To celebrate quarter century birthday aka 25th birthday this year, I travelled alone to Taiwan, a place that I have never been before but have always wanted to explore. All started with hearing wonderful stories of friends’ Taiwan travels and numerous travel variety shows recommending Taiwan. Finally decided to go when I spotted a very good deal on flight ticket. The timing was right. At that time, Taipei weather was cool and dry. All signs urge me to go or else I will deeply regret. After the trip, I must say it was a fantastic and memorable one. Already thinking to plan another trip to Taiwan again next year. Anyway, read on to find out my itinerary and expense breakdown.
Planning the itinerary for this trip was really time consuming. Although there were a lot of itineraries online from various bloggers, I found that they did not suit me entirely as
- I am travelling alone, so no twin sharing or queen bed hotels. Increase unwanted cost as I cannot split cost like those who travel in pairs or group.
- I do not intend to splurge on taxis, hire driver or live in Minsu which usually caters for travel partners, couples and families.
- I am not interested in art museums, zoo and temples.
- I have started exercise recently but stamina not enough to hike a mountain. And also not into strolling in garden/park.
- I do not intend to travel too far. No Taichung, Alishan, Pingtung or other parts of Taiwan. Taipei only.
However, fellow bloggers’ itinerary are still very useful as I can learn from their experience which to go and how to go. I can judge from their photos whether I will be interested in those places of interest they visited and how accessible they are if to travel only with metros and buses. Here are some of the blogs and websites that I used to plan for my travels:
- Morning Markets in Taipei
- Pingxi Railway Day Trip
- TAIPEI DAY TRIP 1: BEITOU （北投）
- Taipei: Day 1 Ximending, Tamsui & Shilin Night Market
- Taiwan: A Miner’s Day in Jinguashi
- Taiwan Travelling Tips
- [Wulai/New Taipei] Taiya Po Po
- Ningxia Night Market (宁夏夜市) @ Taiwan [Taipei]
There are many more websites but I forgot to bookmark. Will add some more if I come across them.
Move on to my itinerary.
My 8D7N trip was from 27 Oct to 3 Nov 2014. Weather was quite good during the trip. Only heavy rain in Day 7 afternoon. The first and last day of the trip are only half day as I reached Taiwan in the evening and left in late morning.
Day 3 – Xinbeitou. Tamsui. Shilin Night Market.
Day 4 – Huabo Park. Jinguashi. Jiufen.
Day 5 – Houtong. Jingtong. Shifen. Pingxi.
Day 6 – Chiang Kai‑shek Memorial Hall. Wulai. Ximending.
Day 7 – Leofoo Village Theme Park. Shida Night Market.
Day 8 – Breakfast buffet at Army Restaurant. Songshan Temple. Home Sweet Home!
You can find my detailed itinerary here.
I found that I can easily pack another place of interest for Day 5 as Pingxi Line was not as interesting as I thought initially. Should have spend more time in Huabo Park as I went in early morning when the exhibition halls had not yet opened. Otherwise, all places of interest are really fun. Easy to go and can try out a lot of activities. Will blog more about them in the next few posts so do bookmark this page first.
Here are my expense breakdown. (Rate: SGD$1 to TWD23.4521NT as on 27 Nov 2014)
|Expenses||Cost (SGD)||Cost (TWD)||Remark|
|Tiger Air Ticket (SIN – TPE)||243.9||Bought during Tiger Thursday Flash Sale. Additional $26 for 20kg luggage check in for return flight|
|Accomodation 2 days – Flip Flop hostel deposit||9.83||Checkup my review here.|
|Accomodation 2 days – Flip Flop hostel remaining||67.54||1584||Total 2 days cost $77.37. Per day $38.69.|
|Accomodation 1 day – Airbnb||52|
|Accomodation 1 day – Jiufen Corner Inn (8-pax dormitory)||27.72||650|
|Accommodation 4 days – Neosoho||176.36||4136||Per day $44.09|
|Others||4.26||100||Temple, locker, cat food|
|Transportation||67.89||Easy card, bus tickets, train tickets, one day pass for Pingxi Line, taxi, ferry|
|Place of interest||31.56||Museum, hot spring, tram ride, Taipei 101|
|Food||114.41||Night market, Ding Tai Feng, Tai Po Po and fruits|
|Shopping||159.17||5 long sleeved tops, 4 pairs of heels and boots, 4 pairs of socks, 2 cardigans|
Excluding my shopping spending, I spent less than SGD$800 for air ticket, accommodation, transportation and food. Fairly cheap, right! Even shopping were cheap as I shopped in night markets and shops with sale.
Things to take note:
- Must bring mosquitoes patch/ repellant. Best to prepare all the mosquito spray, patch, light coloured clothes, cooling sleeve cover and long roomy pants. If you forget, please buy when you reach Taiwan immediately. I gotten 30++ bites for my 8-day trip. Brought back itchy, red and swollen wounds on my legs as souvenir, which took almost one month for the wounds to dry up and heal. Now there are many red and brown scars on my leg. Lucky now is going to year end, I can just wear long pants and skirts to cover.
- Choose to pay all your online bookings in Taiwanese dollar on the spot instead of credit card payment. Especially accommodation. I tried Hostelworld.com and Booking.com. Prefer the latter one as Hostelworld needs online payment for deposit which is going to charge to your credit/debit card while Booking.com allows you to pay in cash only when you reach the hostel. This makes a difference if you staying in pricer hotels and longer period. You can easily get a better rate at Raffles Place or Chinatown money changers as compared to the online currency conversion via Paypal and bank credit card rates.
- Bring lots of foldable bags and disposable plastic bags. In Taiwan, most shopkeepers don’t give out plastic bags unless you request for it with additional charges. Usually I used my own recyclable bag for everyday purchase. And disposable plastic bags to store my trash and soiled clothes.
- Bring a reusable bottle that can hold hot water. There are numerous water dispensers at most places of interest and metro stations. Why spend on bottled water when you can get them for free! Some water dispensers can even discharge warm water too.
- Buy extra food in night markets. Especially those food that you can eat on the go and even taste good when they are cold. Bun, fried food and etc. You can keep them for next day snacks when you go to places like theme parks and shopping centres which sell food of higher price. This is a good trick if you are travelling solo but there are a lot of food in night markets that you want to try. Moreover, don’t know for what reason I could not find food stores opened in the early morning, so I usually ate the food leftover from previous night as breakfast. Especially living in hostels with common kitchen, you can just microwave the food if you prefer to eat them warm for breakfast.
- Do not buy fruits from night market. I learnt it the hard way when I spent SGD10 or NT300 for a small cup of mango and custard apple equivalent to a bubble tea cup. The store lady was very “kind” to throw in a few slices of starfruits for free. These fruits were even more expensive than my meal at Ding Tai Feng and Tai Po Po Restaurant. Also the most expensive food I ever ate during my trip. Actually I knew that the fruits were expensive in Taiwan and my friends had already told me not to buy. However, during the night market shopping, I was enticed by the store lady free fruit testing and their NT50 signboard. Never know that 2 fruits will cost me NT300 instead.
Do not be scared after reading my Things To Note above. Overall, Taiwan is a good place for solo travellers. It is very safe and accessible. I am already thinking of going Taiwan again next year. There are still so many places I have not explored.
Lastly, please remember to bookmark this page as I will share my experience in the next few weeks.