Xiaoliuqiu (aka Little Liuqiu or Lamay Island) is a small island paradise off the southwestern coast of Taiwan. The island is known for its clear water, amazing coral reefs, white sand beaches, and quiet laid back atmosphere. Only a short half hour boat ride from the Taiwan mainland, the island is easily accessible. In addition, the island is small enough that you can round the entire island by scooter in a matter of minutes.
In 1622, a Dutch ship crashed on the island, two years before the Dutch began to rule Taiwan, and all but one of the crew members were killed by the aboriginal tribe living on the island at the time.
In retaliation, the Dutch sent a force to massacre the natives on the island. 300 men, women, and children were suffocated alive in a large cave, and the rest of the people were put into slavery by the Dutch. This was known as the Lamey Island Massacre. Later Chinese people began inhabiting the island in 1645.
Later the island fell into Qing, Japanese, and ROC rule.
Currently the island is a township of Pingtung County with a population of over 10,000 people. Most of the people on the island rely on fishing and tourism for a living.
The island also has one of the largest concentrations of temples in Taiwan.
Xiaoliuqiu started to become a major tourist destination after 2004, reaching over 400,000 tourists per year.
How to get there:
The only way to get there is via ferry from Donggang's Dongliu Ferry Terminal. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes. There is a ferry leaving from Donggang roughly every hour from 7 AM to 5 PM.
Ferry ride: 410 NT per round trip
Scooter rental: about 300 NT per day. There is a gas station on the back side of the island.
Snorkeling: about 300 NT per hour
Scuba diving: around 2500 NT for 2-3 hours
When to go:
Anytime! Xiaoliuqiu is a tropical island that has warm water and temperatures (above 25 degrees Celsius) year round.
Map: Please see below:
The photo sample above was taken from the National Development Council website.
On February 8th, 2018, Taiwan rolled out the Act for the Recruitment of Foreign Professionals, which included the employment gold card four-in-one visa to entice foreign special professionals to come and seek work opportunities in Taiwan. Details and common questions about this new type of visa/work permit can be answered below.
Please note that this blog not a comprehensive guide but only gives basic information about the gold card based on the information on the National Development Council website.
Q: What is the Taiwan employment gold card?
A: The employment gold card is a four-in-one visa, work permit, alien resident certificate, and re-entry permit. It also provides other benefits to foreigners as mentioned below.
Q: What benefits does Taiwan's employment gold card have?
A: The benefits associated with the employment gold card or special professional work permit are as follows:
Q: Who can apply for and obtain Taiwan’s employment gold card?
A: Foreigners that are specialists in their field. This includes Taiwan dual citizens and citizens of Macau and Hong Kong.
Q: What are the requirements for the employment gold card?
A: The full requirements for foreign special professionals can be found here.
The exact requirements vary by industry. However, the requirements generally require that an applicant show that they are a special professional or senior professional that has made special contributions to their field of work or received national recognition in one of the following 8 accepted professional industries:
1. Science and technology
5. Culture and Arts
8. Architectural Design
Q: Does the exemption from tax on overseas income (alternative minimum tax, or AMT) for the Taiwan gold card only last for the first three years?
A: Yes, this tax benefit only lasts three years, the same as the tax benefit for 50% of income above 3 million.
Q: How is the three years calculated for tax benefits for AMT and 50% of income above 3 million?
A: The three years start from the first tax year in which the foreign professional becomes a tax resident (stays for 183 days or more in a calendar year). However, if the foreign professional does not meet the qualifications for tax resident, they can defer this tax benefit to the following year, but no longer that five years after the work permit or gold card was first issued.
Q: If I apply for a gold card but I am not a tax resident, when will the three years expire?
A: As explained above, you can defer the 3 year tax benefits to future years, but no longer that five years after the work permit or gold card was first issued.
Q: If I meet the 160,000 NT per month salary requirement, can I get a gold card?
A: Not necessarily. You also need to prove that you are a special professional in your field. In general this means proving your past work experience and awards to the government.
Q: Can I still get a Taiwan employment gold card without meeting the 160,000 NT salary per month requirement?
A: You can bypass the 160,000 NT per month requirement if you meet other requirements proving you are a special professional in your field.
Q: How will my dependents get visas?
A: As long as you have first been approved for your gold card or special professional visa, your dependents will be able to receive their dependent visas. If they enter Taiwan using the visa free program, they will need to come on the same flight as you, otherwise they will have to leave Taiwan and receive their dependent visas at the Taiwan office overseas, or receive them before they leave if you are coming on different flights.
Q: If I switch from a normal ARC to an employment gold card, will my dependent's visas be affected?
A: No, there will be no changes to your dependent's visas.
Q: How many year of experience do I need for the employment gold card?
A: Typically at least 5.
Q: How long does it take for the government to approve a gold card application?
A: After the application is submitted, it will take about 1 month to receive an approval or rejection. Please also note that there is a government fee associated with each application.
Q: What is the difference between an employment gold card and a work permit for a foreign special professional applied by a Taiwan company?
A: They are basically the same, both have the same tax benefits, but the differences are as follows:
Zhaishan Tunnels (aka Jhaishan Tunnels) are winding military tunnels running underground in Kinmen connecting to the ocean. During the Chinese Civil War, they were used to protect ships from bombing raids. The tunnels are open for tours, and besides having great acoustics the tunnels are also strikingly beautiful.
The tunnels were completed in 1966, but due to budget constraints the tunnels had to close in 1986. I assume this is because the tunnels required constant dredging. The tunnels were made into a national heritage park and opened for tourists in 1998. The tunnels are over 350 meters long, 6 meters wide, and 3.5 meters high.
Hours: Every day 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
How to get there:
Take Zhuhai West Road Sec. 3 out of Kincheng south to Guguang lake. Follow the brown signs to the tunnels; there is a large parking lot and park in front of the entrance.
Map: Please see below:
Hehuan Mountain (aka Hehuanshan or Mt. Hehuan) may be the most popular place to see snow in Taiwan, partly due to the fact that it has the highest public road in the country (located at Wuling (武嶺). Most people in Taiwan live at or near sea level in a tropical/subtropical environment that never has snow. However, it does snow in Taiwan at many places with higher elevations, such as Yangmingshan, Jade Mountain, Alishan, Snow Mountain, etc. If temperatures get low enough between December and February, snow is possible to fall wherever the elevation is high enough in Taiwan. However places like Hehuanshan are special because you can drive a vehicle right to the top.
Hehuanshan lies at the edge of Taroko National Park on the border of Nantou and Hualien Counties. The road from Nantou to Taroko Gorge passes through the saddle on Hehuanshan between the the East Peak and Main Peak, and is the highest accessible public road in Taiwan (also known as Wuling 武嶺).
Near this place, the Wushe incident and Taroko War took place (see below for more details).
During the Martial Law period in Taiwan, a ski lift ran on the mountain, but has since been abandoned due to lack of consistent snowfall.
The Taiwan military also has its winter training grounds near the mountain.
Recently Hehuanshan has been a popular place for hiking and taking photos, and has been an Instagram hot spot.
Hours: 24/7 unless otherwise closed by the department of transportation
When to Go:
It snows on Hehuanshan usually December to February.
You can check the current weather for Hehuanshan here and live video feed of the mountain and ground conditions here.
How to Get There: Take provincial highway 14 from Puli, and keep going after your reach Qingjing Farm.
Alos you can take Provincial Highway 8 from Taroko Gorge National Park.
Stop when you reach the very top of the road, the Wuling parking lot.
Traffic Control: Buses and large truck are not allowed. Sometimes chains are required (no one has chains in Taiwan).
Map: Please see below:
Tax season is here. In Taiwan, taxes must be filed from before May 31st. As a foreigner, you might be wondering how to file a tax return and what the regulations are. Luckily Taiwan has made it easy by creating an online tax filing system that you can complete from your computer, although you do still have to physically send some forms to the tax office. Let us answer some common questions about tax filing that might come up:
Forward: The following is Q+A for tax year 2018 only, based on information provided on Taiwan's Ministry of Finance website.
Q: When should I file Taxes?
A: Between May 1st to May 31st. Tax payments are due by June 13th.
Q: What makes me eligible for paying Taiwan taxes (or what makes me a tax resident)?
A: You become a Taiwan tax resident if you stay in Taiwan longer than 183 days, or you have household registration（戶籍） in Taiwan and visit for at least one day. The address in your ARC is not household registration, it's a registration process from the local administrative office (戶政事務所）.
If you stay less than 90 days in Taiwan, you do not have to file taxes, and VAT or sales taxes are reimbursable.
If you worked in Taiwan and stayed over 90 days, you need to pay taxes on your Taiwan salary even if your income came from overseas.
If you stayed in Taiwan between 90-183 days, then you need to pay a fixed rate of 18% income tax （your company may have deducted this from your salary already).
If you have Taiwanese dual citizenship and Taiwanese house registration, then you need to pay taxes if you have stayed in Taiwan for over 31 days. Days are cumulative in a tax year, and it doesn't matter what you came for during these days.
How do I count the days I stayed in Taiwan?
Please note that the day you come to Taiwan doesn't count, but the day you leave does. It's a good idea to keep track of the number of days you have been in Taiwan via the stamps on your passport.
Q: What is the income tax rate?/ How much is Taiwan tax?
A: The income tax rate for non-residents is 18% (you can get a tax refund if you pay 18% taxes and then become a tax resident). The tax rate for residents is as follows (source: Taiwan Ministry of Finance):
The Ancient City of Kinmen (Quemoy) is one of the most historically rich places in Kinmen and in Taiwan. Not to be confused with Kincheng (the largest city in Kinmen) this walled city was built in the 1300's during the Ming Dynasty as a defense for the region, a role that it has played throughout its history. Although most of the original gates and walls have been destroyed, all of the citiy's four gates have recently been rebuilt. Walking through these ancient streets you can feel hundreds of years of history speaking to you.
This city was originally constructed at the time of the Hongwu Emporer during the Ming Dynasty in 1387, and was originally called the Kinmen Guard City of 1000 Households (金門守禦千戶所城). The city was damaged in the fight between Kongxia and the Qing Dynasty in 1680, but was later repaired. However the Qing military headquarters of Kinmen were later moved to Houpu, which meant the city was left to ruin. When the ROC retreated to the island in 1949, they tore down what remained of the walls for other uses, leaving only parts of the foundations.
In1997 thanks to donations from the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. at the south of the city, the Kinmen Government was able to rebuild the ancient gates of Kinmen City.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take Xihai Road Sec. 2 to Shuitou Village, then turn left onto Zhushui Road. You will drive right through the city!
Map: Please see below.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.