Whether you are coming to Taiwan for a day or for three years, it can be hard getting used to a new country, and new culture, and a new way of living. To help you out, we have prepared this guide to help you survive and get used to this amazing country.
Basic Living Tips:
Q: What is the power voltage used in Taiwan?
A: 110V at 60Hz. This is the same power and plugs as the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Japan.
If you are from Europe Australia, Asia, or Africa, you will need to bring a voltage converter. Click here to search voltage converters on Amazon.
Q: Where is the best place to exchange currency in Taiwan?
A: At the Bank of Taiwan (there is one in the Taoyuan Airport before immigration). The exchange rate at other local banks should be about the same.
Q: Do Taiwanese people use credit cards or electronic wallet?
A: Most places in Taiwan still only accept cash. However most convenience stores, shopping centers, and chain restaurants accept credit cards, and some accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Line Pay.
Q: Can I get a SIM card in Taiwan?
A: Yes, foreigners can get prepaid SIM cards or Wifi dongles at the airport.
Q: Is the internet censored in Taiwan?
A: No, Taiwan is a free country and is not part of China. In fact Taiwan has some of the fastest internet speeds in the world.
Q: What Apps should I download that are helpful in Taiwan?
Q: Do most Taiwanese people speak English?
A: Most people learned some in School and can understand basic phrases, but most are afraid to speak English. This is because of lack of practice and confidence, as Taiwan's education system stresses rote memorization.
Q: Is Taiwan safe?
A: Yes, Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world according to Prescavve. This is due to low crime and high economic freedom and development. Also private gun ownership is not allowed.
Cases of pick-pocketing are rare, and violent crime is even more rare.
Q: Do I need to tip in Taiwan?
A: No. In most cases don't tip. Typically a gratuity or service fee is already included in the bill at most restaurants.
Q: Are there special prices for foreigners in Taiwan?
A: No, most places do not discriminate against foreigners. There is no "foreigner price" at street markets.
Q: Is it easy to get ripped off as a foreigner in Taiwan?
A: No, people will not rip you off 99% of the time. People in Taiwan are typically honest and inviting toward foreigners.
Q: Are Taiwanese people nice to foreigners?
A: Yes, most Taiwanese people are nice to foreigners. Many love to practice English and make foreign friends. It might be one of the most foreign friendly countries in the world.
Q: What cultural considerations or taboos are there in Taiwan?
A: Gestures considered rude or impolite are as follows:
Q: Is Taiwan a poor third world country?
A: No, Taiwan has the same GPD PPP as Australia. The average annual salary is about 25,000 USD, unemployment is less than 4%, and poverty is basically nonexistent. Much of Taiwan's economy is based on high-tech industry such as semiconductor manufacturing.
Q: Is Taiwan child/wheelchair friendly?
A: Yes. Every MRT station on the Taipei MRT has an elevator. Also, there are many parks all around major cities with playground equipment. Child kidnapping and violent crime are basically nonexistent.
Q: Are there plenty of public restrooms in Taiwan?
A: There are not as many as I would like. There is a restroom at every MRT station and train station. There are also free public restrooms at some convenience stores like 7-11 and Family Mart. In addition, most restaurants have a restroom.
Q: Are there public water fountains in Taiwan?
A: Not really. You can find filtered water machines at MRT and train stations. Other than that, you should bring bottled water. You should not drink from the tap. However you can ask any drink stand to fill up your water bottle with drinkable water for free.
Q: Are there plenty of trash bins around Taiwan?
A: Not really. There are usually trash cans near bathrooms. Trash cans near night markets or parks can be hit and miss. Whatever you do, don't throw trash on the ground and film yourself to make a point, that could really ruin your life like this guy learned.
Q: What is the weather like in Taiwan?
A: The Tropic of Cancer lies across the middle of Taiwan, giving Taiwan a humid subtropical climate in the north, and a tropical monsoon climate in the south. Temperatures in the north vary from 14-20 °C (57-68 °F) in the winter and 26-34 °C (78-93 °F) in the summer, while in the south temperatures vary from 16-24 °C (60-75 °F) in the winter and 26-32 °C (78-89 °F) in the summer on average. The most rain falls in the summer time across Taiwan, with Typhoons bringing torrential rains during that time. Average humidity is around 75% throughout the year.
Q: What should I wear in Taiwan?
In winter, temperatures range from 14-26 °C (57-78 °F), which with nearly 100% humidity can be quite chilly. If you are going to be in the outdoors, we suggest wearing wind-proof clothing, as the humid wind might still go straight through a wool sweater. Also note that there is rarely any central heating in Taiwan, so be prepared to dress in layers even while indoors. The weather will be cooler in the North, and warmer in the south.
In spring temperatures usually vary from 19-29 °C (66-84 °F). We suggest bringing a jacket for cold days, but you should mostly prepare for warmer days. Wind-proof clothing is not entirely necessary at this time unless you are riding a scooter. Spring and fall usually have the most comfortable weather, so you shouldn’t worry too much about proper clothing.
In summer temperatures usually vary from 26-34 °C (78-93 °F). There will also be high humidity. We suggest wearing shorts, t-shirts, and perhaps a hat for sun protection. I would recommend polyester instead of cotton, as it dries out faster (you will be sweating). Be sure to wear sunscreen if you will be outdoors, and to drink a lot of water. It will be really hot, so be prepared to hide inside convenience stores to get some brief air conditioning before going back into the blazing heat.
In autumn, temperatures vary on average from 19-30 °C (66-86 °F). Spring and fall usually have the most comfortable weather, so you shouldn’t worry too much about proper clothing. We would suggest wearing whatever you feel comfortable in at room temperature. Beware though that September and October may have some summer-like heat, so be sure to pack some short sleeved clothes just in case you run into a heat wave.
Q: Is Taiwan part of China?
A: No, Taiwan is a free and independent nation called the Republic of China (ROC Taiwan). It operates completely separate and is cut off from the People's Republic of China (PRC) (by the way, Taiwan is a much better place to live than China). Taiwan has it's own military, currency, legal system, and its own free democratic political system.
Q: Is Taiwan is free country?
A: Yes. There is freedom of speech here, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
Q: Does Taiwan have good medical care?
A: Yes, Taiwan has perhaps the most effective and efficient medial care in the world. Even if you don't have local insurance, seeing a doctor here might be cheaper than seeing one in your home country (especially if you are from the US).
Q: What is the ultimate survival outpost in Taiwan?
A: 7-11 is a foreigner in Taiwan's best friend. It has everything you need to survive, including food (like hot dogs, stew, eggs, ice cream, bread, crackers, candy, and microwave lunches), water, drinks, bathrooms (at least the larger stores), clothes, umbrellas, batteries, and other supplies. You can also send and receive packages and pay your bills here (including parking fines). Other convenience stores all over Taiwan are Family Mart, Hi-Life, and OK Mart. There is one and sometimes two on every street corner. They make Taiwan a really convenient place to live, improve everyone's quality of life, and have all the necessities to keep you alive in Taiwan.
Q: What side of the road does Taiwan drive on?
A: The right side.
Q: What is the best way to get around Taiwan?
A: I personally think the best way to get around is by Scooter, but bicycle, bus, MRT, and train are also very convenient and reliable. Travelling by car is difficult because there are narrow streets, many scooters, and limited parking.
Q: What public transportation options are there in Taiwan?
A: You have a few options:
Q: What is the best way to get around by yourself in Taiwan?
Q: What are other forms of transportation in Taiwan?
Q: How expensive are taxis in Taiwan?
A: As of 2020 in Taipei City the starting rate is 70 NT, and 5 NT per every 250 meters after that, or 5 NT for every 40 seconds if the car is not moving.
Q: Where can I rent a scooter or car?
A: Scooter and Car rental places are usually near train stations. For more information, please visit our blog on scooter rental. Please read our blog on scooter rental or our blog on car rental for more information.
Q: Do I need an international license to rent a car or scooter?
A: Yes, most places require this.
For scooter rental however if you are renting a scooter on an outer island or rural area, they may waive this requirement. On the other hand, some major cities like Taichung or Taipei may require a local license. For more information on which places do not require an international or local license to rent a scooter, click here.
Q: How much does it cost to rent a scooter or car in Taiwan?
Scooter: Usually 400-800 NT per day
Car: Usually 1500-3000 NT per day
Q: What are the top tourist attractions around 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.
Q: What are the top tourist attractions in Taiwan?
A: I highly recommend visiting the following
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!
Q: What is the best tour company for foreigners in Taiwan?
A: We recommend My Taiwan Tour.
Q: What is the best site to book hotels in Taiwan?
A: We recommend Agoda. For more information on booking hotels and accommodation in Taiwan, check out our guide on the subject here.
Food and Restaurants:
Q: What kind of food do Taiwanese people eat?
A: Super traditional Taiwanese breakfast consists of some type of rice porridge and pork. But, soymilk and baked/steamed buns are also very popular. Also hamburgers, onion pancakes, sandwiches and a ton of other stuff. For more information, check out this blog, or just come to Taiwan and try some yourself!
A typical lunch would be a Biandang or lunchbox, which includes a meat patty, rice, and vegetables. Noodles are also a popular lunch choice.
For dinner, locals eat biandang and noodles, but also hot pot and red bean soup during winter, along with western foods.
Q: What is the typical price of a meal in Taiwan?
A: A typical meal at a low end restaurant in Taipei is about 80 NT to 200 NT (2.60 USD to 6.60 USD).
Q: Are people nice to foreigners in Taiwan?
A: Yes, Taiwanese are some of the most friendly people in the world, especially to foreigners!
Q: Where can I buy groceries in Taiwan?
A: Carrefour, PX mart, Wellcome, Jason’s, and Costco should have all the groceries you need. There are also a few expat stores in Taipei, especially in the Tianmu area.
Q: What foreign restaurant chains are there in Taiwan?
A: McDonald's, Starbucks, Burger King, Moss Burger, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Subway, Krispy Kreme, Sizzler, and many others. Mexican food is very hard to find here, sadly.
Q: What are the best restaurant Guides for Taipei?
A: You can Check out the Taipei Michelin guide here.
Eating in Taipei one of the most comprehensive Taipei restaurant blogs out there.
Hungry Girl in Taipei, a food blog focusing on Taiwan cuisine by Joan H.
Jaysun Eats Taipei a very extensive restaurant guide to Taipei.
Living in Taiwan long term:
Q: Do I need to know Chinese to live in Taiwan?
A: No, but it is helpful. There are many expats in Taiwan that get around without knowing any Chinese. You can used simple English to get by, but if you really want to fit into the culture and appreciate Taiwan. learn Chinese.
Q: How do I find work in Taiwan?
A:The best way to find work is to ask your existing connections, but there are also many websites that can help:
This most popular work finding website in Taiwan, although the interface is only in Chinese (sorry), although some job postings are in English. Its worth checking out, even if you can’t read Chinese. Perhaps you can have a Chinese friend help you out.
This is probably the second most popular work finding site in Taiwan, this website's interface is also only in Chinese, although some job postings are in English.
This is a great English based website for English Teaching jobs in Taiwan.
Linkedin has a few job opportunities that are most in English.
Other than these, search Google. Who knows what you’ll find!
Q: How hard is it to get a visa in Taiwan?
A: Check out our visa and immigration guide here.
Q: What is the work culture like in Taiwan?
A: This depends on where you work. For a typical Taiwanese company, the boss is very powerful and employees are more passive. It is typical for everyone to wait for the boss to leave before they get off work. So, as you can image, Taiwanese people work lots of overtime.
In addition, Taiwanese people like to have working connections, and give gifts to improve a relationship. If you take a gift such as chocolate from a coworker, or are treated to lunch, you are expected to eventually give back similar gift in return to keep the relationship going.
Q: How is healthcare in Taiwan?
A: As I explained above, Taiwan has some of the best medical care in the world. All workers are entitled to coverage under National Health Insurance for them and their family members. This covers basic ailments, but not everything (like tooth replacement and chemotherapy). Therefore you may want to purchase additional insurance to be fully covered.
Q: How do I find an apartment to rent in Taiwan?
A: Check out our full guide to renting an apartment here.
Q: What is it like to study or attend university in Taiwan?
A: Taiwan has many world class universities, and many programs in English. There is also lots of financial aid available to foreigners. For more information, please check out our blog on attending school in Taiwan here.
Q: What is banking like in Taiwan?
A: Typically you can walk in to any bank, and open an account if you bring your ARC.
If you are from a list of countries that is high risk because of money laundering it may be harder to open an account.
Also, if you are American you will have to sign a W2 or similar form because of FACTA, and list that you have a foreign account when you file taxes. Same goes for countries with CRS agreements.
You will find banking in Taiwan may be antiquated and inefficient in comparison to other countries, and much of the work is still done with paper forms. Banks are also only open on weekdays and close at 3:30 PM.
Q: How do I start a business in Taiwan?
A: Yes. Please read our blog on the subject.
Q: Can I get married in Taiwan?
A: Yes. Usually this means providing a certificate that you are not currently married from your own country. Currently same sex marriage with foreigners is not allowed.
Q: What are Taiwanese schools like?
A: Elementary, middle, and high schools in Taiwan are very labor intensive compared to Western countries. Taiwanese children spend more time in school than just about any country on earth. Focus is placed on memorization and examinations, while less emphasis is placed on physical exercise and extra-curricular activities.
Q: How much are Taiwan taxes?
A: Personal income tax rates range from 5% to 40%. For our full personal income tax guide, click here.
Q: Can foreigners buy property or real estate in Taiwan?
A: Yes they can. They can also take out loans and get credit cards if they can prove their income level.
For more general information about Taiwan, check out all of the rest of our FAQ guides here.
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.