Taipei, located mainly on an ancient lakebed on the northern part of the island, was the early home of the Ketagalan Plains Aborigines. With the continued immigration of the Han Chinese from the mainland China in the early 18th century, the aborigines gradually dissolved in the mixture while urban development was made in the area. During the Japanese occupation on the turn of the century, the city underwent further development including the construction of railroad links, cultural institutions and landmarks. When the Communists took over the rule in the mainland after the Civil War in 1949, Taipei was declared as the capital of the ROC, otherwise known as Taiwan. Today, Taipei is a thriving metropolis and one of the most visited Chinese speaking cities in the world.
|On November 21, 2016, AirAsia made its inaugural flight from Manila to Taipei. The airline’s new route is operated daily, another cheap flight option to tickle your wanderlust. Browse ahead for basic information which might be useful in your plan to visit TAIPEI on a budget.|
Read more about Taipei on Wikipedia.
Top places to visit in Taipei:
These attractions can be reached through the MRT, with fare ranging from NTD 20-30 at journey from Taipei Main Station.
I spent 6,732 NT Dollar about PHP 10,435 (USD 210) for visa, travel tax, airfare, transfers, accommodation and Taipei 101 Observatory Ticket. Exchange rate at the time of travel (November 2016) was: USD 1 = PHP 49.5 = NTD 32 (1 NTD = 1.55 PHP)
The first time I visited Taipei in April 2015, I spent over 25K PHP for a two-day tour going only to 5 sites: Tamsui Cultural Park, Bali District, Lovers’ Bridge, Shilin Night Market and Taipei 101. It was a comfy trip but I consider it to be unreasonably luxurious now that I am a seasoned backpacker and I can already do more with the same amount.
eVisa NTD 1,632
Travel Tax paid at NAIA (Manila) PhP 1,620
Taiwan has already simplified its visa processing for Filipinos. You may apply for an e-Visa online and need not physically appear at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Makati. Just fill out the online application form and pay the required non-refundable fee using credit card. Upon arrival in Taiwan, present the printout of the approved e-visa at the immigration checkpoint for verification. The e-visa is valid for 3 months upon approval with duration of stay up to 30 days.
Route Mode * Travel Time Amount
Manila to Taipei (Round Trip) Air Asia 2 Hours 2,455
Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Station Airport Bus 1 Hour 125 Taipei Main Station to Ximen MRT 2 Minutes 20
Taipei Main Station to Airport Kuo-Kuang Bus 1 Hour 125
It is quite easy and convenient to travel around Taipei since most of the places to visit are accessible via the MRT. You can buy a single journey token at the vending machines or opt to purchase a re-loadable EasyCard as the fare is cheaper and it lets you save time hitting the token machine every time you ride. The EasyCard can be also used to purchase items in convenience stores, for bus trips and to rent Ubikes.
2 nights in Taipei Design Hostel 532 1 night in Work Inn 298
An address in Taiwan is required when applying for eVisa so I booked my accommodation in advance. Taipei Design Hostel was the cheapest I could find in Agoda. It has good rating and is conveniently located in the center of Wanhua District, a nice location according to my Taiwanese friend. AirAsia flight to Taipei arrived at 1:00 AM and I had to spend the rest of the night at the airport since my booking was for the following night and check in time was 3:00 PM. I went there in the morning to leave my backpack but no locker was given so I had to roam around carrying a pouch and my laptop.
I stayed in Work Inn on my last day in the city. The hostel is up the ninth floor of a building located just outside M8 exit of Taipei Main Station. The room is large enough for four people but the bed is exceptional: you can pull down the blind for privacy, own TV with headset, comfortably firm mattress, thick blanket and that perfect pillow! Two pillows actually! Toilet is modern. I love the cozy working space where I could actually look down the street through the glass window. Great facilities. If only the internet connection was stable, at NT 298 per night it would have been perfect.
Taipei 101 500
Taipei 101 is a stunning centerpiece on the city skyline. At the height of 1,671 feet, it was the tallest building in the world from 2004 until it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in 2009.
If you don’t want to spend that 500 NTD, you can actually skip Taipei 101 as you can get a better view of the city at the Elephant Mountain, the only difference is that you will ride up the observatory in the world’s fastest elevator while in Xiang Shan you will have to climb up the stairs for about 15-20 minutes.
I did not include my budget for meals in the total cost since I spend pretty much the same on food everywhere even when I’m home in Manila. To give you idea on how much you would spend on food, below are photos of the decent meals I had in Taipei, the rest were cup noodles I bought in Family Mart and 7/11.