U.S. citizens seeking entry as tourists or visitors are required to present a valid passport that will remain valid for the period of intended stay in order to travel to Taiwan. Visas are not required. You must also possess a confirmed return or onward air ticket. You may enter Taiwan without a visa for up to 90 days if your passport is valid for more than 90 days. If your passport has less than 90 days of validity remaining, you will be able to stay in Taiwan for a time equal to the expiration date of your passport. No extensions or changes of status are permitted under any circumstances. Make sure that you have enough empty pages for entry and exit stamps in your passport to ensure your entry and exit. Travelers should be careful not to stay beyond the date permitted in order to avoid difficulties when departing the country.
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Please note: Each traveler is fully responsible for bringing and acquiring travel documents (e-tickets, hotel and travel vouchers, etc.) necessary for his or her itinerary. If you are not a citizen of the United States, your entry requirements may vary— please contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the country or countries to be visited and obtain the specific requirements for entry.
Please refer to the instructions given in your itinerary confirmation. If in the event that you are unable to locate our representative, please call the local contact number as specified on your voucher or confirmation itinerary for immediate assistance.
Population: 23.34 million
Location: East Asia
Largest Cities: Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan
Religion: Buddhist and Taoist 93%
System of Government: Multiparty democracy
Taiwan operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), plus 8 hours.
At 9:00 am anywhere in Taiwan, it is:
• 8:00 pm same day in New York – Eastern Standard Time (EST)
• 7:00 pm same day in Chicago – Central Standard Time (CST)
• 5:00 pm the previous day in San Francisco – Pacific Standard Time (PST)
• 3:00 pm the previous day in Hawaii – Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST)
*Note: Add one hour to local time during Daylight Savings Time.
A good source of health information for travelers is the Center for Disease Control (CDC). You can visit the CDC web site at http://www.cdc.gov. You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Sightseeing may require, at minimum, the ability to walk at a moderate pace for a mile or two, and the balance and agility necessary to climb stairs, enter and exit buses and boats, and navigate uneven or cobble-stoned streets. Some sightseeing stops do not have elevators or wheelchair access. Bring medications in their original, clearly labeled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. When on vacation, it is always wise to watch what you eat and drink, but please do not drink the tap water while traveling in Taiwan. Most hotels will provide complimentary bottled water and additional bottled water can be purchased throughout your trip.
Taiwan’s unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100 NT$; Coins: 50, 20, 10, 5, 1 NT$. Foreign currency and traveler’s checks can be exchanged only at authorized agencies such as banks, exchange offices, and hotels. Major credit cards such as American Express, Master Card, Visa, and Diners Club are accepted, but expect to pay in cash at most family owned restaurants and small shops. The exchange rate is constantly changing, but it can be found to be approximately 1 USD = 29 TWD. For the most updated exchange rate, please check http://www.xe.com.
Electrical service in Taiwan is supplied at 110/220 volts and 60 hertz. Bringing an adaptor is a good idea if you are planning on using electronics (i.e. cell phones, laptops, cameras, etc.) during your trip.
Taiwanese cuisine has numerous variations and styles, some of which are influenced by their Chinese and Japanese neighbors. The country’s geography also influences its food, as seafood is found frequently in their dishes. Rice, soy, tofu, pork, chicken, and seafood are all common ingredients found in Taiwanese cuisine. Beef is not as popular as other forms of meat because of the large population of Buddhists and Taoists that exist. However, these days due to large influxes of people, Taiwanese beef noodle soup has become one of their most popular dishes.
Bakeries in Taiwan are also very popular, specializing in sweet Chinese pastries or Western pastries that are altered to match local taste buds. Cuisines also vary by each region in Taiwan, as each city or town has their own specialties of food. The best place to experience true Taiwanese food is at their night markets. Night markets are extremely common here and you will find countless selections of street foods and snacks at extremely low prices.
Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Taiwan, but it is not the only language spoken. Many people also speak Taiwanese, Hakka, Formosan, and Japanese. English is the most widely spoken foreign language, as it is often taught in schools as part of their curriculum.
Since the Tropic of Cancer divides the island of Taiwan right through the middle, weather conditions can vary significantly from the north to the south. The north has a subtropical climate with moderate temperatures, while the south has a tropical climate with generally higher temperatures. Summers in Taiwan are hot throughout the country, with June to August being the hottest months when temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters in the north often witness much rainfall, while winters in the south are less prone to rain. The coldest months are from January to March as temperatures can reach about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Taiwan is also a humid region that can be noticed all-year round. Taiwan experiences a typhoon season during the months of June to October, which tends to be more active on the east coast.
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This will be contingent on your own personal preference and the time of year you are traveling. Generally, we suggest that travelers pack lightly and to bring comfortable, casual clothes in natural, “breathable” fabrics because of the humidity. Choose versatile styles that can be layered. A lightweight (preferably non-plastic) raincoat or poncho is a good idea, especially during the rainy season, as well as a sweater or lightweight jacket for when the weather cools down or in air-conditioned buildings. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must, as sandals may not be comfortable for some sightseeing activities. Some hotels have pools, so you may want to pack your swimming suit. Do not forget to bring sun block, sunglasses, insect repellent, pocket packs of tissues, a sunhat, an umbrella (for both the sun and rain), and any medications you may need. Most hotels offer reliable laundry and dry cleaning services.
In most areas in Taiwan, you will generally find that the majority of people dress similar to those in the United States and Europe. Wearing comfortable, casual clothes such as short sleeved shirts, polo shorts, etc., are great for sightseeing. When visiting a Buddhist temple, one should dress politely in modest and conservative clothing as a sign of respect, as they would at any other religious place.
Hotels may impose a hefty charge on international calls. Check your hotel’s policy before placing any calls. To avoid hotel markups you can use a calling card from your local long-distance carrier. A number of United States cell phones manufactured today have the ability to operate overseas on the GSM (Global System for Mobile) standard. We recommend that you contact your cell phone service provider to determine if your phone operates on the GSM and what, if any, activation may be required. In Taiwan, reception on any cell phone can be unreliable and unpredictable. In some locations, transmission is not possible at all. If access to e-mail is of critical importance during your trip, please check availability in advanced. Most hotels have business centers or in room WI-FI service, surcharges may apply.
The nationwide emergency phone numbers are:
Lonely Planet Taiwan by Robert Kelly
The Rough Guide to Taiwan by Stephen Keeling
National Geographic Traveler: Taiwan, 3rd edition by Phil MacDonald