Maybe you are already in Taipei, but you are unsure about going South to Kaohsiung? I will show you how to have a great time on less than $20 a day.
Can I visit Kaohsiung for less than $20 a day? **Yes, you can. Taiwan is not an expensive country. If you live the way locals live, then you will have a great time.
Stay with me here folks, and I’ll give you the lowdown on Kaohsiung, where to stay, what to eat and drink and what to do. All of this for less than $20 a day.
Many videos on YouTube proclaim to offer travel tips for $20 a day. Most of them don’t include accommodation, but this guide does.
At current exchange rates \(20 US equates to roughly 624NT\)
Keep in mind that you will be exposed to many temptations during your stay. If I were you, I would try to allow more money!
Kaohsiung is an awesome city with so much to see and do, here are just a few ideas about how you can visit on a budget and still have a great time.
Here’s the breakdown:
Accommodation – 400NT$
Food – 190NT$
Travel – 34NT$
I would use a website such as hostelworld.com to book your room in advance. For this guide to work you will need to book somewhere for 400NT$ or less per night. This will save you the stress of trying to find something after a long bus ride.
How to get to Kaohsiung
The cheapest way to get to Kaohsiung is by taking the bus. I have caught the bus once myself and the journey takes around five hours, so be sure to bring a good book. The bus is comfortable though, and the ticket price is 490NT$.
Where to stay
Your choice of accommodation will be at the budget end of the spectrum, but that does not mean that it has to be some grotty flea-ridden place. Kaohsiung has many good hostels. When I first came to Kaohsiung, I spent a few nights at Pathways Hostel and was impressed with it. This hostel has all the amenities that you need and is clean and friendly. The owner is an amiable guy and a Brompton rider (An iconic British folding bicycle).
Kaohsiung has many small breakfast restaurants that offer food at very affordable prices. Every neighbourhood has them you just have to walk around and find them.
I usually have a shredded pancake with egg and a cup of black tea. The price is just 40NT$, so it is not going to break the bank.
You will again be looking for a simple meal. I suggest either a bowl of rice or noodles. Keep an eye out for the places where the locals go. A good tip is to find a local produce market. There will always be places to eat cheap rice or noodles nearby.
I budgeted 50NT$ for lunch as that is the price that I pay in my local favourite noodle store for a large bowl of sesame paste noodles, yummy!
Dinner is going to be similar to lunch so either rice or noodles. There are plenty of other choices, however. You could visit a night market and buy food there but be careful if you are trying to stick to a budget as the going price for an average dish at a night market seems to be around 50NT$.
A dumpling restaurant would make another wise choice as you typically pay 5NT$ per dumpling.
A great area to go for dinner would be Sizihwan. There are many restaurants and also a mini night market at the large temple.
Getting around the city on a budget
If you were paying attention, you would have noticed that I budgeted 34NT$ for transport. This allows for a trip on the MRT. Where you choose to go is up to you. Rueifong Night Market would be a good choice as you can also explore Kaohsiung Arena shopping area (Get off at Kaohsiung Arena MRT station).
Great things to do that are FREE!
There are tons of things that you can do for free in Kaohsiung. Don’t let lack of money hold you back!
Hike up Monkey Mountain
Shou Shan mountain is easily accessible from the city. Be aware that it is quite a climb if you aim to get to the top. Wear appropriate clothing as the trail can rough underfoot. Take along some water and a snack too! You will be able to drink free tea if you make it to the top.
The Cultural Center
This is around the corner from my apartment, and it’s a great place to spend the early evening. Arrive an hour or so before sundown. It has many galleries that often host free exhibitions. Go here, sit, relax with a book and people watch. There are lots of restaurants nearby that are within the budget.
On weekends, there are little stalls that sell arts and crafts.
Kaohsiung is blessed with many clean and organised parks. They are fantastic places to go to unwind and watch the world go by.
Pier 2 Arts Project
Pier 2 has been transformed from old, derelict warehouses into a vibrant cultural venue. You can easily spend a few hours exploring the area. There are some places to eat and drink here but expect higher prices as this is a hip and trendy area. There will often be some exhibitions showing, but you probably will need to buy a ticket if they are inside the halls.
Love River and Kaohsiung Film Archive
Take a delightful stroll along the banks of Love River and then visit Kaohsiung Film Archive (free admission). This would be a super way to spend an afternoon!
Take a walk around Lotus Pond
Jump on the MRT to the Ecological District MRT Station and then take a walk around Lotus Pond. You could also hire a bike to do this as it will take you at least an hour to walk around it. There are lots of things to look at here, the temples and pagodas are well worth taking the time to see!
If you wanted to splash a bit more cash, then head to the Gushan Ferry Terminal in Sizihwan and hop on the ferry to Cijin island. I love this place! You will also find some excellent restaurants hear too.