Taiwan

Travel Guide

From hiking through mountainous National Parks and relaxing on beaches, and from standing in front of magnificent temples to getting lost in vibrant night markets in the cosmopolitan capital of Taipei, Taiwan is a land of contrasts waiting to be explored. Oh, and don't get us started on the food...

Taiwan Fast Facts

Languages Spoken

The official language spoken in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, however you will also find people speaking Taiwanese Mandarin (Hokkien) which is influenced by standard Mandarin, indigenous and other languages.

Currency

Name: New Taiwan Dollar
Code: TWD
Symbol: $ or NT$
Exchange rate: 100NT$ is approx $3.30USD

Time Zone

Time Zone: China Standard Time (GMT/UTC+08:00)

Taiwan Fast Facts

Beers

The cost of a pint of draught beer in Taiwan is between 39NT$ - 69NT$ (approx $1.30-$2.30), with local markets being around the same price.

Meals

The cost of a meal for two in Taiwan can range from 500NT$ – 1,000NT$ (approx $16.50-$33). Or grab some traditional Taiwanese meatballs or beef noodle soup at a street food stall for as little as 60NT$ (approx $2).

Taxi Ride

Looking to catch a cab? A normal taxi tariff starts at 80NT$ (approx $2.60) depending on where you're going.

Transport

Taipei and Kaohsiung have great MRT metro systems, starting at 20NT$ (approx 70c) for a one-way ticket.

Hostels

Looking for somewhere to crash? Hostels in Taiwan are around 500NT$ (approx $16.50) per night, on average.

Hotels

If you're wanting something a little more 'upmarket', a double room in a midrange hotel ranges between 1,400-2,600NT$ (approx $46-$86) a night.

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Taiwan Tours & Mini-adventures

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Small Group Hiking Day Tour on Qixing Mountain | Full-day tour
Departing from and ending in Taiwan, this full day tour takes you far away from the hustle and bustle, over multiple peaks and around a volcanic lake, past charming traditional Japanese-style bath houses and hot springs. It includes a guide and all transport. 
From $70
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taroko gorge
Taroko Gorge Day Tour | Full-day tour
This tour includes pick up and drop off at your hotel in Taipei, trains out of the city to Taroko National Park, a traditional Taiwanese lunch (veggies are catered for!), and a guide who will help you discover the most amazing views in and around this insane natural wonder. Asides from wandering through the gorge itself, you'll head to the Eternal Spring Shrine, the Swallow Grotto and more... 
From $140
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taipei
Deep Dive on Taiwan's Hidden Gem | 3 days (approx.)
Taiwan isn't all foodie havens, high rise shopping malls and majestic shrines. Head offshore to the island of Xiao Liuqiu and you'll find enough turtle-inhabited coral, swinging palms, caves, hiking trails, paddle boards, lovely locals and shady beach huts to satisfy your wildest backpacker dreams. This tour isn't planned or guided. We're sending you there, giving you an introduction to the island, sorting you out with your accommodation and an electric scooter... and then the island is all yours. 
From $435
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Taiwan Highlights

Taipei
Taipei 101
This towering bamboo stalk - which is what it was genuinely designed to resemble - is visible across the whole city. Shoot up to the 89th floor in only 37 seconds, and be prepared for some magnificent views of Taipei from the observatory (once you've recovered from the elevator ride). If heights don't make you weak at the knees, then head on up to the outdoor observatory on the 91st floor.
Top tip: For an alternative view of Taipei 101 instead of in it, take a hike up Elephant Mountain early in the day before tourists bombard the trail.
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Sun Moon Lake
This lake in Nantou is the largest body of water in Taiwan, and a great place to just sit down and take a break from the sometimes hectic pace of traveling. Hire a bike and cycle around the area, hop on a boat or just chill and enjoy the surroundings. Sun Moon Lake is also home to one of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan, the Thao tribe.

 

Top tip: Take the ropeway gondola across to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village theme park, which not only offers rides, but also aboriginal culture performances.
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Taroko Gorge & National Park
Taroko's 18km marble-walled gorge is a place all travelers could go to get a winner of a photo for Instagram - we're pretty sure it could become your most liked photo. Not only great for photos, it's the perfect destination for the walker that enjoys twisty, turny trails through tunnels, across bridged and under some crazy waterfalls.
Top tip: Don't just stop at Taroko Gorge, check out the other amazing sites in the park such as the Golden Canyon. The best way to take it all in? On our 5 day Taroko Gorge tour
Food Taiwan
For the foodies
Asian food is always a tasty adventure, and Taiwan doesn't disappoint. Head to any of the night markets to sample the street food: we recommend Keelung Night Market where you can get some great seafood, or Yongkang Street where you can find a range of dining options such as James's Kitchen, which is a highly popular place for traditional home-cooking.
Top tip: Try the xiaolongbao (aka soup dumplings) and the mango shaved ice (literally shaved ice drowned in condensed milk and topped with a garnish of your choice).

Taipei: Neighborhood guide

Are you a culture vulture, or a night owl, always sniffing out the best clubs and bar drinking districts? Maybe you're a shopaholic, or perhaps you're just on the lookout for some unreal Asian eats (psst. Us too. We like you). Look no further than these must-see areas of Taiwan's capital...
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Songshan
If it's a hipster neighborhood you're looking for then look no further than the Songshan District, and in particular Fujin Street. The chilled-out vibe, coupled with trendy cafés, independent, quirky stores selling furniture, vintage clothing and other goodies.
Top tip: check out Fujin Tree 355 Café, which is part of a store and art gallery - all your hipster needs met in one place.
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Jiufen
You can easily spend a day exploring the many lanes and alleyways of Jiufen, that are steeped in history and culture. The architecture hasn't changed since it developed during the gold rush, so it's still very authentic, however Japanese style cafes, tea houses, and shops have cropped up since then, making it hugely appealing to tourists.
Top tip: Visit the Golden Waterfall (the yellow hue is from the copper and iron deposits it picks up from old mines). Another 'golden' photo opportunity, see what we did there?!
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Beitou
If you're a lover of nature then look no further than Beitou Park. You can get there in 30 mins from Taipei Main Station, and you'll not be disappointed. Lots of green, and rich in history - with an impressive range of hot springs! The perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Top tip: If you visit between Tues-Sun, check out Beitou Thermal Valley (aka Hell's Valley) where you can see steam rising up as high as 100m from the geothermal pools below.
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Wanhua
Despite being Taipei's oldest district, Wanhua is just as trendy as the newer kids on the block. You've got the arty and distinctive Red House (the first and largest teahouse in Taiwan), beautiful temples, historic streets that will transport you back in time, night markets, and even an ice rink.
Top tip: Head over to Lane 96 Kunming Street to check out the graffiti.

Taiwan travel: your questions answered

Do I need a visa for Taiwan?

If you're staying in Taiwan for less than 90 days then you don't need a tourist visa. If you plan on staying longer than 90 days you'll need a visa prior to traveling. Contact a travel expert to find out more.

What's the weather like in Taiwan?

Taiwan is warm all year round, averaging at about 71°F, but the best time to visit would be between April and June or September and November if you'd like to avoid the high tourist season, humid weather and the possibility of typhoons which occur in the summer time.

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