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Home >> Travel Guide >> Taiwan >> Travel Tips

Taiwan - Travel Tips

Currency

Coins come in denominations of NT$1, 5, 10, 50 and 100. Bills come in units of NT$100, 500 and 1,000.

Major foreign currencies can be easily exchanged for the local currency at certain banks, hotels, some shops and all authorized money dealers. In smaller towns or in the countryside, it is nearly impossible to change foreign currency into NT$. If traveling overland, change money before the trip. In smaller towns usually only the Bank of Taiwan changes foreign currency; the procedure is complicated, exhausting and time-consuming.

Important: Be sure to obtain receipts of all such transactions: you'll find they save you a lot of hassle with the bank, when you try to reconvert unused New Taiwan dollars on departure. Usually you will get US$ for your surplus NT$. The best for doing this job are the banks at CKS International Airport in Taipei. There is also a bank at Kaohsiung International Airport, but with irregular opening times.

Traveler's checks are also widely accepted at most hotels and other tourist-oriented establishments. This also applies to major credit cards such as American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club.

What to wear

During the hot season, appropriate clothing for Taiwan should include light and loose cotton clothing, casual sportswear and comfortable walking shoes. Men usually need not wear jackets and ties, for even during office hours, most Chinese businessmen prefer to wear leisure suits with open collars to beat the heat. You may want to bring along a lightweight jacket or dress for formal banquets and receptions, but otherwise such clothing is not necessary. If you come for business, it is better to be overdressed, so take your jacket and tie. Most modern offices are air-conditioned.

During the cold season, be sure to bring along some comfortable woolens to help protect you from the bone-chilling, moisture-laden airs of winter in Taiwan. Sweaters, woolen jackets and dresses, warm pants and socks will all come in handy during Taiwan winters, especially in Taipei. People in Taiwan tend to dress a bit more formally on winter evenings than in summer.

During both seasons, it is advisable to bring along some sort of rain-gear. It can burst out in thunderstorms at any moment without forewarning.

Airport Tax

All outbound passengers must pay an exit airport tax of NT$ 300. You must present the receipt when checking in.

Medical Services

It does not cost much to get medical treatment and dental care in Taipei. This does not mean, however, that the services are not as good or efficient as in some other countries. In fact, the quality of medical services here is excellent and up-to-date.

Tipping

Generally speaking, heavy tipping is not expected in Taiwan, although token gratuities are always appreciated. Hotels and restaurants automatically add 10 percent service charge to bills, but this money rarely gets distributed among the staff, so a small cash tip of 5 to 10 percent is always welcome in restaurants.

Taiwan taxi drivers do not get upset if you do not tip them, but it is customary to let them "keep the change" in small coins when paying the fare. Taxis still cost far less in Taipei than most places, but the cost of gas and maintenance here is quite high, so drivers appreciate even the smallest tips.

The only places in Taiwan where heavy tips are routinely expected are in wine-houses and dance-halls, where big tipping wins you "big face" and big favors from the ladies.

Business & Banking Hours

Official government business hours in Taiwan are 8.30am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 5.30pm, Monday through Friday, and 8.30am - 12.30pm on Saturday, with Sunday closed.

Hours for banks are 9am - 3.30pm Monday through Friday and 9am - noon on Saturday, with Sunday closed.

Commercial business hours are 9am - 5pm Monday through Friday and 9am - noon on Saturday, with Sunday a day off.

Department stores and large shops stay open from 10 or 11am until 9 or 10pm Monday through Saturday and usually close on Sunday. Many smaller shops and stalls keep longer hours and remain open all week.

Museums are usually closed on Mondays.

Electricity

The electricity in Taiwan is 110 V, 60 Hz, which is the same as in America. The wall sockets are made for standard American 2 pin flat plugs.

Air conditioners use 220 V or 240 V, 60 Hz.

If you are coming from Australia, Europe or South East Asia using 220/240V, 50 Hz, your devices may not work in Taiwan. Devices that are using only 50 Hz will need a frequency converter to use them in Taiwan and can be purchased anywhere.

Smaller devices will use the 200 or 240 V, 50 or 60 Hz. They can be plugged into the 220 or 240 V air conditioner socket (3 pin).

Useful telephone numbers

Fire - 119

Police - 110

Traveler info - (02) 717-3737 (from 8am to 8pm)

Foreign Affairs, National Police - (02) 396-9781

Foreign Affairs, National Police Offices:

  • Taichung - (04) 220-3032
  • Kaohsiung - (07) 221-5796
  • Tainan - (07) 222-9704
  • Keelung - (032) 252-787
   
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