First of all, this blog post happened during my fourth trip to Taiwan with no plans, and no expectations, and everything was crazy on the spot. This travel experience is not for the faint-hearted, especially for female solo travelers. It needs guts and self-confidence. You have to be mentally ready for a worst-case scenario. Survival of the fittest as they say. I hope that this budget travel 26 days in Taiwan with PHP 8000 pocket money, you’ll find it inspiring.
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Budget Travel 26 Days Taiwan – not for the faint-hearted
After my third trip to Taiwan for 25 days (which I haven’t blogged by the way), I flew to Manila and decided what I was going to do there. Suddenly, I received a message from a host in Taitung, Taiwan. The opportunity is to let me stay there for a month in exchange for cleaning and changing bed sheets.
I have so many stories from my third trip and the host I met in Hsinchu promised to show me to the east side of Taiwan if I return, either Yilan or Hualien. The moment I got the message from Taitung, I booked a flight right away with a round-trip ticket for less than PHP 4,000 within 30 days of Taiwan. Again, the way I travel in Taiwan is not for everyone. I am just sharing my experience as You Only Live Once, hence, YOLO.
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My host in Hsinchu and I kept on exchanging messages and travel notes. Since the car has been fixed, I got picked up at the airport at 2 o’clock in the morning. My host knows I am such a foodie, we went to World Soybean Milk Magnate at 3 o’clock in the morning. Went to Da’an District to get my Sim card from a friend. Passed by the Banqiao area, visited some places, went to the bridge, and witnessed the sunrise. All we did was just take photos. But due to my slow internet connection at the moment here in the Philippines, it will take me time to upload. Back to Hsinchu to sleep and need to work a little bit.
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Roadtrip to Yilan (3 Days Stay)
Early morning from Hsinchu, it was time for a road trip passing through Taoyuan, Taipei, and Keelung City and arriving in Yilan. Took a lot of pictures along the way and was impressed with the things that I saw. But to be honest, there was a time that I fell asleep while in the car seat. I had no enough sleep since I arrived. For a sneak preview, I’ll just share some photos from my Instagram of the things I did around Yilan. A separate blog post will be up soon.
Train to Taitung (21 Days)
I took a train from Yilan to Taitung for less than NTD 800, wait, I really forgot the exact price. The train left from Yilan at 16:43 and arrived in Taitung at 19:12. The family host picked me up at Taitung station and we arrived at the hostel slash co-working space.
The host provided me with a bike so that it would be easy for me to get around Taitung. It’s true. Wherever I go I was biking every day even if it was raining. My only expense during my stay in Taitung was just the food. My accommodation was free. Once a week, my host treated me to lunch.
Kaohsiung and Pingtung (1 Day)
Since I was in Taitung already, I needed to have a side trip to Kaohsiung. Met a host who happened to travel to the Philippines so it was great to meet travelers and exchange travel stories. It was sunny when I left the hostel in Taitung and biked to the train station for 20-40 minutes. The train ticket cost less than NTD 300.
Staying for 3-4 days should be ideal in Kaohsiung. Definitely, it is a must-visit. It’s good to bike around Kaohsiung or better rent a motorbike. Met diverse people in Pingtung from different countries. I got interested in talking to people from Tuvalu. To be honest, I never heard of the country but when I was searching for it, it is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. Seeing the photos of the islands, I was like wow. A separate article will be posted soon about Kaohsiung. From Pingtung, I took a train back to Taitung for less than NTD 300.
Tours to book Kaohsiung and Pingtung
Back to Taipei for a day and flight back to the Philippines
A train from Taitung to Taipei cost NTD 783. I stayed at my friend’s place in Da’an District. For the whole day, all I did was bike around and take pictures of the usual places I visited already.
Overall Expenses – How was I able to budget my PHP 8000 during my whole stay in Taiwan?
Initially, I had NTD 1,000 inside my wallet already. I arrived at the airport through Uber (Please use code roxannet244ue) and paid in cash for PHP 200. It was weird that I wasn’t able to pay the terminal fee of PHP 1,650. Unfortunately, I paid extra baggage for PHP 1500 which was a mistake (next time I should include the baggage). I arrived at Taoyuan International Airport and exchanged my PHP 8000 for NTD. I received about NTD 3000+. The total amount of money I had was NTD 4000+.
#1 Free Accommodation
Because of my hosts, my accommodations were free so I wasn’t able to pay any cent for a good night’s sleep.
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#2 Free Transportation
My hosts have cars, scooters, or motorbikes to pick me up or show me around some places. A bike was provided when I was in Taitung. Bike and motorbike rental is also available. For long-distance travel, I paid for the train.
#3 Weekly Allowance
In exchange for cleaning the place and changing the bed sheet, I got a weekly allowance which helped me to sustain my long-term stay in Taiwan.
#4 I spent more on food
The reason I came back to Taiwan is the food. I was craving xiao long bao, bubble milk tea, and other Taiwanese cuisines. There was a time that in one day I spent around NTD 50 to 100 a day. Other times that I was too lazy to get out, I just bought instant noodles which should be a big NO. In Yilan, for two people, NTD 200 is awesome already.
I still have NTD 2000 left back in Manila
For a total of NTD 4,000 cash on hand, NTD 2000 was the last money that I had when I arrived in Manila. Changed the money to the amount of PHP 3000. I was able to use the money during my three-night stay in Manila and then two weeks in Palawan. Both Manila and Palawan had free accommodations.
I wasn’t traveling in luxury during my almost month stay in Taiwan because I brought my work with me as a digital nomad. The experience was all worth it and I never regretted anything. I learned a lot from the experience.
The hosts and friends: Remy (Hsinchu), DeTaidang (Taitung), Ondrej and friends (Kaohsiung and Pingtung), Brian (Taipei), Leo (Manila), Laykie (Palawan).
To my friends who have helped me when I had trouble: Aicy, Alieth, Uri, Janellette, Yrwin.
All my Facebook friends (too many to mention, you know who you are) sent all their concerns and messages.
Curious about how I travel? Just post your questions below.
When you’re away from home for months, this is what happens: Living Independently – Moving Out and Living on your Own.