Is Taiwan easy to travel?
Heck, yes, Taiwan is one the easiest places to travel around. There is an abundance of public transport options and tourist information is in every city. You could not wish for an easy destination to get around. Imagine China but with the infrastructure and social customs of Japan: that’s Taiwan. Clean, efficient and brimming with culture. I loved Taiwan! However, there are some things I wish I had known before my arrival, so I have decided to impart my knowledge to you.
Get Yourself an Easy Card.
The clue is in the name with this one. What does the easy card do? It makes travel in Taiwan easier, duh. The easy card works like London’s Oyster card, only it’s better. You can use it for so much more, a bit like the Octopus card in Hong Kong. It is accepted across Taiwan, not just in Taipei and you can use it in shops, as well as, transportation. It is convenient and you save 20% on all metro journeys: it is worth the 100 dollar (£2.50) investment.
Accommodation is more expensive at the weekend.
Taiwan is a small country, you can get from one end to the other in a couple of hours on the bullet train. The outcome of this is that domestic tourism is big business. Many Taiwanese people go away for the weekend and as basic economics dictates, if demand goes up so does price. Expect to pay more for accommodation at the weekend. However, there is a perk to Taiwanese tourism, you get to meet some great locals in hostels at the weekends!
Outside Taipei English is not well spoken.
Once you leave the capital you may struggle to communicate if you don’t speak Mandarin. Some places will offer an English menu. If not, take a look at what the locals are eating and choose that option. They’ve picked it for a reason. We even found that hotels did not have English speaking staff. Google translate will become your best friend! However, before you panic read my next point.
The people in Taiwan are lovely.
Taiwanese people are not the most outgoing bunch. They are quite reserved and generally won’t come over to say hello. But don’t let this fool you into believing they aren’t friendly, if you make the effort people will chat to you for ages but you need to make the first step. In addition, if you need help the people in Taiwan will go above and beyond to help you out, even if they don’t speak a word of English. In Taichung, we only managed to find our guest through the kindness of a local lady who walked us all the way to the door. Her English was limited to ‘hello.’
Seriously, the people in Taiwan are just the nicest, don’t worry about language barriers or getting lost because someone will be along to help you out no matter what. You couldn’t wish to meet a more contentious nation.
Taiwan has a great tourist infrastructure including tourist shuttles and every large town has a tourist information centre where a lovely (English speaking) member of staff can tell you everything you need to know about your current location, your next destination or even where to get a good meal!
Pack a rain coat!
The weather in Taiwan is unpredictable to say the least. One day its 34 degrees and brilliant sunshine. The next there is a torrential thunderstorm. Be prepared for every eventuality and if it looks like it might rain then expect it to pour! A rain coat and an umbrella are essentials. We invested in high quality North Face rain jackets and these have withstood even the most torrential rainstorm.
You’re going to love Taiwan.
Trust me on this one: you will fall in love with Taiwan. The food is delicious and plentiful. The people are kind and generous. The country is overflowing with stunning scenery. Taiwan is a gem of the Far East and anyone planning a trip there has so much to be excited about!
Want to know more about Taiwan’s awesome capital, Taipei?