Embark on this transformative journey as you prepare to make Taiwan your new home. This comprehensive guide intends to offer insights and practical information for a seamless integration into the vibrant fabric of Taiwanese society. From the towering skyline of Taipei to the serene beauty of Taroko National Park, from the quaint charm of Jiufen to the sandy beaches of Kenting National Park, there are endless adventures waiting for you.
Around the Island
This is the capital city of Taiwan, home to approximately 7.8 million residents. It boasts the world-famous building, Taipei 101, which is around 1,667 feet and held the title of “the world’s tallest building” from 2004 to 2008. Apart from its height, it is located in the financial center of Taipei, making it a popular area not only for visitors, but for Taiwanese citizens as well.
Hidden Gems of Taipei
Hsinchu is the Silicon Valley of Taiwan, a technological hub of innovation and development. The Taiwanese government established the Hsinchu Science Park in 1980; today, it houses more than 400 high-tech companies including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC). It is also known as the Windy City because it is where the northern monsoon hits the strongest.
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If you’re looking for a more relaxed lifestyle or are in need of a getaway from the fast-paced city life of Taipei, Yilan is your escape. Located in the northeastern part of Taiwan, it is around an hour away from Taipei. It is also great for surfing and other water sports.
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It is the second most populous city in Taiwan and is located in the West-Central part of Taiwan. The location of Taichung along with its developed transportation system makes it the transportation hub of central Taiwan. It also has one of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants (Taichung Power Plant), which generates most of the electricity used in Taiwan.
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Located in the Southwest of the country, it hosts Taiwan's largest international commercial seaport, which not only attracts a plethora of business opportunities, but also captivates the attention of many tourists.
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Basically just Kenting there.
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Taitung can be thought of as a cultural hub. Located on the East Coast of Taiwan, it is where most of the indigenous people live. There are currently 7 aboriginal tribes around Taiwan. Taitung is also known for its natural scenery and is perfect for outdoorsy people!
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It is the oldest city in Taiwan, which holds a lot of historical significance. This city is known for its historical monuments and traditional lifestyle. Since it is not as big of a city as Taipei or Kaohsiung, the expat community is a lot smaller, but definitely more tight knit together.
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In the crowded city of Taipei, transportation is affordable and efficient, with the most popular methods being the MRT and YouBikes. For a seamless transport experience, you should consider obtaining an EasyCard: a rechargeable smart card that can be used for almost all forms of transport, shopping, and even dining. Taxis are always an option but are much more expensive than its alternatives.
Easy CardAs the name implies, an EasyCard will make your life in Taiwan much easier. What first started as an electronic transport ticket system has become one of the most common mobile payments for pretty much everything throughout the island. You can purchase an EasyCard at MRT stations and convenience stores such as 7-11 or FamilyMart for around 100 NTD each but periodic passes are also available from the price of 1,200 NTD. You can learn more about the different types of EasyCards here.
The EasyCard serves MRT in Taipei, Taoyuan and Kaohsiung as well as public buses in Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung, Taichung, Yilan County, Matsu and Tainan. Furthermore, TaiwanTaxi (Taiwan’s leading taxi company) also accepts EasyCard payments throughout the cities it serves in Taiwan, which makes the payment process a lot easier and more efficient for passengers.
YouBike (bike sharing)The YouBike 2.0 system in Taiwan can be found all over the island and serves as an excellent “last mile” transport of choice or simply another way to stay healthy and your blood pumping as you explore the island. Renting a YouBike bridges those destinations that awkwardly sit between two public transportation stops or help you reach destinations that are just a bit out of reach by foot.
The YouBike 1.0 system can be found in:
Whilst the YouBike 2.0 and YouBike 2.0E system can be utilized in:
Note: The YouBike 1.0 and 2.0 system has the same renting and application process; however, the two systems cannot be used conjointly. For example, if you borrow a 1.0 bike you can only return it to a 1.0 station. To distinguish between the two bike systems, simply observe the color and size; the 1.0 bike are orange and larger in size whilst the 2.0 are more commonly in white and oftentimes lighter in comparison.
Renting a YouBike Step-by-step Guide
Riding the Taiwan Railway or High Speed RailBoth Taiwan Railway and Taiwan High Speed Rail also accept EasyCard as a form of boarding certificate.
On the travel with e-ticket page of the Taiwan Railway, when you click on the EasyCard under the Boarding Certificate Inquiry, it should take you to a new window like the ones below (a mandarin and english version is provided)
On the other hand, Taiwan High Speed Railway cooperates with EasyCard and created a co-branded credit card that carries depository values. Hence, you could also use an EasyCard co-branded credit card to purchase tickets from Taiwan High Speed Railway.
Paying for Parking
EasyCard can also be used to pay for parking fares in certain parking lots, including Taipei City Parking Management and Development, LY Parking, Total Parking Service, Taiwan International Development Co., Lucking Parking, You Parking and DodoHome. Simply place your EasyCard over the sensor when entering or leaving the parking lot. Regarding transportation, EasyCard is also accepted at some gas stations like CPC Corporation (CNPC Taiwan) and Formosa Oil.
Other Uses of Easy Card
ShoppingEasyCard can also act as an e-wallet. EasyCard cooperates with convenience stores such as 7-11, FamilyMart, OK Mart, HiLife and Simple Mart. These are smaller and more common convenience chain stores that appear in pretty much every city in Taiwan. Likewise, most supermarkets also take EasyCards at the checkout. Here is a list of the supermarkets (images below)
Here are some more places that partners with EasyCard
Fast Food Places
Besides grocery shopping and dining places, EasyCard also works with certain bookstores and stationery shops including Tien Chiao Shih, 101 Stationery Paradise, Chiuta Stationery, Caves Books, Daiso and Muji.
There are some smaller hospitals and pharmacies that also work with EasyCard.
*for more information on EasyCard, please visit the official website*
One of the most efficient and convenient ways to get around the city is by using the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. Not only is it a fast and reliable mode of transportation, but it also offers a glimpse into the local culture and daily life of the people in Taipei
Understanding the MRT Lines
Taipei's MRT system consists of several color-coded lines that pass through the entire city. Each line is assigned a specific color and name, making it easy to navigate:
Using the MRT
Entering the Station
Navigating the MRT Stations
Boarding the Train
Exiting the Station
Cultural Norms on the MRT
While using the MRT in Taipei, it's essential to be mindful of the local culture and adhere to certain norms:
Navigating the Roads of Taiwan
Driving in Taiwan can be an exhilarating experience, offering the freedom to explore the island’s stunning landscapes and ability to traverse the vibrant cities. However, before hitting the road, it is essential to become familiar with the local driving norms and regulations.
Driving etiquette and norms:
Driving Defensively: Taiwanese drivers typically drive defensively, this means to put caution first and to anticipate other drivers' moves. Be mindful of rapid lane changes, keep a safe distance from the car in front, and use turn signals as needed.
Use of Horns: In Taiwan, horns are generally used as a warning signal. It is generally discouraged except in situations of acute danger; and especially condemned in residential areas or late at night.
Patience and Courtesy: It is appreciated when drivers yield to pedestrians, let vehicles merge, and drive courteously.
Rules and regulations for driving:
Driver's License: In order to drive in Taiwan, drivers must obtain a valid license that is either issued by the local authorities or through an international driving permit (IDP). For Foreign license holders however, they are allowed to drive for up to a maximum of 30 days since arrival.
Application process: The process for applying for a Taiwanese driver's license is the same for foreign residents as well as extended visitors planning to stay in Taiwan for more than 30 days. There will be written, practical, and eyesight tests in application procedure.
Driving with a Foreign License
Short term visitors: For up to 30 days, tourists and transient visitors in Taiwan are permitted to drive using their international driver's license. If necessary, accompany your international driver’s license with an official translation or an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Foreign residents: The initial 30-day window must be used to obtain a Taiwanese driver's license for those that intend to stay in Taiwan for an extended period of time. However, to find out if your home country's license qualifies for direct conversion or if you must pass the Taiwanese drivers exam, contact the Ministry of Transportation and Communication.
License conversion: Some countries and Taiwan have reached mutual agreements to directly convert driver's licenses without the requirement for further exams. For instance, Hong Kong license, and US state licenses including: Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, South Caroline and more. Whilst, Canada for instance, requires an International Driving Permit (IDP) with the Canadian driver’s license to be admissible.
The Entrepreneurship Visa program aims to simplify the process for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish their presence in Taiwan. By providing a more streamlined route to obtain their residency as well as work permits, it hereby lowers the bureaucratic and administrative challenges one may often encounter.
Under the new program, eligible candidates would be granted a six-month visa to explore the local start-up landscape, connect with diverse stakeholders, and experiment with their business ideas. After six months, if they are successful they can then apply to be upgraded to a one-year visa that will then allow them to run their own business in Taiwan. The significance lies with the flexibility that gives entrepreneurs ample time to establish a foothold and conduct more informed decisions regarding their venture. This means that the company would not be required to be set up beforehand and offers the opportunity of group application of up to 3 members. Furthermore, the Entrepreneur Visa allows the inclusion of immediate family members (spouse and dependent children under 20 years of age) who will count as the dependents.
Who would be eligible for this program?
To apply for the Entrepreneur Visa, one must comply with one of the following requirements:
Required supporting documents include but are not limited to:
Please visit the ROC Taiwan website for further information regarding the application and the required documents:
Methods of application:
There are two main means of application depending on whether the applicant is abroad or already on local soil.
Applying from abroad:
Applying in Taiwan:
Extending the Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa:
After the one-year period, one may renew the Entrepreneur Visa for a maximum of another two times with each granting up to two year’s validity. However, this extension would only be eligible if one of the following conditions are fulfilled:
If these conditions are met, one may apply to renew the Visa at least 40 days before expiration at the National Immigration Agency. A permanent residence (the Alien Permanent Resident Certificate) may be applicable if the five years temporary residence is obtained within at least 183 days per year is spent in Taiwan.
National Health Insurance (NHI)The backbone of Taiwan's healthcare system is the National Health Insurance (NHI) which covers most medical services and treatments: consultations, hospitalization, medication and surgeries at an affordable price. Every resident of Taiwan is eligible to join the NHI, ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare.
Foreign Students: Students enrolled in Taiwan universities are required to have health care insurance coverage during their stay. Most universities have specific health insurance policies in place for international students that offer coverage for both basic and emergency medical situations. However, after graduating if a foreign student wishes to extend their residency they must continue their enrollment in the NHI program.
Employed Individuals: Employed citizens will be automatically enrolled in the NHI with both the employee and employer having to contribute towards the system. This would also provide coverage for the individual’s spouse and dependents.
Unemployed Individuals: Unemployed individuals can utilize the NHI and receive necessary treatments as the government provides subsidies to make these coverage more accessible. These individuals may also enroll as dependents through their relatives.
Without employers or family members: Meanwhile, individuals who do not have employers or family members to depend on for healthcare coverage can enroll in the NHI after six months of continuous residency. To do this, apply for enrollment through the local administrative office.
Company chairpersons/owners: Company owners can enroll in the NHI through their company under the condition that they must have at least 6 months of consecutive residence in Taiwan.
Newborns of Foreign Nationality: To be eligible for the NHI, the newborns must have at least one parent who holds a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or a resident visa.
It is significant to keep in mind that whilst the NGI covers a major portion of the medical expenses, there are certain costs that individuals would need to pay for themselves. For instance, the co-payment of specific medical services, prescription medications, and some medical procedures. However, these costs are generally reasonable and affordable for most individuals and families.
What number to dial when…
Job Searching Groups/Websites
Housing & Rentals
Here is a list of hospitals in Taiwan
Banking and Money
More Resources Here