1. Use MRTs to access destinations in Taipei.
The Taipei MRT is considered as the largest metro subway in Taiwan and it is commended because it is quick, convenient, affordable and clean. The MRT also serves most areas of Taipei and is very easy to navigate. MRT Maps are provided in every station and available in both English and Chinese languages. The service operates from 6:00 AM to 12:00AM.
You can use the following to get in and off the MRTs:
Single Journey Token: can be purchased in machines provided outside every MRT Stations which is only good for one journey. The cost depends from your departure station to your destination.
Easy Cards: a 'touch-and-go' ticketing system that can be used in Taipei Metro, buses, car parks, and stores. You can add value to your card at machines provided outside the MRT Stations, Information Counter in MRT Stations or convenience stores like 7-11, Family Mart, and OK Mart. You can purchase Easy Cards in MRT Stations and convenience stores.
One Day Pass: can be purchased from the information center of every MRT station and it costs NT$150 for unlimited train rides from your first use up to the midnight of that the same day.
24-HR Taipei Metro Pass: available at all MRT information centers for NT$180. The unlimited travel pass is valid within 24 hours from its first use.
48-HR Taipei Metro Pass: available at all MRT information centers for NT$280. The unlimited travel pass is valid within 48 hours from its first use.
72-HR Taipei Metro Pass: available at all MRT information centers for NT$380. The unlimited travel pass is valid within 72 hours from its first use.
2. Have your local currency exchange at the airport.
The country’s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) which has five paper denominations that comes in NT$2000, NT$1000, NT$500, NT$200, and NT$100 and coin denominations in NT$50, NT$20, NT$10, NT$5 and NT$1.
Cash is the most common form of payment in Taiwan especially if you want to go to night markets while credit cards are usually accepted in mid to upper class restaurants and in hotels. Most stores will charge more or less 3% tax for international cards. You can also use your international card to withdraw from ATMs which are visible anywhere in the city. There is a NT$100.00 surcharge for this transaction but may differ depending on your bank so better informed your bank ahead of time before traveling.
Unlike other countries, there are only few money exchange counters across the city but banks are everywhere. The problem about the banks is that they are not available on a weekend and they only accept limited currencies. So it is really recommended to have your local currency exchange at the airport when you arrived and they offer quite a good exchange rate.
3. Wear comfortable shoes
If you are in Taiwan, prepare to walk long distances if you don’t want to pay more for the transportation (taxicabs). Usually, hotels and other accommodations are around 5-10 minutes walking distance from its nearest MRT station or bus stops. Also, most tourist spots in Taiwan are huge in area and you need to walk from the entrance to the main spot for you to capture good photos and to see the whole view. Taiwan is famous for its night markets so it is really advisable to wear comfortable shoes to wander around the crowded area.
4. Obey the Metro Etiquette
Taipei Metro has been very strict with their rules in order to maintain its safe and pleasant environment. They prepared a set of rules including no food and drinks allowed, giving priority to disabled, pregnant women, and elders, lowering your voice, and many more. Taiwanese really observe these rules and sometimes, you will be reprimanded for not following.
Below are some of the Metro Etiquette that you should remember:
- Give way to those who are disabled, elderly, pregnant women, and passengers with babies and kids.
- Do not eat, drink, nor chew gums while inside the MRT.
- Passengers who are sick, or have colds and cough should wear surgical mask so as not to spread the virus.
- When using the escalators, RIGHT SIDE is for STANDING and LEFT SIDE is for WALKING.
5. Most Taiwanese don’t speak English
Not all Taiwanese can communicate with you in English so maybe it would be very helpful if you can learn the basics. Usually, this is the common problem of tourists in Taiwan since English language is not often used as a medium of conversation. This is a monolingual country but nowadays, they are slowly adapting and learning English.
On the other hand, Taiwanese are very friendly and very much accommodating and will try their best to help you. If communicating with them, USE SIMPLE ENGLISH or even hand signals, waving, and pointing goes a long way.
- Electric voltage is 110V so better bring an adapter for your gadgets.
- Bring umbrellas because Taiwan’s weather is as unpredictable as women.
- Tipping in restaurants and drivers is not part of their culture.
- When eating in a restaurant, never stand your chopsticks up in your rice bowl - it is seen as food left for the dead, which is usually done at funerals.
- “XIE-XIE” or “THANK YOU” is a very helpful tool to show respect and gratefulness.
So, you already have this useful tips before traveling in Taiwan to remember. And before packing up, you can check some of our Taiwan Blogs for your DIY itineraries. Enjoy and have an amazing trip to Taiwan!