Basics


Time: Local time is GMT +8.

Electricity: Electrical current is 110 volts AC, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade plugs and one with a third grounding pin is used.

Money: Taiwan’s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (TWD), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currencies and travellers cheques (American Express, Citibank or Thomas Cook) can be exchanged at government-designated banks and hotels. Receipts are given when currency is exchanged, and must be presented in order to exchange unused NT dollars before departure. Major credit cards such as American Express, Master Card, Visa, and Diners Club are accepted. Banks are open Monday to Friday. US dollars are the preferred currency. ATMs are plentiful but not all accept international bank cards.

Currency Exchange Rates
TWD 1.00 = A$ 0.03 C$ 0.03 € 0.03 NZ$ 0.04 £ 0.02 US$ 0.03 R 0.25
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan, but Taiwanese is often spoken and English is generally understood.

Entry requirements:
Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals may stay in Taiwan for up to 30 days without a visa and require a passport valid for at least six months from entry. If passport is valid for less than six months then a visa is required, although a 30-day visitor visa can be obtained on arrival at Chiang Kai Shek or Kaohsiung International Airport for NT$4,400.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens may stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. If passport endorsed with other than British Citizen, a visa is required. Passports should be valid for at least six months from entry.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian nationals may stay in Taiwan for up to 30 days without a visa and require a passport valid for at least six months from entry.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals may stay in Taiwan for up to 30 days without a visa and require a passport valid for at least six months from entry.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals require a visa for travel to Taiwan and a passport valid for six months after intended travel.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from entry. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.

Passport/Visa Note: All travellers entering Taiwan require confirmed return air tickets or proof of onward travel. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: Taiwan health regulations require that travellers arriving from infected areas carry vaccination certificates for yellow fever. Travellers are advised to have up-to-date jabs for hepatitis A and typhoid, and it is advisable for most long-term travellers to be inoculated against Japanese encephalitis. Due to recent outbreaks of dengue fever, insect repellents and other measures to prevent mosquito bites are recommended for those travelling to the southern part of the island. Visitors should only drink bottled water and should be wary of potential food poisoning. Taiwan’s medical facilities are first-class, but health insurance is recommended for travellers.

Tipping: Tipping is not customary, although if offered it will be accepted. Baggage handlers at hotels and the airport will be pleased with some loose change. Hotels and restaurants will usually add a 10% service charge to the bill.

Safety Information: Most visits to Taiwan are trouble-free. The country has only a low incidence of petty crime, and is considered safe. The only threats are natural ones, because the island is prone to typhoons and tropical storms, usually between May and November, as well as earthquakes and tremors. These are seldom severe.

Local Customs: The concept of ‘saving face’ is very important in Taiwanese culture, and tourists should try to avoid embarrassing locals. Self-control is another key aspect to Taiwanese culture, and losing your temper or creating a public spectacle is highly frowned upon. Relationships in Taiwan are built around mutual benefit, and the exchange of small gifts is common. Taiwanese customs include a number of superstitions, including prohibitions of writing a person’s name in red, pointing at cemeteries or graves, whistling at night, or giving a gift of shoes, umbrellas, clocks or knives. Remove your shoes before entering a person’s home. Physical contact with strangers is considered impolite.

Business: Taiwan has traded heavily with the West for many years and business formalities have melded over time. However it is important to observe and respect the cultural heritage to which many firmly cling. Punctuality is expected in all meetings. Shaking hands, for men and women is common nowadays, but a bow goes a long way as a sign of respect. Often the Taiwanese are referred to by their family name only. Formal dress for both men and women is strictly observed in Taiwan. Gifts are commonplace and often include cultural trinkets, food and business paraphernalia. It is important to show respect to the senior ranking members in meetings. Business cards are a very important part of identification and should be printed in both English and Taiwanese. Business is never rushed and it is essential to be sociable. Business hours are generally 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Communications: Taiwan’s international access dialling code is +886 and the outgoing code is 002 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00244 for the UK). City/area codes are in use, e.g. 2 for Taipei. Six network operators provide mobile telephone services in various regions using either GSM 900 or 1800 networks. Internet cafes can be found in Taiwan’s cities and towns, and most hotels in Taipei have Internet access in their guestrooms.

Duty free: Travellers aged over 20 may enter Taiwan without paying customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 454g tobacco, 1 bottle of alcohol (maximum 1 litre), and a reasonable amount of perfume. Travellers are also permitted to bring personal goods valued up to NT$20,000 duty free (or NT$10,000 for those under 20 years). Guns, narcotics, fresh meat and fruit are prohibited.