A 10 days 9 nights long holiday in Taiwan would seemed like an impossible feat for anyone especially with only a budget of SGD$1000 or NT23,600 (Exchange Rate: 23.6) to be able to plan for a trip that includes not just your flight and accommodations but rather your daily expenses like local transportations expenditures and attractions expenditures as well. So how did I actually managed to be able to keep the budget low and still have a long 10 days in Taiwan?
Oh! Did I mentioned that within the 10 days long holiday in Taiwan, we did not just stayed in Taipei or nearby cities, but rather every day, we travelled to different cities in Taiwan, and made a full round trip around Taiwan? How awesome is that! Within $1000, we managed to make our money worth and managed to tour the whole of Taiwan, except we missed two stops in Tainan and Chiayi…but still, we travelled a total of 6 CITIES in Taiwan within 9 nights!
I supposed you guys would be curious how I managed to did it, so I shall share with you guys the details of our flight and accommodations in this part of the post and the rest of the information like our attractions and activities in Part 2 in the later post!
For our flight, we booked SCOOT airlines during their 2nd anniversary sale with their 2cents promo! With Taipei flight at $22, we managed to book our seats with a total of $279.96/pax! The flight tickets were inclusive of 15kg luggage check in to Taiwan and 20kg luggage check in for the return flight.
(TIP: For those who want to save the additional $15, you could skip the luggage check in for your flight to Taiwan as there is 10kg hand carry luggage inclusive in your flight tickets, which means you could drag your small trolley bag on board the flight!)
(Here’s a tip I would like to share with you guys, if time permits, try not to book your accommodations online instead, walk in to the hotels or minsu, you would like to stay in. Of course, you would be worried that the accommodation may be fully booked and might not have an accommodation to stay in, but most hotel or minsu owners will reserve some of their rooms for walk-in guests.)
However, we did not took up this option because we went Taiwan during the summer vacation period which were considered to be peak holiday period in Taiwan. Therefore, we had to book our accommodations in advance. Then again, we did not book from Agoda, Tripadvisor, Zuji or those common hotel websites that everyone knows but rather we booked accommodations directly from the minsu or hotels website.
So, how did we managed to source those minsu?
Yes, those links are the answer to solving your Taiwan accommodations problem! These websites provide you with the list of minsu available in all parts of Taiwan, they are definitely more cool, unique and less costly than those available in hotel booking websites! 😀
(Note: These websites are written in Chinese, and that it is highly recommended to contact and email these minsu owners in Chinese so that they will not hike up their prices. If chinese language is not your forte, then maybe you could try asking parents or friends to help you with the booking. Once you settled with the prices and booking of the accommodations, it will be alright to speak English with the owners over in Taiwan as they do know basic English.)
1. Yilan : Jing’s House
The minsu was extremely difficult to locate as there was no signboard or any information about the minsu. The minsu was in fact located on the 2nd floor of a boutique called “Amanda” with the “Amanda Boutique” signboard. Thus, we actually walked for 2 hours in Luo Dong to be able to find the minsu. It was a killer under the hot summer sun!
Room & Service: ★★★★☆
The owner that greeted us was this old man in his 60s and he was very friendly and attempted to help us with the luggage, but we insisted on carrying ourself since it was just a short flight of stairs (No lift, by the way!). The room was small, around 20sq.m but the room was nicely decorated, well cleaned and maintained. It was a cosy room for two and the amenities like fridge, hair dryer and water boiler were brand new. Wifi connection was poor and that we had to camp outside the minsu entrance to attempt to receive Wifi signal.
Slightly far off from the train station, may take around 15mins walk to get to the minsu. However, it is pretty near to the famous Luo Dong Night Market with plenty of good food and even near to local supermarket which is 3mins walk away from the minsu. 7-eleven and FamilyMart could be located everywhere and that just right beside the minsu, there’s a good teppanyaki shop and as well as a good breakfast shop that sells the best guo tie that I have ever tried!
Cost: NT1400 ~ SGD60 ($30/pax)
2. Hualien: Leo House (Sunny Over Rain) 里欧雨后天晴
The minsu is slightly far away from the train station but owner provides free ferrying service from the minsu to the train station and fro. All you have to do is to arrange with the owner to pick you up when you arrive. Nonetheless, the plus point is that it is located right beside the seafront (Beibin). Imagine waking up early for a morning brisk walk to see the sunrise with your other half, how romantic! Plus, the area is quite serene and calming for those who want to have a getaway from the buzzling city life, Hualien is the city for you!
Room & Service: ★★★★★
I have to say that the service of the owner is impeccable! The owner is super friendly, and he answers any queries that you have about Hualien and that he even gave us an introductory talk about Hualien, its good food, shopping places and activities. How cool is that! He even woke up early to send us to the train station at 6.30am as we had to catch a train at 7am to Kaohsiung. The room was spotlessly clean and the bed was extremely comfortable and soft. Wifi connection was strong as well as there is a Wifi router located right outside the room on each floor! One of the downside is that, there is no fridge in the room!
There is barely any convenient stalls around the minsu and it takes about 15mins walk to get to the nearest Rainbow Night Market, food shops and convenient stalls. Do stock up on your food supplies if you are planning to stay here.
Cost: SGD50 ($25/pax)
3. Modern Plaza Hotel 現代商務旅館
The hotel can be easily spotted when you exit from the train station with its huge signage. The metro station is right beside the train station which is also of walkable distance from the hotel.
Room & Service: ★☆☆☆☆
The exterior of the hotel looks extremely rundown and old. Needless to say, the interior is extremely outdated. The room deco looks like those sex hotel rooms from hong kong movie dated back to the 60s or 70s. The bed was hard and there was no plugs for us to charge our phone. The room and hotel was dimly lighted at night making the atmosphere extremely eerie.The cleaniness of the room was terrible as it was dusty (thick layer of dust) and there were plenty rubbish under the bed and cabinets). Also, the hotel does not allow early check-in despite the low occupancy.
There is a 7-eleven right across the hotel and being located near the metro station, it makes it easy for us to travel to anywhere in Kaohsiung. The clothes shopping district (Anning Street) was also located right at the corner of the hotel. Food stalls and shops were located across the train station which will take about 10mins walk.
Cost: SGD36 ($18/pax)
Disclaimer: The main reason that we stayed at this hotel was to keep budget low so that we could save up to have an extra night in Kenting as accommodations in Kenting were quite pricey due to Taiwan’s summer vacation.
4. Kaohsiung: Riverside Hotel 高雄金馬大飯店
The hotel is located 5mins walk from the metro station, facing the small smelly canal. It can be easily sighted from afar.
Room & Service: ★★☆☆☆
The hotel have a really small and tiny lift that could fit no more than 4 person without luggage and 2 person with 2 luggage each. The hotel generally looks fine, slightly outdated deco and as for the cleaniness, do not expect much… for we spotted a baby cockroach! The hotel walls were thin and we could easily hear sounds from outside and opposite. Wifi signal was average but the signals were like on and off at some point in time.
There are plenty of food shops and stalls around the hotel and as well as convenient shop around as well. The downside of it was the stinky canal that makes you want to avoid walking near it.
Cost: NT1080 ~ SGD47 ($23.50/pax)
5. Kenting: Xin Yu Minsu 心語渡假旅店
The minsu is in the perfect location, right behind the main street of Kenting where all the happenings are. Right across the road is where Da Wan Beach is, we could even hear the waves from the minsu.
Room & Service: ★★★☆☆
The owner does not live in the minsu itself and neither is he in the minsu, thus when we reached the minsu, we had to knock on the room doors and ask the guests to help us call the owner to come down to the minsu. (We did not buy the local sim card and therefore phone-less). Thankfully the guests were kind to help us and the owner came down to register and hand us our keys. We gotten the room in the basement which was quite disappointing. However, the room was huge and clean and the bed was extremely comfortable and big (king size I supposed). Wifi connection was strong and good.
The main street was right behind the minsu, thus there were plenty of convenience shops, food stalls and shopping around. There are also bustops nearby where we could easily get to the other beaches we want to go such as Bai Sha Wan.
Cost: NT1800 ~ SGD76 ($38/pax)
6. Taichung: Feng Jia Day Dream 逢甲盒子-夢遊館
It is highly recommended to cab to the minsu in Taichung as there are alot of lanes and alleys in Taichung which makes it hard to locate. Nonetheless, the minsu is located from 10 mins walk from the biggest night market in Taiwan, Feng Jia Night Market. Also, it is very near Chao Ma station, where you could take buses to any part of Taichung and coaches as well.
Room & Service: ★★★★☆
The owner is a young lovely lady in her mid 20s and she is super friendly and bubbly. She stays in the minsu and it was easy to contact her. She is also super helpful and gave us directions to the night market and places to have breakfast. The minsu room was located on the top floor with countless flight of stairs to climb (quite a feat as our luggages were getting heavier over the days). The room was super tiny, I suppose 17sq.m? The bed was huge and comfy but the toilet was petite and it was just a small little living quarters for us to rest and have a good sleep to recharge our energy. Cleaniness wise, we had no complaints as it is well cleaned. Wifi connection was good and strong as well.
The minsu is located in the neighbourhood where the locals are staying and is a good representation of how staying in Taichung is like as we could mingle ourself with the locals and experience their daily culture even though it was just for a night. There are also a couple of breakfast shops right around the corner of the minsu and convenience stalls nearby within 3mins walk.
Cost: SGD35 ($17.50/pax)
7. Taipei: Dream Home 梦想家
The minsu is owned by the boutique owner on the first storey and is of 8mins walk from Xi Men Station and 10mins walk from Xi Men Ding.
Room & Service: ★★★★☆
The owner of the minsu is not as friendly as she was more interested in getting her room rent collected than providing us with the service. She did not helped us with the luggages as well and was reluctant to let us store luggages when we checked out. Nonetheless, the room was lovely and well clean. The bed was big and comfortable and the facilities were well-maintained. The downside was that there was no lift and the flight of stairs were tall and narrow, making it difficult to climb, especially when you had a big luggage and Siru ended up collapsing on the bed when we first reached our room!
The minsu is located at the outskirt of Xi Men Ding where the local shops and food shops are and the government buildings are nearby as well. There are plenty of convenient shops around and as well as plenty of local food eateries around the minsu. Best of all, there is a supermarket a street away! (I spent like over SGD50 in the supermarket alone on food.)
Cost: NT1250 ~ SGD54 ($27/pax)
The total amount we spent on the Taiwan’s accommodations came up to $244/ pax with 1 night each in Yilan, Hualien, Taichung and 2 nights each in Kaohsiung, Kenting and Taipei.
Thus our 9 nights accommodation and flights came up to a total of SGD$523.96/PAX!!! I know it’s incredibly low and sounds ridiculous but yes, we managed to keep our budget this LOW!
The rest of the budget such as food, local transport and entertainment expenditures were estimated as followed:
Local transport: SGD$100 (exclusive of HSR)
I know these budgeted amounts may sounds ridiculous to you guys again, but I will share with you guys in Part 2 of this post with the food that we ate, how we saved up on our transport and what we spend for our entertainment.
For your information, we ate alot! Yes ALOT, like nearly 4-5 meals a day! I ain’t joking.