Traveling is expensive…
If anyone knows this well, it’s me. I was familiar with it before but now I’m living it on a daily basis. This past March, I packed up my life in Boston and moved across the world to the beautiful country of Taiwan. Living here for the past six months has taught me a few important things; how to be a patient person, how to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and above all, how to travel on a budget.
Taiwan as a whole is a beautiful island. Not many people vacation here but I’m hoping that my posts will inspire more travelers to visit. Taipei, the capital city, is my favorite place in the country. It’s gorgeous and clean with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. If you ask someone about Taipei, the first thing they will say is “that’s the most expensive city”. And they are not wrong. Since Taipei is the capital (and very westernized), the cost of living is much higher there. However, there are plenty of things to do that will give you the full Taiwan experience without breaking your bank account.
The beautiful Dahu Park
Let’s start with my favorite part of Taipei; Dahu Park. This park is one of my favorite places in Taipei. It’s a nice place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This park is easily accessible using Taipei’s subway system. All you need to do is take the brown line to the stop called “Dahu Park”. Right when you exit the train station, you will enter the park. It doesn’t get much easier than that! The best time to go is around four or five in the afternoon, just before the sun starts to set. There is an amazing bridge there that lights up at night and the ambiance is incredible. The best part? It’s free! All you need to pay for is train fare (between 15-25nt depending on where you’re coming from). That’s only about 0.50 USD!
The Taipei Zoo
Another fantastic location in Taipei is the zoo. It is on the brown line also but on the opposite end of Dahu Park. You can go to the zoo for the afternoon and then take the same line 19 stops to Dahu. It will probably take about 30-40 minutes but you don’t have to switch trains so it’s very easy! The Taipei Zoo is very clean, easy to get around, and so cheap! The entrance fee for the zoo is only 60nt. That’s less than $2 USD. It’s unbelievable! The animals are very well taken care of which is why I enjoy this particular zoo so much. They even have an area with camels and llamas where you can take selfies! Of course, eating inside the zoo can be quite expensive if you’re not careful. I suggest getting a healthy snack at 7/11 to bring in with you (yes that is allowed and it’s much cheaper).
Before I forget…
7/11 will be a lifesaver while traveling through Taipei. They have fresh fruit, fresh sandwiches, fresh sushi rolls, and much more. Also, buying alcohol from 7/11 is much cheaper than getting it at a bar. If you’re a club/bar person, I always suggest buying a few beers from 7/11 before going out for the night. Clubs and bars can be expensive here, especially in Taipei. But since alcohol can be purchased almost anywhere, it’s always smarter to buy from convenient stores beforehand. I save so much money utilizing 7/11 and Family Mart.
Don’t miss Taipei 101!
Taipei 101 is the most famous building in Taiwan which is why it’s a must-see when you visit Taipei! Not only is it beautiful, it’s hard to miss! It’s one of the tallest buildings in the world and it is STUNNING! Just looking at it from the outside is incredible but going up to the top is breathtaking. It only cost 500nt ($15 USD) to buy a ticket to the top. It’s the most expensive thing you will purchase from this list but definitely worthwhile! The inside of Taipei 101 is also a mall if you want to do some shopping (however, shopping there is not cheap). All you have to do is take the train to the “Taipei 101/World Trade Center” stop on the redline and you’re there! It’s so easy!
But wait! Before you leave…
You must visit the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. It is a must see on your weekend adventure through Taipei. There are very few words to describe how incredible it is there. The whole park is so peaceful, clean, and serene. The memorial was built after the passing of President Chiang Kai-shek and it is not to be missed on your trip. You can take the train (either red or green line) to the Chiang Kai-Shek stop and follow the signs right to the memorial. It is surrounded by beautiful flowers, gardens, and pathways for a nice relaxing walk. And best of all? It’s free to visit!
Taipei has easily become one of my favorite places not only in Taiwan, but out of all the places I’ve been in Asia so far. There are so many fun things to do and see throughout this city; it’s much larger than one would expect! I hope this budget friendly list will inspire you to visit Taipei sometime in the near future. Once you visit, you may never want to leave!
Safe travels everyone!