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For a general view on Elective applications to Taiwanese hospitals

How to apply to Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital

My Taiwan Elective Budget and Spendings

My Elective Posting at Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan – Part 1

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My Elective Posting at Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan – Part 3 Getting to know our surroundings


Disclaimer: Having difficulty keying in Traditional Chinese Characters with this computer, will try changing to a different computer for the next post though =o=

We boarded an Air Asia plane from LCCT and reached Taoyuan Airport at about 1030pm. For the northern regions, actually there are direct flights from Penang to Taoyuan by AirAsia and Eva Air. Eva Air may be even cheaper than AA sometimes so should check it out.

We got our microSIM cards at the telco outlets near our hostel/hospital instead of the airport.

Most tourists get their SIM/microSIM/NanoSIM at the airport but since we arrived really late the counters were all closed, and even if they WERE open, there are usually HUGE lines waiting to purchase them especially Taiwan Mobile (台湾大哥大). This was actually good for us, and will be elaborated upon later.

We are 2 guys and 1 girl and since it was so late, we chose to take the taxi to our hostel and asked him to drop us 台北慈济医院宿舍 with the address 新店区民权路127巷2号. It is actually quite hidden from the road, but if you see a 7-11 or construction work or MRT exit located beside a small lane, just turn in that small lane and you will find a tall, gloomy, grey building that is gated on your right. Other landmarks opposite the small lane will be 75° C, KoChaBi Restaurant.

Other modes of transport for us would be – more troublesome/time constraints. If you’re interested and have less people and luggage with you, you can board a bus to Xindian then take a taxi or MRT (alight at 大坪林 DaPingLin Station) to reach the hostel. They are currently building another new MRT station just outside the hostel so that’s great for future students!

So, we went in through the open gates and upon entering the grey hostel building, there was a counter with a security guard on our right.

This security guard will handle all hostel matters – check you in, give you your keys, bedsheet/pillow case/blanket, and get your signatures for all these stuff. These security uncles are on shift duty and will be there 24 hours so it doesn’t really matter when you arrive. If you can’t find them, I was told that they would be opposite doing their inspection rounds in the hostel compound or opposite the hostel.

All hostel rooms are air conditioned double rooms with single beds, equipped with a small table with overlooking shelf, and a wardrobe for each person. The shared areas include the washing machine/dryer/balcony area, kitchen, sitting room with TV (but no satalite programs). For usage of the washing machine/dryer in your hostel unit is not allowed after 11pm (i think?) and if you really need to you can go to the ground floor/Level 2 (the security guard level) to do your washing.

Rooms are clean, but me being a cleanliness-obsessed freak swept and mopped the room anyway before putting the bedsheets and what not on, then started unpacking my stuff. By the time I fell asleep, it was already 3am.


Air tickets

MAS PEN-KUL-PHUKET 13th April 2013

AA PHUKET-BKK 16th April 2013

AA BKK-PEN 20th April 2013

RM311+RM429 = RM740


Ibis Phuket Patong 13-16 April (3 nights)
Standard Twin Room MYR 987.90

Hope Land Executive 16-20 April (4 nights)
Standard Twin MYR 1,380.95

Total Charges for 4: MYR 2368.85
Cost per head: MYR592.5


Total expenses for Flights and Hotel: RM740+RM592 = RM1332

Clubbing in Bangkok is so cheap compared to Malaysia! with lots of lengzai lenglui too…

We only got to go to the Route 66 at the RCA area which has a really good mix of local Thais and foreigners enjoying the night away. Entrance was at THB300 if I remember correctly, and they give you vouchers to redeem your drinks against. Nobody is stopping you from buying the more expensive liquors outright though since its cheap!

Otherwise, I’d prefer shopping for clothes in Bangkok’s Platinum Fashion Mall, and for shoes I’d still stick to Taiwan. My only regret was that I didn’t get to visit Terminal 21 aishhh….. Must go back Bangkok to shop!!!!!

Travelling with Tony Fernandez (air asia)

PEN – KUL 1 person fare = RM87/person

KUL – TPE 3 person fare + 3 meals + 20kgx1 = RM1001

TPE – KUL 3 person fare + 20kgx3 = NTD10,800 (Got upgraded to Hot Seat at RM162/3 via Optiontown “shit la kena tipu by this stupid scheme”)

KUL – AOR 3 person fare = RM117

“I bought some clothes, shoes, hair/skincare/cosmetics so had to add on 10kg of luggage for my flights back to Malaysia, but $ won’t be seen here since i’m too lazy to count it in”

LCCT Tune Hotel 1 Night = about RM230


Visa Application (necessary because our stay was >30days) = RM280

Prepaid SIM from Taiwan Mobile (台灣大哥大) has the BEST DEALS. = NTD300+100+300

The plan I subscribed to was NTD300/month (worth 1G of data and ?NTD50-100 worth of voice calls) since I do not call or use a lot of data. Got it the next day after arriving our hostel at MinQuan Road. Taiwan Mobile, ChungHwa and Far East telco outlets are within walking distance from the hostel (about 15min?).

(Tip: If you’re a video/video call freak and need unlimited data, both Taiwan Mobile or ChungHwa are good options. If you can get by with a few calls and 1G of data monthly, get this NTD300 plan from Taiwan Mobile, or even the NTD600 if you really need more data, not the plans that they show you on the board at the airport counter. Voice calls are expensive in Taiwan. That plan lasted me about <10 minutes of voice calls maybe?? So, I relied on Whatsapp and Line 95% of the time.) For TM reloads –  ‧儲值300元送話費50元,儲值600元送話費100元,儲值1000元送話費350元!

Hostel inclusive of all bills for 1.5 months (Tzu Chi, Taipei) = NTD4900 (initially told to be 3500-4000/month )

Travel Easy Card – for metro and bus <NTD150/week (usually only travel around Taipei on weekends)

Local Trips

High Speed Rail ticket prices can be found at their official website. –> Please book early for early bird prices. Normal priced tickets for One way trips TPE-Kaoshiung cost about NTD1100.

Train and ticket prices can also be found on their official website. Very easily accessible and bought on the spot at the train/bus station.

For summer trips to Hualien/East Taiwan, must get tickets early since everybody floods that place during summer hols! (that’s why in the end, I didn’t go lah)

85 Sky tower luxurious room with 2 king beds NTD4000/night


My Lojel 29″ luggage at = NTD4,680

Estee Lauder Perfectionist CP+R serum 75mlx2 at Taoyuan Airport= NTD6290 (compared to LCCT rM380 for 50ml, RM560 for 100ml)

My Nike Free Shoes = NTD2980 (compared to almost RM400 in Msia)

[The above 3 took up so much of my NTD brought there already. T.T]

Typhoon Soulik runied my COSMED shopping plan before leaving for the airport. Gah…. Couldn’t get lots of stuff/souveneirs for friends T.T

So, I got the EL Perfectionist for mum since I had lots of NTD left and very little time at the airport.

Next up are some cosmetics from my first (and only) Cosmed visit near hostel – Freshel BB cream and 5 eyeliners (and a missing loreal lipstick) = NTD 2022

(All items <NTD300, except for the Freshel BB cream at NTD390)

2013-07-06 00.41.12

Then I also got ?hair mists (Ma Cherie and Lucido-L) and Fino Hair Treatment/Mask all at <NTD300 (all japanese brands!) from Watson’s.

For clothes, I only went on 1 nightmarket spree at FengJia and bought 6 items at a total of <NTD3000. Not that cheap, but I was desperate for clothes at that time.

TIP: Whatever Japanese brand you see in Taiwan, just buy it, it’s cheap. Especially so if it isn’t heard of in Malaysia yet.

TIP: For Duty Free Items, Buy them in Taoyuan instead on LCCT airport.

Food and drinks- quite expensive

All food sold in Tzu Chi hospital is vegetarian. Hospital personnel get about 5 or 10% off.

For breakfast, I’m usually lazy to wake up early, so I buy bread/cakes/sushi stuff from 7-11 (NTD25-39) and only rarely get a drink (~NTD20). If your department people are super generous, you might just get free breakfast when your reach your ward. Sometimes, I just skip this meal altogether. >.< Wake up early, and walk over to the nearest breakfast shop where soya milk is sold at NT15, and food at NTD25-50 depending on what I eat.

For lunch, I usually have ‘economy rice’ at NTD50-75. For guys, maybe up to NTD80-100. (Hualien prices are NTD25 irrespective of what you get, but of course taste-wise is less palatable compared to Taipei) Otherwise, if you are in the operation theater, you can get free meals provided you put in your lunch box or write down your name in their list before 10am for lunch. If you’re in emergency department, it is 10am for lunch and 4pm for dinner.

For dinner, beef noodles are about NTD110 (up to NTD170 in food courts at malls), other stuff at mom-and-pop shops in the vicinity can set you back at about NTD80. Chain stores nearby are usually at about NTD150-NTD200. The cheapest option would be microwaved food from 7-11 which are real meals of refrigerated noodles and rice at about NTD70 depending on what you eat.

I love night market food. Add on everything, and it can be quite a sizeable amount of money though.

A real Taiwanese will have plain water right after waking up and before bed, but beverages THROUGHOUT the day since it is so readily available. Milk teas are all the rage here in Taiwan, I usually order half-sugar-without-ice drinks at about NTD30-50. The popular ones are 清玉, 50wan, 天仁. In comparison, hardly anyone goes to ChaTime here. When you get used to the Milk Teas here, having them in back in Malaysia will make you cringe and swear to never drink them in Malaysia again.

Eating out at decent restaurants are comparable to Malaysian prices, usually going at NTD300-400 a meal. Unless you choose to dine in super fancy restaurants, that is.

Entertainment experience

Early-bird tickets for cinema as low as NTD260. Usual prices at about NTD310. And that’s for 2D movies only i think!

Really walao-eh, so expensive compared to Malaysia.

Karaoke – about NTD300/person (student price)

Here is my formula for you to count your elective budget at Tzu Chi, Taipei

Flights depending on airline – variable

Souvenirs from Malaysia for your Taiwan colleagues – variable/optional

Souvenirs from Taiwan – variable

Hostel NTD4900/6weeks

Travel Easy Card  NTD150/week

Daily (not very) Kiamsiap food = NTD200/day

Comfortable restaurant food = NTD 400/meal

*my friend can survive on much less than this for food*

Comfortable local weekend trips to Taichung, Kaoshiung via HSR (does not include engaging tours) etc. = NTD3000-4000 / trip

Shopping = bring 1.5-2x the amount you think you initially need for unexpected purchases. Use leftover for Duty Free stuff at Taoyuan airport.