Taiwan is not only known for being one of Asia’s leading economic superpowers, but also famous as a beautiful country with many interesting, attractive tourist destinations, rich in history and culture, diverse cuisine, hospitable people … Living Nomads recently received a lot of questions about simple things but there are many people who are interested or even unfamiliar when self-sufficient travel in Taiwan. So, we decided to list and gather all the useful things that we think people who self-sufficient traveling to Taiwan must know. Now, let’s check it out top 10 best things to know before going to Taiwan (things to know before visiting Taiwan, things to know when traveling to Taiwan) including some things not to do in Taiwan and things to avoid in Taiwan below.
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- Explore Taipei Fish Market — Review seafood experience at Taiwan’s most famous fish market
Now, these are the top 10 best things to know before going to Taiwan.
Airlines to Taiwan
Currently, Taiwan is a hot tourist destination, so there are many airlines that fly to Taiwan. You can freely to choose from Vietnam Airlines, Uni Airline, Eva Air, Vietjet Air, China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, etc. depending on your budget that you can choose the right airline at reasonable price. However, if you have abundant finance, and choose to fly with Eva Airline or Uni Airline then you remember to use a FREE and useful service of these firms, that is In Town Check-In (Check in and check-in baggage in the center of Taipei). For the details you can google to find.
If you choose the airport, let’s fly to Taoyuan
Why? Because this airport is not only beautiful but the airport also has a multitude of facilities that you will definitely want to try, such as: Free Wifi, resting lounge, play ground for kids, massage chairs, praying rooms, food court, shopping…
Taiwan’s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$, TWD). US$1 = 30.96 NT$. Below are the types of money in Taiwan.
- Banknotes with denominations: 50 NT$, 100 NT$, 500 NT$, 1,000 NT$, and 2,000 NT$.
- Coins with denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 NT$ and 5 jiao.
In addition, the Yuan (CNY, ¥) currency is also valid in this country. You should be estimate about the amount of money you need to spend and exchange before going to Taiwan, or bring US dollars to exchange at the airport but the exchange rate may be a bit more expensive. In Taiwan, it is not common to buy and sell in foreign currencies such as USD, Euro, except some major stores accepting payment in USD, so make sure you have NTD to spend. Actually, you should not exchange too much, in Taiwan almost anywhere can pay by credit card, only buy tickets at the local small stations, or eat street food they do not accept the credit card.
Taiwanese people use Mandarin as the language of communication and the percentage of people who speak English is not much, if you want to talk, ask for directions or communicate in purchasing, you should use the basic English words. In most shops, cafes, staffs only could communicate in body language and a few basic English words. There are only large shops, shopping malls or airports they speak English. So you will have to prepare for communication difficulties. You should download some Chinese or Google Translate app in your phone, learn some words, basic sentences such as numbers, one, other, asking price,… to translate and communicate with Taiwanese.
Especially in the higher regions, such as Hualien, for example, people do not speak English so it is best to have friends who are native speakers to guide or not you can book tours with native guides. It is much easier when compares to self-sufficient traveling without worry about communication.
AC power plugs and sockets
In Taiwan, there are only two plugs and sockets types: two-pin flat plug or three-pin plug, quite different from round pins plug like in Vietnam, you note to bring the correct charger. If you forget don’t worry, let’s go to any 7-Eleven store also available.
Multipurpose 7-Eleven convenience stores chain
Talking about the 7-Eleven convenience store, in many other countries, is often the only place where people drop in to buying fast food, drinks, or some miscellaneous things. However, 7-Eleven in Taiwan is a paradise where you can enjoy the food of the local stores, or buy concert tickets, fresh vegetables, top up your phone, buy tickets to shows and games, wife free, fax, print, photocopy, ATM, send packages, call taxi, etc. Generally, if you coming to Taiwan, let’s try a 7-Eleven tour to see the magic of this chain of convenience stores.
Taiwanese people love to queue !!!
Taiwanese people queue very seriously, not squeeze or push. You can easily see at everywhere, from upscale restaurants to casual eateries, Taiwanese can spend hours lining up without complaining. So when you come to Taiwan you should “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”, practice your patience when the line up as Taiwanese.
What does Taiwanese food taste like?
The Taiwanese eat a very light taste, emphasize is really light taste. The dishes often will be noodles with the simmer bone broth, shuijiao (ravioli soup), etc. are cooked in Chinese style with a lot of grease, including boiled dishes. The Taiwanese does not use fish sauce like Vietnam but they use soy sauce and not too bold taste. For those who familiar with bold Vietnamese or Thai delicacies may feeling a bit difficult to eat. In addition, vegetables in Taiwan are very expensive, only a bit of vegetables on the top of the noodles bowl is very normal and often will be served with some pickled dishes. So healthy team, team love vegetables need to prepare the spirit for a trip rich in protein and starch.
The magic of the EasyCard
EasyCard is not only used for public transportation such as MRT, train, and even HSR (High Speed Railway) (Non-Reserved Seat). You can find out as well as buy HSR tickets here. In addition, this card is also used for purchase in convenience stores (Family Mart, OK, Hi-life, 7-Eleven: The friend of all family), supermarkets, some bubble milk tea shops, vending machines …
Please note that this card is not valid for Taipei city bus sightseeing hop-on hop-off (the vehicle used to visit the city).
In addition, some bus routes in Taipei only swipe convenient card when getting on or getting off. You can look up on the signal board when you see the word “上” means swipe this card when getting on and the word “下” means swipe this card when getting off.
Special: If you use Easycard to take the city bus in Taichung within 10 km from the moment you swipe your card, you will be completely FREE.