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Travel arrangements for Taiwan

What you should consider before you travel to Taiwan?

In the last decades, Taiwan has transformed into a technologically advanced industrialized country. Portuguese sailors called the island “Formosa”, which literally translates into “beautiful” and they were not wrong. There are, however, significant differences between the highly developed metropolitan areas around Taipei and the east of the island, that is more secluded and mostly uninhabited. The local climate is also unique to its own.

Insurance
It is advisable to take out a travel cancellation insurance as well as travel health one with repatriation cover before the trip. These usually do not cost a lot, but are an essential purchase, in case something should happen in the run-up or during the trip. A little tip: Before your purchase, you should check whether your credit card provides these insurances already, as these are often included as a bonus. What if there is a case of emergency in Taiwan? In larger cities, clinics and hospitals have European standards, but communication can be a small hurdle, especially in rural areas. As a rule, you would have to pay in advance and later be reimbursed by the insurance. Remember to collect all receipts for submission afterwards.

Money
In Taiwan, the official currency is the New Taiwan Dollar. It is not recommended to exchange beforehand in the US or Europe; the exchange rates are often unfavorable as the Taiwanese dollars must be requested first. A small amount of Euros or USD in cash would be enough to bring and then exchange at the Taiwanese airport. You could also withdraw money with your credit card at an ATM. Before the trip, you should contact your bank to make sure that your cards are not blocked for international transactions or for Taiwan.

Credit card
Taiwan has a dense network of ATMs, and cashless payment is very popular – MasterCard and Visa are among the major credit cards.

Vaccination
Before the trip, you should consult wit your doctor regarding your vaccinations, and renew them if necessary.

The following vaccinations are recommended:

  • Tetanus vaccination
  • Diphtheria immunization
  • Polio vaccine
  • Vaccination against hepatitis A

Your doctor may recommend further vaccinations based on the itinerary and travel time. Taiwan is free of malaria.

Flight tickets
From London, Los Angeles, Vienna, and Frankfurt, you can travel directly to Taiwan. From Zurich and other cities, you often have to include a stopover. Hong Kong can be considered as a favorable stopover destination due to its well developed airport and the shorter flight duration, less than 2 hours, afterwards to Taiwan.

Dress code
Since Taiwan has a tropical to subtropical climate, it is recommended to wear light and comfortable clothing. You should always have a rain cover with you because of the monsoons, and something to keep warmer as the buildings and buses are often strongly air-conditioned.

Seasons
There are only two seasons on the island – summer and winter. The summers are hot and humid. You also can expect to see 3-4 typhoons (June to August). The winters are short and mild, the temperatures are around 15 degrees on average.

The ideal travel time is March to May and September to November, when the temperatures vary between 20 – 25 degrees.

Travel guides
We can highly recommend the travel guide “Lonely Planet Pocket Taipei”. Despite its compact dimensions, the booklet is very detailed and helpful – a good companion in the island’s capital. For the entire island, we recommend the new travel guide of Lonely Planet; “Lonely Planet Taiwan”. If you want to get to know more about Taiwan’s culture, then “Taiwan A to Z: The Essential Cultural Guide” is a good option to have.

Sockets
For Taiwan, you will need a travel plug and a voltage transformer, as the voltage is lower, and the frequency is higher than in Europe. These can be found on Amazon or in electronic stores.