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The stay in Taiwan

Important things to know for a smooth stay in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s mixture of business and culture turns this small island east of China into a fascinating destination for every traveler. The country offers beautiful beaches, breathtaking nature and a vibrant capital; Taipei.

Public transport

Subway in Taipei
The metro in Taipei is called MRT. There is a total of 5 lines that connect all the main parts of the city. You can buy an “Easy-card” that is rechargeable for the use of the transportation services.

Line 1 (Wenhu line, Brown line) connects the district of Wenshan, the south-eastern part of Muzha, with the north-eastern part of Neihu and Nangang. The brown line has 24 metro stations.

Line 2 (Tasmui Xiny Line, Red Line) has 22 stops and is over 23 km long. The red line connects Tamsui with the central train station, the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and the famous high-rise Taipei 101.

Line 3 (Songshan Xindian Line, Green line) connects the southern suburbs of Xindian with the center of Taipei.

Line 4 (Zhonghe-Xonlu Line, Orange Line) is a north-south link connecting the new suburbs with the Taipei’s center.

The line 5 (Bannan line, Blue line) runs completely underground and is the east-west route of Taipei. The trains stop at 23 stations, 14 of which are in Taipei itself.

Train and bus
Travelling by train or bus is comfortable and convenient for the larger cities. Buses and trains are reliable, and the fares are cheap. The express trains are all air-conditioned and well equipped.

Link to Taiwan Rail Traffic: http://www.railway.gov.tw
Train schedules can be found using the following link: http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw

Getting from Taipei to Kaohsiung
The high-speed train connects the capital Taipei with the southern city of Kaohsiung. The journey takes under 90 minutes. The link: http://www.thsrc.com.tw

If you want to travel from the capital by a normal train to the southern city of Kaohsiung, then the journey would take about 5 to 6 hours. The trip takes about 4 hours by bus and around 50 minutes by plane.

Driving a car
To drive a car in Taiwan, you need an international driver’s license. If you are in Taiwan for a longer period, you will need a Taiwanese driver’s license, which you need to have together with your international driver’s license. You will get the Taiwanese driver’s license without problems by presenting your international driver’s license, proof of passing a vision test and six passport photos.

Taxis in Taiwan
Taxis can be found easily in all major cities. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so it is advisable to write down the exact address in Chinese characters.
There is a surcharge of 20% between 11 pm and 6 am.

The money in Taiwan

The currency
The official currency is the Taiwan Dollar (NT $). You can change your money into Taiwan dollars on arrival at a variety of currency exchange offices.

Credit Card
In the cities of Taiwan, all major credit cards are accepted in stores, hotels and restaurants. Outside the city however, there are still shops that don’t accept credit cards. It is always advisable to have some cash with you.

Bank account
If you are in Taiwan for a longer time, it is a good idea to open an account in order to transfer money from your home country. A valid passport is required to open a bank account. The banks issue a debit card that allows you to withdraw money from an ATM.

Communication in Taiwan

SIM card
If you want to save money, you should get a local SIM card. Taiwan Mobile, Chunghwa Telecom or Far EasTone Mobile are the available choices for providers.

Internet in Taiwan
Unlike China, the Internet is not censored in Taiwan.

Food in Taiwan

National dish
The food in Taiwan is very similar to the mainland China cuisine yet still has its own unique character. The national dish is Kazanjian. It is an omelet with oysters and various spices. Another common dish is the Youyu Geng soup, a thickened soup with squid.

Ingredients in the food
The most common ingredients are pork, chicken, rice, and soybeans, as well as all kinds of seafood. Beef is a less common choice in Taiwan. The use of soy sauce, rice wine, chili pepper and sesame oil is reminiscent to the Chinese cuisine.

Rules of manners in Taiwan

Special customs
35% of Taiwanese are Buddhists and 33% are Taoists. You should show respect to their unique traditions.

Loud behaviour and outbursts of rage
In the opinion of the Taiwanese, to be loud in public or to have an outbreak of rage will lead to the “loss of face”.

Rules at the table
There are certain rules of manners in Taiwan, one example is that the bowl of rice is led to the mouth – not the head of the bowl. To clean the nose at the dining table is considered as bad behavior in Taiwan. In addition, it is unusual to tip in the country.

Nightlife in Taiwan

Clubs
As in every major city in Asia, nightlife begins with the setting of the sun. “Luxy” is one of the best-known clubs in Taiwan. The audience is mixed, and you can dance until the early hours of the morning.

Night markets
If you want to mix with the local people, you can discover the nightlife at one of the “night markets”. The night markets can be found in all major cities. The Taipei Shilin night market is one of the best known and enjoys great popularity.

KTV
Similar to almost anywhere else in Asia, KTV is also a very popular pastime in Taiwan, and the locals spend whole nights with it. Everyone should experienced the fascination of KTV at least once.

Crime in Taiwan

Crime
Taiwan is a very safe country, and there is no need to worry. However, one should always make sure that his or her wallet and mobile phone are secured.

Drugs
The possession of drugs is strictly forbidden, and it will be punished severely. Keep away from drugs!

Medical supplies

Hospitals
In every big city in Taiwan, there are many hospitals with proper standards. International hospitals can also be found. For foreigners, it is advisable to see a doctor in one of the Western hospitals, as language can pose a problem in the local ones.