Taiwan is one of the safest countries that you can visit. Though it has frequent natural disasters, it has a low crime rate. It’s a safe country for women, LGBTQ+, and solo travelers to visit.
I’ve lived in Taiwan for an accumulated 5(ish) years. I want to share my experience and combine it with published information to help you determine whether Taiwan’s safe to visit.
I’ll cover crime rates under various categories (e.g., gangs and natural disasters). From there, you can determine whether Taiwan’s worth visiting.
Road Safety in Taiwan
Drivers in Taiwan are the biggest hazards for anyone visiting or living in Taiwan. They had 12.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021 .
In 2000, it was 15.4 deaths per 100,000 residents.
The average death worldwide for traffic deaths is 17 per 100,000 people .
Many of these deaths come from aggressive drivers who refuse to give pedestrians the right of way in many cases.
Here’s an example of a scenario that could kill you if you’re unaware. I’m crossing a crosswalk when the crosswalk light is green.
A car pulls up to the crosswalk, only centimeters away from me. If I were to slightly wander closer to that car, it could have taken my life.
Here are some other examples:
- Motorbike drivers driving on sidewalks
- Drivers running red lights
- People not using turn signals
Many of these careless actions happen everywhere else in the world. But with the first example, you’ll need to listen for humming motorbikes driving on sidewalks. This seems to happen mostly in New Taipei City and not Taipei.
When crossing roads, check every direction to ensure there’s no incoming traffic.
Rental car or motorbike drivers must ensure to check blind spots before merging lanes. You never know when a motorbike could creep into your blind spot.
If you want drivers to stop when you’re crossing, pull out your phone and face it toward their license plate. In most cases, they’ll think you’re snapping a picture of their license plate and that you’ll report them.
Thus, they’re more likely to follow the law.
Be careful when doing this. If you cause them to suddenly stop, they could cause a vehicle pileup. Only use that tip at the right time.
Crime Rates in Taiwan (Theft & Violent Crimes)
Taiwan has a low crime rate. Violent crimes and robberies rarely happen.
Some sources suggest that Taiwan has an extremely high safety rating for walking alone during the day and at night .
The same website also says that Taiwan has the 3rd lowest crime index globally . The crime index serves as an indicator to display the overall level of criminal activity in a country.
This index takes various factors into consideration like:
- Political instability
- Number of homicides
- Internal and external violent conflicts
- Other factors
The information comes from a single source. And that source doesn’t seem to explain their reasoning for giving Taiwan the 6th and 30th place positions.
The most significant factors I could imagine are its aggressive neighbor.
The following sections will cover information from additional sources.
LQBTQ+ individuals won’t have any issues for the most part.
There’s no censorship that targets these groups. And it’s illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ folks .
I have no experience in this area. I recommend checking out blogs, forum entries, and vlogs of LGBTQ+ individuals who’ve visited or lived in Taiwan.
Most of Taiwan’s crimes come from gang-related activities.
Usually, when gang violence happens, it’s among rival gangs . Or to anyone who owes money to loan sharks. Or to anyone who causes trouble at gang-funded establishments.
Don’t borrow money from anyone (in general), and avoid causing a ruckus at businesses. You’ll keep yourself out of trouble.
I’ve learned that gangs primarily operate within Taipei’s Wanhua, Shilin, and Beitou districts .
The source I listed shows “Shihlin” and “Peitou,” but districts/cities in Taiwan aren’t consistent with naming. Most people, governments, and media call those districts Shilin and Beitou.
Let’s move on to pickpocketing.
Pickpocketing can happen in crowded areas in Taiwan. Especially in tourist-focused places like Ximending in Taipei or night markets.
Don’t put any items in your back pocket. And wear your backpack on your front.
Now for scams.
Fraud & Scams in Taiwan
Taiwan isn’t known for fraud and scams. But they can occur.
In 2020, a warning hit the news of a rise in sextortion .
These extortion scams are when people pretend they’re girls, then get nude videos or photos from guys. From there, the actor will blackmail the victim.
Know who you’re talking to online before sending lewd pictures and videos.
Otherwise, follow these precautions to avoid other potential scams:
- Check for card skimmers
- Book transportation and accommodation online
- Download a call-blocking app: I use Caller ID by aunumber
- Don’t succumb to pressure to act immediately
- Don’t give anyone your financial information
Practice caution, and you’ll keep yourself safe.
Natural Disasters in Taiwan
Taiwan has over 2,200 earthquakes annually, since it’s located in a seismic zone . These vary in intensity and pose one of the biggest threats when traveling to Taiwan.
Severe earthquakes are rare, though. And most buildings within Taiwan have supposedly strict building codes.
For the love of Thor, DON’T run down stairs during an earthquake. You’re more likely to die from collapsing rubble.
Follow government-recommended methods to protect yourself during earthquakes. However, most Taiwanese continue life as usual when earthquakes happen.
Let’s talk about typhoons.
Taiwan’s typhoon season is from May to November . If you don’t know what they are, they’re hurricanes.
Visit cwb.gov.tw/eng to see whether there’s a typhoon advisory. And pay attention to the news to see whether there’s an incoming typhoon.
If there’s a typhoon coming, avoid beach- and riverside-based activities. The flooding and high winds will dampen your fun.
Food & Water Safety in Taiwan
Most buildings use water towers for water storage, and those towers could have bacteria buildup. Thus, making tap water a bit riskier to drink. Taiwan does have plenty of water tower cleaning services, but no one mentions how often they clean their towers.
I recommend drinking from water fountains if possible. That has the best-tasting and almost guaranteed the safest water.
Taiwan has at least 4,000–6,000 food poisoning cases yearly . Only 2 food-borne illnesses within the last 8 years were fatal. And that’s because 1 person ate a poisonous frog. While another ate a toxic mushroom.
Don’t eat toxic frogs and mushrooms. Carry probiotics and anti-diarrheal medication, and identify the nearest convenience store. If you get food poisoning, you can get a Super Supau or Pocari Sweat.
Both drinks will help you replenish lost electrolytes during your sleepover in your bathroom.
During my 5+ years in Taiwan, I got food poisoning twice. Both times from ramen restaurants.
Time to talk about politics.
Political Tension & Civil Unrest in Taiwan
Taiwan has political demonstrations. However, they’re all peaceful.
The latest known instance of violence during a demonstration was during the Sunflower Movement in 2014 .
I don’t recommend participating in protests.
As for political tension, Taiwan’s biggest political threat comes from the People’s Republic of China. However, the current feud between the countries does not affect Taiwan’s safety.
It’s fine to travel here.
Terrorism in Taiwan
Taiwan has no history of terrorist attacks .
Health Safety in Taiwan
Australia’s government suggests that Taiwan has the following disease risks :
- Japanese encephalitis
Before traveling, speak to your doctor to see whether you should get vaccinations for these ailments.
When you’re in Taiwan, take precautions to protect yourself:
- Wash your hands WITH soap
- Sanitize your hands and phone
- * Wear a face mask in crowded areas: N95 and KF94 masks may offer the most protection
- Check whether your accommodation is insect-proof
- Aim for 30% DEET formulas in insect repellants
- Wear sleeves when possible
* Taiwan currently has a mask mandate. You must wear a face mask in almost all circumstances. Refer to Taiwan CDC’s website to see all their updated rules.
You’ll also need to worry about the heat.
Taiwan can feel like it’s 104 °F (40 °C) during the summer when you account for humidity. Then the urban heat island effects can intensify the temperatures.
Frequently hydrate and dress light.
Then there’s air pollution.
You will want to consider reducing prolonged outdoor exercise when it’s heavily polluted outdoors . For instance, if the air quality is between 101 and 150, you’ll want to exercise for 15 minutes straight, then move indoors a bit.
Doing so could protect those with ailments from the side effects of air pollution exposure.
Now that you understand all the small things to watch out for, here are some laws to consider.
Local Laws for You To Consider Before Visiting Taiwan
- Don’t litter cigarette butts: you could face fines
- Don’t use or carry illegal drugs: consequences could include the death sentence or long-term jail time
- Don’t bring meat into Taiwan
- Vape pens aren’t legal
- Avoid slander or negatively impacting someone’s reputation
When dealing with what you can bring through customs, visit their website or check with your airlines.
Who You Should Contact in Case of an Emergency
With emergencies the locals can deal with, call the following numbers:
|Fire and Ambulance Services||119|
|Freeway Condition Information||168|
|Center for Disease Control Hotline||1922|
If you need help with passport services, help with travel arrangements, or are unable to deal with particular situations on your own, contact your local embassy.
Here are some consular offices you can contact:
|Government Body||Phone Number|
|American Institute in Taiwan (Taipei)||(02) 2162-2000|
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)||(02) 2348-2999|
|Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association||(02) 2713-8000|
|Manila Economic and Cultural Office||(02) 2658-8825|
|Embassy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines||(02)2877-1609|
|American Institute in Taiwan (Kaohsiung)||(07)335-5006|
|India-Taipei Association||(02) 2729-5154|
|New Zealand Visa Application Center (VAC) in Taipei||(02) 7752 4745|
FAQs: Taiwan Safety
Keep reading to find frequently asked questions about staying safe in Taiwan.
Is Taiwan Safe From China?
There is no imminent threat of China invading Taiwan. Don’t let the political hype dissuade you from visiting Taiwan. However, always check in with your government and news to check for updates.
Most of the dangers in Taiwan stem from natural disasters and traffic accidents. Otherwise, Taiwan’s one of the safest countries for most individuals to visit.
Learn more about visiting Taiwan. Explore my other Taiwan travel guides.
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