Whether you’re thinking about that long overdue vacation to Taiwan, or you’ve recently booked one and it’s coming in a few short weeks or months from now, it’s a good idea to be prepared for your visit to this exotic South Asia island state. While there’s a lot to consider, there are some practical tips to making sure your trip goes without a hitch. Let’s review.
5 Things You Need to Consider When Planning Your First Trip to Taiwan
1. Know the Basics
What are the international traveler requirements for going to Taiwan? Below we outline some of the requirements for countries whose citizens often come to Taiwan:
- From the UK – Your UK citizen passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry. You may spend up to 90 days in Taiwan without a visa. You can then extend this by a further 90 days once you have entered the state. If you plan to stay for longer than 180 days you must have a visa before you arrive.
- From the US – U.S. Passport holders may enter and stay in Taiwan up to 90 days without a visa, but unlike the UK, no extensions are permitted. For stays longer than 90 days, a Taiwan visa is required prior to traveling. Your U.S. passport must be valid throughout the intended length of stay and you must hold a confirmed return or onward air ticket.
- From Canada – Canadian passports holders do not require a visa to enter Taiwan for tourism or business stays less than 90 days. However, you must have a confirmed departure ticket, and be arriving at either C.K.S. International Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport, Keelung Harbor, Hualien Harbor, Taichung Harbor and Kaohsiung Harbor.
- From Australia – You are able to enter Taiwan without visa and stay up to 90 days as long as you hold an Australian passport that is valid for at least 6 months upon entry, with a confirmed returned air or sea ticket, including a visa for the next destination (where applicable) and with no criminal record.
Most other countries follow similar guidelines, with passport holders being permitted a 90 day stay without a visa, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, , France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City State, and more. However, we encourage you to search for the exact passport and visa requirements for your home country before finalizing your trip.
Another common question people have, is in regards to safety. In our recent article titled Is Taiwan Safe for Solo Female Travelers, we address the fact that Taiwan is indeed one of the safest places in South Asia (and beyond) to visit, along with some tips about local policing and a few “what not to dos”, for good measure.
2. Pack for the Weather
Taiwan’s climate ranges from tropical in the south to subtropical in the north. The annual average temperature is a pleasant 22 °C, with temperature lows that can range between 12 to 17°C, or 54 to 63°F.
With a wealth of all-season activities, any time of the year is a good time to visit, but if you have to pick just one season, spring (March to May) is a favorite for many, thanks to an average high of 25°C, or 78°F. You can get away with shorts and t-shirts, with a light pullover or hoodie in the night and early AM for those who wake up with the sun to go grab a cup of java.
The summer (June to September) is a big draw for beachgoers and ocean sport enthusiasts, and with the average temperature around 30°C, or 86°F, you’ll want the opportunity to cool off as often as possible. That said, the water often comes from above at this time of the year, with more frequent rains, occasional thunderstorms, and about three or four typhoons through the season, so bring an umbrella and a super thin poncho. Light and loose fitting clothing and flip flops are recommended as it can feel hot and sticky with the humidity, although the large island’s sea breeze makes it much more bearable compared to the South Asia mainland.
Once the menacing humidity and clouds of summer dissipate, autumn (October and November) gives way to relatively cooler (but still warm) temperatures with greater hours of sunshine. That means pack shorts, t-shirts, summer dresses for the day and light hoodies and jeans for the night, although you’ll be just fine in shorts and a sweatshirt.
There can be a noticeable difference in winter (December and February) as the weather gets mild and at times foggy thanks to the northeasterly winds that cut through the island state. In Taipei for instance, it is not that uncommon for temperatures to drop down to 10 or 8°C (50 of 46°F) at night, but there may be warm spells too, where you’ll be just fine in traditional summertime garb. Pack a mixed bag if you’re staying in Taiwan through the winter, as you’ll need everything from a light coat (think autumn in a moderate climate) and jeans to sweaters and tees. Thankfully there are plenty of markets around, no matter what part of the island you stay in, so you can always grab cheap clothing should the weather take an unexpected turn in either direction.
3. Picking Which City to Stay In
No matter which city, town, or village to stay in you’re just a stone’s throw from some incredible natural wonders, ancient temples, cultural experiences, great shopping, and delectable cuisine. Taiwan is 394 km (245 miles) long at its longest point, and is 144 km (89.5 miles) wide at its broadest point, and the transportation infrastructure is solid, so with a car and great sense of direction (or better yet, a driver) you can see it all during your extended stay. Still, it’s a good idea to plan your accommodations closest to the things you want to do and see most. Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung are all considered hubs of activities, amenities, and attractions. View more on the four most popular cities to visit in Taiwan, which are not so coincidentally where our local guides can be found (more on this below).
4. The Local Event Schedule
All year long there are events occurring all over Taiwan, with many cultural and religious affairs that will be appreciated by everyone, no matter your belief system. There are also some events you may not expect, such as the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Festival at New Taipei City’s Fulong Beach (begins in April), the Pengu Ocean Fireworks Festival in Magong City (begins in April), or the Taiwan Open of Surfing (November) in Taitung County. While there are so many amazing events around the island state, we have put together a list of the Top 5 Annual Events and Festivals to Experience in Taiwan, for your convenience.
5. Connect to a Local Tour Guide
Throughout the entire (394 km x 144 km) island of Taiwan there are both “must see” things to do along with countless hidden gems that only locals and longstanding expats know about. Trying to fit in all the ones that are appropriate to your personality and passions can feel like a daunting task, and you could end up spending way too much time researching what’s most relevant to you, where to find it, and how to get there and back without hiccups. Without a doubt the best way to customize your experience, and to make sure that you return home without regrets over places unseen and mysteries uncovered, is to use a local guide. This is what Loci Amica is for, as we connect international travelers like yourself and connect you to local guides. Our platform’s guides will help you customize the ultimate Taiwan experience/s. Download the app to get started!