Travel Guide

- 5 min reading time

Is it cheap to travel in Taipei as a solo female traveler?

March 29, 2024



March 29, 2024

When planning for budget travel in Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia often come to mind. However, after living in Asia for a year and having traveled extensively throughout the region, there is another destination you should consider adding to your list: Taiwan. On a recent solo trip to Taipei in May 2023, I found it to be the perfect budget-friendly travel destination to add to your bucket list. While I only scratched the surface of this country by visiting Taipei for 4 days, I was still impressed by the distinct culture and cuisine, the unique natural beauty, and how far my money could go. Read on to discover how you too can experience Taipei to the fullest, even on a tight budget and a short timeframe as a solo female traveler.

The best place to stay in Taipei

There is no doubt that accommodation is often the most expensive part of traveling, especially for solo female travelers. Accommodation in Taipei is more affordable than in places like Europe and the United States, but it is still more expensive than in other parts of Asia. For example, the average nightly price of a hotel in Taipei is $64, and hostels can range from $13 to $35 per night.

During my stay, I opted for budget-friendly accommodation at Star Hostel East ($32 per night) and can highly recommend it. The hostel offered a high-quality breakfast complete with local classics like scallion pancakes, dumplings, and fresh fruit. 

Additionally, it provided a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere, with beds and restrooms that rivaled many hotels I have stayed at. If you visit Taipei, don’t think twice about booking a stay here or trying Star Hostel’s second location near Main Station. Other great hostels to consider are Meander Taipei Hostel-Ximending ($21 per night) and Beimen WOW Poshtel ($13 per night).

Best activities to do in Taipei

With so much to do in Taipei, I barely scratched the surface of the activities and attractions available. While this is by no means a complete and comprehensive list of what you can do in Taipei, let alone the rest of Taiwan, I'll share some highlights that you can enjoy with free or low budget as a solo traveler.

1) Free historic walking tour

On my first morning in Taipei, I joined a free historic walking tour with Like It Formosa Tours. I have done dozens of free walking tours, but this one has to be my favorite. We were shown some of the most iconic sites in Taipei, such as Longshan Temple, Ximen Red House, and the Presidential Office, and also gained insight into life in Taipei from our two student tour guides. Free walking tours are especially valuable for solo travelers like me because they provide a guided introduction to a new city and offer opportunities to meet fellow travelers. If you have the time to join this tour in Taipei, it should not be missed. Also, if you are traveling elsewhere in Taiwan, be sure to check out their tours in Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Just don’t forget to give a tip at the end of your tour!

2)Hike the Four Beasts Trail

When I travel on a budget, I love to explore the natural beauty and hiking opportunities of the places I visit. Taiwan is known for some amazing and unique natural wonders, but due to time constraints, I chose to hike the Four Beasts Trail. While Elephant Mountain usually gets all the attention as a hike to do in Taipei and is crowded with tourists, it is just one of 4 interconnected peaks that form Nangang Mountain. I recommend starting at the trailhead behind the beautiful Songshan Fengtian Temple and ending at Elephant Peak. I completed the entire trail in under 3 hours, with frequent stops for pictures and to enjoy the views. The trail is suitable for beginners.

3)Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Another great free or low-cost attraction in Taipei is Huashan 1914 Creative Park. This complex is a thriving cultural hub built in an old Sake winery, filled with shops, local art, crafts, and live music and events. I enjoyed wandering around for about an hour.

4)The National Palace Museum

I also visited the National Palace Museum during my visit to Taipei. Although admission costs around $10-$15 (less if you book in advance), I believe it is well worth the price. The museum houses hundreds of thousands of Chinese artworks and artifacts that you could spend many hours exploring. I also loved the Zhishan Chinese Garden in front of the museum, which is worth a visit. However, be aware that the museum is located quite far from the Taipei City Center. I found a direct bus route using Google Maps, which I recommend for budget travelers instead of taking a taxi.

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Must-Eat Foods in Taipei

A major part of travel for me is food, and Taipei did not disappoint! I found the food there to be relatively affordable, especially if your accommodation offers free breakfast and you eat a mix of street food, restaurants, and convenience store meals. During my trip, I tried to limit my eating out to once a day and spent around $15 per day on food. Here are some of my top recommendations for your stay in Taipei, but keep in mind that there is so much cuisine to experience in Taiwan, and it can vary greatly depending on the region you visit and your dietary preferences. Here are just a few budget-friendly ideas for your visit.

1) bubble tea

First, a trip to Taiwan is not complete without bubble tea! I think I drank one per day during my trip. Bubble tea stands are everywhere in Taipei, and I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable a drink can be, anywhere from $2 to $3. I’ve paid double and even triple for bubble teas in Australia and the US. My favorite shop was an adorable chain called Nap Tea, where I indulged in Brown Sugar Boba Milk.

2) Xiao Long Bao(Soup Dumpling)

Another must-try item in Taiwan is Xiao Long Bao, also known as Soup Dumplings. I’ll never forget when I first tried these at the world-famous chain, Din Tai Fung, in Sydney, Australia, and my life was forever changed. While you can, of course, visit Din Tai Fung in Taiwan, I opted for some local spots. A favorite of mine was a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Hao Kung Tao Chin Chi Yuan in the Da'an area. For less than $7, I got a mouthwatering order of dumplings that exceeded my expectations.

3)Raohe Night Market

Night markets are a must-do in Taipei and across Taiwan. Sadly, I only had the chance to visit one during my stay, Raohe Night Market, but it was a great (and delicious) experience. The atmosphere at the market was electric, and I enjoyed strolling down the street, people-watching, and looking at all the food on offer. 

For around $7 total, I had a feast at this market! I started with the iconic oyster omelet at Lee Chi Oyster Omelets, then went to the very famous Fuzhou Pepper Bun stand for a pork bun, and I finished off with some fresh watermelon juice and fried sweet potato balls. While this was by no means a healthy or balanced meal option, it was an extremely authentic and affordable dining experience that you cannot miss. Other markets that I have heard are worth visiting in Taipei are Ningxia Night Market and Linjiang Market—I will have to stop by these on my next visit!

4) Yongfu Ice Cream 

Another authentic stop to make in Taipei is for traditional ice cream at Yongfu Ice Cream in the Ximending area. Any trip for me is not complete until I experience the ice cream of the region, so I was delighted to check out this spot! Yongfu has been open for years and serves up unique flavors that you can only find in Taiwan. For just $1.61, you can choose three scoops of ice cream. I recommend peanut, taro, and plum!

5) Zi Lin Steamed Dumpling

My final recommendation is Zi Lin Steamed Dumplings, one of my favorite restaurants in Taipei that happened to be located just around the corner from my hostel, in a basement of all places. While it was admittedly hard to find, the food and bustling local vibe cannot be beaten. I enjoyed it so much that I visited twice! My first visit was when I had just finished the Four Beasts hike and I was famished, so I feasted on some Taiwanese classics of beef noodle soup (with homemade noodles that were fantastic), a scallion pancake, and a side of cucumber salad, all for $7.27. I made another stop there before I headed on my overnight flight, and I tried their delicious homemade soup dumplings that were truly heavenly and only cost $3.39. This is a must-go spot for a budget traveler who still wants to experience the best of Taiwanese cuisine.

The best way to get around Taipei

As large and intimidating as Taipei might appear, navigating this city on public transportation was quite straightforward. The Taipei MRT and bus systems are efficient, safe, and clean, and they helped me see many sights within a few short days. With signs written in multiple languages and marked platforms and bus stations, I found Taipei to be one of the easiest cities in Asia to navigate.

While in Taipei, there are two systems of payment for transit:


Pick up this card at the airport or in transit stations and use it on all forms of transit in Taipei. You can also load the card with money to use at shops and convenience stores.

2)Taipei Pass

Get this card at the MRT customer service counters for use on all public transportation. Tourists can purchase them for different amounts of time. I got a 3-day pass which allowed me to travel all across Taipei for one flat rate.

With so much to see, do, and EAT in Taipei, my short stay simply was not enough. However, as a solo female traveler, I hope my experience gives you some inspiration on how to make the most of this city on a tight budget and short time frame.

Our writer :

👩Hello! My name is Bridget, I am a 23 year old recent college graduate, avid traveler and major foodie. I have traveled to 22 countries and lived and worked abroad in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Switzerland and most recently in Jeju Island, South Korea.

I have also traveled extensively both solo and with others in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East. While traveling, I love exploring the cuisine of the place I am in, finding off the beaten path attractions and staying on a budget.

I hope that through sharing my travel experiences on NomadHer, I can empower other women to confidently explore the world.

More about NomadHer :

NomadHer is an app for female globetrotters to encourage solo travelling safely. NomadHer has a vision of empowering women through travelling.

To join the community of female globetrotters, you can download NomadHer App on IOS & Android. Follow NomadHer on Instagram: @nomad_her.

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