Contributed by The FeeBee Bacs List
My itinerary includes DIY trips to Yehliu-Keelung-Houtong-Shifen for a day, the Maokong gondola ride, Tamsui, Beitou hot springs, and tons of food trips.
It was late December 2016 when I noticed Air Asia’s Taipei seat sale while trying to book a New Year trip with my family at the last minute. It was 50% off on top of the promo fare, so I booked this last minute trip for my 30th birthday. Impulsive, but worth it.
Tip: I usually subscribe to airline newsletters to get the latest seat sale news. Seat sales only have a limited number of seats so be sure to check them out immediately.
I check and compare fares using cheapflights.com or lastminute.com, but I usually book on the airline’s website. You can also use your credit card points that you can convert to miles (Asia Miles or GetGo points).
Roundtrip airfare: ₱4,196 without baggage
2. Travel tax/airport fee
Always check the travel tax. Although it’s already a routine for me to add the travel tax to my itinerary/expenses, this time, I failed to add Mactan Cebu International Airport’s (MCIA) terminal fee.
Travel tax: ₱1,620
Terminal fee: ₱750
Tip: To avoid delay, pay your travel tax online.
This is where I spent most of my research. I wanted a place that was not only cheap but convenient. I usually couchsurf or book with AirBnB when travelling, but since I was travelling with my mom, my boyfriend and my best friend, I booked a hotel instead.
We booked four nights with Diary of Ximen (Design Ximen Hotel-Zhonghua), a hotel near Ximen station just a stone’s throw away from the awesome Ximending area. There were a lot of similar names around the Ximending area and even near Taipei station. It was a bit confusing at first.
Tip: Book through Agoda.com or Booking.com to avail of free cancellation fee.
Be familiar with the hotel’s address. It would be easier if you search it on Google Maps street view. Always check hotel reviews.
Accommodation: ₱3,800/night for a Family Room (two double beds). We paid ₱3,800 each.
I had a hard time deciding whether to get the Taipei pass or Easy Card since we planned to visit Keelung, Jiufen, and Shifen. We eventually opted to buy the Easy Card worth NT$500 (₱800) and a one-day unlimited pass with an unlimited Maokong gondola ride for NT$350 (₱560).
We also hired a van for airport transfers which cost us NT$2,200 (₱880) for four. My mom wanted a stress-free transfer.
Tip: The Taipei Pass is convenient if you haven’t planned out an itinerary and would just want to go with the flow. But also take note that you cannot use the Taipei Pass with a 4-digit number bus going to Yehliu, Keelung. An alternative would be to visit these places with Taipei tourist shuttle buses using the Taipei Pass.
Click here for details on the Taipei pass.
Total transporation cost: NT$1,400 (₱2,240)
Our hotel already included a buffet breakfast which helped us save money. Though we spent a lot during our night market food trips, we were still right on budget. One of our goals for this trip was to try all the street food. We couldn’t take the stinky tofu though, but we’ll make it a priority next time.
Tip: It was so tempting to try everything, so we made a rule to try a little of everything.
Food cost estimate: NT$2,000 (₱3,200)
6. Other costs:
Souvenirs: NT$700 (₱1,120)
Sim card for 4G: NT$300 (₱480)
Total cost for Taipei: ₱13,626