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Exploring Taiwan’s Top Sites on a Student’s Budget 

You’ve got your passport, a backpack, and a whole semester ahead of you studying abroad in Taiwan. But between tuition, books, and  the occasional night out, your budget is tighter than your class schedule. How are you supposed to explore an exciting new country   when you’re strapped for cash? Don’t worry – with a little planning and creativity, you can make the most of your semester and see all the top sites in Taiwan on a student’s budget. From mountains to night markets, you’ll be amazed by how far your dollar can stretch when you travel like a local. This comprehensive guide will give you the inside scoop on the country’s best free attractions along with tips to save money on food, transportation, and more. With this ultimate budget-friendly itinerary, you’ll get the study abroad experience of a lifetime without going broke.

Planning Your Budget for a Student Trip to Taiwan

As a student, budget is always a top concern when traveling. Luckily, Taiwan is an extremely budget- friendly destination, especially if you follow some key tips.


Hostels and budget hotels are abundant in Taiwan’s major cities, with dorm beds starting around $10 USD per night. For a private room, budget $20-30 USD. Alternatively, check if your university has an exchange program with a Taiwanese university. You may be able to stay in a dorm for free or a nominal Fee.


Taiwan’s public transit systems are world-class, making it easy to get around without a car. High speed rail and buses connect cities, while metros and buses navigate within cities. As a student, you’ll want to get an EasyCard to ride the metro, buses and some trains. It offers discounts of up to 50% off fares. Taxis and rideshares are also affordable in a pinch.


Food in Taiwan is delicious, diverse and cheap. You can get a bowl of beef noodle soup or a bubble tea for under $3 USD. Night markets offer a wide array of snacks and small plates for just a few dollars. If you want to splurge on one nice meal, hot pot starts around $10-15 USD per person. With so many budget-friendly—and tasty-options, you may find your biggest cost is just how much you can eat!


Many of Taiwan’s top attractions like national parks, temples and museums offer student discounts or are free. Private tours and excursions typically start around $30 USD, If there’s an activity you really want to do but can’t afford, ask if they offer any student promotions or packages. People in Taiwan are very friendly, so the worst they can say is no. With some savvy budgeting, Taiwan can be an incredibly affordable student trip. Focus on cheap essentials like accommodation and transportation, take advantage of student discounts whenever possible and enjoy lots of delicious cheap—or free-food. Your wallet will thank you, leaving more for souvenirs…or just more snacks! Have a great trip!

Top Free Sights and Activities in Taipei


Visit Taipei 101

No trip to Taipei is complete without visiting Taipei 101, the iconic skyscraper and once the tallest building in the world. Take the high-speed elevator up to the 89th-floor observatory for panoramic views of the city. The best part? Admission to the observatory is free! While you’re there, check out the massive tuned mass damper that stabilizes the building.

Explore Night Markets

Taiwan is famous for its buzzing night markets, and Taipei has some of the best. Head to Shilin Night Market to sample tasty Taiwanese street food like stinky tofu, oyster omelets, and bubble tea. At the Shida Night Market near National Taiwan Normal University, you’ll find vintage clothing, handmade  crafts, and hip cafes frequented by students. Both markets are open daily into the late evening, and admission is always free.

Visit Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

This national monument and popular attraction is a must-see. The memorial hall’s architecture is stunning, with its blue- tiled roof and white marble structures. Admission to the gardens and main building is free. You can watch the ceremonial

Hike Elephant Mountain

For panoramic views of Taipei 101 and the city skyline without the crowds, hike Elephant Mountain. The short but steep hike takes around 20 to 30 minutes to reach the top viewing platform. Many trails are well-marked and admission is free, open 24 hours a day. Go at sunset or sunrise for the most stunning views and photos. Pack water, snacks, and a flashlight if staying after dark.

With so much to see and do for free, Taipei is a budget-friendly destination for any student traveler. Fuel your adventures with tasty street food, get around easily by metro, and experience the vibrant culture of this exciting city. With the right mindset, you’ll be enjoying all Taipei has to offer without breaking the bank!

Affordable Transportation Options Around Taiwan

As a student visiting Taiwan, the last thing you want is to blow your budget on getting around the country. Luckily, Taiwan offers many budget-friendly transportation options to help you save your funds for experiencing all the delicious food and exciting attractions.

Public Transit

Taiwan’s public transit system is efficient, extensive and cheap. In cities, buses and metros can get you almost anywhere for around $1 USD per ride. Between cities, Taiwan High Speed Rail offers 200+ km/h train service starting around $20 USD. Slower but cheaper express trains and buses also connect cities and towns across Taiwan.

Bike Sharing

Many major cities like Taipei and Taichung offer bike sharing where you can rent bikes for short trips around the city, usually for less than $1 USD per 30 minutes. This is a fun, affordable way to explore at your own pace while getting some exercise. You will need to download the oike sharing app, register and pay a small deposit to get started.

Long-Distance Buses

For longer trips, long-distance buses in Taiwan are very popular and budget-friendly. The routes cover almost the entire country, and fares are usually under $20 USD even for rides of several hours. The buses are modern, comfortable and equipped with bathrooms, reclining seats and sometimes even WiFi. This is a great way to save money while enjoying scenic views of the Taiwanese countryside. Between the extensive public transit, bike sharing programs and long-distance bus service, Taiwan has you covered for seeing the country without breaking the bank. Take advantage of these affordable options to save your funds for experiencing Taiwan’s vibrant culture, natural scenery and world-class night markets. With convenient and budget- friendly transport, you’ll be able to make the most of your trip as a student in Taiwan.

Best Hostels and Cheap Eats for Students

Taiwan has some of the best budget-friendly options for students exploring the island. Check out these top picks for affordable hostels and cheap eats so you can save your money for experiencing all that Taiwan has to offer.

Formosa Backpackers Hostel

This popular hostel located in Taipei offers both private and dorm-style rooms at budget-friendly rates, starting around $15 USD per night. They have a lounge area, free Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities. The friendly  English-speaking staff can provide sightseeing tips and help you book tours. It’s just a 5-minute walk from Taipei Main Station, putting you close to public transit.

Eight Scholars Hostel

Located in the heart of Taichung city, Eight Scholars Hostel is a stylish space with both private rooms and dorms for around $20 USD per night. They offer free breakfast, have a communal kitchen, lounge and bar space, as well as bike rentals so you can easily explore the city. The staff are very helpful and can recommend local attractions like Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands.

Street Food

Taiwan is a foodie paradise, especially if you’re on a budget. Head to any of the night markets, like Shilin Night Market in Taipei or Lehua Night Market in Taichung, to find rows of food stalls selling everything from stinky tofu to bubble tea for under $5 USD. Beef noodle soup, dumplings, and spring onion pancakes are other popular cheap eats. For breakfast, grab an egg pancake or danbing from a street vendor for around $1 USD. With a little planning, Taiwan can be an affordable destination for students. Take advantage of budget accommodation options, cheap street food, and student discounts on entry fees to major attractions. Your dollars will go a long way, leaving you with more to spend on experiencing the culture and natural scenery of this beautiful island.


So there you have it, traveler – Taiwan on a budget for the savvy student. With a little planning and flexibility, you can experience all the culture, scenery, and cuisine this amazing island has to offer without breaking the bank. Stay in hostels, take public transportation, and eat local favorites from street stalls to save money. Visit top sites like Taipei 101, Taroko Gorge, and Kenting National Park using student discounts. And don’t be afraid to chat with locals – they love sharing insider tips with visitors. Taiwan may be a small island, but it packs a big punch. Add it to your travel bucket list today!

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