Top 10 Taiwan Travel Tips and Tricks - An Insider's Guide
January 6, 2020
Taiwan is a hidden gem of Southeast Asia and becoming more and more popular amongst travelers. It’s all too often left off the itinerary when planning a trip around Asia. But, it’s getting more attention from visitors every year and rightfully so. Taiwan has a diverse history, with everything a traveler could want. From modern metropolitan cities to beautiful beaches to traditional mountain villages. You can find it all here. Make sure you know a few these top ten tips and tricks before you take flight.
Tip #1-Plug sockets are the same as America and Canada
Taiwan uses the same two-prong sockets with 110 V and 60 Hz voltage. Bring your electronics from home and don’t worry about packing the travel adapter.
Tip #2-The best season to visit is Fall
This is one of the most important tips. Anyone who lives here will tell you that autumn is the perfect season to visit Taiwan. The typhoon season is winding down and the weather considerably cools down. There’s very little rain and lots of sunshine (still bring an umbrella though), making it a very comfortable season for seeing the sights.
This is also when locals celebrate both Moon Festival and Double Ten Day. Moon Festival is quite fun if you can spend it with a local family. People usually spend the festival enjoying time with family while barbecuing under the full moon. Double Ten Day is a much livelier holiday with a military parade taking place in front of the presidential palace each year. Some cities also have fireworks displays, but this varies from year to year. Be aware, that many places will shut down during these holidays.
Tip #3-Wifi is almost everywhere
When I first moved to Taiwan a few years ago, it took me some time to set up a more permanent phone place. But, no fear, because there really is Wifi in most places. You won’t need a SIM card if you’re going to be here for a short trip. Every cafe, convenience store, and MRT has free wifi.
Tip #4- Don’t drink faucet water
The pipes in most cities have problems with heavy metal. So, most locals and travelers stick to filtered or bottled water. You can buy it several gallons at a time at 7-11 or Family Mart to save on plastic use, or when you are able to, fill up a reusable water bottle. Public water fountains use filtered tap water and are safe to drink.
There is even a festival called Feng Pow that has its roots in the stories of drinking water here…
Tip #5-Squat toilets
Most places will have at least some Western-style toilets. But, there are still plenty of places without them. Make sure you understand how to use a squat toilet before you go. It could feel odd for a Westerner, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Also, bring your own TP just in case! Some places do not provide this for you.
Tip #6-Public transportation is the best, but scooters are more fun
If you plan on staying around the big cities like Taipei, Taichung or Kaohsiung, public transit is readily available. They even have self driven bus in Taipei. So if you are only taking city trips stick to the MRT, buses, and trains. Grab an EasyCard at 7-11 or pay as you go- in cash of course. Make sure you have exact change for the bus if you do not get an EasyCard.
Tip #7-Taiwan is ridiculously safe
With security cameras everywhere and a culture based on respect, you’ll rarely feel unsafe here. Many shops are open 24 hours and you can walk alone safely at night. Just use your common sense.
Tip #8-Try to learn some Chinese
Even though most people will speak some English, knowing “hello”, “thank you”, and “I don’t understand” will go a long way. That’s “ni hao”, “xie xie”, “ting bu dong” (I don’t know what you’re saying), and “kan bu dong” (I can’t read this).
Tip #9- Convenient stores are everywhere
Convenient stores are their own culture in Taiwan. ATMs are located in most convenience stores and grocery stores as well as in front of post offices. And all those ATMs are a good thing because…
Tip # 10-Taiwan is a cash based system
Taiwan is a cash-based country, and only chains will accept your card. These locations will also usually include a fee for using credit. So… just stick to cash. Smaller, local shops and restaurants usually only accept cash.