The island of Taiwan is located east of mainland China, and despite fighting for its sovereignty and independence, Taiwan is a peaceful and multicultural modern country.
Taiwan has the size of Belgium but with a population of 23 million residents. More than 50 % of the island is uninhabited land, ranging from spectacular canyons to tropical beautiful beaches.
You can find a growing digital nomad community in Taipei, which serves as an excellent hub to explore other parts of Asia or connect with north America, Australia, and Europe.
🌱 Travel health insurance for Taiwan
🇹🇼 Entry requirements for Taiwan
- Valid visa: You can apply for a Visitor Visa, which is valid for 180 days. Part of the application process is filling out this visa application form.
✈️ How to get to Taiwan
- Plane: You can enter Taiwan directly from the USA, all Asian countries, Australia, and several European hubs, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, and Austria. The main airport is Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) which is located around 40 km outside the city center. A good airport transfer is by using the Taoyuan metro (terminal 1 or 2). A ticket from the airport to the city is 16 Euro per person.
🏡 How to find a place
- Hotels: Depending on how long you stay in Taiwan, it makes sense to search for hotels instead of apartments. You find hotels for all budgets.
- Facebook Groups: You can regularly check posts in Facebook groups, for example in Rooms For Rent - Taipei! or Rent in Taipei city and New Taipei City. Renting an apartment makes sense when staying 1-month minimum.
🚌 Public transport in Taiwan
Taiwan is known for its safe, clean, and reliable public transportation infrastructure.
- MRT: Taiwan operates a metro system in Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, New Taipei, and Taichung. It's possible to purchase a month's pass. You can use the metro from terminals 1 and 2 of the airport to connect to the city center of Taipei (16 Euro).
- Bus: Taiwanese cities have a modern city bus system, with several discount programs such as the Taipei Fun Pass.
- Bicycle: Using the bicycle as transportation gets more and more popular. Public bicycles have been stationed in Taipei since 2008. The city of Taipei encourages people to use bicycles to reduce traffic, and dedicated bike lanes can be found throughout the city.
- Taxi: The official taxis are yellow cabs, and you can pay in cash or by card.
- Uber: Uber is operating in Taiwan and it is a popular way of transportation.
🏘 Where to stay in Taipei
- Zhongzheng: In case it's your first time visiting Taipei, Zhongzheng is a good place to start. Here you have coworking spaces, restaurants, and the best connectivity as it is Taipei's city center. You can explore the area walking as you find many things within a short proximity.
- Xinyi: This is one of the most popular areas to stay in Taipei with its vibrant nightlife. The area is often referred to as Manhattan. It is one of the newest and most modern parts of the city with many skyscrapers as well as green parks.
- Ximending: The artsy part of the city comes with a decent nightlife scene, hip bars, artsy cafés, and stylish boutiques. You can find other digital nomads in Ximending.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Taipei
- Home Sweet Home: The team of Home Sweet Home Coworking space provides a bright and friendly atmosphere. The space is located in the heart of the city. The main metro station is within 5 minutes of walking distance. Hot desks are available for 154 Euro per month.
- The Hive: The coworking chain has a good location in central Taipei, right next to the 2/28 Peace Park. As in all of the Hive spaces you get a professional work environment, a cozy onsite coffee lounge, and flexible memberships. Hot desks are available for 123 Euro a month.
- Futureward: The community-focused coworking space is one of the biggest spaces in Taipei. Convenient 24-hour access, free coffee, snacks, and bathrooms with showers make Futureward a good work base. The price for a monthly membership is 154 Euro.
- Out of Office: The popular laptop-friendly café is located in the Xinyi district and close to MRT Station Taipei City Hall. On the menu, you find coffee specialties, healthy salads, and yummy tacos. Many power outlets, stable and fast wifi, and comfortable chairs and desks make this café a good choice.
- Yaboo Café: Another great working venue is Yaboo Café, located close to the night market and Daan Park. They served high-quality caffeine drinks and tasty meals. As the place got very popular you might wait before getting seated.
🚊 How to travel around
- Train: All major cities in Taiwan are connected by the trains of the Taiwan Railway network. The modern infrastructure includes a High-Speed Rail (HSR). For weekend trips and longer journeys you can purchase 3-day or 5-day train passes. With HSR you can travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung, a distance of roughly 350 kilometers which takes only 1.5 hours.
- Bus: The charter bus system in Taiwan is well-developed and usually cheaper than traveling by train.
- Plane: Due to the extended railway system, domestic flights in Taiwan have been cut back immensely. Exploring outlying islands, Taipei's Songshan Airport (TSA) is a good choice, due to connections to most southern and eastern cities, such as Hualien, Kaohsiung, or Taitung.
- Taipei 101: Even if the building no longer holds the record for what was once the tallest skyscraper worldwide, the 508-meter-highrise building is still worth seeing. The 728-ton sphere attached to the top protects the building from damage from the country's frequent earthquakes by swinging up to 1.30 meters.
- Maokong: The mountain village is a beautiful viewpoint of Taipei, and you find many small tea shops here. The best way to get to Maokong is by its gondola which is accessible at MRT Taipei Zoo station. The ticket price, including the return ticket, is 3.70 Euro.
- Shilin Night Market: Like in many other Asian countries, night markets are a thing in Taiwan too. The Shilin Night Market is a covered space with shops of more than 500 local vendors. Opening hours are between 4 pm and midnight. The closest MRT station is Shilin station (line 2). The entrance is free.
- Jiufen: The charming old town of Jiufen is about 40 km east of Taipei city which makes it a great destination for a day trip. Jiufen offers traditional Taiwanese architecture, picturesque streets full of red lanterns, cozy coffee shops and small eateries, as well as the Golden Waterfall, a viewpoint 2 km from Jiufen.
- Penghu: A lovely weekend trip to paradise-like beaches and islands might include Penghu. When staying in Kaohsiung, going to Penghu is a four-hour ferry ride. You can also catch a domestic 35-minute flight from Taipei. In Penghu, visit the famous banyan tree natural site or relax on one of the many exotic beaches.
💡Good to know
- Internet: Medium internet speed for fixed broadband is 63.09 Mbps upload and 150.07 Mbps download speed.
- Sim cards: You can get prepaid sim cards from local operators such as Taiwan Mobile or Chunghwa Telecom at the airports or local shops starting at 7 Euro.
- Currency: The official currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan dollar (NT). The exchange rate is around 1 Euro to 33 NT.
Socket types: Types A, type B.
- Coworking: There is a growing community in Taipei but also in other cities such as Tainan. When traveling to Tainan, check out Hour Jungle Coworking.
- Climate: The climate in Taiwan is mostly subtropical. Hot summers range from June to September with temperatures up to 33°C. There is a chance of typhoons from June to October. Temperatures in winter are between 19 and 23°C.
- Facebook groups: As mentioned before, Facebook is a great source of information, from shopping items to rentals to private drivers and events. Check out Taipei Expats or Taipei Digital Nomads.
- Earthquakes: The Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates slide over each other in the South China Sea exactly where Taiwan is located. The ground trembles almost every day. A tectonic fault line runs just 200 meters from Taipei 101. And every year three to four tropical cyclones sweep across the pacific island at speeds up to 250 km/h.
🚧 What to avoid
- No food and drinks on public transport: As it is common in western countries to consume fast food everywhere at any time, but not so in Taiwan. It's also an excellent manner to respect the priority seating rules for elderly or pregnant women. As the carriages are meant to be quiet zones, you won't listen to someone's life story, or to blasting music coming out of someone's speaker.
- Drugs: Drug smuggling, selling, and consumption are punishable by death or life-long imprisonment.
- Tipping: Tipping is not obligatory but it's appreciated. The rule of thumb is 10 % extra to the bill (and not 25 % or 30 %).
- Disrespecting dress codes: As in other Asian countries, pay respect when entering Taiwanese temples and religious sites.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Hiking: Taiwan has many great hiking spots for various levels. For inspiration, check out the Taipei Hikers Facebook group. Joining a hiking group increases the chance to meet new people and explore Taipei together. When you stay in Taipei, a popular hiking route is the Elephant Mountain Trail. It's a quick 20-minute hike, easily accessible, and offers spectacular city views.
- Mountain climbing: With over 250 mountains and 3,000-meter peaks, Taiwan is an ideal destination for mountain climbing of all levels.
- Yoga: Just have a look on Facebook and you should find someone who offers yoga classes. Yoga studios can be found in all tourist areas in the country but you can also find yoga retreats far away from the beaten track.
- Watersports: Taiwan is well known for windsurfing. If you have the chance to visit Penghu island you will likely meet windsurfing enthusiasts.
- Water quality: Yes, Taiwanese tap water is generally safe to drink. Bring your own bottle and fill up at one of the many public fountains which are likely close to temples, public facilities, or information centers.
- Air quality: The air quality in Taiwan is moderate.