Wondering what to expect on your next trip to Taiwan? In this article, you can discover 7 vital information that should be prepared before catching your flight and travel to any destination in the Republic of China (ROC).

1. Complete the paperwork and necessary travel document that get you further in Taiwan

For many first time travelers, a good itinerary which are both reliable and practical to experience Taiwan does not happen in an instant. Whether a first time traveler or repeat visit, you need a carefully written itinerary to ease your way into the heart of Asia. Prior to collecting that Insta-worthy picture of Taiwan as you please, you need to get your paperwork and VISA sorted.

International traveler may enter Taiwan as a point of transit, as well as starting their vacation thru Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (IATATPEICAORCTP). In general, 30-day visa-free privileges are afforded to citizens of 31 countries and 30-day landing visas are afforded to citizens of 3 countries. Hence, you may want to look for specific terms and condition that has been legalised by the Government of the Republic of China, or commonly known as the Government of Taiwan. 

As a first time visitor, you need to comply with the general requirement of pre-approval method that is applicable to your particular passport. VISA policy in entering Taiwan are strictly regulated based on your point of entry, the purpose of your visit, the issuer of your passport and your country of origin.

Generally, you should get a visa or authorisation in advance, unless you come from one of the visa exempt countries or countries whose nationals are eligible for visa on arrival.  If you are on business trip and unsure about how to extend, apply VISA for multiple entry and how to proceed, you may always get in touch with the Office of Republic of China diplomatic mission on your country to complete the paperwork requirements.

Let say you hold a passport that were issued in Germany, you will have the privilege on VISA exemption for one time entry up to 90 days of vacation in Taiwan. The USA and Japan passport holders get the most privileges. Tourist with Singapore or Malaysian passport may get to enjoy VISA exemption policy for one time entry as long as 30 days. Tourist with Indonesian passport may have to pay VISA fee of NT$ 1,600 (US$ 50); multiple entries: NT$ 3,200 (US$ 100) and to present medical check-up certificate for first-time entry, while visitor with a passport issued by People’s Republic of China are treated with deep scrutiny. Be advised that such policy are subject to change without notice. You should refer your travel paperwork and VISA application based on route and point of entry that is relevant to you here: https://www.taiwan.gov.tw/content3.php?p=33&c=52

Planning your next holiday to Taiwan or any country around the globe takes 50% of the anxiety away. It may look complicated, but you have to admit that your trip to Taiwan will be well worth it. You will gain a confidence to travel with your very own itinerary to Taiwan as you spend too many times browsing through travel packages, and completing the paperwork. The effort that you made in finding the right hotel to book, and building the itinerary to visit local attractions are also the fun part of the experience.

2. Get acquainted with the demographics of Taiwanese and more

What do you have in mind when deciding a trip to Taiwan? The Taiwanese drama? The enthralling art scene? A romantic mandarin song? Or the world’s most anticipated computer exhibition? Perhaps there is much you don’t know about how to actually manage your expectation on any destination in Taiwan. Taiwan itself is a unique country that has astounding twist of East Asian cultural derived from the native Taiwanese, Japanese and traditional Chinese. Nestled in “The heart of Asia”, The land of Formosa is also packed with hiking and natural sightseeing activities, culinary and cuisine, museum and arts gallery, and friendly Taiwanese that you may meet.

Officially, Taiwan is using Taiwanese Mandarin which has minor differences from the one that is widely spoken in mainland China. To greet people when you are asking for direction, you can use nǐ hǎo (written: 你好) or express gratitude by saying xiè xiè (written: 谢谢) to any Taiwanese that you meet. If your Mandarin vocabulary is very limited, worry not! English is also widely learned by the locals. Your fluency in English will also come in handy during your vacation or a business trip to Taiwan. Many young Taiwanese are now bilingual and use English or Japanese as a second language.

As you stroll around the downtown of Kaohsiung city in Taiwan you can confirm that Taiwanese manner can be referred to as a non-touching culture. Formally, Taiwanese usually greet each other by putting their right hand on top of their left fist and raise both hands to their chest, especially if you want to greet elderly. Casually, you can simply waving your hands and by bowing slightly. Age seniority and respect based on gender is also practiced in Taiwan. On the bus or metro line, the youth are expected to give out their seats to elderly or pregnant mothers. In major city such as Kaohsiung, you can see that men also adopted the Western practice of shaking hands only to foreigner or guests that they knew come from abroad. Hence, be advised that a public display of affection, taking photos without permission and using footwear on certain religious places may be considered inappropriate by the locals. Dress modestly like the locals everywhere you go in Taiwan.

By knowing the culture of the majority of its people, you can easily navigate any city in Taiwan. You may pass by a Buddhist shrine near industrial complex in Kaohsiung, a narrow alley road winding thru a high rise office building and Taoist temple, cultural landmarks near Christian church and shopping alley near a Mosque, as well as entertainment district and university campus that are intermingled to one another in Tainan city. Do notice that most people in Taiwan are very reserved on religious belief and will prefer to avoid such topics when talking to strangers. You need the sensitivity to understand this matter long before your arrival.

Unlike many countries in Asia that are mostly attracted to English and European football scene, Taiwanese’s affinity on sports were expressed with their subscription to The United States’ National Basketball Association on public TVs and Badminton World Series. You can find basketball and badminton court that were scattered on the corner of Taipei city. You can also take related subject to strike a conversation with the locals or you may join them on the basketball court near your bed in Taiwan.

3. Welcome to the land of Scooter, Moped and bicycle!

You can easily spend your holidays in Taiwan enjoying the hotels and resort facilities on the first day of your visit. If you are a free independent traveler with a sense of adventure, you might want to discover city corner of Taipei by yourself with their affordable public transport such as Bus or Metro line. Alternatively, you may also take a day tour package around the city and take a closer look on many place of interest in the city’s downtown area.

From the airport, you can immediately take public transport or metered taxi to any destination in Taiwan at ease. On big cities such as Taipei, you can access one of the world’s fastest train and Metro line with predictable timing to reach longer distance and inter-city transfer. However, on the shorter commute, you can easily find scooters and moped just about anywhere. Currently, Taiwan is also embracing the hip electric powered scooter and moped with battery charging station and ports that are decorating the many public place in Taiwan.

As a first time visitor to Taiwan, you can also expect the common sight of bicycles crossing thru the city pavement, moms carry their kids on a electric scooter or powered bicycle without wearing helmets, and delivery moped that going in and out of narrow alley road. Take extra precaution when you encounter a few.

Traveling for the first time to Taiwan can be a challenging feat if you lack confidence in making the itinerary. When planning a trip, you simply want everything to be convenient and to focus more on making a memorable stay. We advise you to manage your itinerary based on the distance of each destination. If you want to reach for the scenic and picturesque hills and mountain of Yushan (Yu Mountain) from Taipei, you need to take multiple road connectivity with the metro line, bus and other means of transport. You need to be flexible with the timing as you might find the change of weather and other issues along your trip should be tolerated.

4. Securing money and means of transaction in Taiwan

Cash is king in Taiwan and the legally accepted tender in Taiwan is officially called New Taiwan dollar ( 新臺幣 codeTWDsymbolNT$). Before having the time of your life in Taiwan, do not forget to prepare a special wallet or pocket for immediate dispensing of local currencies. We advise you to also note that the local checkpoint authorities in Taiwan will ask travelers to declare their cash amount in excess of US$ 10.000 or its equivalent on foreign currency in and out of the country. You can find further information about related information regarding the inbound and outbound passenger clearance and Taiwan customs on this page: https://etaipei.customs.gov.tw/cp.aspx?n=07E6C230459CD820

Trip to Taiwan - Money transaction in taiwan
Sample of NT$500 banknote Taiwan currency From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. http://www.cbc.gov.tw/public/data/issue/MONEY/a1/T02.html

It is common that you don’t have time to find a money exchange operator in your country that offers Taiwanese dollars. You may opt to exchange your country’s currency once you landed on the airport instead. Alternatively, you can easily use your credit card to pay for refreshment on the airport’s cafeteria. It is true that by relying on credit card payment in Taiwan, you can avoid over exchanging of cash and having an organized record of expenses during your stay in Taiwan. However, you still need cash to pay for taxi fare, and most commodities on the night market.

As you and your companion stroll around the downtown of Taipei looking for the refreshing Boba tea cafe, you can actually flash your credit card to pay for it. Well, you can always rely on credit card and debit card to cash out, buy grocery or pay for hotels, bars in any established stalls and groceries in Taiwan. Hence, before you pack your bag to Taiwan, you might want to check whether your credit card has reach the limit yet, check the condition of its magnetic strip and also the expiration date.

If you thought that flashing your credit cards on various accommodation and vendors might not be a good idea, you may opt for Tripcetera.com. You have the freedom to secure your bed in any corner of Tainan or combine them with any activities based on day tour while safely paying online with PayPal or credit card via Tripcetera. Your identity and transaction will be safely protected with an extra layer of security via the One-Time-Password authentication that is uniquely generated with your phone numbers and your name. Easy, isn’t it?

After payment is confirmed, you will receive a Hotel voucher and receipt in your email. By having printed copies of this voucher and receipt, you can easily show them as supporting documents whenever required.

Tripcetera also allows you or your families and friends to book hotels or evouchers for someone else. You can ask the favor of anyone back home to book accommodation in the downtown of Taichung, near metro station in Tainan, or in the corner of Kaohsiung city with Tripcetera.com. Once payment has been confirmed, you can ask them to send the Tripcetera evoucher and receipt to your email. You may refer to the ‘Hotel booking Number’ as listed on the hotel voucher for check-in reference. This is also practical as a back-up plan when you run out of funds during your time in Taiwan.

Also Read: Trip To Vietnam: How To Get A Memorable Experience For Your First Time Visit.

5. Physical fitness and safety measures while you are in Taiwan

Happy memories and that Insta-worthy feed that you and your friends post on the social media during your trip to Taipei can only be achieved if you are in a fit and healthy mood. As you finally arrived on your bed near the famous Ximending, after a long connecting flight, you might want to have a rest on the first hour to reduce jet lag and lounge by the hotels’ facilities. In Tripcetera you can easily find your bed near to the tourist attraction that is within a walking distance away.

It is common for anyone to be anxious when they are waking up and feeling unwell in an unfamiliar place that is distant away from their home country, despite a carefully planned itinerary in Taiwan. But have no worries! Taiwan is also known as one of the best country in East Asia that serve affordable and reliable medical services. If you think you are not feeling very well during your vacation in Taiwan, do not hesitate to have yourself checked. After all, a memorable vacation can only be enjoyed when you are fit and ready for the day.

In case of either natural disasters such as earthquake and Typhoon or military invasion, you can immediately get the early warning system and blaring sounds of sirens citywide. Don’t panic if you hear such sirens during your stay in Taiwan. It is true that in time of dire threat, nearly all towns and cities in Taiwan are equipped with evacuation route and precautionary mustering point . However, not all sirens that you hear is intended as a real warning. Taiwan authorities also run the sirens to hold civil defence drills (Wan an Sirens) to anticipate air raid.

6. Stay connected in Taiwan with well prepared logistics!

As a first time traveler to Taiwan, you definitely want to use your smartphone to navigate, especially in a vibrant city as Taipei or Kaohsiung, where you can use app-based services at affordable costs. Having a local SIM card is also convenient as you travel with Tripcetera tour packages or with your very own backpacking itinerary. Be prepared that your phone signal may deteriorate due to the local terrain of boulders, hills and other landscape.

Taiwan Electrical Outlet
The electrical outlet in Taiwan is compatible with USA, Japan and Canada. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. EMA 5-15 (120V/15A) duplex receptacle or socket.

You can use your smartphone to save a picture of your passport, your travel documents, hotel vouchers and receipt for easier safekeeping. Do not forget to set the auto-lock feature of your smartphone as well. Today’s smartphone is relatively safer due to its unique mechanism of either password protected, biometrics and other means of security. Having a direct access to your passport’s picture with smartphone is also useful. If you would like to venture the night-life scene in Taiwan, most night clubs and pubs also check IDs of their visitors.

To keep the juice of your smartphone full, you should also bring your own electrical socket adapter. Taiwan operates on a standard voltage of 110V – 127 V, the frequency is 60Hz AC which is compatible with devices of North American standard. If you come from a country which adheres to Europlugs standard (as is in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa), Thailand that operates with a standard voltage between 220-240 V, you might need to bring a suitable power converter that can change the voltage from a 110 volt to the voltage of your devices. Check whether your devices work with dual voltage regulators, or else, you may damage your devices. Alternatively, you can also buy socket converters or power converter at convenient stores in Taiwan or can borrow one from your hotels.

By keeping your electrical logistics sorted and having local internet connectivity and power bank devices, you can immediately purchase travel packages and find interesting activities in the format of evouchers in Tripcetera.

7. Dumplings, Boba tea and that awkwardly looking Chia-Koe bread in the night market!

The charms of Taiwan doesn’t stop at their serene national parks, museum collection, products labelled ‘made in Taiwan’ and preserved temples. After a long day of adventure, you may want to enjoy the local delicacy that offer variety of deep-fried chicken breasts (雞排; jīpái), kebabs, spring onion pancakes, pan-fried dumplings, pork or fish thick soups, hot pot, oyster omelets, seafoodchicken riceand beef noodle soup that is now one of the most popular dishes. To finish it off, you would love to gulp that popular drinks include; Boba teapearl milk tea, Chinese herbal teas, and juices made with fresh local fruits and vegetables.

To communicate a certain preference on your dietary, you might want to check the hotels or the tour provider whether they have Kosher or halal foods menus, vegetarian menu, or inform certain food ingredients that you cannot consume before placing your order. You can also find Taiwanese version of vegetarian cuisine such as; Xiaolongbao (steamed bun dumplings) with carrot-sweet potato fillings. Halal food that are based on Huaiyang cuisine of freshwater fish and other aquatic meat base in most dishes, which are light and served with soy sauce condiment. Thanks to the Indonesian communities in Taiwan, you can also find muslim friendly facilities throughout Taiwan as well (read further here: https://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0022187).

The night market is celebrated by the locals as a destination for family time, place to meet with friends, place to eat, browse and look for bargains, especially on weekend or public holiday. The night market that can be found on the outskirts of Taipei is also famous for selection of awkwardly looking chiā-kóe (read: 油炸粿) to sugary candies and pastries that will surely Instagrammable and affordable too.

Check out the Shilin Night Market that perhaps one of the most highlighted destination for night markets in Taipei city. We can easily describe it as a one stop ‘walking street’ where you can get souvenirs as well as enjoying the afternoon on your way back from the National Palace Museum. The night market wakes up on afternoon about 5pm local time and early evening. The Night Market consists of two different sections. One section is selling variety of consumer goods, which is surrounded by the Yang Ming Cinema on Anping Street. The other half of the section is decorated with food stalls on the opposite side of the Jiantan Metro Station. Depends on season, starts from S$17++, you can secure your bed within a walking distance to Ximending area and Shilin Night Market with Tripcetera today!.

There you have it. Our very own tips on 7 things to prepare on your first time visit to Taiwan. Plan your holiday with Tripcetera.com and visit your dream destination within a few clicks away. Sign up as a member today and start building your very own itinerary right away!

Trip to Taiwan: 7 things to prepare for first-time travelers

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