Before you travel to Taiwan, there are 15 things you must know ahead of time, such as location, languages, best time to travel, and even controversial topics such as differences between Taiwan and China.
Where is Taiwan on the map?
Where is Taiwan? There is something you must know before you come to visit Taiwan. If you look at the map below, you will see Taiwan is a tiny little island next to China separated by the Taiwan Strait in between two countries.
Taiwan is located in Eastern Asia and under South Korea and Japan, above the Philippines.
What is the Population in Taiwan?
Total population in Taiwan : 23,334,001 （09. Jun. 2020）
- 2.4% Taiwanese indigenous peoples
- 70 – 72% Han Taiwanese
- 12 – 14% Hakka Taiwanese
- <1% immigration
- 13.5% Refugees from China after WWII
Capital of Taiwan – Taipei
Another you must know thing is Taiwan’s capital – Taipei City.
- Taipei’s space : 271.80 km
- Taipei’s population : 2,646,204
Besides capital city, there are 5 more main cities in Taiwan.
- Read more about : the second biggest city in Taiwan – Kaohsiung
- Read more about : The first capital and oldest city in Taiwan – Tainan
Is Taiwan in China?
As you can see below, on the map of Taiwan looks like an isolated sweet potato and Taiwanese sometimes call themselves as sweet potato children. All the cities are next to the ocean except for Nantou, but Nantou has Sun Moon Lake.
Taiwan is divided into 2 areas by the Central Mountains. the western part of Taiwan is urban and the eastern part is more natural.
The western area is dividied into 3 regions making up a total of 4 regions of the country. Northern Taiwan, Central Taiwan, and Southern Taiwan and Eastern Taiwan.
The ROC Flag
This is the flag of Republic of China looks like.
Before we talk about travel tips or politics, I would like to introduce Taiwan a little bit more. Lets first talk about must know key facts about the country Taiwan, such as the languages people speak, time, the population as well as the country code.
What languages do Taiwanese people speak?
This question is simple but also a little tricky. Taiwanese Mandarin is the official language but there are many more languages spoken in Taiwan You must know about many of them are much older than Taiwanese Mandarin.
Most of these languages are Indigenous languages and each tribe has their own language.
Some of these languages will become extinct in the near future as the small number of people who speak them are getting older.
For example, my grandparents do not really understand Taiwanese Mandarin and only know a few words. They speak Taiwanese which has its known unique history and food culture. Taiwan has been colonized by many countries over the years, including the Netherland, Spain, Japan and the Ming and Chin Dynasties (modern day China).
This has had a huge impact on the languages spoken in Taiwan and in fact, you can hear many of these external influences in Taiwan today.
What time zone is Taiwan in?
Since Taiwan is such a small country, it is in only one timezone in Taiwan. Taiwan is located in GMT+8, which is 12 hours ahead of New York and 2 hours behind Melbourne. Taiwan has not used daylight savings since 1979.
What is Taiwan’s country telephone code?
Taiwan country code is +886
There are many telecom companies in Taiwan that provide unlimited internet data at reasonable prices, therefore you do not need to worry about calling your family overseas over the internet.
Who is the Taiwanese president?
The current Taiwanese president is Tsai Ing-Wen, from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Taiwan is a democratic country and its presidential election is held every four years. The election year is the same as in the US, however the difference is in Taiwan every single ticket counts instead of the State Electoral College system used in the US.
Is Taiwan China? What is Taiwan’s history?
Most people call it Taiwan, some people call it Formosa (named by Portugal during the Discovering period) and in some cases, people call it the Republic of China.
In order to avoid confusion, the difference in name between Taiwan and China:
- Republic of China = Taiwan
- People’s Republic of China (PRC) = China
Taiwan and China are different countries.
I, as a Taiwanese prefer that you call me Taiwanese or Asian instead of Chinese.
A lot of People in Taiwan get offended, when you refer to them as Chinese, you must know this about Taiwan, before you come to visit.
I know this is a controversial topic and I don’t want to start a fight here. If you would like to know about this part more, check out these resources:
Nathan Rich is a british Youtuber and he often criticizes political between Taiwan and China.
More videos about Taiwan and China.
- Why China And Taiwan Hate Each Other by Now This World
- Is Taiwan a country… or part of China? by WonderWhy
Entry Visas to visit Taiwan
Before you visit Taiwan, you must know about your country is a part of visa-free in Taiwan.
30 days visa-free Countries :
Singapore, Malaysia, Nauru (3 countries)
Central/South American :
Beliz, Dominican Republic, Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (5 countries)
90 Days visa-free Countries :
Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Tuvalu, Isreal (7 countries)
North America :
Canada, USA (2 countries)
Central/South American :
Chile, República de El Salvador, República de Guatemala, République d’Haïti, República de Honduras, República de Nicaragua, República del Paraguay (7 countries)
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Makedonija, Monaco, Netherland, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Spinach, Slovenia, Slovensko, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Vatican City, (37 countries)
After the serious part, I am going to tell you some interesting travel part. You might want to know before visit Taiwan.
Currency Exchange in Taiwan
Money is used in Taiwan is New Taiwanese Dollar.
$1 USD ≈ $30ish NTD
$1 AUD ≈ $20ish NTD
How to exchange your currency to New Taiwan Dollar (NTD)
If you would like to exchange currency to New Taiwan dollar (NTD) there are some ways you can do it.
- Exchange in your own country (this depends on your country’s currency exchange availability).
- Exchange currency at a bank in Taiwan
- Currency Exchange counter at a Shopping Mall (limited to certain foreign currencies)
- Some Hotels provide currency exchange (depending on the hotel)
- ATM (you can do this with certain bank cards)
What is the best rate you can get when exchanging to Taiwanese dollars?
What is the best currency to use when exchanging money in Taiwan? I would recommend you to use USD/JPW/EUD/CNY currency, they usually have pretty good rate, especially USD.
Which power plug is used in Taiwan?
- 110V 60Hz。Type C or B (for some devices) But basically type C is very common one.
If you are not sure which is type C, see the picture below or purchase international travel adaptor. It is same type used in the USA. gernerally speaking, phone or laptop voltage range is pretty wide but you should double check before you use it in Taiwan. If your devise does not support 110V 60Hz, it is recommended to purchase a transformer or a local charging unit.
When is the best time to travel to Taiwan?
Taiwan is located in Subtropical and Tropical regions, temperatures are generally warm but it does get as low as 5 degrees Celcius (41°F). You may also see some snow in winter on mountains that are above 3,000 m (9,842 ft) For example : Hehuanshan, 3,422 m (11227 ft)
But on the mountain over 3,000 m (9,842 ft) usually will snow in the winter period and also although southern Taiwan is under the tropical climate, the region’s temp still can get low until 5°C (41°F).
- Average temperature in the North of Taiwan 13°C – 20°C (55.4°F – 68°F)in Winter, 25°C- 31°C (77°F – 87.8°F) in Summer.
- Average temperature in the South of Taiwan 15°C – 24°C (59°F – 75.2°F) in Winter, 26°C – 32°C (78.8°F – 89.6°F) in Summer.
So, when is the best month to visit Taiwan? I would say, year around.
You can decide for yourself, if you prefer chilly weather but not too cold, between late Feb to early May is the best time and you are able to see cherry blossoms in Alishan. If you are looking for a hot summer season, visit Taiwan in Jun to Nov. Between Nov and Feb there are usually many festivals going on in Taiwan, for example, you can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Taipei 101 or Kenting.
However, be aware, there are many typhoons during this period as well, you probably don’t want to encounter them, so plan your itinerary more flexible.
Taiwan’s nature disaster – Earthquakes and Typhoons
Taiwan is situated on the Eurasian Plate and Philippine Sea Plate and this is part of the reason why Taiwan’s nature is so beautiful.
Be aware of this, a place located between two plates will cause some problems, for example, earthquakes. Earthquakes are difficult to predict, it is hard to know when and where earthquakes will occur and how strong they will be. So unfortunately I am not able to tell you when and where earthquakes will happen, but neither can scientists. However, if you are interested in earthquakes you can check the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan (九二一地震教育園區) in Taichung.
- Address : No.192, Xinsheng Rd., Wufeng Dist., Taichung City 41363, Taiwan (臺中市霧峰區坑口里新生路192號)
- Admission fee : NTD $50
How to get there?
- The Museum is about 25 mins away from Taichung Main station by Taxi/uber.
- By Public Transport Bus takes about 55 mins – 1hr 35mins
Public Bus routes :
- U-bus Nr.50 will direct front of 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan. (slower)
- Taichung Bus 107/201 to Kengkou Village/Guangfu New Village (光復新村) and walk 12 mins will arrive. (faster)
- Recommend : Use Easy card or I-pass take bus to get discount.
- Recommend : Day pass for Taipei Easy card | Kaohsiung i-Pass | Easy card + sim card
Typhoons are a little more predictable than earthquakes. They come to visit Taiwan every year, during the summer time (June to September). Occasionally they will come in May or October but it does not happen very often, this is something you must know about Taiwan before book your ticket .
So Typhoon levels are based on wind speed.
- Mild Typhoon (roughly level 8-11) wind speed 17.2m to 32.6m
- Moderate intensity(roughly level 12-15)wind speed 32.7m to 50.9m
- Intense intensity (over or level 16) wind speed 51m
Depending on the severity level of the typhoon, some shops might close and public transport might stop operations as well.
When a person travels to another country, it often happens that they make small mistakes because they misunderstand the culture or did not prepare in advance.
Taiwanese people are sensitive about its international status, it will be very helpful if you refer to Taiwan as a country instead of a province of China. I believe that one day Taiwan will be an independent country without a doubt. If you are willing to help, please share this article with anyone who cares about this too.
*Both offer cheaper entry tickets to many attractions, such as museums and theme parks. You can even get discounts on sim cards, transportations and much much more.
When I look for flight tickets I usually go to:
Skyscanner is the biggest flight ticket search website
When I look for accommodation I usually go to:
- Agoda (Tip: if you book a non-refundable room, you usually get a very good deal).
- Booking.com (my favorite one, easy to manage bookings).
- Hotel.com (If you book more than 10 nights, you will get one night for free).
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