When visiting Taiwan, there is an awful lot for travelers to look forward to. However, there are some things for them to keep in mind too.
Taiwan sits in the heart of East Asia with a bit of everything to offer travelers. With travel restrictions beginning to loosen up, it won’t be long before tourists are a common sight on the island again. However, there are always a couple of things for travelers to keep in mind.
When visiting Taiwan, there is an awful lot for travelers to look forward to. However, there are some things for them to keep in mind too. Here are some Dos and Don’ts when traveling to Taiwan.
Travelers who know anything about Taiwan know about the night markets, and visitors to the island quickly find out how nice Taipei’s riverside parks are as well. The great thing is, that they are often close together. It is hard to beat some night market food followed by a YouBike ride through the park. There are even a few locations in the riverside parks where there are collections of shops, eateries, and even bars, right by the water for visitors to enjoy.
Taiwan’s cities have a variety of outdoor and semi-outdoor dining options, not just the night markets. It is easy for travelers in Taiwan to find themselves with a bunch of trash all of a sudden. Cities like Taipei are generally lacking in public garbage bins, which can make it difficult for travelers who are not used to the trash system. A piece of advice for travelers is to look for the bus stops on the islands running down the middle of main roads, those almost always have a garbage and recycling bin. And, travelers should definitely not just leave their trash on the ground, in the basket of a YouBike, or in an alley.
Being an island sitting on a ton of geothermal activity, Taiwan has an abundance of hot springs and hot spring resorts. Beitou, just a bit north of Taipei, or Jiaoxi to the east of the city are great options with ease of access. However, the island is full of more hot sprig locations than just that. They offer a great opportunity to slow down a little and to allow for the body to heal a bit before going out to engage in more rigorous adventures.
Taiwan is full of a variety of different styles of hot springs. Some of them are more traditional, or more Japanese in style, while others are public and a little looser with their rules. Either way, before arriving at a hot spring resort it is best to understand the rules. Travelers don’t want to suddenly have to rethink their plans because the hot spring they want to visit is gender-separated, or naked only.
Related: Taipei Alternatives: Explore Taiwan’s East Coast Instead
About 70% of Taiwan is covered in mountains. This means that at almost any point on the island there is an excellent hike to go check out. Some of these hikes reward those who travel up them with some stunning sights that truly illustrate the extremeness of Taiwan's geography. How mountain vistas look out across the sea in more than a few locations. High Mountain destinations like Jade Mountain (Yushan) are like venturing into a whole new world and climate. Popular Taiwanese hikes are full of stairs though, so that is something to keep in mind. There will likely be some burning calves going on.
First, Taiwan is a subtropical country and deals with occasional rain showers. Early in the morning, the weather is a little cooler and there is less of a chance of getting rained on. Some of the more popular hiking destinations can get quite crowded later in the day. This is particularly true for holiday weekends. Trails, which are not easy, are often flocked by casual hikers and sometimes there are long single-file lines slowly leading up and down the mountain. This is especially true for hikes like Match Mountain.
Taiwan is an island so of course, it is full of beaches. Travelers can make use of Taiwan’s fantastic public transit to reach any of these destinations fairly easily. Surfing, diving, and snorkeling are all activities that are growing in popularity and accessibility in Taiwan. At this point, many beaches offer equipment for rent, guides, and event instructors to help teach travelers who are less well-versed in these activities.
There are plenty of places in Taiwan where swimming, snorkeling, diving, and surfing are all totally normal and acceptable activities. But often times the more populace touristy beaches have strictly enforced rules. Beaches like Fulong have a designated swimming area that will stop visitors from going much deeper than their knees or wastes. However, there are plenty of locations in Taiwan where water sports are totally fine and expected. Travelers just need to make sure they are going to the right location for what they want to do.
Related: Explore Northeast Taiwan: Mountain Towns & Seaside Cities
Taipei is a great deal of fun, but getting out of Taipei is essential to truly get a feel for what Taiwan has to offer. The west coast offers several other big cities, important connections to its colonial past, and a slower-paced interpretation of Taiwanese culture. The east coast of Taiwan is less developed allowing visitors a closer look at the nature of Taiwan. It is also home to dramatic cliffside views, long beaches, and a less disrupted view of the culture of Taiwan’s first people.
The English-speaking ability of Taiwanese steeply declines outside of Taipei. Despite studying English in some manner for most of their academic lives, the number who are confident with their speaking ability dwindles outside the city. This shouldn’t discourage travelers though. They may need to make liberal use of minimal Chinese ability, Google Translate, and hand gestures. But, as long as they are polite about it, travelers should have no problem getting around.
I am a writer and traveler who is originally from Northampton Massachusetts in the US. I have lived in Taiwan for five years and have used it as a home base to travel around Asia. Besides living in Asia, I spend a year living in and traveling around Seattle in the Pacific Northwest.

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