7-11 is EVERYTHING! There's a store at every block, open 24 hours. You can do anything from: a quick meal, café, buy concert tickets, dry cleaning, printer, to paying taxes.
Taipei is on China Standard Time (CMT). It’s UTC/GMT +8 hours, meaning that it’s 12 hours ahead of New York and 8 hours ahead of London.
- A passport with validity of at least six months upon entry.
- If you hold an emergency, temporary, other informal passports or travel documents, then you’ll need a visa to enter Taiwan.
- Japanese passport holders with their passports valid for more than 3 months are eligible for visa-exempt entry.
- US passport( including emergency passport) holders with their passports valid for the period of intended stay are eligible for visa-exempt entry.
- You’ll need a confirmed return air/sea ticket or an air/sea ticket and a visa for the next destination, and a confirmed seat reservation for departure.
- Non-criminal record and not prohibited by the local authorities to enter the R.O.C.
If you are a passport holder of the following countries, you won’t need a visa and can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days: Andorra, Australia (Effective from January 1, 2015 for one year) , Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., U.S.A. and Vatican City State.
Malaysian and Singaporean passport holders can stay up to 30 days.
For more detailed info, check out Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.’s website.
Landing in the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, you’ll be situated 30 Kilometers away from Taipei city center. Here are a few ways to get into the city:
Taoyuan Airport to the City Center by Train
- From the Airport Terminal 2 Station, take the Jichang Line to Taipei Main Station. The train ride will be 35 minutes.
Airport Shuttle and Bus:
- Express Airport Buses will lead you to either Taipei Main Railway Station or to Taipei Grand Hyatt Hotel (tickets are less than 150 NT). Buses take off every 15 minutes, and it takes 50 minutes to reach city center
- For the Taipei 101 area, take Bus no.1960. The bus runs from 6:05 am to 1:05 am.
- For the Taipei Main Train Station, take Bus no.1819, or 1961. Bus no. 1819 runs all day, while 1961 runs until 1 am.
- Private car services cost around NT $1500 (which is 48 USD Dollars)
- You can request your hotel to send a private sedan with a driver, who will greet you at the arrival area
- Taxis will cost around NT $900 to NT $1200 (which is 30 to 40 USD Dollars)
For more information regarding getting in and around Taipei, read the full article here.
Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT) is regarded as the world’s best metro system in the world. It’s clean, safe, efficient, and gets you where you want to be on time. Here are a few things you should know about the beloved transit system:
- The trains run from 6 AM to 12 AM.
- Each ride costs between NT $20 to NT $65 (which is $0.8 to $2.10 USD Dollars).
- Purchase a refillable EasyCard if staying in Taipei for more than a few days. You can refill these cards at ticket offices, vending machines, and at convenience stores.
- It’s illegal to drink or eat inside the trains. If caught, you’ll be fined.
- “Safety Zones” are platforms assigned to women and children traveling at night.
- Each station is wheel-chair friendly, and most stations have elevators.
Taipei is a relatively safe destination for travelers. Be smart about where you bags are while riding on the MRT and strolling in small alleys.
The phone number for the police is (+886) 110. The phone number for ambulance and fire is (+886) 119.
- Don’t leave valuable possessions in your back pockets.
- Be vigilant in bustling, crowded places.
- Avoid hiking mountains during Typhoon season (the season lasts from July to November).
Safety Tips for the Night-Owls:
- Try to avoid taxis at night as the city is full of unlicensed taxis that don’t use meters.
- Ignore barbershops that don’t have clear windows (these places are fronts for prostitution).
Overall, Taiwan is also one of the most democratic places in Asia, so anything goes. But be street smart and have fun!
Since Taipei is located on a tropical island, winters are never too cold and summers are sizzling hot. Be prepared!
- December, January, February (Winter): Cold but never snowing. Expect some rain.
- March, April, May (Spring): BEST TIME TO VISIT.
- June, July, August (Summer): Uncomfortably humid and extremely hot.
- September, October, November (Autumn): BEST TIME TO VISIT.
Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Taiwan. However, other languages are spoken as well, including: Taiwanese or Hokkien which you’ll hear more Taiwanese as you leave Taipei and enter other cities, especially toward the south), Hakka and aboriginal dialects.
Here’s a few basic words and phrases:
Thank you: Xièxiè
You’re welcome: Bù kèqì
Excuse me: qǐngwén
I’m sorry: duìbùqǐ
Good morning: Zǎo
My name is…: Wǒ jiào…
Check, please: Măi dān
I don’t understand: Wǒ bù dǒng
Do you speak English?: nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?
Where is…?: zài nǎlǐ?
Call the police: jiào jǐngchá
Although Taipei is an international hub brimming with modern architecture and technology, there are a few rules you should follow to avoid the eyebrow-raising and silent judging from locals.
- Spontaneous physical movements, such as shaking your leg while sitting down, is perceived as ill-mannered.
- Offer your seat to elders in the over-crowded bus or car.
- Take your shoes off before entering someone’s home.
- Always stand on the right side of the escalator.
Wine and Dine:
- Place your chopsticks across the top of the bowl (sticking chopsticks in your food is considered impolite).
- If using a toothpick, cover your mouth with the other hand while shifting your body away from another person’s view.
- Your rice bowl should be close to your face when eating.
- Don’t refuse the food that your Host places on your plate.
Other things to avoid:
- Don’t judge locals holding umbrellas in the sun. Taiwanese are big on protecting the skin especially from the ozone layer, it’s also why local ladies forever look youthful.
- Don’t eat or drink inside the MRT, aka Taiwan’s metro system. If caught, it comes with a large fine. This is also why you’ll discover Taiwan’s metro to be impeccably clean and voted as one of the top metro systems in the world.
The R.O.C.’s unit of currency is New Taiwan Dollar (NT$). Approximately NT$ 30 (up and down) equates to USD $1.
Exchanging money in Taiwan is safe and easy. You can either exchange at the airport or local banks will have ATM machines that are accessible.
Tipping! It’s not necessary, nor is it expected.
Taiwan carries the same electricity outlets as the US and Canada. They contain two vertical slots. The standard voltage is 110V and the frequency is 60 Hz. Your converter should look like this:
Drinking water straight from the faucet isn’t recommended nor is it popular in Taiwan. Although the water served at local restaurants are safe and drinking fountains located throughout public facilities in the city are also filtered and safe for drinking.
Taiwan is a highly technologically advanced destination. There should be WiFi pretty much everywhere you go. But as a traveler, you should register for iTaiwan, which provides free WiFi for travelers up to 30 days.
Staying in the country for a long time? Here’s how to get a SIM card:
- You can find mobile stores in the arrival hall of Taipei’s Taoyuan airport. When purchasing the card, you need to show two forms of identification: a passport and another form of identification.
- You can reserve cards from the Taiwan Mobile Website
- Convenience stores sell SIM cards, too.
- SIM cards cost around 300 NTD, which is around 10 USD dollars.
Taxis are abundant in Taipei. The first 1.25km (or around half a mile) is NT $70 / USD $2.26. After surpassing that amount, every extra 200 meters is NT $5 / USD $0.61. At night, the taxis charge an additional NT $20 / USD $0.64. Make sure to have your address written down before entering the car.
You can also take an Uber to your destination, but they are around the same price point.
Taiwan is one of the most LGBT-welcoming country in Asia. On May 24, 2017, the Constitutional Court declared that the Legislative Yuan has two years to to change the marriage laws to fit the Constitution. On February 21st, 2019, Taiwan began this process, granting legal protections to same-sex couples. The majority of Taiwanese citizens support same-sex marriage, even the president has stated her support.
Make sure to see the annual Gay Pride Parade, which hosts more than 130,000 people and lasts for four days. The parade is hosted in October.
Taiwan has become one of the most recycling-friendly countries in the world. Here’s how the nation recycles:
- Garbage trucks will play a tune to let residents know to drop their bags outside.
- The bright yellow truck collects trash, while the white truck following it has a series of bins in which people discard their recyclable objects.
- Waste is separated into three compartments: general refuse (incinerated), kitchen waste (turned into compost or fed to pigs), and recyclables.
Taipei is full of recycling booths, giving value to mass transit access for every bottle or can placed into the booth. Those who don’t rid of their waste properly are subject to fines or public shaming.
Must See Highlights for Eco-Travelers:
- Yangmingshan National Park is full of hiking and biking trails, as well as natural hot springs.
- Check out the strangely-formed rocks at Yehliu Geopark
- Go bird-watching at Guandu Nature Park.
- Relax in the quiet setting of the Taipei Botanical Gardens.