Danae walking around in Taipei

Essential Tips for Traveling in Taiwan

Planning a trip to Taiwan can leave you puzzled about where to start. So, what should you know before traveling in Taiwan?

One crucial fact is that staying connected and moving around efficiently will really enhance your experience here.

This article offers simple, actionable advice on getting the best out of your travels from the moment you land in Taiwan. I’ve only added the necessary things you should know, without overwhelming you with too many tips.

Keep reading for some great advice that promises a smooth journey ahead.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

guy with rugsack overlooking Qingshui Cliff

Key takeaways

  • Buy a Taiwanese SIM card for constant internet access and get an EasyCard or iPass for convenient travel across Taiwan.
  • Download essential apps to ensure smooth navigation and stay informed during your trip. Also, try learning some Mandarin phrases with a dictionary app.
  • Book your accommodation and restaurant reservations early to secure the best spots and deals.
  • Make use of convenience stores around Taiwan for practical needs and affordable food options.
  • Respect local customs to have more positive interactions with locals. Remember that Taiwan is friendly towards solo female travelers and LGBTQ+ travelers, making it a safe destination for everyone.

Essential tips for when you arrive at the airport

Once you land in Taiwan, set yourself up for an easy adventure right from the airport. Grab a Taiwanese SIM card for internet access, and make sure to get your hands on an EasyCard or iPass for hassle-free travel around the city.

Buy a Taiwanese SIM card with data

Purchasing a Taiwanese SIM card with data right after you arrive is a smart move. Taoyuan Airport offers a variety of SIM cards, all providing unlimited data but varying in validity length.

This convenience allows you to have internet access at all times, making it incredibly easy to use maps, look up information, and stay connected without the worry of finding Wi-Fi spots.

You can also choose to order a SIM card before you arrive which you can pick up at the airport. Another option is to buy an E-SIM beforehand.

Which option you prefer, is up to you, however I highly recommend at least having a Taiwanese SIM card. This will make traveling in Taiwan a lot easier.

Having this kind of connectivity means you can sign up for local services like Youbike using your new Taiwanese number. Don’t forget to download these convenient apps for traveling here.

Choose among different telecom providers at the airport or consider purchasing online before your trip to ensure you get exactly what fits your needs during your stay in Taiwan.

Danae taking pictures of the gorge

Change money / visit an ATM in the arrival hall

It’s convenient to at least have some local cash with you when you exit the airport. You’ll find it straightforward to change money or visit an ATM in the arrival hall.

Opting for ATMs is considered the best way to access cash easily upon landing. The Bank of Taiwan, among others available at Taipei Taoyuan Airport, offers convenient currency exchange services though they come with a fee.

Luckily, there’s no need to worry about exchanging money before your trip as several banks and ATMs at the airport cater to your needs.

Using these facilities allows you to get some New Taiwan Dollars without hassle, making sure you are prepared for any immediate expenses.

Whether it’s catching a cab or enjoying a meal shortly after your arrival, having local currency makes everything smoother.

It’s good to know that creditcards are widely accepted in Taiwan, however some small stalls may only accept cash, so it’s always good to have some cash in hand.

Taiwanese Dollar Bill

Buy an EasyCard or iPass for transportation

Once you have some local currency in hand, go and pick up an EasyCard or iPass. These prepaid contactless cards are your keys to easy transportation across Taiwan.

Ideal for exploring Taipei’s vibrant streets and beyond, these cards grant you access to metros, buses and even public bikes. You can use it not just for travel but also in certain shops throughout Taiwan, such as convenience stores.

Danae on a YouBike
Renting a YouBike with your EasyCard is great to explore!

Find them at service counters within the airport, select convenience stores and MRT stations right after arrival. Personally, I got my EasyCard in the convenience store located near the MRT station at the airport.

A standard adult Easycard costs around 500 TWD. Immediately top it up with whatever amount you think is suitable.

It’s good to know that you can only top it up with cash (hence, it’s better to first get cash and then your card).

Currently, it has a 100 TWD non-refundable deposit, so if you don’t top it up you have 400 TWD to use for getting around.

Refilling your EasyCard or iPass is straightforward – top-up stations are widely available at different locations including convenience stores and MRT stations.

You can easily get an EasyCard at the airport, but if you want some more peace of mind before you arrive you can order one beforehand on Klook.

Danae holding her easycard with bubble tea on it
My own EasyCard in Taiwan

Things to know before visiting Taiwan

Before you pack your bags for Taiwan, there are a few key things you’ll want to know. This island offers unique experiences that require a bit of preparation to fully enjoy.

Download the necessary apps

Download essential apps to make your Taiwan trip smoother and more enjoyable. Google Maps ensures you always find your way, while YouBike 2.0 makes it possible to rent bikes for a really cheap price.

I highly recommend making use of these bikes, as it’s a great way to get around, especially in Taipei.

Consider installing a dictionary app if you’re keen on communicating in Mandarin while you’re here (highly recommended). These apps will help you with stress-free navigation throughout your adventure in Taiwan.

guy on his phone in Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Book accommodation and make reservations early

Due to high demand, hotels and other forms of accommodation can fill up quickly. Ensure you book places to stay well ahead of your travel dates.

This not only guarantees you a spot but also often secures better rates. Similarly, consider making restaurant reservations in advance if you wish to dine at popular spots.

Taiwan has so many great restaurants, but the popular ones can get crowded. Prepare for your trip by reserving accommodations and tables early to make the most of your Taiwanese adventure.

Danae eating in an Izakaya in Hualien City

Discover the convenience of the convenience stores

Convenience stores here are not just places to grab a quick snack; they are very convenient for both locals and tourists.

You can print train tickets, purchase tickets for local attractions and even ship packages. The services provided make these stores a must-visit for anyone looking to streamline their travel experience.

They’re also very convenient if you want to save some money on food during your stay. Perhaps you’ve eaten at a fancy restaurant on one day and you want to not spend as much money the next day. Then grabbing something for lunch at a 7/11 will be very affordable.

There are plenty of choices here, such as getting an onigiri or a seafood tosti. In this way, you can have lunch for around one US dollar. They also have lots of cheap meals that you can warm up in the store itself. Some stores also have places to eat your meals.

If you want to grab an affordable coffee, they’re also a great place to visit. I was surprised to see that lots of the convenience stores in Taiwan even have oat milk lattes and oat milk iced coffees.

Their widespread availability across cities and towns in Taiwan ensures that you’ll have easy access no matter where your adventures take you.

Snack options at convenience store in Taiwan
Some snacks at a convenience store in Taiwan

English is widely spoken

You’ll find that English is commonly used throughout Taiwan, particularly in big cities like Taipei. This comes as a relief to many travelers who might worry about language barriers.

Especially compared to mainland China, English is a lot more spoken in Taiwan, which makes traveling here a lot easier.

Most signs in tourist spots, menus in restaurants and directions on public transport are also available in English.

Communicating with locals becomes less of a challenge since many young people and those working within the tourism sector have a good grasp of English.

This makes asking for help or getting recommendations much easier during your travels. In general, I found Taiwanese people very kind and helpful as well.

Still, it’s good to learn a few basic phrases in Mandarin, as this will enhance your travel experience here even more.

Girl in front of food place in Taipei
Options in Mandarin and in English

Respect local customs

It’s always important to respect the local customs of a place, wherever you’re traveling in the world. Here are some local customs to be aware of.

Show respect by offering gifts and handling money or cards with both hands. This gesture is deeply valued in Taiwanese culture. It signifies your appreciation and awareness of their customs, fostering a mutual respect.

The number 4 is considered an unlucky number, so it’s best to avoid this number.

Putting an arm around someone’s shoulder, winking and pointing with your index finger are considered rude gestures. If you want to point at something, use an open hand. Never use your feet to move an object or to point as feet are considered dirty.

What I noticed when traveling around Taiwan is that people here are very kind in general and that they aren’t loud at all. They always seem to be very respectful of one and another, which I think is very admirable.

Paying attention to these small details can significantly enhance your interactions, making them more meaningful. You’ll also blend in a lot better if you respect the local Taiwanese customs.

Danae walking at Huashan Creative Park, surrounded by locals

Taiwan is great for solo women and LGBTQ+ travelers

Taiwan ranks among the safest countries globally for solo female adventurers, offering a sense of security rarely found elsewhere.

Its streets and public transportation systems are genuinely safe at any hour, making it an ideal destination for women traveling on their own. I’ve never felt unsafe as a woman traveling in Taiwan.

Danae smiling in Taipei

The Taiwanese people are known for their friendliness and openness, creating an environment where you can explore with comfort. Its friendly locals are one of the reasons why Taiwan is worth visiting.

For LGBTQ+ travellers, Taiwan stands out in Asia as a beacon of liberalism and acceptance. In 2019, Taiwan was the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

It has a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, particularly in cities like Taipei which hosts one of the largest pride parades in Asia. Especially the Red House area in the buzzing Ximending I found particularly LGBTQ+ friendly.

This open-mindedness ensures that everyone feels welcome here. The local culture embraces diversity, allowing you to be yourself freely while experiencing everything Taiwan has to offer.

people walking besides a rainbow crossover in Ximending
Ximending in Taipei

In conclusion

Get yourself a Taiwanese SIM card, get out some cash and buy an EasyCard to effortlessly travel around Taiwan. Download some essential apps to make your travels even more easier and discover how convenient the convenience stores here are.

With all these straightforward steps, traveling in Taiwan will be a lot easier and you’ll definitely have a great time here.

With this solid foundation, you’re set to enjoy the experiences this open-minded island has to offer, from its buzzing cities to its beautiful countryside.

Away with Danae

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