Solo travel to Taiwan by figuring out your type of visa, budgeting your trip, and knowing what to expect when visiting the island nation. Read more to find additional details.
I’ve lived in Taiwan for more than 5 years and have solo traveled here many times before “expatriating.” I want to help you prepare for your trip with my experience and other information.
- Most countries can enter Taiwan on a 15-90-day visa exemption.
- It’s safe to travel to Taiwan alone.
- Taipei & New Taipei City are the best cities to visit as a solo traveler.
- You won’t need to know Mandarin to get around Taipei & New Taipei.
Taiwan Visa Types
Here are the various Taiwan visa types:
|Who’s it For?
|No visa required for tourist and business purposes (15-90 days)
|Mandarin-learning, degree program, exchange, or overseas Chinese students
|Working for a company
|Extraordinary achievements, ability, or employment
|Startups with incubators and businesses
|Tourists and short-term business
|Those who invest $200k into Taiwan’s economy
|Family Reunification Visa
|Anyone who wants to join Taiwanese family members
|Working Holiday Visa
|People from certain countries who will work in Taiwan for up to 1 year
|Employment Seeking Visa
|Someone looking for a job
If you’re from the United States, U.K., or Australia, you can stay in Taiwan for 90 days without a visa. You won’t need any documents to enter Taiwan using the visa waiver program.
Just a passport that’s valid for 6 months from when you enter Taiwan.
I went more in-depth regarding Taiwan’s visa exemption program in the visa guide I linked earlier.
Later in October, Taiwan’s removing its quarantine hotel requirement. The country also doesn’t require you to have a COVID-19 vaccine to enter.
There’s still a face mask mandate. That means you must always wear a mask when going out. Except for some circumstances . For instance, if you’re exercising.
They don’t specify the type of exercise.
Is It Safe To Travel to Taiwan Alone?
It is safe to travel alone in Taiwan.
No matter your sexual preference, gender, gender identity, or religion.
Just don’t get involved with gangs. They won’t mess with you unless you interfere with their business.
Avoid taking loans from people or dealing with prostitution.
Do not attack or steal from temple or night market stand owners. Taiwan’s gangs run many of these places. So I’ve heard.
You don’t have to worry about unorganized criminals mugging you while you wander the streets at night.
Just in case, I recommend bringing a decoy wallet and phone. If you’re unlucky, you can hand these to a mugger. I’ll cover what a decoy wallet should include in a bit.
Road safety. Outside Taipei City, you’ll have to walk on the streets more often. Because there aren’t as many sidewalks.
Or there are rows of motorbikes taking up all the sidewalk space.
Practice awareness when walking alongside the road and while crossing a street. Even when it’s your turn to cross.
I’ve had plenty of assholes who ran red lights and almost hit me.
Let’s talk about food safety.
Taiwan hasn’t had many serious food poisoning cases in the previous years . The only instances you’ll put yourself at risk are when barbecuing raw meat, eating hot pot, or going to sushi restaurants.
And ramen restaurants. Those are the only places I’ve gotten food poisoning in Taiwan.
Don’t ask me how ramen upset my tummy. Because I don’t know.
As for the other foods. Take probiotics, ensure you thoroughly cook your meat, and don’t eat anything that smells raunchy .
Other than stinky tofu (fermented tofu).
If you get food poisoning, buy Super Supau (舒跑), Pocari Sweat, or drinks like Pedialyte to replenish lost electrolytes. All these beverages will help save you from dehydration.
I haven’t seen Pedialyte in Taiwan. But you can find identical drinks at pharmacies. You can get the other 2 drinks from any convenience store or supermarket.
Best Places To Travel Alone in Taiwan
The 2 best cities in Taiwan to visit alone are Taipei and New Taipei cities.
- More public transportation (e.g., Taipei Metro)
- A higher number of English speakers
- More things to do
- Taipei and New Taipei have over 350 hiking trails [4, 5]
- Not too far from the airport
- Connected to all stations in mainland Taiwan
I don’t have any quantitative proof stating Taipei has the most English speakers. But from my experience, it has more English speakers than other cities throughout Taiwan.
Because you have more public transportation options like the metro, you won’t need to rent a motorbike or a car. No worrying about an international driver’s license.
Depending on the time of day, traffic in Taipei can suck. Plus, you have many reckless drivers.
Don’t get me wrong. There are reckless drivers everywhere in the world. But it’s noticeable in Taiwan.
What does mainland Taiwan mean?
Taiwan has a bunch of smaller islands (like Kinmen and Lanyu). So “mainland” refers to the largest land mass in Taiwan.
I’ve covered many attractions in Taipei in a separate guide. There are too many to list here.
It’ll take you around an hour and a half to get to Taipei Main Station when using the MRT Airport Line (Commuter). Around 2 hours if you enter Taipei by bus.
I’ll cover public transportation options in a bit.
19 Top Things To Do in Taiwan
33 Top Things To Do in Taipei
12 Top Things To Do in Taichung
Costs To Travel Alone in Taiwan
Here are the various budgets that you’ll want to consider when solo traveling to Taiwan:
1. Mid-range Solo Travel Costs to Taiwan
Here are costs for traveling to Taiwan without a budget :
|Activity or Necessity
|NT$35,000 (round trip)
|Up to $1,100 (round trip)
|Up to NT$61 (one-way)
|Up to $2.00 (one-way)
I overestimated many of these expenses.
For instance, transportation. The estimate came from taking the Taipei MRT from Xindian Station to Tamsui Station.
This would result in the highest one-way cost since they’re on opposite sides of the city.
Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom gives you the most flexibility regarding calling credit and unlimited data (without a soft data cap). You can order these cards online.
2. Budget Solo Travel Costs to Taiwan
Here’s what you’ll pay when budgeting in Taiwan:
|Activity or Necessity
|NT$35,000 (round trip)
|Up to $1,100 (round trip)
|Up to NT$61 (one-way)
|Up to $2.00 (one-way)
I usually advocate for skipping SIM cards entirely, but you’ll want a means to contact emergency services. They don’t cost much, though.
Taiwan Mobile will give you 3 days worth of data and calling for NT$100 and costs NT$200 less than Chunghwa Telecom’s 3-day pass. If you want anything more than 3 days, go with Chunghwa.
3. High-end Solo Travel Costs to Taiwan
Here’s what you’ll pay in Taiwan if you want to go all-out:
|Activity or Necessity
|NT$48,000 (round trip)
|Up to $1,500 (round trip)
|Up to NT$600 (one-way)
Suppose you’re traveling to Taiwan with a lot of disposable income. You likely don’t have to worry about expenses. And you likely already have a travel agent setting up everything for you.
You could always pay me to create your itinerary and set up your trip instead.
Regarding SIM cards. I recommend the Google Fi eSIM card. It’s $65 a month per line for their Unlimited Plus plan.
You’ll get unlimited hotspot tethering data, data for other devices (like tablets), and 100 gigabytes (GB) of cloud storage.
The plan gives you free texting, but costs $0.20 per call.
Getting this plan requires you to activate it at least 7 days before leaving for your trip. It also prevents you from navigating airports to the SIM card pickup kiosks.
Since it’s an eSIM provider, you must get an unlocked phone compatible with eSIM cards.
Let’s move on to clothing to wear in Taiwan.
What Should I Wear in Taiwan
You should wear clothing that matches the current season and what you’re most comfortable with for various weather conditions. But always carry a lightweight raincoat or parka.
Because it rains a lot in Taiwan.
I made the first sentence vague because I don’t know what temperatures your body can tolerate.
You’ll also want to bring high-top boots if you’re hiking. Taiwan has many poisonous snakes. And I bet you won’t want to have one bite your ankle.
And you may want to consider a sun hat. Protect your face from the sun.
Most Taiwanese people will wear shorts, jeans, or skirts with a t-shirt. Many women will wear lightweight dresses. I think they’re sundresses.
Only avoid clothing that exposes your butt, breasts, or too much of your belly.
I recommend visiting my guide on the best time to visit Taiwan. I cover temperatures throughout the year.
SIM Cards & Portable Wi-Fi in Taiwan
You can get a prepaid SIM card or pay for an eSIM provider that offers global coverage.
Google Fi works as an excellent eSIM provider, makes traveling to multiple countries in 1 sitting easier, and prevents you from dealing with prepaid SIM cards.
When staying 3 or fewer days, I recommend Taiwan Mobile’s prepaid card. It’s only NT$100. You’ll want Chunghwa Telecom if you’re staying 4 or more days.
Each plan will give you “NT$X” worth of calling credits. That means you can call for “X” minutes before you’ll need to refill your balance.
The number of credits you’ll use per minute depends on the provider.
I compare each provider in my guide regarding getting prepaid SIM cards.
You could also get portable Wi-Fi. But that’s only necessary if you need to connect more than 1 device.
If you’re using multiple devices, you may want to consider using public Wi-Fi when possible. Many cities (like Taipei) offer public free Wi-Fi around the city.
You could try places like Starbucks and Louisa (Taiwan’s coffee conglomerate) when working remotely.
It’s hard to find seats, but the free Wi-Fi’s worth it. And don’t forget to use protection.
A virtual private network (VPN) will help protect you against curious hackers. And avoiding clicking on links, replying to suspicious emails, and practicing good cybersecurity hygiene.
I use and recommend Surfshark VPN. They haven’t ever been hacked (unlike some of their competitors), aren’t based in the U.S., and have decent features.
How To Get Around Taiwan
Here’s how to get around Taiwan:
|Avg. Price (One-Way)
|NT$15; 1 segment
|Only way to get around in some cities
|Getting around the countryside
|NT$5–NT$40 per 30 min
|Not available in all cities
|Navigating outlying islands
|Taiwan Railway Administration
|Budget inter-city travel
|Taiwan High-Speed Rail
|Quickly navigating different cities
|NT$120–NT$1,200 per trip
|Comfortable city travel
|Price varies by driver, time, & other factors
|Mass Rapid Transit
|Not available in all cities
|NT$16–NT$25 per km
|Travel to specific destinations
|Many don’t understand English
If you’re terrified of riding on boats, you could take a plane from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Kinmen or Linjiang islands.
Riding the bus will save you the most money, but take the most time.
I take the metro (MRT) when possible. It’s affordable, and a means to avoid traffic.
I’m a bit traumatized from taking buses. In 1 day, I rode 2 separate buses. Each bus got into different accidents.
I’d love to defend bus drivers. But it’s hard, based on my experience.
The high-speed rail is the quickest way to get around Taipei. But it costs the most. It’s a somewhat relaxing experience and gives you a way to rest during your journey.
Do You Need To Know Mandarin Chinese?
You could travel to Taipei and have no issues with only knowing English. But traveling outside Taipei may have its difficulties.
Public transportation will always have marked English signs. And many hypermarkets and convenience stores make it so you don’t need to listen for any Mandarin.
You see the price on a screen and give the clerk that amount.
When searching for places to eat out, English support becomes hit-or-miss. Some restaurants will have English speakers and menus. Meanwhile, others will have people scratching their heads when you tell them something.
Download Google Translate and follow these settings:
Tap upper-right corner icon > Settings > Region > Chinese > select Chinese, Mandarin (Taiwan, Traditional)
Then follow these settings:
Upper right icon > Download Languages > tap the download icon beside ‘Chinese’
Though Chinese and Taiwanese people speak Mandarin, they have different dialects. And various ways to say things. Sometimes, you could translate something in China’s Mandarin, which a Taiwanese person won’t understand.
The setting helps with accuracy.
And the second option makes it so you can translate without an internet connection. It’s helpful if you find yourself in a building that cuts off your cellular signal.
Google Translate should help you with communication in many cases. Sometimes, Taiwanese people will search for someone else who can speak English to help.
But keep in mind that Taiwanese people don’t only speak Mandarin. There are also Taiwanese who speak Hakka and Taiwanese Hokkien. Then, the indigenous Taiwanese speak Formosan languages.
A lot of the time, they will also speak Mandarin. Most Taiwanese households speak more than one language.
Taiwan Solo Travel Packing List
Here’s what I recommend packing for Taiwan:
|Reusable water bottle
|Dummy phone & wallet
|Saline nasal spray
|Female hygiene products
|Copy of travel documents
|Portable power bank
|Passport wallet/Purse/Day pack
|International Driving Permit
|Portable Wireless Router
|KF94 Face Mask
I have tested and frequently use all of these products except for the travel adapter and the backpack cover. I do have the travel adapter on my list of things to buy, though. I do thorough research on the products I recommend. As I always want to use the “best” of whatever I buy.
You can buy anything else you’d need while you’re here. Taiwan has hundreds of hypermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, and supermarkets.
I recommend buying an umbrella, among other things. It rains a lot in Taiwan. And you don’t want to find yourself soaked.
You can get umbrellas under NT$150 ($5.00) at any convenience store.
Taiwan has the third-highest safety index in the world . A higher safety index equals a safer country to stay in.
Never let your guard down, though. Bring an old phone with you. And create a decoy wallet (or mugger’s wallet).
It’s a sacrificial wallet meant to fool thieves into thinking they stole your real wallet.
Here’s what you’ll want to pack in a mugger’s wallet:
- A bit of cash: at least NT$300 ($10)
- Random membership cards
- Fake credit cards: stuff it with junk mail credit cards
- An old ID: or photocopy and laminate your driver’s license
It may seem like something only paranoid people would do. But it’s better to play it smart. Life’s full of PVP (player vs. player). And you could fall victim to crime and lose a lot if you’re not careful.
Things To Do in Taiwan as a Solo Traveler
Here’s a list of general things to do in Taiwan:
As for specific cities, here are some guides:
And night markets. Know what foods to try, nearby things to do, and how to get there:
What To Eat in Taiwan as a Solo Traveler
Taiwan has a mixture of foods from various cultures you should try. Some foods include:
|Beef noodle soup
|Ice cream burrito
|Green onion pancake
|Vermicelli with oysters
It’s an incomplete list, but I’ve detailed what each of these foods contains in a separate guide.
Taiwan doesn’t have much vegan or vegetarian food. I recommend using the HappyCow app to find such restaurants.
Many Buddhists have restaurants that serve vegetarian food. Search for buildings with the Buddhist symbol (卐 or 卍). Many temples will also have this symbol.
The best way to explore Taiwanese food culture is to indulge in the country’s night market culture. It’s a great way to find affordable desserts, deep-fried foods, and drinks.
And you can play carnival-style games.
99% of the time, these markets only accept cash. And many vendors don’t speak English. You also may need to use Google Translate’s camera feature to translate menus.
If you visit a tourist trap night market (like Shilin Night Market), you’ll likely find more vendors who don’t only speak Mandarin.
Tips for Solo Traveling in Taiwan
Here are some recommendations when traveling in Taiwan:
- Save receipts: if you stay for a month or 2, you can take part in Taiwan’s receipt lottery
- Don’t litter cigarette butts: people will possibly record you, then report you to the police
- Get an EasyCard: it’s only NT$100 and makes using public transportation in Taiwan easier
- Don’t vape: vape pens are apparently illegal in Taiwan 
- Practice awareness when crossing roads: don’t become roadkill
- * Avoid confrontation when possible: someone could record you and sue you for making them ‘lose face’
Negatively affecting someone’s reputation because of slander is against the law in Taiwan . People could abuse this law to try to make money.
If you find someone yelling or attacking you, record them with your phone or a GoPro. Use the recording as evidence in case for some reason they attempt to take you to court for slander.
Because I’ve seen RARE cases where people got attacked, pressed charges against the attacker, then got sued for slander.
I don’t know whether they made that story up. But it’s something to keep in mind.
If You Stay in Taiwan Long Enough
You may decide you want to stay in Taipei longer than 14 days. Whether you want to live or stay here for a couple of months, you’ll need to find a longer-term stay.
I wrote a guide on finding apartments. And if you’re studying in Taiwan, this guide will also help you find accommodation.
Staying in Taiwan for longer than 90 days will require you to get an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and a specific visa. Refer to the visas I mentioned earlier.
You’ll need to consider many other aspects of living in Taiwan. Explore my other Taiwan expatriate guides to learn more.
Where To Stay in Taiwan as a Solo Traveler
If you’re on a budget in Taiwan, stay in an Airbnb. Working with the app makes it easy to book stays and deal with the landlords.
Because the landlords may not speak English.
You could also try hostels. Though Airbnb will have many hostel listings, you will also want to try to find your own. They’re a great way to meet other foreigners.
And for Taiwanese cultural immersion, try a site like Homestay. It helps you find families that host people for a fee. These families will help you with language exchange, learning about Taiwanese or indigenous culture, and helping you navigate your city.
Those who have more money to spend on accommodation.
Get a hotel. Taiwan has many nice hotels that range in price. If you’re splurging, go for a hot springs resort. Or, if you’re in Taipei City, stay at the Humble House.
The latter hotel I mentioned has stellar air quality in the rooms, plenty of facilities, and a fantastic view of Taipei 101.
When searching for a hot spring resort, check the city you’re visiting to see whether they have hot springs. For instance, you can only choose Beitou Hot Spring Resort in Taipei.
These hotels have hot springs inside of them and have given me some of the best sleep.
Travel Insurance for Traveling Solo in Taiwan
Since I’ve never used travel insurance, I can’t recommend any decent travel insurance for traveling to Taiwan at the moment.
My research has shown me to avoid SafetyWing in many circumstances . However, it depends on your circumstance.
From what I’ve checked out, I recommend researching the following travel insurance providers:
- IMG International health insurance
- World Nomads
Once again, I don’t endorse these options. But I recommend researching them and seeing whether they’ll benefit you during your trip to Taiwan.