I love making these lists for you guys! I made them about so many places already, like Japan, Malaysia, Bali and Greece. But today’s one is going to be about Taiwan. The country that I would describe as a mix of Japan and SE Asia.
If it’s not yet on your bucket list, go put it on there right now because this country has so much to offer! I really need to go back here one day and travel around the entire island.
Before you go here though, there are some things you should know. And I’m going to tell you all 10 of them today, yay!
Here you go guys, 10 things you need to know about Taiwan!
1. The language they speak here, is mostly Chinese
However, they also speak Taiwanese, which someone told me sounds Japanese but is definitely not the same. English is not their best talent, but they are still better at it than the people from Jakarta!
Just try to learn some basic Chinese. For speaking I mean, not for reading because that shit is difficult! Shishe (at least that’s the pronounciation) means thank you. Every time I said that peoples faces would light up haha.
Don’t bother learning more than basic Chinese, unless you’re really into it. Someting like chi for example can be pronounced 4 slightly different ways and thus have 4 different meanings. And every different sound combination also means something completely different. ‘Words’ are not something they use in this language.
2. You can flush toilet paper
Wow! Mind blown! I was so happy when I heard about this haha. You see, in most of SE Asia you can’t flush the toilet paper and it’s just nasty.
But just to make things clear: yes, please flush the toilet paper in Taiwan. Or at least in Taipei, because that’s where I stayed.
3. Taipei is very pedestrian friendly
And so I basically walked everywhere. Lots and lots of walking I did here. It’s so easy and convenient and it doesn’t take long to get to the next interesting site. And if that site does happen to be a bit further away, you just take the mrt. Which takes me to the next tip….
4. Mrt is cheap and easy
When I wasn’t walking, I was taking the mrt. It’s so convenient! It will take you almost everywhere and there is always a station close.
On to of being convenient, it’s also super cheap. I don’t know all of the exact fares but usually it only cost me 16 Taiwanese dollar. Didn’t really matter where I went. However, when I was changing lines and went a bit further to the outskirts of the city, it was a little more expensive. Maybe like 25. Still cheap!
What’s not too great about the mrt though, is the main station. This station definitely lacks some signage. You see, the station is huge and has lots of underground shops and walkways too. There are I think 3 different types of main station exits. Y zone, m zone and another one. Now if you’re in one zone and need to go to another, be prepared to check every map you encounter because the signs won’t tell you where to go.
5. They drive on the right side of the road
Which I was amazed by! No country in Asia does this! (I mean they do obviously but I just didn’t encounter it before) But then Taiwan does. Very strange, but much easier for me since I an from a country where they also drive on the right side of the road. It makes it easier to know where to look if you’re crossing the road haha.
6. Taiwan is super safe
There wasn’t a single moment in Taiwan where I didn’t feel safe. I never felt the need to hold on to my bag a bit tighter, or to watch the person walking behind me. Never.
This is something the country might have been ‘infected with’ by Japan. You can leave your keys in your scooter and nobody will steal it. Even at night it’s a super safe country.
Traffic though, might be a little less safe. But that feeling is probably caused by the fact that I was on the back of a motorbike of someone that I feel isn’t a great driver. Lol.
7. There are a lot of mosquitos and bugs
This is one of the first things I was told when in Taiwan. There are lots of bugs here and so you need to make sure to always close everything behind you.
I definitely got some mosquito bites while I was out and about, so make sure you wear some repellant. At least do so when you plan on going to a park.
8. Markets might smell terrible
Which is actually not because of open sewers or anything. It’s because of stinky tofu. Yes, you have probably heard if this before. And if you haven’t: it’s fermented tofu that smells like a toilet that’s been clogged for 3 months but people still use it.
The smell made me want to vomit, it’s terrible. Even worse than durian. Way worse! Yet people eat it. I can’t imagine that. And because people love to eat it, its sold at most markets. And thus the market will smell.
Make sure you walk a bit faster if you suddenly smell this!
9. Receipts are completely different from what you’re used to
Taiwan actually implemented a different system for receipts that is very environmentally friendly. Go Taiwan! – now just get rid of all the plastic okay –
So instead of printing a super long receipt stating everything you bought, they will give you a tiny one with a QR code. Scan it with your phone and voila, there is the receipt.
10. Dress modest if you don’t want to look like a tot tourist
No, I don’t mean you need to completely cover yourself all the time. Or wear boring colours. I simply mean that people in Taiwan dress pretty modest while still looking cute. The only time I would see girls wearing hot pants, was at a night market. I don’t think I ever saw anyone with a lot of cleavage either.
By all means, dress in clothes that make you feel comfortable, but do know that if you don’t want to look like a complete tourist you should dress as the locals do.