It’s unfortunate that you have to ask this question in today’s day and age. Still, it’s an important one to address because there are many parts of the world where it’s not only ill-advised for a woman to travel on her own, but for anyone. Thankfully, Taiwan is not one of those places. That being said, “safe” is not the black and white answer local tourism boards may want you to think. Like with any locale, there is some grey area, and things to consider before booking your expedition to one of the most wonderful regions in the world. Loci Amica is all about full disclosure and given the fact that Taiwan is the flagship home of our local tour guide app we’re offering a transparent peek into what you need to know as a proud globetrotting women in search of adventure in this great East Asian state.
4 Things You Need to Know As a Woman Traveling Solo Around Taiwan
1. Taiwan is Looking Out for You
There is extensive closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance coverage throughout the state. According to recent data, Kaohsiung, Taipei, and New Taipei City have 25,000, 24,000, and 34,000 public surveillance cameras, respectively. These crime deterrent installations are found in both popular tourist areas and residential communities alike. Regardless of what you may feel about “Big Brother”, foreign travelers certainly gain peace of mind in knowing that someone is watching out for them.
2. What to Watch Out For
Violent crime rates in Taiwan are among the lowest in the world! You’ll also be happy to know that Taipei and Kaohsiung are considered LOW–threat locations for terrorist activity and political violence/unrest. While we can safely say that Taiwan is…safe, you still need to remain conscious about your personal belongings. For instance, crowded public places (including Taiwan’s popular night markets) are frequented by pickpockets so keep your valuables (wallet, passport, etc.) out of reach and keep your backpacks, purses, and fanny packs (they’re “a thing” again) zipped up tight. If sitting down at a local cafe to get some work or blogging done, bring your laptop with you when getting up to go the bathroom. And if at the beach (etc.) don’t leave valuables on your towel while you play in the saltwater. Basically, the same possession security protocol you follow in 95% of the world should be applied here too. While theft is unlikely – it’s better safe than sorry, especially when you’re traveling solo.
Also, when taking out money from an ATM stick to those provided by recognized international banks as ATM skimming and fraud is a concern in some districts. This also means that you should not perform sensitive transactions (wire transfers, etc.) over public WiFi.
3. Local Police
You may be concerned about the local police presence in Taiwan. Are they truly there to protect you? You’ll be pleased to know that Taiwanese policing is generally removed from corruption, with personnel there to serve the public, and perhaps visitors even more so as the state’s global reputation is on the line.
In the event of an emergency, contact police by dialing 110, or the fire department and ambulance services (as appropriate) by dialing 119.
The National Police Agency’s Foreign Affairs Police (FAP), has English-speaking officers at all major police precincts. The FAP also maintains a 24-hour service center that is staffed by English-speaking officers. It’s also worth noting that Taiwan has modern medical facilities, with state-of-the-art equipment and treatments available at hospitals and clinics wherever you are in the state. Local physicians typically speak English and are well trained in their respective medical disciplines.
4. Why Use a Local Guide for Your Tours, Adventures, and Experiences
For decades solo female travelers have been enjoying the adventurous and cultural bounty of Taiwan without the slightest cause for concern. However, we do suggest that you use a trusted local tour guide when venturing into lesser known territory and even when out at night.
For one, road safety can be a issue in high traffic areas and while pedestrians have the right of way, automobile and motorcycle/scooter drivers often pay foot traffic little mind. The good news is that public transit, including buses and the subway, are used by locals and foreigners alike and are generally very safe and reliable. But they won’t always take you where you want to go, so you may be considering other forms of transportation. If you’re not comfortable navigating through unfamiliar East Asian left side roadways it’s best to sideline your ambitions of driving a rental car driving or scooter. In fact, scooter and bicycle accidents are the largest source of accidental visitor injury. For this reason alone it’s wise to secure the services of a local guide when you want to get away from your hotel/resort and see the real Taiwan.
Secondly, a guide makes great sense the more your want to explore. We’re not just talking about night markets and temples, but attractions in rural locales where roads, terrain, and directions can get confusing. Do you really want to venture into Taipei’s 57-hectare Guandu Nature Park reserve on your own? Does anyone? What about Chai Shan (aka “Monkey Mountain”) outside of Kaohsiung? Getting surrounded by dozens of Taiwanese macaques sounds a lot less unnerving when there with a guide that knows the lay of the land and the creatures that live there. Don’t miss out on the hundreds of life-changing experiences because you’re concerned about venturing into Taiwan’s natural wonders without someone there to guide you. This is one of the best reasons to use a local guide.
But there’s more.
When you appear to be traveling with a companion (your local guide in this case) you quickly remove the target (no matter how small it is) off of your back. This “target” is not just about crime, but nuisance. As a solo female traveler you probably don’t relish the thought of some wannabe Casanova making a play when all you want to do is relax with a mango margarita while discovering hidden gem cafes at night. According to a recent statement from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) it’s ill-advised for a male to approach a female who appears to be with a companion:
While in local bars or clubs, foreign males should avoid directly engaging with or making overtures toward females accompanied by other men. Such behavior has resulted in severe injury and lengthy hospital stays for foreign males. Observe cultural boundaries by approaching the female’s male friends first and gradually requesting an introduction, if appropriate to her personal circumstances. (Taiwan 2018 Crime & Safety Report – Overseas Security Advisory Council)
We know, that statement, while a well-intentioned warning to libidinous male travelers, may come off as barbaric and chauvinistic in itself. Still, it shows how using a guide can help you avoid uncomfortable situations.
Travelers will also be happy to know that there are local female guides available too. As our app grows, so does the talent pool of guides from city to city, including Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Either way, Loci Amica has vetted each guide to ensure that your safety and security are priority number one.
We hope everything above has provided you with peace of mind that Taiwan is a great place for solo and downright adventurous female travelers to visit and explore. And the Loci Amica app will only help make your experiences even better! Learn more about how it works and feel free to message us on our social networks if you have any questions.