2022 Guide To Traveling in Taiwan

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Use this Taiwan travel guide to eliminate the confusion of traveling to this island country.

The Republic of China, Taiwan (臺灣, Traditional Chinese, or 台灣, Simplified Chinese) was previously known as Formosa.

Over a brief period, this country underwent numerous extreme changes.

Now—

It has activities for everyone.

On one side, you’ll encounter vibrant cityscapes filled with bright flashing lights and excitement at every turn.

At the same time, you can explore hiking paths that lead to breathtaking views.

Finally, if you want a time capsule, you’ll find plenty of it. Periods cover Austronesian Taiwanese, China, the Dutch Republic, Japan, Portugal, Taiwan, and World War 2 eras.

If it’s your first time traveling in Taiwan, you have a lot to learn—transportation, budgeting, accommodation, and, best of all, what to do.

To learn more about the country’s culture, explore Taiwan’s TaiwanPlus platform (English).

Besides why you should consider visiting and history, you’re probably curious about what makes Taiwan unique.

What Is Taiwan Famous For?

The small island country is famous for many items, brands, and services you may have heard of:

  • It’s the birthplace of bubble tea (pearl milk tea)
  • Vegetarian-friendliness. Taiwan has the third-highest rate of vegetarianism, leading to many vegetarian and vegan businesses.
  • Low-cost and efficient health care
  • Betel nut beauties. They’re young women who sell betel nuts from enclosures while wearing revealing clothing.
  • Home to various night markets—areas lined with street food stands.
  • Home to major brands such as ASUS, Acer, HTC, and MSI.
  • Beef noodle soup.

Is Traveling in Taiwan Safe?

Other than some typhoons and frequent earthquakes, Taiwan’s one of the safest countries for tourists. Crime rates have remained low over the years.

However, you may encounter rare cases of pickpocketing in crowded tourist zones. Just keep an eye on your stuff, and don’t put belongings in your back pockets.

Is Taiwan Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Taiwan is safe for solo female travelers. Taiwan is also a safe country for women and, of course, LGBTQ+ travelers to visit.

Even though it’s safe, don’t get drunk alone, and make sure to exercise caution—the link leads to the 2020 Taiwan crime report—whenever roaming the streets alone in the middle of the night.

What Language Is Mostly Spoken in Taiwan?

The most spoken languages in Taiwan are Taiwanese Mandarin, Taiwanese Hokkien (Taiwanese), Taiwanese Hakka, Formosan Languages (indigenous language), Matsu, and English.

What Do You Need to Know Before Traveling in Taiwan?

Before leaving for Taiwan, you’ll need to know about the currency, the dos and don’ts, how to plan your itinerary, and more.

What Currency Is Used in Taiwan?

The New Taiwan Dollar (TWD or NT$) is Taiwan’s official currency. Their currency uses a mix of paper banknotes and metal coins. Moreover, the general word for money in Mandarin Chinese is 元 (yuán).

TWD coins fall under the following denominations: 1/2, one (1/100), five (1/20), 10 (1/10), 20 (1/5), and 50 (1/2).

Keep in mind that you won’t likely encounter any 1/2 or 20 NT$ coins.

Banknotes are: 100, 200 (uncommon), 500, 1,000, 2,000 (uncommon).

Where Do You Exchange Currency in Taiwan?

You can exchange your country’s currency at the following locations in Taiwan:

  1. Airports
  2. ATMs
  3. Banks
  4. Friends
  5. Department stores
  6. Currency exchange kiosks

The following dives deeper into each currency-conversion method and what one triumphs the rest.

Compared to other airports, Taoyuan (airport guide) at least offers live exchange rates. However, they might charge you a transaction fee.

ATMs offer some of the best rates. Make sure that your bank will reimburse some or all of your fees. Going this route will also save you from having to wait at the bank. Furthermore, if you want to avoid a NT$100 fee, use Bank of Taiwan’s ATMs.

Banks. As of now, if you want to exchange your money without fees at the best rates, I recommend going to the Bank of Taiwan (government-owned). You can check this bank’s current exchange rate before withdrawing to ensure you get the best conversion rates.

If you have Taiwanese friends who need your currency, simply look up the going rate and trade your cash. It’s mutually beneficial. Be sure to stay up-to-date with peer-to-peer currency exchange laws.

Taiwan’s department stores offer currency exchange services as well. In addition, malls act as an excellent alternative to banks since they’re open longer.

Exchanging currency in Taiwan isn’t like other cities in Asia. The government strictly regulates it. Therefore, you can only exchange money at banks or authorized establishments.

Taiwan has one ATM per 826 residents. That means they have the highest ATM density in the world. So don’t worry; you can’t go far without an ATM nearby if you need to exchange currency.

Formosa Fun fact: If you love crisp bills, withdraw money around the Lunar New Year. You will encounter a pleasant surprise.

Can I Use Cryptocurrency in Taiwan?

You can use cryptocurrency in Taiwan. The island country has no laws or regulations that prohibit purchasing, mining, or holding cryptocurrency. However, the Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) does not label crypto as legitimate currencies.

Instead, the government labels them as virtual commodities.

As far as I’ve seen, Taiwanese vendors and shops don’t allow crypto as payment. 

What Type Of Power Outlet Does Taiwan Use?

Taiwan’s power outlets run on 110V supply voltage and 60Hz, the same as the United States uses.

If you come from Australia, Europe, or Southeast Asia, you should consider investing in and bringing a universal power adapter.

What Documents Do I Need To Travel to Taiwan?

You don’t need any specific documents to travel to Taiwan. However, if you’re pursuing Taiwanese visas, you’ll need documentation that satisfies the government’s requirements.

What Is the Best Month to Visit Taiwan?

October is the best month to visit Taiwan. During this time, the average highs sit around 27°C (81°F), while the lows at 22°C (72°F). Therefore, October’s also an ideal month to visit for you who don’t mind the heat or want to visit Taiwan’s outlying islands.

It’s also great because the typhoon season’s over, so you don’t have to worry about that.

If you want to avoid holiday tourists, adhere to the following tip. Keep the date October 10th in mind because that’s Taiwan’s National Day. Otherwise, you will have dodged most of Taiwan’s holidays, school and college classes will have started.

Best of all, when flying in October, you’ll avoid flying during the peak summer season. You’ll also dodge the holiday season (November and December), giving you the best deal on your tickets.

I cover more details about what Taiwan would be like each month. That way, you can make the best decision possible

I recommend using Scott’s Cheap Flights to get notifications on flight deals.

Related: How To Find the Best Flights

Which Month Is Typhoon Season in Taiwan?

July through September is the time frame of Taiwan’s typhoon season.

If you travel to this island country during that time, come prepared with rain gear, proper footwear, and a cover for your backpack.

Which Airlines Fly to Taiwan?

Popular airlines that fly to Taiwan include:

  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • All Nippon Airways
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Emirates
  • EVA Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • KLM
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

Don’t forget to see if you’re eligible for cashback rewards or airline mileage when browsing for flights. If you’ve built up enough points, you could fly for free. In addition, you can use a reward program management app like Awardwallet to keep track of all your memberships.

SIM Cards

If you need a phone number, I recommend purchasing a SIM card in Taiwan if you’re staying for less than a month. You can either pre-order a SIM card from a vacation package website, or you can sign up for a provider once you arrive.

When signing up for a provider, keep in mind that you’ll need to give the vendor a copy of your passport. I recommend preparing this ahead of time. Use a Maps app to find these vendors or ask locals.

Taiwan has a few significant contenders who offer SIM cards:

  • ChungHwa Telecom: Taiwan’s largest cellular service that also provides the best speeds at affordable pricing.
  • Far Eastone
  • Taiwan Mobile

If you want to go for a budget SIM card, I recommend purchasing pre-paid cards from southeast Asian stores.

However, if you intend on staying in Taiwan for over a month, I highly recommend Google Fi. It’s a somewhat affordable cell phone plan that’s amazing for traveling. With the starter plan, you get 10GB of data. However, if you’re a data hog, you’ll want the unlimited plan.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to activate Google Fi while you’re in the US.

WiFi

If you’re in Taipei, you can register your passport and have free WiFi throughout the city. The same applies to other parts of the country. You may also find free WiFi in malls, convenience stores (if you’re a member), and other establishments like Starbucks.

While free WiFi saves you the most money, it’s sketchy and leaves you vulnerable to cybercriminals.

That’s why you should consider pocket WiFi.

Portable WiFi allows you to connect multiple devices instead of buying more than one SIM card with pocket WiFi. You can usually pick up these gadgets from the airport once you land.

You don’t want to get pocket WiFi from Taiwan?

Skyroam offers portable hotspots for almost anywhere on the planet. The global hotspot provides an excellent tool for those who are venturing through various countries in Asia.

What Should I Pack When Traveling in Taiwan?

In short, what you need to pack for Taiwan depends on your itinerary. For instance, if you plan to hike, I recommend hiking boots. I stress the importance of boots due to potentially poisonous snakes that slither through hiking paths.

However, the two most essential items I recommend packing are moisture-absorbing packets and vacuum bags. Why? Because Taiwan’s humid. And the humidity will ruin your items if you don’t take precautions.

I’ve lost a lot of items to humidity, don’t let your stuff suffer the same fate.

Anyway, you’ll find that some items are harder to find in Taiwan. Here are some things that I recommend bringing to stay on the safe side:

  • Clothing: you may have difficulty finding specific clothing sizes
  • Battery pack
  • Universal power adapter: here’s an excellent Swiss-made adapter
  • Reusable water bottle: save money on water
  • Deodorant: it’s hard to find a good deodorant
  • Sunscreen: easy to find but highly recommended
  • Waterproof backpack cover
  • Durable umbrella
  • Sunglasses

You can buy what you need once you get to Taiwan. You’ll find most items at supermarkets or in traditional markets.

Also read: In-depth guide on what to pack for a vacation

How Can I Store My Luggage in Taiwan?

You can store your luggage in Taiwan by using the various lockers available throughout the country or mobile applications.

If you’re out and about and don’t want to carry any baggage, most train and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations offer affordable storage options. In addition, specific shopping centers like IKEA also provide lockers for you to store your luggage.

If you’d rather know what’s available ahead of time, consider using a service such as Lalalocker. You book online, drop off your luggage, and use a “reclaim ticket,” along with your identification to pick it up.

They also offer unique fridge storage along with long-term storage. In addition, Lalalocker gives NT$10,000 ($359) in compensation per bag if you find your luggage damaged or lost.

How Much Should I Budget for a Trip to Taiwan?

You should budget at least $500 on the lower end for a 7-day trip to Taiwan. However, that’s for if you want to save the most money possible. It’s extreme budgeting, but you can still enjoy your time in Taiwan while saving money.

With a service like Airbnb, you could pay around $30 a night for decent accommodation. A ballpark estimate of close to $210 once you’re done.

A SIM card will only cost under $10 for 7-days of unlimited 4G data. If you want to live off WiFi instead, you can cut costs here. Don’t forget to explore Taiwan’s free public WiFi, iTaiwan.

Taking the non-HSR train to another city usually sits between $12.55–$28.40 per trip. If you’re riding the subway, it will likely cost over $9.00 a day. 

The total of what you spend depends on how much you want to take public transportation.

On average, meals usually cost between $1.40–$4.00 per person, whether you go to restaurants or night market stalls. Possibly a little over $5 a day if you’re frugal.

If you decide to eat at 7-11 for every meal, you’ll probably spend close to the same amount per meal (food and drink).

Speaking of food, coffee.

If you want to opt for a coffee chain, Taiwan-based Louisa Coffee’s prices average around $3.05 per cup. Are you staying for a while? Sign up for the Louisa membership program through LINE or Facebook Messenger to potentially save a little money. Also, if you bring a water bottle from home, you could probably knock off a couple of cents.

Otherwise, you can find cheap coffee at any convenience store if you just need a fix.

If you’re a smoker, cigarettes usually cost around $4 a pack. A lot of Taiwanese cigarettes come from Japan. Moreover, it’s rare, possibly impossible, to find brands like Camel and American Spirit. However, you will find plenty of Marlboro and Lucky Strike.

Honestly, you could experience a lot of Taiwan without having to pay for any attractions, minus the transportation costs. However, even the entry to Taiwanese attractions offers affordable pricing.

For instance, you’ll only pay $6.80 for admission to the Taipei 101 Observatory.

Dos and Don’ts in Taiwan

Dos

  • Take off your shoes when entering someone’s home
  • Follow MRT etiquette
  • Learn a few Mandarin phrases

Don’ts

  • Mention death or the number four
  • Open a gift in front of the gifter
  • Leave your chopsticks upright in a bowl

What To Do When Traveling in Taiwan

Your plane’s landed, you’re past immigration, and you’re free to roam the airport. Snag your SIM card or pocket WiFi from their counters.

Convert your currency.

Pick up your luggage.

Then head to one of Taiwan’s many 7-11s for a NT$10 ($0.36) egg bathed in tea.

Finally, go to your accommodation and unpack—or store your luggage—and explore.

Need help figuring out what to do in Taiwan? Use another Taiwan travel guide that I wrote to learn the best tourist destinations in Taiwan.

FAQ: Traveling in Taiwan

Taiwan’s likely different from what you’re used to—in a good way. That’s why I’ve pulled a lot of commonly asked questions about this country to help clear any questions or concerns you’ll have when visiting./f

What Vaccines Do I Need To Enter?

While Taiwan won’t ban you from entering if you don’t have a specific vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center of Disease Control (CDC) recommend receiving the following vaccines:
– Rabies: Taiwan doesn’t have wild dogs with rabies, but they have bats
– Japanese Encephalitis
– Typhoid
– Hepatitis A and B

Since Taiwan hasn’t opened its borders, it’s unknown whether their government will require you to have a COVID-19 vaccine to enter. However, at the moment, a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t required to enter Taiwan.

Can I Drink Tap Water in Taiwan?

While you can drink tap water in Taiwan, many recommend boiling your water. The advice is recommended due to water tanks in buildings potentially building up bacteria.

Many apartments have sinks in community areas that offer purified water if you’re staying in an Airbnb. Moreover, hotels will have spots where you can fill reusable water bottles also.

When on the go, check train stations for machines that’ll refill your water bottles.

What Religion Is Most Popular in Taiwan?

The most popular religion is Buddhism—including Tantric Buddhism—according to a study from 2005. Most Taiwanese aren’t religious; however, Taiwan does have freedom of religion.

Is Taiwan Expensive to Visit?

Taiwan is a way more affordable country to visit than many of its caliber. Even if you venture through Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei, your money will still take you a long way. However, it’s possible to enjoy Taiwan without spending a lot of money.

Does Taiwan Have Kosher Restaurants?

It’s somewhat difficult to find a kosher restaurant in Taiwan. If you’re in Taiwan and need kosher food, unfortunately, your best bet is to explore big chains like Starbucks, 7-11, and other shops for hechsher products.

What Do They Wear in Taiwan?

What Taiwanese wear depends on the time of the year. If you’re in the city, you’ll mostly see Taiwanese people dressed for work—suit, tie, dress shirt, skirts, and other business attire. Otherwise, people will dress for the weather.

If it’s hot, you’ll see people wearing shorts, flip flops, or tee shirts. In the winter, you’ll see people bundled with jackets, scarves, and jeans.

However, for the most part, Taiwanese take part in different fashion trends from around the globe.

Can I Use US Dollars in Taiwan?

You can’t use US dollars in Taiwan.

You can only make purchases with the local currency in Taiwan, the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$). However, some duty-free shops may allow the use of US dollars.

What Souvenirs Should I Buy in Taiwan?

While you’re in Taiwan, I recommend getting nine of the most popular souvenirs that include:
1. Pineapple cake
2. Taiwanese tea
3. Destination-based trinkets
4. Jade
5. Suncake

Is It Easy To Find Halal Food in Taiwan?

While you won’t find Halal restaurants everywhere in Taiwan, you will find at least one Halal restaurant in almost every city. Also, in Taipei city, you’ll find the most options.

To have the best luck in finding Halal food, seek out Indonesian. Buddhist, vegetarian, or other middle eastern restaurants.

Is It Easy To Get Around Taiwan With English?

While many people don’t speak English, if you have a translation app or a friend, you’ll have an easy time getting around Taiwan with only knowing English. Moreover, if you run into an awkward scenario, sometimes a friendly Taiwanese person who knows English will step in and help you.

Otherwise, transportation stations and various restaurants have English support. Moreover, when paying for items at stores, just look at the screen instead of listening for the numbers in Mandarin.

Sometimes, cashiers will use a calculator and type the price to give you a visual reference.

What Are the Most Used Food Delivery Apps in Taiwan?

The most common food delivery apps in Taiwan are Uber Eats and Food Panda. However, you won’t find services like DoorDash or other apps you’re likely familiar with.

Are There Any Special Customs in Taiwan That Would Be Good To Know?

Some cultural customs that you should keep in mind include:
– Take your shoes off when entering someone’s home
– Taiwanese shake hands when meeting someone new
– Use both hands to hold a gift when presenting it to someone
– Don’t lose face: never show anger in public; otherwise, people may view you as uncivilized
– Tipping isn’t mandatory
– If you refuse a gift, Taiwanese may insist on giving you said gift

Taiwan has a fair number of superstitions, which is why I recommend exploring them to avoid potentially awkward scenarios with Taiwanese friends and hosts.

Is It Legal to Vape in Taiwan?

It is illegal to vape in Taiwan. You aren’t allowed to bring them or e-liquids into the country. Moreover, it is illegal to sell vape pens or heated tobacco products.

Resources and Tools for Traveling in Taiwan

The following are free and paid resources that’ll help you through Taiwan, prevent bad situations, and mitigate unpredictable scenarios.

ExpressVPN: a great VPN to protect you when using unsecured WiFi.

Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads. Their top-notch insurance covers medical, baggage, trip cancellation, and more.

STEP: enroll in this platform to receive important travel notifications from the US government while you’re abroad. It’s free.

You’ll need an unlocked phone to get a SIM card. Learn more about unlocked phones in my guide.

Contactless card/s. Taiwan has various cards like EasyCard (most popular), iPass, icash, and others. You can use these cards for public transportation, retail establishments, and tourist destinations throughout the country.

You can purchase an EasyCard through this link and pick it up once you arrive or purchase one at the airport.

Useful phone numbers in Taiwan:

Phone NumberService
119Ambulance and fire
110Police
0800-024-111—press (2) for EnglishInternational Community Service Hotline (24 hours and toll-free)
165Anti-fraud
113Children and women protection hotline
133Domestic violence hotline
1925Suicide hotline
Phone NumberService
This table shows a list of important phone numbers for traveling in Taiwan.

Mobile Applications

Air Visual (iOS / Android): helps you plan your day by understanding the air quality.

Bus+ (iOS / Android): bus schedules, public bike stations, and everything you need to get around Taiwan.

Go. Taipei Metro (iOS / Android): Their app also includes useful features such as journey planners for both getting around in general or using public transport specifically:

  • Searchable maps of every line
  • A route map showing all stations on each line
  • An interactive map of all Youbike docking points in central Taipei (and some outside it)
  • An estimate of how many bikes will be available at each location at any given time
  • And more

LINE Messenger (iOS / Android): the most popular messaging app in Taiwan.

Pleco Chinese Dictionary (iOS / Android): crucial if you need a tool to help you learn the language

發票存摺 (iOS / Android): if you intend on staying here on an odd-numbered month, download this receipt lottery app. With most vendors, you just show them the barcode this app provides, then it’ll save a cloud receipt to your phone.

Receipt lottery drawings are on the 26th of every odd-numbered month. And yes, foreigners can win prizes. So, it’s an excellent way to automate seeing whether you won and score some beer (or bubble tea) money.

Keep in mind that you’ll only find this app in Chinese. However, you can use a Google Translate widget to translate the screen’s text to navigate this application. Or, you can screenshot your text and translate that through a Translation app.

Also, you may need a bank account or a post office banking account to use this app.

Taiwan Vacation Packages

Do you need suggestions on some fun activities that you can do while you’re in Taiwan? Explore these unique experiences.

Taipei Like a Local: Customized Private Tour – $30.77

Get to know the city through the eyes of a passionate local.
With no set itinerary, you can customize the tour or leave it up to the local for an insightful introduction to the city.

Make travel about the people you meet not just the places you see.

Half day rock climbing and rappelling experience just in Taipei city, Taiwan – $90.00

Re-Hai rock climbing site is just in Taipei city, the view up there is so great, you can see whole Xinbeitou area.

Hop on an MRT(Taipei metro), go to Xinbeitou station, enjoy this half day outing.

You will do, a short hiking / experience two rock climbing routes / one 18 meters high rappelling route, enjoy the view and a good day.

You can choose this tour to be in the morning or in the afternoon.

For the other half day, you can visit Xinbeitou Area (not included in this product), It’s famous for hot spring resorts / the thermal valley (a big pool of hot spring source) / A nice park with hot spring stream in it / Public hot spring pool / the hot spring museum / Beitou library. Worth to spend a half day.

Taiwan Traditional Delicacies Experience, Xiao Long Bao, Chicken vermicelli with mushroom and sesame oil, Tofu strips salad, Bubble milk tea. – $77.00

CookingFunTaiwan???? cuisines inherited Taiwanese mothers’ special cuisines, using vegetables and fruits that grow prosperously in Taiwan throughout all seasons go prepare delicious and healthy local delicacies.
We have cooking teachers speaking Japanese, English and Chinese to take you on a journey of making the memories of Taiwan’s delicacies for life. If you wish to savor Taiwan’s delicacies, stories and local human touch in order to make unforgettable memories for the journey, you are welcome to make a reservation for CookingFunTaiwan???? courses now.

Taipei Day Tour including Taipei 101, Din Tai Fung and Hot Spring Experience – $184.62

Discover the Zen of Taipei. We’ll start at the top, literally, with a high-altitude view of everything from the observatory of Taipei 101. You’ll have ample time to both learn about the building itself and take in the gorgeous views of your surroundings.

Afterward, we’ll head downstairs for a leisurely lunch at Michelin rated Din Tai Fung, where you’ll eat your fill of the restaurant’s world famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings).

After lunch, we’ll take you to the geothermic Beitou district, home to Taipei’s best Japanese style bath houses, first used as centers of entertainment and leisure by Japanese colonial officials then kamikaze pilots on the night before their final missions.

You’ll soak in the area’s healing waters for an hour before being brought back to your accommodation.

Please note that soaking in hot springs isn’t recommended for pregnant women, people with heart conditions or other serious medical conditions.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Plaza Premium Lounge – $39.18

Want to relax before flying from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport?

Then book your access to the quiet and elegant retreat of Airport Lounges, so you can unwind in peace before boarding your flight.

Sink into the plush seats, help yourself to the hot and cold buffets, take a refreshing shower, and wallow in the calm and civilized atmosphere before your flight call.

Plus, choose the length of access you want from the options available to suit your schedule.

Closing Thoughts on Traveling in Taiwan

Thankfully Taiwan has made its country easily accessible for foreigners (for the most part).

So if you follow this Taiwan travel guide and other articles that I created around this subject, you will be fine.

If you have any questions about Taiwan, the following sources can provide additional information:

  • Taiwan Reddit
  • Forumosa: Taiwan-orientated community
  • A local Taiwanese representative office
  • Taiwanese locals

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