Is It Safe to Travel to Taiwan Right Now?

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 about 5(ish) years. I want to share my experience and combine it with published information to help you determine whether Taiwan is safe to visit.

I’ll cover crime rates under various categories (e.g., gangs, and natural disasters). From there, you can determine whether Taiwan is worth visiting.


Is it Safe to Travel to Taiwan at the Moment?

Yes. You’re likely asking because of geopolitical tensions, and there is no imminent threat of China invading Taiwan.

Don’t let the media’s political hype and continual headlines dissuade you from visiting Taiwan. However, always check in with your government and news for updates.

If you’re a US citizen, sign up for STEP notifications (regardless of the threats from China). Folks from other countries should consider similar programs if applicable.


Key Information

  • Taiwan is extremely safe to visit and live in for tourists, solo female travelers, LGBTQ+ folks, 
  • Don’t drink tap water.
  • Traffic deaths are high; pay attention to drivers.
  • LGBTQ+-friendly.
  • Food poisoning is very unlikely.
  • It’s safe to walk around at night.
  • Typhoon season is from May to November.
  • Earthquakes happen a lot, but Taiwan’s infrastructure handles them well.
  • Tourist scams are super rare.

Theft & Violent Crime rates

2022 statistics — most recent statistics I could find [1]:

  • Violent crimes: 2.14 per 100k people
  • Theft / larceny: 161 per 100k people
  • * Gun-related deaths: 0.21 per 100k people (2019 statistic)
  • Murders: 174
  • Kidnappings: 1
  • Robbery: 96.99
  • Aggravated assault: 24

* [2]

Taiwan has a low crime rate. Violent crimes and theft rarely happen. Most folks feel safe walking alone during the day and at night.

Taiwan is the 6th safest country in Asia [3]. Others propose it’s the 30th safest country in the world when measured by the Global Peace Index.

This index considers various factors 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.

Anyway.


How Safe is Taiwan Regarding Road Safety?

Key statistics:

  • * 12.6 deaths per 100k people in 2021 [4]
    • In 2000, it was 15.4 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Total of 2,915 traffic-related deaths in 2023 [5]
    • Taichung City had the most deaths (315)
    • Deaths per 100k people remain similar to 2021.
  • Had 253 deaths in 2023 due to drunk driving accidents
  • 108,979 injuries from accidents caused by motorcyclists (in 2023)
  • 11,838 children were injured and 20 died in 2023 from traffic accidents.

* The average death worldwide for traffic deaths is 17 per 100,000 people [6].

Drivers in Taiwan are the biggest hazards for anyone visiting or living in Taiwan.

Many of these deaths come from aggressive drivers who refuse to give pedestrians the right of way in many cases. Drivers that I’ve encountered have gotten better at giving pedestrians the right-of-way.

They still have a long way to go, though.

Now for a rant…

Here’s an example of a scenario that could kill you if you’re unaware.

You’re 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 wander closer to that car slightly, 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 mainly in New Taipei City and not in Taipei.


Tips for Tourists & Expats

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 stop suddenly, they could cause a vehicle pileup. Only use that tip at the right time.


LGBTQ+ Safety

Key statistics:

  • There has been 1 recorded instance of hate crime against LGBTQ+ folks within the previous 5 years [7]

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 [8].

I have no experience in this area. I recommend checking out blogs, forum entries, and vlogs of LGBTQ+ individuals who live/d in Taiwan.


Gangs

Most of Taiwan’s crimes come from gang-related activities.

Usually, when gang violence happens, it’s:

  • Among rival gangs.
  • To anyone who owes money to loan sharks.
  • To folks who cause trouble at gang-funded establishments (SOME temples, night markets, gang member funerals and KTV parlors).

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.

Let’s move on to pickpocketing.


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.

Be smart.

And use your smart(ness) regarding the next section.


Fraud & Scams

Current scams in Taiwan:

  • Sextortion: Scammers will encourage you to enter nude video calls with them, record the call, then blackmail you unless you give them money.
  • Advance fee frauds: Fraudsters offer large sums of money if you send money to a Taiwanese bank account.
  • Telephone scams: You’ll receive calls claiming to be local authorities that demand your information. Don’t give it to them.
  • Cab drivers: Rogue cab drivers may deliberately not turn on their meter and demand unreasonable fees.
    • Take pictures of cabs’ information.
  • Too good to be true: Products for sale on e-commerce sites that are too good to be true.
  • Investment scams: Scammers impersonate celebrities and encourage followers to download investing apps.
  • Carousell fake QR codes: Scammer will send you a QR code to process payments through Carousell (a peer-to-peer e-commerce app).

Taiwan isn’t known for fraud and scams. But they can occur. Tourist scams also don’t really happen. Just tourist traps at night markets.

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 & Extreme Events

Likely natural hazards and weather-related extreme events in Taiwan:

  • Heat waves
  • Typhoons / hurricanes / cyclones
  • Earthquakes
  • Landslides
  • Heavy downpours
  • Flooding
  • Tornados (rare)
  • * Tsunamis (super rare)

* 2 waves that experts classified as tsunamis have happened in Taiwan since 1781.

Visit Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration (CWA) website to find alerts for earthquakes, typhoons, and other phenomena. There’s no need to download weather or earthquake apps.

Since most of them source data from the CWA, anyway.

Taiwan doesn’t have tornados (for the most part). Though, they may have some F1 or F2 tornadoes in plains areas such as Pingdong, Yunlin, and Tainan.

Taiwan also doesn’t have snow, except in the mountains.


Earthquakes

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.

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.

Practice caution when hiking.

During Taiwan’s 7.4 Earthquake in 2024, around 18 people died. A majority of these deaths were in the mountains and likely caused by landslides.


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 Safety & Potable Water

Taiwan’s tap water is considered safe to drink [9, 10]. I recommend boiling your water, just in case.

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.


Is Taiwanese Food Safe?

Taiwan has at least 4,000 – 6,000 food poisoning cases yearly [11]. 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 find 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 haven’t ever gotten food poisoning. And I have a bad immune system.

Time to talk about politics.


Political Tension & Civil Unrest

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 [12].

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

Taiwan has no history of terrorist attacks.


Health Safety

  • Taiwan has no mask mandate

Australia’s government suggests that Taiwan has the following disease risks [13]:

  • COVID-19
  • Dengue fever
  • Zika
  • Japanese encephalitis

Before traveling, speak to your doctor to see whether you should get vaccinations for these ailments.

I’m not a medical professional so I can’t offer specific medical advice. But I do recommend you use bug repellant with at least 30% DEET formulas to ward off mosquitos. They’re everywhere.


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.


Air Pollution

When the air is heavily polluted, you should reconsider prolonged outdoor exercise. For instance, if the air quality is between 101 and 150, you should work out for 15 minutes straight and 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.


Who You Should Contact in Case of an Emergency

With emergencies the locals can deal with, call the following numbers:

ServicePhone Number
Police110
Fire and Ambulance Services119
Repair Services112
Time117
Weather Forecast166
Freeway Condition Information168
Center for Disease Control Hotline1922
Anti-Fraud Hotline165
Coast Guard118
Emergency phone numbers in Taiwan.

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 BodyPhone 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

Phone numbers for consular government offices in Taiwan.


Do I Feel Safe in Taiwan? An Expat’s Perspective

During my 5+ years in Taiwan, I haven’t been scammed or jumped once. And I typically walk outside in the middle of the night (midnight).

The worst things that have happened to me are occasional people swearing at me and saying “foreigner something something” in Mandarin. But that’s life.

Here’s a video where Taiwan Plus interviews various foreigners on whether they feel safe (they all feel super safe):


Where to Find Travel Advisories for Taiwan

United StatesCanada
Australia

My Safety Tips When Visiting

  • Sign up for STEP (if you’re American): Get alerts on emergencies.
  • Stay hydrated: Keep up with your electrolytes when it’s hot outside.
  • Wear sunscreen: The constant sun could damage your skin.
  • Don’t be aggressive: Starting fights is the easiest way to put yourself in danger.
  • Avoid tap water: Just in case.
  • Don’t get pickpocketed: Don’t leave anything valuable in your back pockets.

Can I Survive with Only English?What to Pack
Solo Traveler’s GuideEtiquette
Best Time to VisitDress Code

Safety Sources