Taiwan Itinerary: 3 Days and 2 Nights in Taiwan for Only PHP 10,000
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Thinking of how I can immediately escape my stressful work and the never-ending reports, I went to Taiwan without even planning on anything. I just booked my flight, my hostel, and that’s it. I did not bother asking my boss if I can go on leave for three days. I just asked him a week before my intended trip so he doesn’t have any choice but to approve my request.
Since I purchased a promo ticket, the plane arrived 2 hours past midnight. The line to the Taiwan’s immigration is extremely long since it’s South Korea and Japan’s spring break. The line was almost not moving because there are a lot of students.
After passing through the immigration and exchanging some of my money, the Taoyuan Airport MRT going to Taipei is still closed so I took a bus going to the city which caused me 125 TWD (around 200 in Philippine Peso).
Taiwan Budget Travel Guide
I arrived at the hostel, UINN Travel Hostel at around 4 in the morning. Thinking I can take a bath and get some sleep, I was surprised to know that the check-in time is 3PM. Luckily, the people in the hostel were very nice and kind enough to let me stay in their lobby to take some rest. Eva, the front desk personnel, also offered me some drinks and caramel popcorn.
After sleeping for hours on their comfy couch, I checked in at exactly 1PM and took a bath. Since I don’t have any itineraries with me and it is already late in the afternoon, I decided to check the nearest sightseeing places near my hostel.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Most of the sightseeing places in Taiwan is actually free so you will save a lot of money while still enjoying.
My first stop is the popular Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Chiang Kai-Shek was a nationalist leader and self-appointed President of the Republic of China.
Not only will you see the Memorial Hall, you will also see the Concert Hall and the National Theater in one area.
The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is open until 6 in the evening. If you will go there before their closing time, you will see the soldiers removing Taiwan’s national flag complete with their routines.
Hua Xi Street Night Market
Taiwan is famous for their night markets. You can find almost anything in their night markets: from cheap clothes, souvenirs, massages, accessories, skin care products, electronics, and of course, food.
Hua Xi Street night market is a perfect stop if you want to taste Taiwan’s authentic snacks. With just 100 TWD, you can already taste their signature pork buns and peanut rolls.
Before I went back to my hostel, I decided to visit Taipei 101. Taipei 101 was once the world’s tallest building. It serves as an icon of Taiwan.
Taipei 101 has a high-speed elevator to its observatory on the 89th floor. It only took us 37 seconds to reach the top.
After exploring the places in Taipei, I decided to explore the beauty of Northern Taiwan and see the Spirited Away setting in person. I also allotted my second day to take a dip in Taiwan’s hot spring.
The Shifen Old Streets is located in Pingxi area. Shifen is a famous tourist spot not only for the Instagram-worthy train tracks but also because you can release a Chinese Sky Lantern in this place.
Near the Shifen Old Street is the Shifen Waterfall which is 20-meters tall and is considered as the most scenic in Taiwan.
If you are a fan of Spirited Away like me, you must put Jiufen in the places you will go in Taiwan. Jiufen was once a gold mining town but was turned into a popular tourist destination to give its visitors a feel of Taiwan’s past.
Jiufen is also the home of the most unique teahouses in Taiwan. If you will go to Jiufen, make sure that you are not full. Each stall that you will pass by offers free tastes of their treats: From mochis to sausages, to candies and even fruit juices.
Beitou Hot Springs
After a tiring day walking and tasting Taiwan’s delicacies, I went to Beitou to relax my sore muscles and joints.
Beitou is popular for their accommodations with hot springs and their public baths. Since I don’t intend to stay in the place overnight, I went to Beitou Garden Spa or also known as Millennium Hot Springs. Unlike other public baths, you will not go naked here. You just need to be in your swimwear. After paying 60 TWD, I took a dip and relaxed like a local in their hot springs.
My last day in Taiwan. I used this last day to see cherry blossoms, the Sun Lake, and visit the One Piece attraction of Taiwan.
There are several places where you can see cherry blossoms during spring. Since Alishan is quite far and I don’t have enough time, I went to the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village instead.
Sun Moon Lake
Before you will reach the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village, you need to ride a boat around Sun Moon Lake. Personally, I don’t like traveling on water. However, the beauty of Sun Moon Lake mesmerized me.
What makes Sun Moon Lake exciting is the several stations that it has. Each of these stations is unique. You can get to meet their locals or pray with the monks for peace and security.
From the Sun Moon Lake, to reach the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village, you need to ride a gondola or cable car. Unlike the Gondola in Taipei Zoo or Mongkok Gondola in Hong Kong, Sun Moon Lake’s gondola is very long. It took us nearly 20 minutes to reach the village.
Make sure to prepare your camera or video recorder when you ride the Sun Moon Lake Gondola: You will see the beauty of Sun Moon Lake 360 degrees full!
Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village
Don’t be fooled by its name. If you think the place is boring, think twice. The Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village is a big amusement park.
The place has several rides: Merry go round, 5D theater, and rollercoaster to name a few. Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village also houses their One Piece museum. You can see your favorite anime characters, take some photos, and even bring home a souvenir to remind you of your trip.
Taipei is a small country but there are a lot of places to travel to. My 3 days trip was not enough so I already decided to come back to see more of Taiwan.
Now that Filipinos can enter Taiwan visa-free, make sure to make the most out of your trip. Traveling and having fun does not always have to be expensive.
Would you believe I only spent PHP 10,000 for my whole trip, airline ticket included? Here’s the breakdown of all the expenses I made:
2,100 = Airline Ticket (I booked the ticket using the Traveloka app)
1,500 = Hostel for three days (free breakfast, tea, coffee, and water so I saved a lot of money)
1,000 = Dinner for three days (Since we have free breakfast that includes bread and crackers, I bring a bunch with me which saved me a lot of money. I also brought a water bottle with me to save costs)
2,500 = Souvenirs for my officemates and family members
IN TWD (Conversation: 1 TWD = 1.60 PHP)
500 = Easy Pass (I used 240 going to Jiufen; 100 TWD is a deposit and you will get this back after returning the card)
800 = Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village Package
60 = Beitou Hot Springs entrance
250 = Bus from the Airport to Taipei, vice versa
All in all, I only spent around PHP 9,700 (excluding the Travel Tax that I paid in advance using a credit card).
TIPS TO SAVE MONEY
Take advantage of your bank. The airport has a very low exchange rate. You can exchange your USD to TWD or withdraw directly from an ATM.
Use your feet. Taipei is a very walkable city. I saved a lot of money by walking. Plus, it is safe and clean! You don’t need to worry about your backpack or belongings since Taiwanese are friendly and disciplined.
Get an Easy Card. You can use your Easy Card in riding buses, trains, and even paying for your food.
You don’t need to get a pocket wifi. I want to enjoy my trip to the fullest and I am just alone so I opt not to rent a pocket wifi. There are a lot of hotspots offering free wifi in Taipei, too.
Bring a water bottle. Although water is not really expensive, it will save you 20 TWD every time you are refilling your water bottle. There are a lot of clean drinking water stations in the MRT stations.