Taiwan travel guide, how to get around taiwan,taiwanese food, what to do in taiwan and more

Despite its relatively modest size Taiwan offers everything from super modernity to carefully guarded history, everything from mountains to beaches and an amazing mix of cultures and food. This Taiwan travel guide aims to neatly summarize everything you need to know to explore this fabulous destination. It is all based on our first hand experience traveling around Taiwan.

Contents

When To Visit Taiwan

Taiwan has a subtropical climate. That means that it never experiences extreme cold but summer can bring heat and humidity. June to August can see maximum temperatures of 38C (100F). The southern end of the island is generally a few degrees warmer than the north.

June to October is typhoon season while May and June typically see the most rainfall. If visiting during this time an umbrella can be handy. November to April is typically the best time of year to visit Taiwan.

We were in Taiwan during July, August and September (ie typhoon season) and had no major issues. We actually experienced a typhoon while in Taipei. The electricity and Internet stayed on the whole time but it did rain heavily for a day or two. For a longer trip spending a day inside is fine. If you are planning a shorter trip you may want to avoid typhoon season.

Despite occasional rain during our stay there was still plenty of sunshine and we wore t-shirts every day.

Tanya in Ximen before we wrote our Taiwan travel guide

Getting To Taiwan

Taiwan is not yet as popular a destination as Japan, China or the various countries of south east Asia so flights to Taiwan are not quite as abundant. There are however plenty of airlines that fly there from all over the world. It may however be necessary to stop at a hub along the way. For example you will likely need to stop at either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur if you are coming from either south east Asia or Australia.

Check Expedia to start looking for flights. They do a lot of the legwork for you including pointing out cheap flights on airlines you might not have thought to check.

Do I Need A Visa For Taiwan?

Passport holders from many countries are eligible for a visa free 90 day stay in Taiwan. These countries include the UK, the US and Australia although the policy towards Australians is set to be reviewed in June of 2016. Click here for more information about visa exempt entry to Taiwan.

Taichung night market

Searching for dinner at the Taichung night market

Eating In Taiwan

There are plenty of fantastic, distinctively Taiwanese ways to eat your fill in Taiwan. Probably the most famous is Taiwan's many night markets. These bustling open air markets are jammed with food vendors. Look for ones that seem popular with the locals if you are not sure what to get. Pointing and smiling can help with the language barrier. In the end they are in the business of selling food and you want to buy food so you will muddle through.

Steamed dumplings are a very common and very delicious option day or night. Look for restaurants with stacks of large bamboo steamers out the front. The dumplings come with an assortment of fillings and both meat and vegetarian options are available. You make up your own dipping sauce by combining soy sauce, vinegar, chili and sesame oil in whatever proportions you desire.

Often there is a menu on the wall near the front in both English and Chinese. You specify your order by putting numbers in boxes on a piece of paper that will usually only have Chinese on it. We worked out which box to mark by comparing the characters on the paper to those on the board at the front. Awkward but the food more than made up for any minor inconvenience.

A sushi chain called Sushi Express provides extremely cheap yet surprisingly good sushi. Sushi Express was a great option for when we needed a cheap, delicious and healthy meal while we were out exploring Taipei. For approximately $1 a plate from the sushi train we happily filled our bellies before going on our way.

You may not know this but bubble tea actually originates in Taiwan. Make sure to try it if you have not had it before. As a starting point we recommend a "milk tea with bubbles, less sugar, less ice." Be warned that "normal sugar" is like drinking candy floss.

Do not worried about being limited in your food choices. Particularly in Taipei there is food available from all over the world if you want to branch out from the local fare. Taipei has lots of food options.

Although much of the food in Taiwan is fairly meat-centric there are vegetarian food vendors and restaurants around. Look for this character 素 prominently displayed. A swastika may also be displayed as the swastika is associated with religion, a common reason for being vegetarian in region.

Taiwan Attractions

A view of Taipei from the Xiazhulin hiking trail

A view of Taipei from the Xiazhulin hiking trail

Taipei

We spent six weeks house sitting in Taipei. That gave us plenty of time to find our way around.

If you will be in town for more than a couple of days get an EasyCard. You can get one from Metro stations and some 7-11s and FamilyMarts. They allow you to quickly and easily pay for the subway, buses, and even some supermarkets and department stores.

While in Taipei check what concerts will be on. We were able to see Radiohead in Taipei and it was an incredibly memorable experience.

There is an abundance of interesting food available in Taipei. For cheap but surprisingly good sushi try a chain called Sushi Express. Steamed dumpling places are very common around Taipei. Look for stacks of steamers near the front. We never had a bad experience with dumplings in Taipei. There are also plenty of international food options as well as fine dining establishments.

Day Trips From Taipei

One of the nice surprises about Taipei was how easy it was to take a day trip. Thanks to the excellent train system there are quite a few places easily accessible from Taipei, either on the outskirts of the city or nearby.

Walking across a bridge near the Shifen waterfall on the Pinxi line

Walking to the Shifen waterfall

The Pingxi Rail Line, The Cat Village and Shifen

A comfortable train journey into the spectacular mountain scenery of northern Taiwan. Mountains, rivers, cats, historic towns and even a waterfall. Read more about the Pinxi rail line, the cat village and Shifen

The view from Yangmingshan

Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan is a mountainous national park just outside of Taipei. It offers spectacular views, abundant greenery and the chance to work up a sweat climbing some of the many peaks in the area. Read more about Yangmingshan national park

Keelung

Keelung is build around its port. There is abundant seafood, a wonderful night market and a curious clone of the statue of liberty. Read more about Keelung

a hot river supplying the nearby Taiwan hot springs

A steaming hot stream in Beitou

Beitou

Technically within Taipei Beitou is home to some hot springs that are easily accessible via the Taipei MRT system. You do not need to head out into the wilderness to experience an authentic Taiwanese hot spring, you can get there on the subway. Read more about Beitou

Hsinchu

The oldest city in northern Taiwan and home to the oldest zoo in Taiwan. It is a comfortable one hour train trip from Taipei. Read more about taking a day trip to Hsinchu

A view of the Taipei cablecar

The Maokong gondola overlooking Taipei

The Maokong Gondola

Right next to the Taipei Zoo MRT station is the bottom station for the Maokong gondola, a cable car which takes you up into the mountains overlooking Taipei. The cablecar ride is really spectacular and the mountain tops are occupied by an assortment of tea houses where you can take in the view. Read more about the Maokong Gondola

A statue and decorated building in Tamsui/Damsu

Things get a bit arty in Tamsui

Tamsui

Tamsui (or Damsui) has the feeling of a seaside vacation yet it is easily accessible from central Taipei. Get yourself an ice cream, stroll along the waterfront, maybe check out Fort San Domingo if you want some history. Read more about Tamsui

Things To Do In Taipei

Of course you do not have to travel from Taipei to be entertained. There are plenty of things to do in Taipei and Taipei Tourist Attractions for you to experience.

step staircase on the Xiazhulin hiking trail in taipei

Why yes there are some stairs on the Xiazhulin hiking trail

The Xiazhulin Hiking Trail

Located in the Taipei suburb of Tienmu the Xiazhulin hiking trail involves a rather steep stair climb up to a level track that winds its way through the trees. In only a few minutes you transition from being in the city to being far away from it all. Do not be surprised if you get overtaken on the stair climb by some very fit elderly Taiwanese people. Read more about the Xiazhulin hiking trail

Street Art In Ximen

Ximen is a popular area for young people. Its streets are crowded with teenagers and young adults hanging out with their friends. This youthful demographic has affected the area and led to some practices that might not be acceptable elsewhere, like allowing graffiti artists to decorate previously blank walls. Read more about street art in Ximen

Inside an amazing dollhouse at the Museum of Miniatures of Taiwan

Someone lurking in the background at the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

The Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

You might not think that a museum full of doll houses and tiny statues sounds all that appealing but this stuff is genuinely amazing. Go in with an open mind and remember your glasses because some of the stuff in here is tiny. Read more about the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Taipei plays hosts to unusual art exhibits. When we visited there was an array of artwork inspired by the life of King Hu, a film director based in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1960s and 70s. Read more about the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art

models of religious buildings at the Museum of World Religions

Religious buildings from around the world

Museum of World Religions

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the various religions that are practiced around the world? The Museum of World Religions is the perfect place to do just that. Summaries of each religion are provided as well as photographs, items associated with the religion and scale models of notable religious landmarks. Read more about the Museum of World Religions

Make Traditional Mochi

This one might be a little difficult to replicate as we happened upon this by chance. While walking to Xinbeitou MRT station we noticed some market stalls had been set up in a park and went to take a look. If you notice anything similar do go check it out. Read more about our experience making traditional mochi

Cheap Hotels In Taipei

We stayed in the Triple Tiger Backpackers in the fashionable area of Ximending and would happily stay there again. Alternatively there is plenty of other accommodation in Taipei but some searching will be required. We recommend trying to stay near an MRT station. That makes it much easier to get around the city.

Taichung train station

Taichung train station

Taichung

Be aware that museums, galleries and similar all seem to close on on Monday so do not do what we did and plan to spend all Monday doing that stuff. There is however a fabulous night market in Taichung. How are there not more places in the world making pizza cones?

the crowds of people at Taichung night market

Taichung night market

The Taichung night market was definitely the highlight of our time in Taichung. While visiting make sure you head over and have a look around. Let us know if the pizza cone stand is still serving their own brand of portable deliciousnous.

Taiwan is deservedly famous for its night markets. If you go a bit crazy and buy too much consider posting stuff home.

The beautiful Sun Moon Lake seen from the ropeway

The beautiful Sun Moon Lake seen from the ropeway

Sun Moon Lake

This is one of Taiwan's premier tourist destinations for both local and international tourists. It consists of a very pretty lake in central Taiwan, a cable car offering spectacular views and a theme park of sorts called the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.

The cable car, known as the Sun Moon Lake ropeway, provides some wonderful views of the lake and its surrounds. Even at ground level the whole area is so lush and green as to make for a scenic break from the hustle and bustle of Taiwan's busy cities. Make sure to explore on foot or on a bicycle as much as you are able.

Sun Moon Lake Accommodation

There are of course plenty of places to stay but we personally stayed at Mei Jen House and it was very nice. Clean, comfortable and a very short walk to the lake itself, the bus station and a variety of restaurants.

tainan canal taiwan

A scenic canal-side image in Tainan

Tainan

Tainan is Taiwan's oldest city. Its long life is reflected in the many historic buildings and temples that dot its streets.

Where To Stay In Tainan

Our Tainan hotel of choice was the Yi Pin Yuan Hotel. Be aware that it is an older hotel that is rather frayed around the edges. Our room was rather elaborately decorated. The columns in the bedroom set the scene for the large love heart bathtub. It is rare to get a hotel room that really makes you say "wow" but this one did it.

Attractions In Tainan

For those of you pondering what to see in Tainan, we have two suggestions.

The Anping Tree House. This consists of several old buildings that have been been enveloped by Banyan trees. Think "Angkor Wat, trees melting into the ruins." Several new additions have been made in the form of elevated walkways around the older structures. There are signs explaining the history of the buildings.

Anping fort. Also known as Fort Zeelandia. This fortress was built in the 1600s by the Dutch East India Company. The structures themselves are interesting and there is information about the region's history available. There is also ample food available nearby.

The Dome of Light at Formosa Boulevard train station

The Dome of Light at the Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard station

Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is Taiwan's second largest city after Taipei. This scenic coastal city is home to a major port as well as Kaohsiung International Airport so you may even be able to fly here directly if you so desire. We did not get to spend nearly as much time as we would have liked here so we will definitely have to return to write a full Kaohsiung travel guide.

Things To Do In Kaohsiung

the beach at kaohsiung

The beach on the ocean side of Qijin Island

Visit Qijin Island (Chichin Island)

On Qijin island you can find beach, an abundance of seafood and bicycles to ride around the island. It is not a huge island and the black sand beach will not compare to the islands of south east Asia or the beaches in Australia but it is still a delightful breath of fresh air.

Qijin island is accessible by a ferry that runs back and forth between the area Gushan and the island. The ferry is NTD25 for adults and takes approximately 10 minutes. The ferry terminal is a pleasant ten minutes stroll from Sizihwan KMRT station.

Near the ferry terminal keep an eye out for Taco Rico Taqueria. Surprisingly tasty Mexican food in Taiwan. Who would have thought it?

National Sun Yat-Sen University And The British Consulate Residence

A few minutes walk from the ferry terminal on the mainland side is a tunnel under a large hill. If you walk through it you will arrive on the grounds of National Sun Yat-Sen University. The area is very pleasant and you can find the ocean on the far side of the university.

In the same area on top of a large hill is the British Consulate Residence. The red brick building sits in an elevated position watching over the entrance to Kaohsiung harbor making for some great views of the ocean and passing ships. While we were there it was swamped with tour groups and the crowds made it a little difficult to really look around but the views were still worthwhile.

Dream Mall Ferris Wheel

Dream Mall is an extremely large mall with a ferris wheel on its roof. It is a multistory mall with a ferris wheel perched on its roof and you have the option of ferris wheel cars with clear floor and walls. This all makes it surprisingly intense for a ferris wheel.

kenting beach

A beach near where we stayed in Kenting

Kenting

In Kenting you can find a large national park, some very pleasant beaches and a really awesome aquarium. The area has something of a beach vacation feeling. It is a little more awkward to get to compared to the other areas as it is not on a train line. If you do visit Kenting make sure to visit the aquarium.

National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium

Being a popular vacation destination everything around Kenting seemed to be slightly more expensive. Just something to be aware of.

taroko gorge

A small part of the spectacular Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge is probably Taiwan's most photographed attraction. We rented a scooter in Hualien from one of the companies near the train station. The gorge is a short ride from town. Once you arrive the road snakes through the gorge for miles. There are lots of tunnels cut through the mountains so you get to emerge from darkness and experience a dramatic reveal over and over.

If you do not want to ride a scooter there are shuttle buses available. You will be able to catch one from Hualien station. When you come out of the train station look for signs for a hop on hop off bus. A one day pass is NT$250 while a 2 day pass will cost NT$400.

Alternatively you can rent a taxi for the day. Public buses are also available although catching those somewhere you are not familiar with while not really knowing much Mandarin can be a bit of an adventure.

Taroko Gorge is a well known destination for a good reason. The scenery is truly spectacular.

the view from the train taiwan

The view from the train traveling up the east coast of Taiwan

Where To Stay In Taiwan

At least within the major cities of Taiwan there is plenty of accommodation available. These range from very high end hotels and resorts to budget friendly hostels.

In Taipei and Kaohsiung try to stay within walking distance from an MRT station (the subway). That way you can quickly get to the MRT and use that to get around town.

Accommodation in Taiwan We Stayed At

The following are places we personally stayed during our time in Taiwan.

Taipei Accommodation

Near the Taipei Triple Tiger Hostel

Tanya in fashionable Ximending

Our room at Taipei Triple Tiger Backpackers was rather cozy but the location in Ximending was awesome. Read our Taipei Triple Tiger Backpackers review and click here to get the best price.

We also did a fantastic house sit in the Taipei suburb of Xin Beitou. We found this house sit on Trusted Housesitters.

Taichung Accommodation

We stayed at a place called Moonlight House Fengjia. This place does not seem to exist anymore. It was a few rooms tucked behind a shop that made keys so it is perhaps not surprising that it has disappeared. Click here to search for Taichung accommodation

Sun Moon Lake (Nantou) Accommodation

a Geisha watches over us while we sleep in our Sun Moon Lake accommodation

The quirky decore at Mei Jen House

We stayed at a place called Mei Jen House and LOVED it. It is right on Sun Moon Lake, has heaps of personality, a super friendly manager, a is a very short walk to the bus station. Read our Mei Jen House review and click here to get the best price.

Tainan Accommodation

The Yi Pin Yuan Hotel was our accommodation of choice. It was rather dated but the price was very reasonable and how often do you get a love-heart shaped bath? Read our Yi Pin Yuan Hotel review and click here to get the best price.

Kaohsiung Accommodation

The Harbour 60 Hostel was a really nice hostel that is an easy stroll from the foreshore and the Kaohsiung subway. Despite being a lovely place run by a very friendly manager it seems to have vanished. Admittedly we seemed to be the only guests there which may explain its disappearance. Click here to search for Kaohsiung accommodation

Kenting Accommodation

The Austra Star Inn is a characterful place right near restaurants and the beach. It is a short bus ride from the fabulous Kenting Aquarium. Get the best price here.

Hualien Accommodation

We spent a night in a room with no windows at the Taroko 18 Hostel and thoroughly enjoyed the sleep in that the darkness provided. This place does not seem to exist anymore so click here to search for other Hualien accommodation.

Family Friendly Hotels In Taipei

Here are four family friendly hotels. We have included two luxury hotels and two more budget friendly options.

Palais de Chine Hotel - A five star hotel offering airport transfers, a swimming pool, fantastic decor, easy access to a shopping mall, very central location and only three minutes walk to Taipei main station. Click here for current prices.

W Taipei Hotel - Another five star hotel offering airport transfers, swimming pool, one minute walk to the Taipei City Hall MRT station and about a fifteen minute walk to Taipei 101 and the original Din Tai Fung restaurant. Click here for current prices.

Via Hotel Taipei Station - Affordable price, central location, easy access to the MRT, and spacious given the price point. Click here for current prices.

Kali Inn - Approximately 10 minutes walk from the MRT, near a night market, washing machines are available, neat and tidy, double rooms are very reasonably priced. Click here for current prices.

Find A Taiwan Hot Spring Resort

One thing Taiwan has plenty of is hot springs. They are clustered in the northern half of the island but there seems to be the occasional hot spring scattered all over.

The most accessible hot spring region in Taiwan is undoubtedly Beitou, an outer suburb of Taipei. It has a green, country feeling while the rest of the city is still accessible by the MRT or taxi. We have not had the pleasure of staying there ourselves but the Beitou Hot Spring Resort has an excellent reputation and is conveniently positioned perhaps two minutes walk from both the main Beitou hot springs bathing area and the Xin Beitou MRT station.

Getting Around Taiwan

Taiwan is extremely easy to move around. Public transport is generally good, particularly in Taipei and Kaohsiung, and the trains between cities are fantastically convenient and affordable.

Taiwan has an excellent train system connecting its various cities. Both regular speed and high speed rail are available. The high speed rail stations in Taipei and Kaohsiung are very central and you can walk off the high speed train straight onto the local subway.

At other stops down the west coast however high speed rail stations are some distance from town. The conventional rail stations on the other hand are fairly central in every city they stop in. If you are traveling between Taipei and Kaohsiung with no stops in between take the high speed rail. However if you are going to hop from city to city along the coast the non-high speed rail is likely to be more convenient. More information below.

Taxis in Taiwan

We very rarely caught a taxi because the combination of public transport and very walkable streets made it unnecessary. On the handful of occasions we did take a taxi language was a problem due to our limited ability to speak anything but English. In one instance this was resolved by a bilingual friend who happened to be on hand. The other time the taxi driver phoned his bilingual daughter who translated over the phone. This language difficulty might have been more problematic but there really was just no need to catch taxis very often.

Getting From The Airport

A train system that will connect Taoyuan airport (Taipei's main international airport) to both central Taipei and the Taiwanese high speed rail system is currently under construction. It should become operational some time in 2016 although it has been delayed several times.

Until then your best option is taking the bus. Buses are frequent and very comfortable. They will typically drop you at Taipei main station. This is a huge hub for the Taipei MRT (the subway) so it is easy to get from there to wherever else you need to go. Read more about how to get from Taoyuan airport to Taipei or how to get from Taipei to Taoyuan airport)

How To Get From Taipei To Taichung

Read our guide on how to get from Taipei to Taichung

How To Get From Taichung To Sun Moon Lake

Read our guide on how to get from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake

Getting from Kaohsiung To Kenting

Unfortunately Kenting is not on a train line and we needed to get from Kaohsiung to Kenting. We looked up bus options but then the owner of the guesthouse we were staying in offered to arrange us a ride so got lucky and were driven there. That is of course not necessarily terribly helpful for you but we did collect some information on the buses.

The Kenting Express bus will take you from Kaohsiung to Kenting. The trip takes two hours. You can catch the bus at Zuoying station, the high speed rail station in Kaohsiung.

They depart every half hour with the first bus departing at 9am and the last bus departing at 7pm. The latest price information we can find says that a one way ticket is NT$391, about $12 US, while a round trip ticket if you wish to return from Kenting to Kaohsiung is NT$650 which is around $20 US.

The Train From Kaohsiung To Taipei (Or From Taipei To Kaohsiung)

Travel from Kaohsiung to Taipei or vice versa is amazingly fast and convenient. A high speed rail line runs the length of the island connecting the two cities. Although a bus or non-high speed train is necessary at intervening stops because the high speed rail stop is out of town the Taipei and Kaohsiung stops are both very central.

An adult costs NT$1,490 which is currently about $45 USD. The whole trip takes around two hours and the distance covered is 339 km (211 mi). Given that the trains are making stops to pick up and drop off passengers you can start to get a sense of how fast they are.

The Kaohsiung stop is at Zuoying Station. At Zuoying Station three different train systems connect. The Taiwan High Speed Rail, the Kaohsiung MRT system (the city's subway system) and the Taiwan Rail Administration (TRA) which runs the non-high speed trains that connect Taiwan's cities. Being able to arrive on a high speed train or a TRA train and hop straight onto the subway is incredibly handy.

The Taipei stop for the high speed rail is at Taipei Station. It really could not be much more central. Multiple Taipei MRT lines stop at Taipei Station. Sometime in 2016 it should become possible to board a train at Taipei station to take you to Taoyuan international airport.

Taiwan Travel Budget Tips

Price-wise Taiwan is a mid-range destination. It is not as cheap as Thailand and the rest of south east Asia (with the exception of the very pricey Singapore). It is however significantly cheaper than nearby Japan and Korea. This makes it a great place to experience the excitement and modernity of east Asia but with a price tag that is closer to south east Asia.

Accommodation is always going to be a very large part of your travel budget. Particularly if you have children and need to pay for multiple rooms, the cost adds up. It takes a little leg work but shopping around is the best way to stretch your dollars further.

We have used Hotels Combined with great success to make sure that we are getting the best deal possible. They make it easy to find the right accommodation very quickly. I do not know how this works but the price when you go through someone like Hotels Combined is often below what you will pay going direct to the hotel.

Meals can easily eat into your budget. Fortunately a lot of great authentic Taiwanese food is very affordable. Many of Taiwan's iconic foods are meant to be eaten regularly as part of people's everyday routine rather than being reserved for special occasions so prices are modest. Steamed dumplings, beef noodles and the wide array of night market offerings and even the now very famous bubble tea are all cheap and very tasty. In our experience the enjoyment you will get from a meal is not correlated with price tag. When in doubt look for a queue of locals and eat what they are eating.

If you will be in Taipei for more than a few days make sure to pick up a Taipei Metro Easycard from an MRT station, a 7-11 or a Familymart. An Easycard makes it very easy to get a discount when paying for the subway in Taipei but they can do so much more. You can use your Easycard to pay for train trips to areas surrounding Taipei, you can use it to pay at convenience stores, even some department stores accept Easycards. They are convenient and will save you money if you are regularly moving around Taipei.

Taiwan For Kids

There are a lot of positives to traveling to Taiwan with children. It is extremely safe, very clean and there is excellent healthcare available if required. Public transport, particularly the trains between cities and within Taipei and Kaohsiung are amazing.

Within Taipei green space can be a little hard to come by. There is plenty of open country side accessible from the city but your little ones do need to be content to sit on a bus for a while.

If your children do not mind heights the Maokong gondola would make a fun day out.

Getting dinner at night markets is an extremely common evening activity. Be aware that some of these can get very crowded. We have never heard of any serious problems occurring but pay attention to the crowd density. If your child is walking around on their own, when in doubt, pick them up so they are up at adult head height.

What To Pack For Taiwan

Because of the very mild weather you can dress quite light all year round. Summer tends to be very warm and humid so you are unlikely to want anything heavier than a t-shirt on. In winter it can get a little cool so bring at least a light jacket.

Casual attire is fine for most activities, particularly during the day. If you plan on experiencing any of the fine dining options that are available you will want to dress accordingly. While it has plenty of night markets and cheap tasty food Taipei also has plenty of upscale restaurants and bars.

Taiwan does see occasional outbreaks of a mosquito borne illness called Dengue fever. Although rarely fatal it is extremely unpleasant and there is no vaccine. Cover up during peak mosquito periods (dusk in particular) and a few dabs of repellent is a good idea.

DEET based repellent offers the best protection but there are less harsh alternatives available like very handy combined sunscreen and mosquito repellent so you only need to carry and apply one product. Handy for keeping your day pack light and especially handy if you need to apply it to wriggly children.

We have also used mosquito repellent stickers without issue although it can be hard to assess whether they worked or there were just no mosquitoes around. Stickers have the advantage that you can stick them on your clothing or baby carrier instead of applying a product directly to the skin. Speaking of clothing, we have not used them but mosquito repellent clothing looks very handy.

Taiwan Packing List

-At least three days worth of warm weather clothing
-Hats. Even on rainy days there are sunny periods.
-Sunscreen/suncream
-Swim wear, particularly if you are staying somewhere with a pool or if you will be visiting one of Taiwan's famous hot springs.
-Basic toiletries. All of this can easily be purchased on arrival so there is no need to bring a large stockpile.
-Mosquito repellent
-Thongs/flip flops/jandels
-A light jacket and trousers for when flying, taking the train or during any cooler evenings.
-Passports
-Bank/credit cards and a small amount of cash. There are ATMs at the airport so you should be able to get cash out when you arrive but having a small stash of cash doesn't hurt.
-Travel insurance details.
-Any electronic devices you require plus their chargers or cables.
-Books, toys etc for the kids.

Stuff for babies and toddlers

Once kids are in the picture your luggage can very easily get out of control. The following is based on our experience traveling with our daughter Zoe. Hopefully we can help keep your bags manageable.

Baby Carrier

Unless your child is going to be happy in a stroller or walking the whole time you should bring a child carrier with you. We have used a great many of these and they all have their own pros and cons.

If you are likely to use your baby carrier a lot we recommend the Ergobaby although there are a lot of great comfortable carriers available these days.

If you do not foresee using the baby carrier every day but want to have one tucked away just in case, get something smaller and lighter. Lightweight carriers tend to be less comfortable but they pack up very small. We recommend the Boba Air. The carrier itself weighs in at just over 1 pound (0.5 kg) and packs up super small.

If you want to read more about baby carriers we have written quite a few baby carrier reviews.

Stroller

A lightweight stroller can make life much easier if you will be walking long distances. Taiwan in general is very stroller friendly with great footpaths/sidewalks to be found most places. In Taipei and Kaohsiung the subway systems making getting around very easy and it can help for your little one to be comfortably strapped into their own seat while you are getting on and off trains.

We personally recommend two strollers, both of which are small and light enough to qualify as carry on luggage and can be stored in an overhead bin during your flights.

The Babyzen Yoyo has been amazing. Light, sturdy but it folds up small. If you need one stroller that can work all the way from birth get the Yoyo.

The GB Pockit Stroller is somehow even lighter than the already very lightweight Yoyo but it does not recline so it is unsuitable for very young children. The GoodBaby Pockit Stroller is also rather difficult to get hold of in most countries. We got ours in Thailand. If you do not need a stroller that reclines and you can find one, buy it.

If you want to read more about travel strollers we have an extremely in depth article about choosing the best travel stroller.

Travel Cots/Travel Cribs

We always traveled with our own travel cot. Hotels and apartments will often supply a cot but they are rarely safe enough and we like the idea of Zoe having a familiar place to sleep.

We have had great success with the Phil & Ted's Portable Traveller Crib. It is light, packs up to a manageable size and can double as a playpen as well as a cot if necessary.

Infant car seats

If you anticipate being in cars or taxis frequently you may need to resort to bringing your own car seat from home. However we found we were in cars extremely rarely in Taiwan. While traveling Taiwan the subway, trains and the occasional bus were much more common.

For occasional car rides we put Zoe in the baby carrier and maneuver the seat belt so that lap strap is below Zoe's bum and the chest strap is between the parent and the child so that in the event of an accident Zoe will not be squished against the straps by the parent's weight.

Nappies/Diapers

These are available at large supermarkets. You may even find them at smaller convenience stores. Particularly in any of the cities and Taipei in particular you should not have any difficulty getting nappies/diapers.

Baby Formula

These are available but if you are visiting for a short time consider bringing formula from home. That way your baby will have familiar tasting formula throughout your trip. While traveling it can make things easier if you provide your child with a few familiar things.

Do not stress too much about what you pack for Taiwan. It is a modern place and you should be able to track down anything you require.

Our Personal Experience Of Taiwan

Thus far Taiwan is our favourite place out of all of those we have had the pleasure of visiting. We loved it from the moment we first arrived in Taipei and we are very keen to return there so if you live in Taiwan and happen to need some house sitters please contact us. Tanya still carries her Taipei MRT handkerchief everywhere she goes.

Sadly we have only visited Taiwan once thus far. We spent six weeks house sitting in the Taipei suburb of Xin Beitou before spending two weeks traveling around the island on its excellent train system. If you are interested, here is a video that summarizes our two week train trip around Taiwan.

If you are reading this and trying to decide whether or not to go, do it. You will not regret visiting Taiwan.

 

Andrew in Taichung night market

There are always lots of options in Taiwan

 

Still want more? Here is every post we have written about Taiwan.

We have stayed at a lot of places and only recommend the good ones.
Click here for the best family hotel, a cheap hostel or something in between


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