Whether you’re a city breaker, adventurous hiker or beach bunny, Taiwan is a fantastic place to visit as it truly has something for everyone.
If Taiwan is on your travel list, here are four tips to help you plan your trip and make the most of it.
Time your visit to coincide with events
Big Chinese festivals like Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival are super popular times to visit Taiwan because of all the festivities. Although do bear in mind that it’ll probably be very busy with both locals and tourists alike.
But there are lots of fun annual Taiwan-specific festivals to discover too, such as the Taiwan Cycling Festival, Beef Noodle Festival and Taichung Jazz Festival. And a huge range of regular and one-off cultural and indigenous events, too. Check the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s webpage to see what’s coming up so you can plan around your favourite events.
Get an EasyCard
Originally just a travel card, 悠遊卡 ‘yōuyóukǎ’, also known as EasyCard, is a smart prepaid card that has evolved into a popular method of payment at many different kinds of vendors. As well as working on the MRT, buses, Taiwan Railway, Taiwan High-Speed Rail, taxis and even ferries, the EasyCard can also be used at partnered restaurants, cafes and convenience stores across Taiwan. And at attractions like Taipei City Zoo and Yehliu Geo Park, too.
You can get EasyCards at many places in Taiwan, from the airport you land in to convenience stores and metro stations. And while you don’t have to get an EasyCard to enjoy Taiwan, it does make life more convenient and saves you from having to buy separate travel and attraction tickets.
Know the local food and dining culture
Taiwan is largely regarded as a paradise for food lovers. Here are a few national delicacies you should make sure you try while you’re there:
- Bubble tea – sweet milk tea with chewy tapioca balls.
- Beef noodle soup – Taiwan’s national dish. This dish is so popular, a festival is held every year where chefs across the country compete to be named as making the best beef noodle soup in Taiwan.
- Wheelcakes – Thick, pancake-like treats filled with anything from traditional sweet red bean paste to ham and cheese.
- Gua bao – open bao buns stuffed with sliced pork belly.
Lu rou fan – braised minced pork on rice.
- Coffin bread – chicken stew-stuffed bread snack, which became popular with US troops stationed in Taiwan in the 1940s.
Some restaurants in Taiwan ask you to pay right after you place your order. Tipping is also not expected, but some more high-end restaurants may add a service charge to your bill.
Although English may be spoken in the centre of larger cities, fewer people speak English the further you explore. Learning Mandarin Chinese puts you in a great position to understand and be understood by the locals. Not only that, but it’ll also deepen your understanding of Taiwan, and possibly even open opportunities you wouldn’t have had without knowing the lingo.
The great news is that Lingoinn now offers homestay placements in Taiwan, where you can live with an expert Mandarin teacher and enjoy a completely immersive Mandarin learning experience. Check out our ‘Cities’ tab to see which cities we currently cover (and remember, you can choose more than one).