Taiwan is often skipped over by tourists for more popular destinations such as Thailand and Japan, which is why it’s one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. I was completely emersed in the culture, food, and scenery during my backpacking trip around the country. It exceeded all my expectations. Below you’ll find my 2-week, budget friendly, Taiwan itinerary. This travel agenda is perfect for first-time visitors!
Why visit Taiwan? The people are friendly, the food is delicious, the national parks are spectacular, and it’s easy to get around. Most importantly, Taiwan is affordable! If you’re a budget traveler, you need to add this country (nicknamed the “heart of Asia) to your bucket list.
Know Before You Go
- Don’t expect anyone to speak English. Download an offline version of Google Translate (Chinese to English) before you go. It saved me so many times!
- Tourists that visit Taiwan are mainly from other Asian countries. Westerners are easy to spot.
- Once you’re in the country, rent a mobile hotspot. It costs $3 USD a day, and it works everywhere in the country.
- Outlets are the same as in the USA
- Beware of monkeys. Seriously… I’m not a fan of those devious creatures. They tried to steal my mango!
2 Week Taiwan Itinerary
In two weeks, you can easily go around the entire country. I’ve listed important information and my favorite activities next to each location. This Taiwan itinerary can be adjusted to your travel preferences. I suggest planning out the first few days and then playing it by ear.
- Day 1-3: Taipei. Activities: Taipei 101, Temples, Zoo Gondola, Night Markets, Museums, eat at Din Tai Fung. Hike Elephant Mountain for sunset. Take a day trip to Jiufen.
- Day 3: Travel to Taroko Gorge via Train. Half day of travel.
- Day 4 & 5: Taroko Gorge: Activities: Hike, Bike & Hotsprings. Eat at the night market in Hualien City.
- Day 6: Travel to Kenting via Train & Bus. This will take all day.
- Day 7 & 8: Kenting. Activities: Scuba dive, rent motorbikes, eat fresh fish, enjoy the beach.
- Day 10: Travel to Kaohsiung via Bus & Train. Half day of travel.
- Day 11: Kaohsiung. Activities: Buddha Museum, Pagodas, Lotus Pond & Night Markets.
- Day 12: Travel to Tainan via Train. Quick trip.
- Day 12 & 13: Tainan. Activities: Temples, Historic Forts, Restaurants, Nightlife & Night Markets. Or skip this location and go to Alishan instead.
- Day 14: Travel to Taipei via High-Speed Train and catch your return flight home.
Taiwan Itinerary Budget
I spent $70 USD a day for all my food, accommodations, experiences, souvenirs, and domestic travel. I consider this to be inexpensive, but you can cut costs even more by saying in dorms, opting out of the high-speed train, and doing less expensive experiences.
A 14-day trip should cost between $700 – $1000, depending on your frugality. *This does not include airfare.*
You eat for 100 NTD (about $3 USD ) per meal if you enjoy street food (trust me, it’s really good). Mid-range meals will be around 200 -300 NTD. Expensive restaurants can be as much as 600 or 700 NTD per person. I budgeted for 500 NTD (about $17 USD) a day for food.
Hostels run about 400-500 NTD (about $15 USD) for a dorm bunk in Taipei. Other cities are cheaper. Because I was traveling with my cousin, we could get a private room with two beds for around 600 NTD ($20 USD) per person. Use Hostelworld or Agoda for the best deals.
You’ll have plenty of time for experiences with my Taiwan itinerary! Below I’ve listed a few of my favorites.
- Rent a motorbike in Kenting. 600 NTD a day. For a large engine, you’ll need an international license.
- Scuba Dive in Kenting. 2500 NTD for a 2 tank shore dive. I booked with CT Divers and had a great time! The water is very clear.
- The National Museum in Taiwan. 250 NTD entrance fee.
- Most temples are free or donation based.
- National Parks will have a small fee, and some hikes require a permit. I visited Taroko Gorge and paid a local to do all the booking and paperwork for me.
- Bikes can be rented all over the country for 200 NTD a day
- A trip up Taipei 101. 500-600 NTD ($20 USD)
For my Taiwan Itinerary, I budgeted about 300 NTD ($10 USD) a day for experiences. Some days I spent a lot more. Many days I spent nothing, opting for free experiences.
One reason I love Taiwan is because getting around is so easy! You can take the High-Speed Rail (HSR) from Taipei to any of the major cities along the west coast. Kenting requires a bus and Hualien is accessible via a regular train (TSR). Inner city travel is easy via the subway system and city buses.
A typical inner city travel day will cost between 100-200 NTD. Getting from Tainan to Taipei costs 1350 NTD on the HSR, but it only takes a few hours. The TSR train/bus ticket from Hualien to Kenting is 700 NTD, and it took all day. You can also fly between the major cities, but this is the most expensive way to travel in Taiwan. Your budget, your choice!
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