Taiwan Travel Guides
Banks: 09:00 to 15:00, Monday to Friday
Post Offices: 08:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday
Department Stores and Shops: 10:00 to 22:00, Monday to Saturday
Museums: 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Sunday
Business Offices: 09:00 to 15:30, Monday to Friday
Overall, the island of Taiwan is a very safe place for travellers of any gender and race. The Taiwanese are respectful of visitors and incidents of crime against tourists are very rare. A staunch police presence and harsh penalties also help to deter crime against foreigners.
Taipei and other major cities are the main places to be concerned about your safety and security. Petty thieves are present in the crowded tourist areas and transport hubs of Taipei, so be sure and keep a close eye on your bags and valuables when in these situations. Night-time also warrants some extra precaution in the larger cities. Don’t venture along dark streets or into parts of the city which don’t feel safe at night.
Electricity: 110V, 60Hz; flat two prong plugs
Visitors to Taiwan should note that vaccinations are not usually necessary when entering the country, however, at times proof of immunisation is required, especially if arriving from areas of the world that are affected by Yellow Fever. It is also recommended to receive a vaccination for Japanese encephalitis. Please check with your health provider prior to travel.
Please note that tap water is safe to drink in Taipei. Be aware that many dairy products are made from unpasteurised milk and are not recommended for consumption due to the bacteria that can be found in such products. Ensure that all meats and seafood are cooked properly and make sure that fruits and vegetables are either thoroughly washed or peeled.
Taiwan boasts first class medical care with doctors trained to the highest international standards. Medical assistance is expensive in Taiwan and it is highly recommended that all visitors purchase medical insurance.
Taiwan’s official language is Mandarin Chinese, which is spoken by everyone in the nation. Native Taiwanese is widely spoken, and English is becoming more prevalent since students are required to learn it in school.
Taiwan’s currency is the new Taiwan dollar (TWD). There are 100 cents in one dollar. Notes come in denominations of TWD2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, and 100. Coins come in denominations of TWD50, 20, 10, 5 and 1.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, in banks, and occasionally at hotels. When travellers arrive in Taiwan, they are required to make a written declaration of the quantity of foreign currency they are bringing into the nation. Unused currency can be exchanged back into foreign currency only with receipts from the original exchanger.
Credit cards are widely accepted in every decent-sized town, making this a convenient way to cover expenses without exchanging cash. All major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most shops, restaurants and hotels. ATMs can be found in just about every town, and many of them accept international debit cards. Visitors should check transaction fees for each withdrawal. Traveller’s cheques are also widely accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants. The preferred currency for these cheques is US dollars.
Every visitor to Taiwan over the age of 20 years can bring 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 454 grams of tobacco; one litre of alcohol; and a reasonable amount of perfume into Taiwan without incurring any customs duty. Taiwan has some very specific restrictions on certain items such as narcotics, gambling articles, weapons and fresh meats and produce. Any publication promoting Communism is prohibited, as are items which were made in Albania, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Korea, Laos, Romania and Vietnam.
Despite the rapid development of Taiwan over past decades, life in this nation is still strongly influenced by traditional Chinese values. This translates to a lot of superstitious taboos which you’ll need to consider if you interact with any locals.
Taiwanese are very superstitious about death. Anything to do with death should be avoided. It is against custom to write someone’s name in red ink, as this colour is related to death. Whistling at night is taboo, as this is believed to call evil spirits. Never point at cemeteries or graves as this will also alarm your Taiwanese friends. Clocks should never be given as gifts as these are also connected with death.
Gifts are another subject of intense superstition. If the word for an object sounds even remotely like something considered unlucky, it makes a bad gift. Check with a local before bringing a gift to someone. Drinking is a common enough part of social life in Taiwan, but too much drinking is considered poor behavior, and you will lose face.
When you meet someone for the first time, a handshake is the normal greeting. Dress codes in Taiwan are fairly casual, but everyone appreciates and respects nice clothing and a clean appearance.
If you are invited into someone’s home, be sure to remove your shoes before entering. Bedroom slippers will be provided by the host to wear inside the house, but if you use the bathroom you’ll be expected to change into a different kind of footwear. When you eat with someone, there aren’t many dining strict rules to follow.
Remember the Taiwanese obsession with death, and never prop your chopsticks inside of your bowl. This image is connected to incense sticks, which are a part of death rituals. Always lay chopsticks on the rim of the bowl or to the side.
Visa and Passports
There are a number of different tourist visas available for visitors to Taiwan. Your plane ticket should include a ‘Visa Exempt Entry’ that is valid for a two-week stay. Otherwise, you can get a ‘Visa Free’ upon arriving at the airport in Taipei which allows for a stay of two weeks. You can also prearrange a ‘Landing Visa’ for a fee at a Taiwanese embassy which allows you to stay for 30 days.
Visa extensions are not an easy prospect in Taiwan. It’s best to fly to Japan or Korea for a short break and then return to Taiwan on a new visitor visa. Don’t take visa overstays lightly in Taiwan. If you overstay without a valid reason, you will be banned from the nation for a determined length of time.
Tourist Information Offices
There is a small but useful tourist information desk at the airport in Taipei. Otherwise, check out the Tourism Bureau in the city for all your needs.
Zhong Shan South road
Phone: +886 2 2349 1635