Most visitors from North America, Oceania and Europe can enter Taiwan on their passport alone once it is valid for 6 months after the date of entry. Anyone planning to stay longer can purchase a ‘landing visa’ which permits stays of up to 30 days.
To ensure you are fully aware of the entry requirements into Taiwan it is advised that you contact your embassy before travelling.
Taiwan’s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT) which is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of NT$50, NT$100, NT$500 and NT$1,000. Coins in circulation are NT$50, NT$10, NT$5, NT$1 and 50c.
The two main languages spoken are Mandarin and Taiwanese, but there are various dialects spoken around Taiwan.
North and south experience totally different weather. Southern Taiwan enjoys a more tropical climate whereas in Northern Taiwan it gets far, far colder.
There are four seasons, just like most countries in the world. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit as the temperatures don’t get too high or low for travelling, while summer is extremely hot and humid, and in winter it can get quite cool.
Medical treatment in Taiwan isn’t hard to find in any of the cities, and it is also inexpensive. There aren’t any mandatory shots that you can get although you should check with your local doctor before travelling.
Taiwan is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Shops open from 9am-9pm daily and large department stores open daily at 10am and stay open until approximately 9pm that night. Banks opening hours are from 9am-3.30pm.
There are various visitor and tourism associations in all of Taiwan’s major cities which are an excellent source of information. More rural areas won’t have as much information available so it is good to get whatever information you need before travelling.
You will be able to change any foreign currency you have in any of the major banks. Travellers cheques and credit cards are accepted in most places in Taiwan.
If you have a bankcard with a ‘Cirrus’ logo on it you should be able to withdraw funds from bank machines.
Taiwan’s country code is +886. When calling Taiwan dial the international code of the country you are in followed by 866 and then the local number.
When dialling overseas from within Taiwan you have to dial the international access code (002) followed by the country code for the country you are calling, the area code (dropping the 0) and the local number. You will have no problem finding public phones and phonecards for making international calls can be got from newsagents and kiosks.
All major towns and cities have many post offices and the postal service is quite efficient. Post to Western Europe takes approximately 10 days.
Tipping isn’t a part of Taiwanese culture but some services such as taxi drivers are usually tipped. Hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge most of the time.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before travelling as the majority of businesses, banks and shops shut for the day.
In Taiwan they are New Years Day/Foundation of the Republic of China (January 1st-3rd), Chinese New Year (January 22nd-24th), Youth Day (March 29th), Tomb Sweeping Day (April 5th), Dragon Boat Festival (June 22nd), Teachers Day/Mid Autumn Moon Festival (September 28th), National Day (October 10th), Retrocession Day (October 25th), Birthday of Chiang Kai-shek (October 31st), Birthday of Dr Sun Yat-sen (November 12th) and Constitution Day (December 25th).