financially feasible but also allows for a more comfortable and perhaps even a bit more luxurious experience than initially planned.

Cost of living

Singapore, known for its high standard of living, ranks as one of the most expensive cities globally. In contrast, Taiwan offers a more economical lifestyle. 

In Taiwan, you can find a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels and Airbnb listings, often at a fraction of what similar accommodations would cost in Singapore. 

Dining out in Taiwan is also remarkably cheaper. The country is famous for its night markets and street food, which offer delicious and hearty meals at very affordable prices. Even dining at mid-range restaurants won't set you back much.

Beyond that, entertainment and transportation costs in Taiwan are also lower compared to Singapore. Public transport is efficient, widespread, and notably inexpensive, making it an excellent option for travellers. Tourist attractions in Taiwan, including many natural parks and cultural sites, are often free or have a very nominal entry fee.


Why visit Taiwan?

Taiwan is undeniably an adventure waiting to be discovered, perfect for those who seek an array of sensory and cultural experiences. Here's why it's one of the best countries to visit:

Nature

When it comes to natural landscapes, Taiwan is astonishingly diverse. Imagine towering mountains like the majestic Jade Mountain (Yushan), which also happens to be the highest peak in Northeast Asia. For those who prefer the tranquillity of water, Sun Moon Lake offers serene beauty and a peaceful retreat. 

Moving along the east coast, renowned for its breathtaking coastal cliffs and pristine beaches, Taiwan has become a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Don't miss the awe-inspiring Taroko Gorge, where marble walls and scenic trails create a spectacle that's truly unforgettable. 


Food

Taiwan's food scene takes you on a delightful journey through a tapestry of flavours and traditions. 

To embark on this culinary adventure, begin with the iconic Beef Noodle Soup—a classic that harmoniously combines tender beef, rich broth, and hearty noodles. However, no trip to Taiwan can be considered complete without savouring Bubble Tea, the island's renowned contribution to the world of beverages. Yes, we're talking about classics from the likes of Tiger Sugar.

For a taste of traditional Taiwanese snacks that transport you to the heart of the culture, explore the vibrant night markets. There, you can indulge in Gua Bao, a mouthwatering pork belly bun, or delve into Lu Rou Fan, a savoury braised pork rice dish that captivates the palate. 

And, for the truly adventurous food enthusiasts, Stinky Tofu beckons with its pungent aroma and unique taste—it's an experience that's a must-try.


Culture

Taiwan's cultural landscape is as varied as its natural one. The island is home to a blend of Han Chinese traditions and indigenous Taiwanese cultures, creating a vibrant cultural scene. 

From the bustling temples, such as the ornate Longshan Temple in Taipei, to the quiet aboriginal villages in the mountains, Taiwan's cultural experiences are deeply rooted in history and spirituality. 

The blend of modern and traditional lifestyles, evident in the bustling night markets against the backdrop of ancient temples and historical sites, also makes Taiwan a culturally enriching destination for any traveller.


Cost of accommodation in Taiwan

Taiwan’s highly competitive hospitality industry offers a great selection of accommodation options. You can take your pick of glitzy world-famous hotels, professionally operated guesthouses, and Airbnb lodgings.

Unlike other cities – such as New York or Tokyo – vacationing in Taipei on a budget doesn’t mean holing up in some dinghy motel outside of the city centre.

The cost of various accommodation options in Taiwan's bustling cities varies as follows:

City
Accommodation type
Price range 
(one night for one adult)*
Taipei
Hotel
S$70 to S$300
Hostel
S$18 to S$70
Airbnb
S$20 to S$200
Tainan City
Hotel
S$20 to S$200
Hostel
S$15 to S$50
Airbnb
S$20 to S$300
Bed & Breakfast (Minsu 民宿)
S$30 to S$300
Taichung
Hotel
S$20 to S$200
Hostel
S$30 to S$90
Airbnb
S$28 to S$400
Bed & Breakfast (Minsu 民宿)
S$20 to S$240
Hualien City
Hotel
S$30 to S$200
Hostel
S$10 to S$40
Airbnb
S$20 to S$400
Bed & Breakfast (Minsu 民宿)
S$25 to S$200
Kaohsiung
Hotel
S$15 to S$200
Hostel
S$15 to S$70
Airbnb
S$20 to S$230
Bed & Breakfast (Minsu 民宿)
S$35 to S$70
Keelung
Hotel
S$30 to S$300
Hostel
S$20 to S$140
Airbnb
S$30 to S$300
Bed & Breakfast (Minsu 民宿)
S$40 to S$200

*Please note that all accommodation prices are estimates sourced from Airbnb and Booking.com as of January 31, 2024, and are subject to change.


A display of Taiwanese food in Kaohsiung

Cost of food in Taiwan

As a city that loves its food, there are culinary gems to be found at every corner. Taiwan is also a producer of food crops, which means farm-fresh ingredients at down-to-earth prices.

You’ll be surprised at what a satisfying and delicious meal of NT$100 can buy you.

meal-in-taipei

Pictured above: Braised chicken thigh, egg omelette, stir-fried cabbage, tofu and rice, served with iced green tea. Price: NT$95, or S$4.10.

Want to have something more luxurious? No problem; sukiyaki or hotpot buffets at a mid-range outlet go for under NT$500 (approx S$22). Bonus: the meat slices you’ll get won’t have that frozen air-flown taste.

Expenses for dining at restaurants, exploring night markets, and grabbing a quick meal at fast food establishments are outlined as follows:

Restaurant or food
Estimate price (one meal)
McDonald’s
S$1.60 to S$26
Medium cup of bubble tea
S$3.70
Chain restaurants
S$5 to S$15
Snacks at 7-Eleven
S$2
Night market food
S$5 to S$10
Bars
From S$6

Taiwan's local food culture is an immersive experience deeply rooted in tradition yet open to innovation. The island's night markets are a must-visit, offering an array of street foods that range from the classic Taiwanese sausage to the adventurous flavours of oyster omelettes and the sweet, pillowy goodness of Taiwanese pancakes. 

These markets are not just food hubs but cultural gatherings where locals and tourists alike come to soak in the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy the array of flavours on offer.

The bottom line: mix and match between hawker stalls, food courts, cafes and restaurants to enjoy the best of local flavours and international dining.

See Also: 4 Tips for Saving Money on Food while Travelling


Cost of public transport in Taiwan

Taipei is extremely well-connected, and you can get to most destinations via the MRT, bus, or a combination of the two. Most MRT fares will cost you between NT$20 to NT$50, one way, and bus fares are not much more expensive either. You can easily get to and from most attractions without much cost or hassle, especially since most locations are located near each other.

If all else fails, you could always flag down a taxi. While not terribly expensive, cab fares in Taipei can eat into your budget. Use them sparingly – for short trips, say, or if you’re having trouble finding your destination – and you won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Here, we've broken down the expenses according to your choice of public transportation for a single one-way journey:

Transportation
One-way trip (estimate)
MRT
S$0.86 to S$2.80
Taiwan High Speed Rail
S$1.50 to S$108
Taiwan Railways Administration
S$0.50 to S$36
City bus
S$0.65; 1 segment

What is the difference between MRT, THSR, and TRA?

Understanding Taiwan's public transportation system is key to navigating the island efficiently. The system comprises mainly the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR ), and Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), each serving a unique purpose. 

The MRT, primarily found in major cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung, is an urban metro system ideal for city travel. It's known for its convenience, punctuality, and accessibility to major attractions within the cities.

On the other hand, the THSR is a high-speed train service connecting major cities along the west coast of Taiwan. Covering long distances in a fraction of the time it would take by road, it's the perfect choice for travellers looking to explore different cities like Taipei, Taichung, and Tainan in a short period. The trains are comfortable, fast (reaching speeds of up to 300 km/h), and a fantastic way to enjoy Taiwan's scenic landscapes at high speed.

Lastly, the TRA offers a more comprehensive network of train services, covering a broader range of destinations, including rural and coastal areas not accessible by the THSR. TRA trains are slower than the THSR but offer more scenic routes, perfect for travellers who prefer a leisurely pace to soak in the diverse landscapes of Taiwan.

What is a Yoyo card?

In Taiwan, the Yoyo Card, also known as the EasyCard, is an essential item for any traveller. It's a convenient, rechargeable smartcard used for a variety of payments, most notably for public transportation. 

The card is not just limited to transportation; it can also be used for small purchases at department stores, supermarkets, and even some tourist attractions, truly embodying the 'easy' in EasyCard. 

In addition, purchasing an EasyCard is straightforward. They are readily available at any MRT station across Taiwan, including those at the airport, ensuring you can grab one as soon as you arrive. Additionally, they can be found at convenience stores – a testament to their ubiquity and importance in daily Taiwanese life. For travellers looking to plan ahead, the cards are also available for purchase on platforms like Klook.

Investing in a Yoyo Card is not just a matter of convenience; it's a way to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle. It eliminates the need to carry change for transportation and small purchases, making your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable.


taipei-taiwan

Cost of guided tours

Taipei City itself has many places of interest you can visit for free. From museums to shopping streets to art parks and heritage areas, you’ll have no lack of sightseeing options.

Still, some of Taipei’s most famous attractions (such as the hot springs, national parks and Jiufen Old Town) lie just outside of the city centre, which makes for great day-trips. Ask your hotel concierge for a list of guided day-tours to help you plan your vacation. Most have a package price that includes transportation back and forth, with the driver doubling up as your guide for the day.

You’ll be paying more for a guided tour than going by yourself, but the convenience is worth the extra cost, especially for inexperienced travellers.

See Also: When Is It Worth Buying a Travel Package?

Here's a breakdown of typical expenses when it comes to enjoying recreational activities in Taiwan:

Activity
Example
Location
Cost (approximate)
Island hopping
Penghu County
S$155
Snorkelling
Lambai Island
S$17.25
Diving
Taichung, Taiwan
S$120.50
Cultural tours
Tea-growing regions in Taipei
S$89.05
Mountain hiking
Hualien
S$55.95

Cost of SIM cards and portable Wi-Fi

Staying connected is non-negotiable, especially while travelling; having reliable internet access is crucial for navigation, keeping in touch, and sharing experiences. 

This is where the convenience of SIM cards and portable Wi-Fi devices come into play for travellers in Taiwan. These can be conveniently purchased at airports, convenience stores, or telecom shops. The cost varies depending on data needs and duration of stay, but typically, these options are budget-friendly, adding great value to your travel experience in Taiwan.

The pricing details for prepaid SIM cards and portable Wi-Fi devices in Taiwan are presented below:

Product type
Provider
Price
Number of days
Calling credit
Prepaid SIM card
S$11.65 to S$30.15
3 to 30
NT$50 to NT$430
S$10.35 to S$30.15
3 to 15
NT$50 to NT$430
Taiwan Mobile
S$4.30 to S$43
3
NT$100 to NT$300
TSTAR
S$10.70 to S$115.80
3 to 90
NT$50 to NT$1000
Rental portable Wi-Fi
S$29.98 per day(unlimited data)
-
-
From S$10.65 per day(1Gb/day)
-
-
S$5 per day(unlimited data)
-
-
S$12 per day(unlimited data)
-
-

See Also: 14 Best Portable Wi-Fi To Buy/Rent in Singapore For Overseas Travel


taipei-taiwan

So, how much should you bring to Taiwan?

So, how much should you bring on your next Taiwan trip?

Let's explore the estimated costs for various trip durations to help you plan effectively.


For a 5-day trip

Wondering how much to bring to Taiwan for 5 days? A budget-friendly trip for this duration should consider the following costs:

  • Accommodation: Budget options can range from S$30 to S$60 per night.
  • Transportation: With efficient public transport, set aside about S$5 to S$10 per day.
  • Food: Enjoy local delicacies with a budget of S$5 to S$30 per day.
  • Activities: Reserve around S$50 to S$100 for various attractions and experiences.

For a 7-day trip

A 7-day journey in Taiwan, taking in all its beauty and culture, is perfect for a deeper exploration. Considering how much to bring to Taiwan for 7 days, your budget might look like this:

  • Accommodation: Expect to spend about S$280 to S$490, assuming a nightly rate of S$40 to S$70. This range accommodates everything from budget hostels to more comfortable hotel options. Sharing a room can significantly reduce this cost.
  • Transportation: Setting aside around S$35 to S$70 for the week should suffice, considering the efficient and affordable public transport. This estimate is based on an average daily expense of S$5 to S$10.
  • Food: A budget of S$105 to S$210 for the week allows you to enjoy a range of Taiwanese culinary delights, estimating S$15 to S$30 per day for meals.
  • Activities: Plan for about S$100 to S$200 for various attractions, including two guided day tours. This allocation lets you experience Taiwan’s rich cultural and natural landscapes.

For a 10-day trip

Embarking on a 10-day journey through Taiwan offers an extended opportunity to delve deeper into the island's rich culture and stunning landscapes. When considering how much to bring to Taiwan for 10 days, especially for a budget-conscious traveller, it's important to allocate your resources wisely across various expenses.

  • Accommodation: For a 10-day stay, budget around S$400 to S$700. This assumes an average cost of S$40 to S$70 per night, accommodating a range of options from cosy hostels to more comfortable hotels. As mentioned, choosing shared accommodations or budget-friendly options can significantly reduce this cost.
  • Transportation: Allocate about S$50 to S$100 for the entire trip. This budget caters to the efficient and affordable public transport system in Taiwan, assuming an average daily expense of S$5 to S$10.
  • Food: Plan to spend around S$150 to S$300 on food. This budget, calculated at S$15 to S$30 per day, allows you to indulge in Taiwan’s diverse culinary scene, from street food delicacies to casual dining.
  • Activities: Set aside approximately S$200 to S$400 for activities, which could include guided tours, museum visits, and other attractions. This range allows for a balance of cultural experiences and leisure activities.

For a 2-week trip

A 2-week expedition in Taiwan opens doors to extensive exploration, from bustling city streets to tranquil countryside vistas. If you're wondering how much to bring to Taiwan for 2 weeks, especially for a budget-friendly experience, careful planning can ensure you make the most of your trip without overspending.

  • Accommodation: For a 14-night stay, budget approximately S$560 to S$980. This is based on a nightly rate of S$40 to S$70, covering a range of options from basic hostels to more comfortable hotels. Again, opting for shared accommodations or seeking budget-friendly lodgings can help lower this cost.
  • Transportation: Around S$70 to S$140 should cover your transportation needs. This takes into account Taiwan’s cost-effective public transport system, with a daily average spend of S$5 to S$10.
  • Food: A food budget of S$210 to S$420 allows you to savour the island’s culinary delights. With S$15 to S$30 allocated per day, you can enjoy everything from local street food to cosy cafe meals.
  • Activities: Allocate S$300 to S$600 for activities, including any guided tours, admission fees, and other entertainment options. This budget caters to a variety of interests, allowing you to fully experience Taiwan’s cultural and natural attractions.

See Also: 8 Best Travel Tips for 2024: Budgeting, Safety, Hacks


Is cash necessary in Taiwan?

Now, another big question — how much cash should you be bringing to Taiwan?

Sure, it will all depend on how much you spend while in Taiwan, but that aside, how much spare change should you have in your wallet?

While Taiwan has increasingly embraced digital payments, carrying cash can still be quite essential, especially for travellers. 

Many small vendors, local markets, and rural areas may not have card payment facilities, making cash transactions the norm in these settings. Having cash on hand is particularly useful for purchases at night markets, small eateries, or when using taxis that might not support digital payments. 

It’s also helpful in managing smaller, day-to-day expenses where using a card might not be as convenient. Therefore, while you can rely on cards for most hotel, restaurant, or large retail store transactions, it’s advisable to carry a reasonable amount of cash to fully enjoy the diverse experiences Taiwan offers, especially off the beaten path.


Credit cards make ideal travel companions

With a credit card, you can make your Taiwan trips even more affordable. For example, you can use an air miles credit card to redeem free flights, and even hotel stays, depending on which Frequent Flyer Programme you subscribe to. 

And if you use your credit card strategically during the trip, you might even be able to clock enough miles to redeem another trip later in the year– an easy travel hack! Just be sure to choose a suitable credit card that aligns with your spending style so that you can make the most out of it.


Travel in peace with the ultimate Taiwan trip budget

Embarking on a Taiwan adventure can be a journey of a lifetime, especially when you're well-prepared with an effective budget. 

From the bustling streets of Taipei to the serene landscapes of its countryside, as one of the top 10 destinations Singaporeans will be travelling to, Taiwan offers an array of experiences. Remember to budget for accommodation, transportation, food, and activities, keeping in mind the excellent public transport system, the wide array of affordable culinary delights, and the rich cultural experiences available. 

Also, don't forget to consider travel insurance for added peace of mind. It's a small investment that can save a lot of trouble, ensuring that your Taiwanese adventure is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. 

For comprehensive travel insurance options that suit your Taiwan trip, explore SingSaver's travel insurance plans.


Alevin ChanBy Alevin Chan

A Certified Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin's mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He's also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.


An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

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