Guide To Traveling in Taiwan

This is an overview of everything you should know when visiting Taiwan.

I’ve lived in Taiwan for more than 5 years and want to help you have an optimal experience when traveling. The following sections will briefly cover important information. Follow links attached to each point to learn more.


Airlines That Fly to Taiwan

Popular airlines that fly to Taiwan include:

Air CanadaAir ChinaAll Nippon AirwaysChina Eastern Airlines
EmiratesEVA AirlinesKorean AirKLM
Turkish AirlinesUnited Airlines
This table presents most airlines that will fly to Taiwan.

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.

Use a reward program management app like Awardwallet to keep track of all your memberships.

Power Outlet Type Used in Taiwan

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 Cities Should I Visit in Taiwan?

Here are all the different cities you should visit in Taiwan:

CityWhy It’s Visit(able)
TaipeiMost things to do & English support
New TaipeiAdjacent to Taipei & adds more things to do
TaichungSomeone convenient to navigate
KaohsiungSpectacular site like Fo Guang Shan Monastery
TainanHistorical city
PingtungIt has Kenting National park, which is the best for beach lovers
HualienAnother great city for beach-lovers
NantouMountainous area
List of the best cities in Taiwan to visit.

What To Do When Traveling in Taiwan

Houtong Cat VillageJiufen Old StreetNight MarketsYehliu Geopark
Taipei Zoo

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.

Here are things to do throughout various cities in Taiwan:

CityPart of Taiwan
TaipeiNorth
TaichungCentral
List of things to do in Taiwan by city.

And you can’t visit Taiwan without indulging in a Taiwanese night market. Here’s a list of markets spread throughout Taiwan:

Taiwan Travel Costs & Best Souvenirs

Here are some common costs of traveling to Taipei (Taiwan’s most expensive city):

CategoryEst. Cost per day
AccommodationNT$799–NT$4,500
SIM CardsNT$300 *
Eating OutNT$360 †
Recreation/EntertainmentFree–NT$3,000
TransportationNT$200
Average Taiwan travel price.

* Per trip

† Varies depending on the restaurant chosen.

How Much Should I Budget for a Trip to Taiwan?

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

You could pay around $30 a night with a hostel or low-cost hotel for decent accommodation. A ballpark estimate of close to $210 once done.

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

Taking the slow train to another city usually costs $12.55–$28.40 per trip. If you’re riding the subway, it will likely cost more than $9.00 a day. 

The total of your spending depends on how much you want to take public transportation.

On average, meals often cost between $1.40–$4.00 per person, whether you go to restaurants or night market stalls. Possibly a little more than $5.00 a day if you’re frugal.

If you eat at 7-Eleven for every meal, you’ll probably spend nearly 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, bringing a water bottle from home could probably knock off a couple of cents.

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

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

You could experience much of Taiwan without paying for any attractions, minus the transportation costs. However, even entry to Taiwanese attractions offers affordable pricing.

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

I wrote a more thorough guide on typical Taiwan costs. Check it out.

Best Taiwan Souvenirs

Here are all the souvenirs I recommend getting while in Taiwan:

Rice WinePlum WineMountain Oolong Tea
Kavalan WhiskeyKinmen Kaoliang Liquor3D Smart Cards
Chili SauceBeerSoda Crackers
Pineapple CakesSun CakesSnacks
JadeMeat-Shaped StonesTiny Sky Lanterns
Green TeaCeramicsSheet Masks
Name StampsPhotosMochi
StickersP.Seven Perfume
Best souvenirs you can get in Taiwan.

Here are some clarifications on some items in the above table. You’ll need to visit a separate guide I wrote on the subject for further clarification on each item, though.

P.Seven Perfume is tea-scented perfume. 3D smart cards are limited edition EasyCards, iPass, or icash 2.0 cards. Name stamps (chops) are what Taiwanese use to add “signatures” to official documents.

Taiwan Tourist Tax Refund

Taiwan offers tourists and visitors a 5% VAT refund on goods more than NT$2,000. But they’ll charge you a 14% handling fee. If you buy stuff from the shopping center, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, your total purchases must sit at more than NT$3,000.

To claim your refund, you’ll need:

  • Travel documents: plane tickets, etc.
  • Entry stamp: for those who entered without a visa
  • Passport of your home country
  • Visa: if that’s how you entered Taiwan

I’ve covered shopping centers and buildings where to claim tourist tax refunds in a separate guide. It would take me too long to explain it here.

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 LGBTQ+ travelers to visit.

Even though it’s safe, don’t get drunk alone, and make sure to exercise caution whenever roaming the streets alone in the middle of the night [2].

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).

Here’s a list of New Taiwan Dollar denominations you’ll find:

DenominationType
1/2 (rare)Coin
One (1/100)Coin
Five (1/20)Coin
10 (1/10)Coin
20 (1/5)Coin
50 (1/2)Coin
100Banknote
200 (uncommon)Banknote
500Banknote
1,000Banknote
2,000 (uncommon)Banknote
This table shows common New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) denominations.

Where Do You Exchange Currency in Taiwan?

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 over the rest.

Compared to other airports, Taoyuan at least offers live exchange rates [3 airport guide]. 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 your fees. Going this route will also save you from waiting at the bank. Furthermore, to avoid a NT$100 fee, use the 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). Check this bank’s exchange rate before withdrawing for the best conversion rates.

If Taiwanese friends need your currency, 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 are an excellent alternative to banks since they’re open longer.

Exchanging currency in Taiwan isn’t like in 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 [4]. That means they have the highest ATM density in the world. Don’t worry; you can’t go far without an ATM nearby to exchange currency.

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

How to Differentiate Real & Fake New Taiwan Dollars

It’s rare to find fake banknotes in Taiwan. But you should know how to prevent yourself from accidentally giving one to a cashier.

Here’s how to identify real New Taiwan Dollar bills:

  • The lower left corner number should change colors when viewed at different angles
  • Put the bill against a light source:
    • You’ll see a number: e.g. the number “100” on a NT$100 bill
    • You should see a watermark that’s invisible otherwise: e.g. flower on the NT$100 bill

And here are visuals:

20230126 0958263
How to identify a real NT dollar bill.
Pay attention to the number’s color change in the lower left corner.

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. 

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’ll make the best decision possible

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.

Prepaid SIM Cards

If you need a phone number, I recommend purchasing a SIM card in Taiwan if you stay for less than a month. Pre-order a SIM card from a vacation package website, or sign up for a provider once you arrive.

Taiwan has a few significant contenders who offer SIM cards:

  • ChungHwa Telecom (largest telecom)
  • Far Eastone
  • Taiwan Mobile

I’ve covered all the pricing and data more in-depth in a separate guide.

If you’re traveling to multiple countries and use an eSIM phone, I recommend using Airalo. They provide affordable and multi-regional eSIM cards that make it so you don’t need to sign up for multiple providers

And sometimes they cost less than what travel deal websites charge.

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

You’ll have to activate Google Fi while you’re in the US.

Portable Wi-Fi: Is it Worth Getting?

Get portable Wi-Fi to connect multiple devices to a private internet connection. And I’d recommend a private internet connection if you want to access banking websites.

DON’T do this over guest Wi-Fi networks. Unless you love living on the edge and risking your information getting hacked.

If you want pocket Wi-Fi in multiple countries, I recommend Skyroam Solis. The global hotspot provides an excellent tool for those who are venturing through various countries in Asia. Because you’ll just update your data plans online.

No having to pick up and drop off pocket routers.

What if you don’t care about using public networks?

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

How to Get Around & Rent Vehicles in Taiwan

Here are all the different ways to get around Taiwan:

Transportation TypeBest For
Bike RentalsExercise & scenic views
Public busesBudget travel
Car rentalsCountryside navigation
Motorbike rentalsCountryside navigation
Rapid TransitsCity-wide transport that’s fast & affordable
TaxiCountryside navigation
TrainsHigh-speed travel across mainland Taiwan
BoatReaching outlying islands
Various public transportation types in Taiwan compared.

You won’t need cars unless you intend on road tripping through Taiwan’s main island or traversing the countryside. Since you can’t rent motorbikes easily.

To rent a car, you must be aged 20 years or older and have an international driving permit. How you’ll get this permit depends on the country you’re from. I cover general steps of renting a car in Taiwan in a separate guide.

But if you want to compare car rental prices, here are some of the most popular providers:

What Should I Pack When Traveling in Taiwan?

Here’s what you should pack when traveling to 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.

Regarding smaller items like sunscreen, you can buy what you need once you get to Taiwan. You’ll find most items at supermarkets like Carrefour and PX Mart or in traditional markets.

How Can I Store My Luggage in Taiwan?

Store your luggage in Taiwan using the various lockers available nationwide or mobile applications.

If you’re out and about and don’t want to carry any baggage, most trains 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.

Dos & Don’ts in Taiwan

    Dos

    • Take off your shoes when entering someone’s home
    • Follow MRT etiquette
      • Stand on the right side of escalators; walk on the left
      • Avoid dark blue seats (in Taipei) unless you’re pregnant, old, or disabled
    • 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

I cover a lot more information on etiquette in Taiwan in a separate piece. Check it out to learn more.

Resources & 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.

ToolReason to Get
Proton VPNProtects your devices from hackers on unsecure Wi-Fi networks
World Nomads Travel InsuranceCoverage for baggage, trip cancellation, & medical expenses
STEP ProgramFree program for Americans to enroll in & receive important updates about Taiwan
iCash, EasyCard, or iPassReduces the amount of cash you need to carry
Resources to help you in Taiwan

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

1. 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
This table shows a list of important phone numbers for traveling in Taiwan.

2. Best Mobile Applications to Use in Taiwan

I recommend downloading the following apps before visiting Taiwan:

AppDescription
Air VisualHelps you plan your day by understanding the air quality
Bus+Bus schedules, public bike stations, and everything you need to get around Taiwan
Go! Taipei MetroIncludes useful features such as journey planners for both getting around in general or using public transport specifically
LINE MessengerThe most popular messaging app in Taiwan
Pleco Chinese DictionaryExcellent Chinese language dictionary
發票存摺Receipt lottery app
Google TranslateBest online/offline translation app
Google MapsGreat navigation app
Maps.meGoogle Maps alternative & great offline maps app
My EarthquakesKnow when an earthquake happens
List of apps to download while in Taiwan

Goods that aren’t refundable include duty-free items, hotel stays, restaurant bills, and items that you can’t take on planes.

FAQs

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.

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.