Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or this is your first trip to Taiwan, these essential Taiwan travel tips will ensure that you have an unforgettable experience in this beautiful country. From exploring bustling night markets to soaking in hot springs, Taiwan offers a diverse range of experiences. Discover the must-visit attractions, taste the delectable local cuisine, and navigate the efficient public transportation system effortlessly with these invaluable travel tips. So pack your bags, get ready to embark on an adventure, and let Taiwan enchant you with its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.

Essential Taiwan Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Taiwan

Understanding the climate

Taiwan has a subtropical climate, meaning it experiences distinct seasons. The country is prone to typhoons from June to October, so it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecast if you plan to visit during this time. The summers are hot and humid, while the winters are mild and damp.

Peak tourist seasons

The peak tourist seasons in Taiwan are during the spring and fall. From March to May, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, making it a popular time to visit. The autumn months of September to November are also preferred by tourists due to the pleasant weather and beautiful foliage.

Shoulder seasons for lesser crowds

If you prefer to avoid the crowds and enjoy more affordable prices, consider visiting Taiwan during the shoulder seasons. The months of April, May, October, and November often have fewer tourists, allowing you to have a more peaceful and relaxed experience.

Considerations for outdoor activities

If you plan on engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking or exploring national parks, it’s essential to research the specific weather conditions and plan accordingly. Spring and fall are generally the best times for outdoor adventures, as the temperatures are mild and the landscapes are vibrant.

Getting a Visa

Visa-free entry countries

Taiwan offers visa-free entry for citizens of certain countries. Currently, travelers from countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and many European countries can enter Taiwan for a specified period without needing a visa. However, it’s crucial to check the latest regulations and requirements before your trip.

Applying for a tourist visa

If you are not eligible for visa-free entry, you will need to apply for a tourist visa. The application process typically involves submitting relevant documents, such as a passport, proof of accommodation, and a return flight ticket. It’s advisable to apply well in advance to allow for any processing delays.

Visa extension and requirements

If you wish to extend your stay in Taiwan, you can apply for a visa extension at the National Immigration Agency. The requirements may vary depending on your nationality and circumstances, so it’s recommended to consult with the immigration authorities or seek assistance from a reputable visa agency.

Visa on arrival options

In certain cases, visitors can obtain a visa on arrival at Taiwan’s international airports. This option is available for citizens of selected countries who meet specific conditions. However, it’s important to research and confirm if you are eligible for a visa on arrival and what documents you will need to present upon arrival.

Currency and Money Matters

Taiwan’s currency

The official currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (TWD). It is recommended to carry some local currency with you for small purchases and transactions in local markets or smaller establishments. ATMs and currency exchange offices are widely available throughout the country.

Currency exchange options

Currency exchange can be done at banks, hotels, or authorized currency exchange offices. Most major currencies, such as the US Dollar, Euro, and Japanese Yen, are commonly accepted for exchange. It’s advisable to compare rates and fees before making any currency exchange transactions.

ATMs and credit cards

ATMs are abundant in Taiwan and accept major international debit and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. However, it’s always wise to inform your bank about your travel plans to ensure your cards are authorized for use overseas. Remember to check for any foreign transaction fees that may apply.

Tipping culture and service charges

In Taiwan, tipping is not commonly practiced. Most restaurants and hotels include a service charge in the bill, so it’s not necessary to leave an additional tip. However, it is appreciated if you receive exceptional service and choose to leave a small token of appreciation.

Transportation

Getting to Taiwan

To get to Taiwan, most international travelers arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which is located near Taipei. There are direct flights from major cities around the world, making it easy to access Taiwan. Additionally, some travelers may also arrive by ferry from neighboring countries.

Domestic transportation options

Once in Taiwan, you have various transportation options to explore different parts of the country. Taiwan has a well-developed and efficient transportation system, including high-speed trains, regular trains, buses, and domestic flights. The choice of transportation will depend on your destination and budget.

Using public transportation

Taiwan’s public transportation system is known for being reliable, affordable, and extensive. The Taipei Metro is a convenient way to navigate the city, while buses and trains connect different regions of the country. It’s advisable to have an EasyCard, which can be used for multiple modes of public transportation and offers discounts.

Renting a car or scooter

If you prefer the flexibility of driving yourself, renting a car or scooter is an option in Taiwan. However, keep in mind that traffic in cities can be congested, and parking may be limited. Ensure that you have an International Driving Permit and familiarize yourself with local traffic regulations before renting a vehicle.

Essential Taiwan Travel Tips

Accommodation

Popular areas to stay

When it comes to choosing accommodation in Taiwan, popular areas to consider include Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Taipei offers a range of options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Taichung is known for its artsy districts, while Tainan and Kaohsiung offer a mix of historical attractions and modern amenities.

Types of accommodation

In Taiwan, you can find a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. These include hotels, guesthouses, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and homestays. Luxury hotels often provide excellent facilities and services, while budget accommodations offer affordable and comfortable stays.

Booking options and websites

To secure your accommodation, you can book directly through the hotel’s official website or use online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Booking.com, Agoda, or Expedia. These platforms allow you to compare prices, read reviews, and make reservations conveniently. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Considerations for budget travelers

For budget travelers, staying in hostels or guesthouses can be an economical option. These accommodations usually offer dormitory-style rooms or private rooms at a lower cost. Additionally, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons, as accommodation prices tend to be more affordable compared to peak seasons.

Language and Communication

Commonly spoken languages

The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, but many locals also speak Taiwanese and Hakka dialects. English is widely spoken in major tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants, so communication should not be a significant barrier for most travelers.

Useful Mandarin phrases

Learning a few basic Mandarin phrases can greatly enhance your travel experience in Taiwan. Simple greetings such as “hello” (nǐ hǎo) and “thank you” (xièxiè) are always appreciated. Additionally, having phrases like “excuse me” (qǐng wèn) and “do you speak English?” (nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) can be helpful when seeking assistance.

English proficiency in Taiwan

Generally, younger Taiwanese people have a higher level of English proficiency compared to older generations. In tourist areas and popular attractions, you are more likely to encounter locals who can communicate comfortably in English. However, it’s always a good idea to have written translations or a translation app as a backup.

Getting a local SIM card or portable Wi-Fi

To stay connected while in Taiwan, consider getting a local SIM card or portable Wi-Fi device. SIM cards can be purchased at airports, convenience stores, or mobile provider shops. Portable Wi-Fi devices are also available for rent, allowing you to have internet access on multiple devices during your travels.

Essential Taiwan Travel Tips

Sightseeing and Attractions

Must-visit tourist spots

Taiwan offers a plethora of must-visit tourist spots. Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, and Shilin Night Market in Taipei are popular attractions. Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, and Alishan Mountain in Chiayi are breathtaking natural wonders. Don’t miss out on exploring the vibrant street art scene in Taichung.

Exploring Taiwan’s natural beauty

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by Taiwan’s diverse landscapes. From the majestic peaks of Yangmingshan National Park to the stunning beaches of Kenting National Park, there is no shortage of natural beauty to explore. Hiking trails, hot springs, and scenic coastal drives offer endless opportunities to immerse yourself in Taiwan’s natural wonders.

Cultural and historical sites

Immerse yourself in Taiwan’s rich culture and history by visiting cultural and historical sites. The historic city of Tainan is known for its well-preserved temples and traditional architecture. Jiufen, an old mining town, offers unique glimpses into Taiwan’s past. The Lukang Historic Area is another fascinating place to discover ancient temples, ornate buildings, and traditional crafts.

Off-the-beaten-path destinations

For those seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, Taiwan has hidden gems to uncover. Explore the charming island of Penghu, known for its stunning beaches and traditional fishing villages. Green Island, off the coast of Taitung, offers opportunities for snorkeling and diving. The remote and picturesque village of Wulai is perfect for a peaceful escape into nature.

Food and Dining

Famous Taiwanese dishes

Taiwan is renowned for its vibrant food scene, offering a variety of mouthwatering dishes. Must-try delicacies include beef noodles, stinky tofu, bubble tea, oyster omelet, and pineapple cakes. Night markets are the perfect place to indulge in street food and discover the flavors that make Taiwanese cuisine so unique.

Street food culture

Taiwan is a paradise for street food enthusiasts. Night markets such as Shilin Night Market in Taipei and Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung are famous for their array of delectable treats. From grilled squid and dumplings to oyster vermicelli and scallion pancakes, Taiwanese street food is a sensory delight that should not be missed.

Local dining customs

When dining in Taiwan, it is customary to wait until everyone is seated before starting to eat. Sharing dishes is common, and it’s polite to offer others food or drink before serving yourself. Slurping noodles is considered acceptable and even a sign of enjoying the meal. Remember to use chopsticks and the provided spoon for eating.

Popular night markets

Night markets are an integral part of Taiwanese culture and an excellent way to experience local street food, shopping, and entertainment. Apart from Taipei’s famous Shilin Night Market, Raohe and Ningxia Night Markets are also highly recommended. In Taichung, Fengjia Night Market is a popular destination for food, shopping, and lively atmosphere.

Etiquette and Customs

Respecting local customs

Respecting local customs is crucial when visiting Taiwan. It is customary to bow slightly when greeting someone, although handshakes are becoming more common. Removing your shoes before entering someone’s home, temple, or certain restaurants is a sign of respect. Tipping may not be expected, but being polite and showing gratitude is always appreciated.

Etiquette in temples and shrines

When visiting temples and shrines, it’s important to observe proper etiquette. Dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing or inappropriate clothing. Be mindful of your actions and keep noise to a minimum. It is customary to light incense and pay respects to the deities by bowing or praying quietly.

Appropriate dress code

Taiwan is a relatively conservative country, and modesty in dress is generally appreciated. When visiting temples or religious sites, it is essential to cover your shoulders and knees. Additionally, avoid wearing overly revealing clothing in public places to ensure cultural sensitivity and respect for local norms.

Gestures and taboos to be aware of

In Taiwan, it’s polite to use both hands when giving or receiving items, particularly when accepting business cards. Avoid pointing with your index finger and instead use an open hand gesture. It is considered impolite to touch someone’s head, as it is believed to be the most sacred part of the body.

Health and Safety

Health precautions before traveling

Before traveling to Taiwan, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider regarding any necessary vaccinations or preventive measures. It’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, as Taiwan’s healthcare system may require upfront payment for treatment.

Taiwan’s healthcare system

Taiwan has a well-developed healthcare system, and medical services are of high standards. International visitors can access medical care at hospitals and clinics, but it’s important to note that medical expenses might need to be paid upfront. It’s advisable to bring essential medications and a copy of your medical records when traveling.

Safety tips for tourists

Taiwan is generally a safe country for tourists. However, it’s always good to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded areas, and avoid displaying expensive items. Follow traffic rules, be cautious when crossing roads, and use pedestrian crossings whenever available.

Emergency contact numbers

In case of emergencies, keep these contact numbers handy:

  • Police: 110
  • Fire and Ambulance: 119
  • Tourist Assistance Hotline: +886-2-2717-3737

Remember to have your accommodation address and contact details readily available when seeking assistance.

With these comprehensive travel tips, you are well-prepared to embark on your adventure in Taiwan. Enjoy exploring its vibrant cities, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Embrace the warm hospitality of the locals and create lasting memories of your time in this captivating country. Safe travels!

Categorized in:

Tagged in:

, ,