Resources

Forumosa (www.forumosa.com) Expat community site.

Information For Foreigners (iff.immigration.gov.tw) Visa regulations and daily life matters.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Taiwanease (www.taiwanease.com) Expat community site covering family-related matters, restaurants and nightlife.

The View From Taiwan (michaelturton.blogspot.com) Local political and cultural coverage, plus weekly bike trips.

English in Taiwan (www.englishintaiwan.com) Site for expat teachers in Taiwan, covering daily life, travel and jobs (mostly teaching).

Top Tips

  • Garbage cans are few and far between, if not nonexistent, in Taiwan -- the island recycles 55% of its waste. Keep a bag in your backpack for storing garbage, then empty the contents when you see a can or the yellow garbage truck that comes by in the evening blasting the Polish classic 'A Maiden's Prayer'.
  • To avoid crowds at Taipei's National Palace Museum, go on Friday or Saturday evenings when it's open until 9pm.
  • Keep a foldable raincoat and/or umbrella in your backpack when in Taipei; it rains several times a week.
  • There are few roaming taxis outside big cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung. Have the number of a call service handy; some convenience stores and cafes can help you to call a cab too.
  • Large convenience stores have ATMs and toilets you can use; they sell fruit too.

What to Take

  • Foldable raincoat and/or umbrella – showers are frequent in Northern Taiwan in summer.
  • Bathing suit – so you don't miss impromptu swimming opportunities.
  • A travel adapter – Taiwan uses power sockets type A/B.
  • Sunscreen and shades if visiting southern Taiwan or the islands.

What to Wear

Pack light as it's easy to find a laundry, and hand-washed clothes dry overnight in summer. Taiwanese dress casually and modestly. Taipei is fashionable (you'll find youngsters in tank tops and shorts) so wear whatever you like, just be sure you don't show too much skin at a temple. If you plan on dining at a classy restaurant or visiting someone's parents, pack a decent cotton shirt or dress. The further south you go, the more casual the wardrobe as the temperature soars. Outside of the hottest months, a waterproof windbreaker could double up as raincoat and cardigan against excessive air-conditioning.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date.
  • Check whether you need to obtain a visa in advance or are eligible to apply for one upon arrival.
  • Enable the overseas withdrawal function on your debit card.
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you're heading away
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance