This trip has largely been unplanned. By that I mean, we only had a month or so to book and prepare for this, and after a month or so (February), we will head to Bangkok for a few days. So the budget wasn’t as big as when we went to Japan.
Add to that the fact that since it was the peak season (Dec30-Jan4), plane tickets soared to as high as 6k per person RT, and AirBNB rooms were either overly expensive, fully booked, or ridiculously far from Taipei.
And so the US$300 allowance challenge was conceived, not by choice, but by responsibility.
Please take note that this budget does not include the airport to city and city to airport transportation (PhP 2000), AirBNB accommodation (PhP 10,600), Cebu Pacific tickets (PhP 12,000), international travel tax (PhP 1620*2) and pasalubong (xx).
Yehliu Geopark and Jiufen Town are both reached by a bus from Taipei and this made us decide not to buy the 3-day Metro Train pass for NT$150. But if you are mainly touring around Taipei only, then it’s best to get the 3-day pass. Their train fares are reasonable that’s why we didn’t spend much on the train.
On the first day we bought the Easycard (our beepcard) at the Qizhang train station (it’s available in all train stations). The card can be used for buses, convenience stores, even as our entrance fee to the Taipei Zoo, we just used the card for cashless transactions.
When selecting your accommodation, inquire how near it is from the train station and if it’s accessible at night (in our case we had to take the cab each night because the bus seldom goes the route and we are too tired to wait at the bus stop).
We also had to go back to Taipei Zoo because we didn’t see the Giraffe and we didn’t ride the gondola the first time. Without this mistake, we would have saved transportation and entrance fee of about: NT$100 per person.
There was a New Year’s Day concert at the Chiang Kai-shek Concert Hall and so we didn’t proceed with our plan to take pictures that day. We had to come back on our last day.
Our total transportation expenses: NT$ 2,945 (US$ 92 or PhP 4,550)
Day 1: Easy card load at NT$500 each, taxi from Qizhang station to home NT$125, bus from home to Qizhang NT$15 each. TOTAL: NT$1,155 (US$36 or PhP 1785)
Places we went to: Home-Qizhang-Ximen-Songshan-Jiufen-Songshan-Qizhang-Home
Day 2 – New Year’s Eve: Easycard reload: NT$100 each, NT$5 each for the tram at the zoo, NT$230 taxi (the driver pretended not to know the location we gave him). TOTAL: NT$440 (US$14 or PhP 680)
Places we went to: Home-Qizhang-Taipei Zoo-Taipei 101-Qizhang-Home
Day 3 – New Year’s Day: Easycard reload: NT$200 each, Maokong Gondola NT$80 each, tram NT$5 each, taxi-pooling NT$75 each, taxi to home NT$130. Total: NT$850 (US$14 or PhP 695)
Places we went to: Home-Qizhang-Taipei Zoo-Maokong Gondola-Taipei 101-Chiang Kai-shek-Ximen-Qizhang-Home
Day 4 – Easycard reload: NT$100 each, taxi to home: NT$130. TOTAL: NT$330 (US$10.30 or PhP 510)
Places we went to: Home-Qizhang-Taipei Main Station-Yehliu Geopark-Taipei Main Station-Shida Night Market-Qizhang-Home
Day 5 – Easycard reload: NT$20 each, taxi to home NT130. TOTAL: NT$170 (US$ 5.30 or PhP 263)
Places we went to: Home-Qizhang-Chiang Kai-shek-Elephant Mountain-Qizhang-Home
Our total food expenses: NT$ 4,840 (US$ 151 or PhP 7,470)
Day 1: breakfast at Ximen NT$340, Dried Squid at Jiufen NT$250, late lunch at Babka in Jiufen NT$490, food from Family Mart for dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast NT$310 TOTAL: NT$1,390 (US$ 43.36 or PhP 2,148)
Day 2: McDonald’s at the Taipei Zoo NT$115, Dinner at Taipei 101 NT$340, Orange Juice NT$85, Coffee at Cafe Lugo while waiting for midnight NT$170, Family Mart for tomorrow’s breakfast NT$120. TOTAL: NT$830 (US$ 25.90 or PhP 1,282)
Day 3: Maokong food stalls NT$315, dinner at Ximen Japanese restaurant NT$380, bread at SunMerry NT$90. TOTAL: NT$755 (US$ 23.55 or PhP 1,166)
Day 4: McDonald’s at Qizhang NT$ 115, Milk Tea at Yehliu NT$85, Starbucks NT$230, Juice NT$85, Shida Night Market NT$235, bread at SunMerry NT$60 TOTAL: NT$810 (US$ 25.27 or PhP 1,252)
Day 5: Mister Donut at Qizhang NT$ 315, Yayoi Japanese Restaurant NT$645, McDonald’s at Qizhang NT$95 TOTAL: NT$1,055 (US$ 32.92 or PhP 1,630)
GRAND TOTAL EXPENSES: US$ 243 – we still had some money for souvenirs like that Starbucks mug we bought and 2 ref magnets.
So, next time you see a seat sale to Taipei, go and get it!