Things to know about Taiwan

Knowing about Taiwan's social customs are without a doubt, some of the most important things to know before traveling to Taiwan. The last thing you want is to come across disrespectful because you forgot to remove your shoes or bring a gift when invited to someone's house. However, don't sweat it too much if you slip up since Taiwanese people don't expect tourist to know all of their customs.

If you're traveling to Taiwan for the first time, it's a good idea to get acquainted to the location of the main tourist information office in Taipei because it always keep relocating. Taipei tourist bureau was previously located on South road but it’s now located at No. 240 Dunhua N. Road. The best thing to do when you land in Taiwan it’s to double check with the airport’s tourist kiosk where the main tourism bureau is located in Taipei.
Things to know about Taiwan

Another thing most people aren't aware about Taiwan is that you can’t legally teach English without getting a residents permit (ARC). If you get caught, you'll certainly get fined and you could also get deported back home. Here it's a few other things worth noting about Taiwan:

You can drive legally in Taiwan with an IDP

With an International Driving Permit (IDP) you can pretty much drive anywhere in the world and that includes Taiwan. However, one of the most important things to know about Taiwan is that if you plan stay there for longer than a month, you will have to apply for a Taiwanese driver's license to be able to continuously drive legally in Taiwan.

Luckily, in most cases you won’t have to retake a driving test when applying for a Taiwanese driver's license as long as your country has a reciprocity driving agreement with Taiwan. At the moment, citizens from the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia will have to take a road test and written test in order to get a Taiwanese driver's license.

As far as US citizens, we aren't off the hook either! However, for some bizarre reason if you're driving license was issued in the states of Virginia, New Mexico or Missouri you won't have to retake your driving test in Taiwan. Whether you qualify or not, the Taiwanese driving test is fairly easy to pass and it only costs roughly $20 (470 Taiwan dollars).

Taiwan's main airport offer best connections to Taipei

Taiwan is home to two international airports: the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (northern Taiwan) and the Kaohsiung International Airport (southern Taiwan). However, if you aren't traveling from Southeast Asia you can expect to land at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which is the biggest airport in Taiwan and it's only located 20 miles from Taipei City.

You won’t find direct flights from Europe, Canada, UK, etc to Kaohsiung International Airport, though you may be able to get a better flight deal if you don't mind a stop-over flight. Even if you land at Taiwan Taoyuan airport and plan to stay somewhere in the south of Taiwan like Kaohsiung City, you can easily catch a high-speed train, which will take less than two-hours.

Whichever airport you land, one thing you’ll certainly love about Taiwans' airports is the lack of airport hassle and the smooth security border control…no TSA agents harassing the live out of you!

As far as transport connections between Taiwan Taoyuan Airport and Taipei City, you can either get a taxi or a hop on a bus. The taxi ride costs around $45 (1,250 Taiwanese dollars); while the bus ride to Taipei costs around $6 (190 Taiwanese dollars).

Booking flight tickets to Taiwan

If you’re traveling from the western hemisphere, the two main airline carriers offering flights to Taiwan will be China airlines (IATA code: CI) who operates an A330-300 aircraft fleet, and EVA airways (IATA code: BR) who operates an Airbus A330-200 fleet.

There is not much between these two airlines in terms of airfare prices, though EVA airlines is normally cheaper than China airlines. To give you an idea of price difference consider a flight between Brisbane and Taipei. A typical round trip ticket from Brisbane Australia to Taipei would cost around $850 with Eva and $1115 with China airlines.

A visa isn’t required for a two-week stay in Taiwan

One of the useful things to know about Taiwan is that you won’t have to apply for a tourist visa ahead of time as long as your passport isn’t expiring in six months and you have an onward ticket (round-trip ticket, train ticket, etc) that proofs your intentions of leaving Taiwan.

Your passport will get stamped on arrival in Taiwan with a visa-exempt entry, or “visa free”, which allows you to be in Taiwan for a maximum stay of 14 days. If you’re planning to stay 30 days, be sure to apply for a “Landing Visa” on arrival, which allows you to stay in Taiwan for a full month.

Be aware though that you can’t apply for an extended visa while in Taiwan so if you’re planning to stay longer than 30 days it’s a good idea to apply for the 60-day or 90-day visa-exempt permit from your consulate before you travel. Otherwise, you'll have to pay an extra fee of $40 if you want to get the visa upon arrival.

Apply for a residents permit for stays of longer than 14 days

If you’re planning to be in Taiwan for 30 days or longer, it’s a good idea to apply for a residents permit or ARC (Alien Resident Certificate). The ARC is basically and ID card that foreigners need to apply for to live, study, teach or work in Taiwan.

Even if you aren't planning to stay in Taiwan indefinitely, it’s good idea to apply for an ARC because it gives you perks such as being able to rent an apartment, which will be certainly cheaper than staying in a hotel for 60 days!

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