So here I am during the work makeup day. This is a fair and legal day for every company in Taiwan to exploit their workers because we get a “make up day off” next Friday as part of the Tomb Sweeping festival. But it is a dated, backward, and unproductive practice, and part of a broken labor system that demoralizes an already tired workforce, and it should be dismantled.
Demoralizing an already tired workforce
Is it completely necessary to have us work on Saturday just because of an extended weekend? I’m not in a position to do a search on this, but I know that in America such a policy would be laughed at, and other advanced countries have never adopted this either. Why would any foreign professionals want to work in such a backward labor environment?
I mean, do we have to give our employer an extra day of work for every day we take off?
Just give us a day off! What’s so hard about that? If it’s an extended holiday, what’s one more day off in the 200+ days that we work a year going to do? Is one day so important that we have to work on a weekend and sacrifice our shopping, playing, fixing the house and other chores, and precious time with our family? We all hate life right now and we are unproductive.
請讓我們存粹放假吧！這有什麼難的？ 如果這是一個連假，我們每年工作200天以上，多一天休息有什麽影響？ 一天這麼重要，我們必須在周末工作，犧牲我們的購物，玩耍，修理房子和其他家事，並且與家人在一起的寶貴時間。 我們都討厭今天來上班，而且我們今天上班沒有什麼效益。
Also, this policy isn’t good for the economy. We don’t have another day to spend our disposable income! It’s the best weather of the year right now too! If I had time I would be out and about and putting money into some tourist spot with a beach.
此外，這項政策對經濟不利。 我們沒有其他時間花我們的多餘收入！ 現在也是今年最好的天氣！ 如果我有時間，我會出去散散步，把錢放到沙灘的旅遊景點上。
And what about the seventh day Adventists? Isn’t this policy infringing on their religious liberty?
Are we actually doing anything productive now on this work makeup day? No, not at all. We are totally overworked and have nothing to look forward to, except a very distant tomb sweeping day extended weekend. Why do we give ourselves a one day weekend when some European countries are already implementing a 3 day weekend system? Are we sweatshop workers?
現在我們在這個補班日實際上是否做了一些富有成效的工作？一點也不。 我們完全過度勞累，沒有什麼值得期待的，除了一個非常遙遠的清明節週連假。 為什麼我們給自己周休一日，但是一些歐洲國家已經實施了周休三日？ 我們是血汗工廠工人嗎？
I worked in a sweatshop in China as part of an internship during the winter of 2014. It was a shoe factory. We worked every Saturday, and most of the workers only got 2 Sundays off a month. Less than two decades ago, Taiwan was in a similar situation; everyone worked at least a half day on Saturday. This might explain why they are taking so long to change their labor policy, but there is more to the story.
2014年冬季，我曾在中國的一家血汗工廠工作。這是一家鞋廠。 我們每個星期六都工作，大多數工作人員每個月只得到2個星期日的休假。 不到二十年前，台灣也處於類似情況; 每個人在星期六至少工作了半天。 這可能也是為什麼臺灣花了很長時間來改變他們的勞動政策，但這個故事還有更多細節。
A Wider Problem
Taiwan has some of the highest working hours in the world, ranking in the top 3, behind Mexico and Singapore and it’s getting worse. However Singapore has an advanced economy and workers are getting compensation 90,000 NT per month for new employees. Starting salaries in Shanghai and Shenzhen have also risen above Taiwan’s.
台灣擁有世界上第三高的工作時間，在墨西哥和新加坡的後面，情況正在惡化。 然而，新加坡經濟發達，新員工每月可獲得9萬新台幣的補償。 在上海深圳起薪也上升了台灣。
Taiwan has been giving its workers less and less days off overtime, in exchange for more “annual leave” that may or may not be used.
In 2015 2 people died every month form overwork in Taiwan, and its rising now.
The new labor standards change this year raises the weekly working hours from 46 to 54. The 2018 change to be able to work 12 days in a row is destroying the 5 day work week principle, as well as worker’s rights to rest, not to mention all the illegal work and overtime going on in Taiwan under the table.
In order to pass this bill into law, a survey was put out by the legislative yuan, not a third party. They interviewed 800 people over house phones during the day time, which would be old people and housewives, which do not have day jobs. It was reported that 66% of people don’t understand this law, and yet 57% support it, does that make any sense to you? Anyway, the government bowed to big business and immorally passed it into law.
為了將這項法案通過法律，立法院沒有用第三方進行了一項調查。 他們在白天採訪了800以上的家庭電話，這將是沒有日常工作的老年人和家庭主婦。 據報導，66％的人不了解這項法律，但有57％的人支持，這有道理嗎？ 無論如何，政府向大企業屈服，不道德地將其方案為法律。
But let’s talk about the real elephant in the room. Most Taiwanese workers cannot join unions and voice their rights as workers. In Taiwan, a company needs 30 or more employees before it can make a workers union, which is only 3% of total companies in Taiwan. For most other Asian countries, this number is less than 7. If more Taiwanese people were able to form their own unions, perhaps we wouldn’t have such backward labor laws.
讓我們來談談真正的大問題。 大多數台灣工人不能加入工會，並以工人的身份表達自己的權利。 在台灣，一家公司需要30多名員工才能組建工會，這只佔台灣公司總數的3％。 對於大多數其他亞洲國家來說，這個數字還不到7位就可以組織工會。如果更多的台灣人能夠組建自己的工會，也許我們不會有這樣落後的勞動法。
Taiwan wants to keep its competitive edge as a place with low cost of labor, but it is shooting itself in the foot. Right now, most factories are using cheap immigrant labor from Southeast Asia (that are more like bonded slaves). They should instead invest in robot technology in factories, which are more efficient and productive, and leave inhumane work for the non-humans.
台灣希望保持其競爭優勢，成為勞動力成本低廉的地方，但它卻在傷害自己。 目前，大多數工廠都在使用東南亞的廉價移民勞工（更像是奴隸）。 他們應該在機器人技術方面投資於工廠，這些工廠效率更高，生產效率更高，並且廢除非人性的工作。
Last makeup work day, I took the day off just to spite the system. But now I am here to moan complain and write a rant in my spare time at work (On a good note my boss has treated us all to some delicious milk drink for our labors this day).
Taiwan needs to give its workers back their rest days and their weekends. It also needs to lower the limit for labor unions, so that workers can fight for their rights and continue to lobby to improve the law. When this happens, Taiwan workers will be happier, more productive, and willing to stay. Otherwise, the brain drain will continue, and foreign professionals will not want to work here.
台灣需要還給員工他們的休息日和周末。 臺灣還需要降低工會的限制，以便工人可以爭取自己的權利，並繼續遊說以改善法律。 這樣的話，台灣勞工會更快樂，更富有成效，願意留下來。 否則，人才流失將繼續，外國專業人士也不會想在這里工作。
Will my complaining change the situation? I hope so. I hope to live to see the day that we can do away with this silly, self-defeating practice of cutting out our weekends just so we can take a future holiday. Until then, I will accept the Taiwan local laws as they are because I chose to be here as an expat, and I’m willing to take the good with the bad. But there’s a good chance I’ll take the day off next time.
我的抱怨會改變這個情況嗎？ 但願如此。 我希望能活下去看看我們能否取消這種愚蠢的，自我挫敗的政策。 在那之前，我會接受台灣當地的法律，因為我選擇住在這裏，而且我願意接受這些壞事。 但下次我有機會就會休假。
For those who can't read Chinese characters, the girl on the left represents "taking the day off" and the girl on the right is “work makeup day." Its a deep meme I know.
Please like, share, and comment, to help build a better Taiwan!
Taiwan is a place that should be explored not just with public transportation (as convenient as it is). If you only take public transportation everywhere you go, you are missing out on a huge part of Taiwan. You could take taxis everywhere to see these sights, like a rich Chinese person, or you can take the cheaper option and rent a vehicle. Many of the scenic and rural sights of Taiwan can’t be experienced except by hiring your own vehicle.
Renting a Vehicle in Taiwan:
Taiwan is the scooter capitol of the world. Driving a scooter is dangerous, but scooters are fun. They are also pretty easy to learn how to operate; if you can already drive a car and/or ride a bike, picking up riding a moped shouldn’t be that hard. There’s not much better of way to experience Taiwan than cruising down the streets like everyone else with the wind blowing in your face.
However, if you are looking to get around the island faster, are travelling with multiple people, have lots of luggage, or you are afraid that scooters are dangerous, I would suggest renting a car.
Car Rental Fast Facts:
Car rental places can be found next to most airports and in all major cities. But don’t expect them right next to every small train station.
Cheap would be $1000-1500 a day, average would be $2000+ a day, and expensive would be $3,000+ a day. Discounts are often given for multiple day rentals and for weekdays.
Do I need a local license?
No. However, you should get an international driver’s permit. If you don’t have an international driver’s permit there is no guarantee that you can rent a car. Check with the rental agency beforehand and make necessary preparations.
How do I get a local Taiwanese licence?
Check out our guide on getting a driver's licence in Taiwan here.
Does Taiwan have Uber?
Yes but its just as expensive as a Taxi. Uber was banned and fined multiple times because their business model was deemed illegal. Uber drivers were required to have a professional driver’s licence. Now they work with local rental car companies to keep the app going in Taiwan.
What side of the road does Taiwan drive on?
The Right side.
How much is the price of gas?
As of March, 2018 it is around 27 NT per liter for 95 octane gas.
Anything else I should be aware of when driving in Taiwan?
Do you have any recommendations?
Yes! We have rented before with Car 880 超省錢租車. They are so far the cheapest car rental company we have found. Their rates start at 880 NT on weekdays: http://www.car880.com.tw/. We are not getting paid by advertising for them by the way. Also be aware they are not English capable. Knowing a little Chinese could save you some money.
Summation of Rental Car Companies in Taiwan:
(please note this is not a complete list. Other discounts and offers can be found on each company's website)
Car 880 超省錢租車
Avis Taiwan 安維斯租車
Jinfeng Car Rental 進豐租車
Renting a Scooter?
Check out our blog about scooter rental in Taiwan here.
Feel free to contact us with any specific questions about car or scooter rental in Taiwan, and please like, comment, and share!
Full Moon Waterfall (Manyue Waterfall) lies in Sanxia's Manyueyuan National Forest Recreation Area in New Taipei. It's a beautiful waterfall and an easy family hike.
I actually recommend not going until the new tourist information center and Virgin Waterfall are opened up. That's right, Virgin Waterfall, the biggest waterfall in the park, is not even accessible, but you can still see Manyueyuan Waterfall for a discounted price.
To get there, the only way is by taking your own vehicle or taxi. According to the recreation area website, there are no buses to get there. See a map of the waterfall below:
Before we get into hiking just let me tell you about the parking situation here. If you go on a weekend, especially on a long holiday weekend, parking is going to be competitive. There is some free parking near the entrance to the trail, if you buy some vegetables. So what happens if you don't buy some veggies before your hike? You get yelled at by the kid next to the sign and by the people selling them. We were afraid that people would scratch our car while we gone out of spite, but we also didn't want to haul a bunch of potatoes up a mountain.
There is an entrance fee, which is normally 100 NT per person. However, because Virgin Waterfall was closed on this day, the fee was only 50 NT per person. Yipee!
View of the trail entrance as we began our way up. There's even a map in English!
This day in January was rather chilly and windy (you can tell how far behind we are on posts for this blog).
From the get-go, there were signs that this nature trail had little nature. Besides the smelly bathrooms, the trail was a paved asphalt path, and you can see the river below has a rock wall.
Oh, the rock wall reduces the impact of the stream water?! Really!
The sign says" Piled stones are used to reinforce the riverbed. The arch principle and watertight construction methods are used to reduce the impact form the water in areas where the waterway curves even large stone pile-ups may not be able to withstand the long-term erosion of the water. In these locations, adding a spur dike can achieve the goal of protecting the shores."
Let's protect nature against getting destroyed by nature by building walls all over nature!
There are large stones in the river due to erosion!
This is probably the prettiest part of the trail, even though it is completely man made. A nice stop for selfies from everyone walking by.
Further up the trail, we find a pavilion that has truly become one with nature.
Here is the tourist information center that is still under construction. It will probably be a cool place once its finished, so come back in few months or a year and check it out.
My perfectly balanced photo of the park ranger lodge.
Is this the Full Moon Waterfall? Nope, its a man made waterfall that you can barely see through the bushes. Keep walking.
If you are sick of nature halfway through the hike, you're in luck because there is a restaurant right at the halfway mark so satisfy your hunger for man-made consumables.
You can also learn about nature from these cool flippy signs.
Soon you'll be able to memorize the Latin name for almost every plant in the forest!
A glimpse of the river below before the waterfall.
Just before the waterfall, there is a trail to the left that leads to a pavilion overlooking the waterfall.
It's a beautiful view! On the day we went there seemed to be quite a lot of people, so we couldn't sit and stare for very long.
Below the waterfall is a bridge from which you can see the lower part of the waterfall.
So you can't see much here and there are a few branches in the way, but that's what nature is all about.
Closeup of Full Moon Waterfall. There happened to be a full moon that night! It was destiny that we visited this magical waterfall.
The whole hike took less than two hours, and was really easy and flat. You could bring young children here and hike to the end with no problem.
After our hike down, we bought a bag of sweet potatoes for only 45NT and headed down the mountain. The traffic was quite bad going down the mountain to Sanxia Old Street.
It took a while to find parking, but we eventually found a spot under the elementary school nearby. That night we ate some sausages, ice cream, stinky tofu, and we bought some Ox Horn Bread for our relatives because apparently that is the delicacy of Sanxia.
Sanxia Old Street is beautiful and one of the best Old Streets in greater Taipei. Be sure to follow our Instagram!
Thanks for sharing this obscure family friendly hike in Taiwan with us, and be sure to follow and like so you can see our next adventures!
Foreword: Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of questions. This is meant to only give a basic overview of Taiwan's tourist sites to those who have never been there. Also, the following "best" lists are based on our opinions based on years of experience as foreigners living in Taiwan only, and are not necessarily fact.
What to do in Taiwan?/ What is there to do in Taiwan?
Hiking, mountain climbing, eating at a night market, shopping, surfing, snorkeling, river tracing, cycling, jogging, sight-seeing, paragliding, parasailing, and much much more!
What is the best time to visit Taiwan?
In our opinion summer is the best time to visit Taiwan, because that is when there is the most sunshine and the cold winds coming off the Taiwan Strait subside. However, many people cannot stand the Taiwan heat, which can reach 39 °C °F and 100% humidity. Also, if you want to do outdoor activities, river tracing is safest in the winter when there is less rain, but wind surfing is best in the winter when the winds are strong. Whatever you plan to do in Taiwan, the weather is usually bearable and there should be a time of year that suits everyone’s fancy. For more info, please visit our weather and climate FAQ.
Where to visit in Taiwan?/ Where should I visit in Taiwan?
Taipei: Taipei 101, National palace museum, Taipei Zoo and Gondola, Night markets, Beitou hot springs, Yeliu queen’s head, Pingxi Railway, and Jiufen.
Taichung: Fengjia and Yizhong Street night markets, Tunghai University, Dakeng hiking trails, and Rainbow Village.
Central Taiwan: Alishan, Jade Mountain, Sun Moon Lake, Lukang, and Anping Castle.
Kaohsiung: Qijin Beach, Xiziwan Beach, Shoushan hiking trails, Buddah Light Mountain, Chengching Lake, Maolin Butterfly Valley, and Tianliao Moon World.
Kenting: Kenting main beach, Baishawan, Kenting night market, Kenting national park, Kenting Aquarium, Xiaoliuqiu, and Jialeshui.
Eastern Taiwan: Jiaoxi hot springs, Suao surfing, Tarako Gorge, Sanxiantai, Luye hot air balloon platform, rift valley rice fields, Jhiben hot springs.
Outer Islands: All the outer islands!
What should I eat in Taipei?
Taiwan has some of the best food in the world, and it’s a big reason why foreigners like us love coming back. A lot of these foods cannot easily be found elsewhere, which makes leaving Taiwan that much harder. Our top 10 most delicious Taiwan foods are as follows:
1. Hot Pot Buffet 火鍋吃到飽
2. Roast Duck 烤鴨
3. Fried Chicken 炸鷄
4. Taiwan Lunchbox (Bento) 自助餐/便當
5. Bubble Milk Tea 珍珠奶茶
6. Red Bean Soup 紅豆湯
7. Dumplings and Fried Dumplings 水餃/鍋貼
8. Steamed Buns 包子
9. Fruit Shaved Ice 水果冰
10. Onion Pancake 葱抓餅
How much is the Taipei zoo?
Adults – 60 NT
Students – 30 NT
Preschoolers and disabled persons – Free
Groups of 30 or more – 30% discount
What time does the zoo open/close in Taipei?
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
What times do night markets open/close in Taiwan?
Around 6:00pm – Midnight.
What are the best night markets in Taipei?
What are the best night markets in Taiwan?
What are the best old streets in Taipei?
What are the best old streets in Taiwan?
Why is Taiwan the heart of Asia?
From a purely geographical perspective, Taiwan lies in a central location in East Asia, between China, Kong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, and is also close to the Philipines, and other southeat Asian countries, making it a prime spot for an Asian hub.
Taiwan also is highly influenced culturally by other East Asian nations, such as China, Japan, and Korea. Please observe the map below:
How should I tour Taiwan?
My Taiwan tour or Taiwan tour bus.
Why visit Taiwan?/ Why go to Taiwan?
Taiwan has friendly people, a safe environment, nice weather, good food, cheap cost of living, and tons of things to see and do!
Why live in Taiwan?
Taiwan is one of the best countries in the world with one of the best qualities of life. Taiwan boasts delicious food, great weather year round, amazing tourist sites, friendly people, cheap cost of living, and economic opportunity.
Where is the Taipei 101?
On Xinyi road in Taipei, on the red MRT line Taipei 101/World Trade Center station. See below for a map:
How many days does it take to tout Taipei? How many days should I tour Taipei?
This depends on how much time you have, I have been touring Taipei for 2 years already!
What should I do in Taipei? Where should I travel in Taipei?
1 day tour:
Morning: National Palace Museum
Afternoon: Taipei 101
Night: Shihlin Night Market.
3 day tour:
Day 1: National palace museum, Taipei 101, and Night markets.
Day 2: Beitou hot springs, and Jiufen.
Day 3: Yeliu queen’s head and Pingxi Railway.
How do you pronounce Taipei?
Who is Chinese Taipei? What is Chinese Taipei?
It is the name of Taiwan used in sporting events such as the Olympics as to not upset its bully neighbor the PRC (China).
What should I buy in Taipei? Where should I shop in Taipei?
If you are looking for cheap food, delicious snacks, and souvenirs, go to one of the many night markets in Taipei. If you are looking to buy expensive brand named items, go to an outlet or mall such as Sogo.
How many national forest recreation areas are there in Taiwan?
18. Click here for a full list.
Are there casinos in Taiwan?
No. Gambling is prohibited in Taiwan, with very few exceptions.
Where should I buy electronics in Taiwan?
Online (PC Home and Shoppee), at a night market, at Carrefour, Cankun, or Guanghua Digital Plaza in Taipei.
Where should I buy clothes in Taiwan?
Pretty much everywhere. Cheap clothes can be found at night markets, Net, Uniclo, and Carrefour. If you want more expensive brands, go to an outlet or mall.
Where is Taipei on a Map?
Taipei City is located in northern Taiwan, laying in the middle of the Taipei Basin surrounded by New Taipei City. Please refer to the map below:
What is New Taipei City?
New Taipei city is the area surrounding Taipei city, and was formerly known as Taipei county.
Where is New Taipei City?
New Taipei City (formerly Taipei County), is located in northern Taiwan, surrounding Taipei City. Please refer to the map below:
How Many Islands does Taiwan have?
38! We counted. But there are many other offshore rocks, as well as disputed territory claimed by the ROC but controlled by other countries. For more information, click here.
How many cities does Taiwan have?
23. For a full list of cities, click here.
Why visit Taipei? Why Taipei?
Taipei has friendly people, a safe environment, convenient public transportation, nice weather, good food, cheap cost of living, and tons of things to see and do!
Where should I stay in Taipei?
There are hundreds of hotels around Taipei the cater to different traveler interests and needs. I recommend Agoda.com as the best hotel search website. You can also try Aribnb.
What is the Taipei 101?
It was the highest building in the world from 2004-2010. It was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners, and also had the fastest elevator in the world until 2016. It is an icon of Taiwan’s technological advancement.
How is Taipei 101 earthquake proof? How does the Taipei 101 withstand earhquakes?
The Taipei 101 is reinforced by concrete piles driven 80 meters below the ground and 30 meters into bedrock. In addition, it made of high strength reinforced steel and flexible materials.
How much does the Taipei 101 sway?
The most that the Taipei 101 damper has ever swayed was during Typhoon Soudelor, swaying 100 centimetres (39 in).
How much did the Taipei 101 cost?
NT$ 58 billion (US$1.934 billion)
How does the Taipei 101 damper work?
The damper works by offsetting strong wind gusts, absorbing the forces and turning them into kinetic energy, moving the damper.
How was Taipei 101 built?
The Taipei 101 was built in a period of 5 years from 1999-2004. The Taipei 101 is reinforced by concrete piles driven 80 meters below the ground and 30 meters into bedrock. In addition, it made of high strength reinforced steel and flexible materials. It was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners, and also had the fastest elevator in the world until 2016.
How is the Howard Plaza Hotel in Taipei?
It’s a high end, 5 star hotel in Taipei, with just about all the amenities you can think of.
What time does the MRT/Metro open/close in Taipei?
The Taipei and Kaohsiung MRTs close at 12:00 AM midnight. They open again at 6:00 AM.
The last train at the MRT usually leaves from 11:00PM-12:00AM midnight. To search for exact times for the last train, click here.
What time does the Taipei 101 open and close in Taipei?
The Taipei 101 Observatory is open every day from 9 AM to 10 PM.
What time does the National Palace Museum open/close in Taipei?
The museum is open 8:30 – 6:30 on weekdays and 8:30 – 9:30 on weekends year round.
Where does the Taiwanese president live?
The Taiwan president Tasi Ing-wen lives in the Presidential office building, a red brick structure originally constructed by the Japanese.
Have any more questions about Taiwan's tourist sites, or have any suggestions for more sites to see in Taiwan? Please leave them in the comments below, and we might just add them to the list!
Please like, follow, and share to help everyone know that Taiwan is a friendly and inviting place to travel year round!
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.