Qing-era temples, amazing mountain hiking, hot springs, tropical islands to visit, relics of colonial rule and some of the tastiest food ever experienced, Taiwan is a small island nation that truly packs a punch of awesomeness.
But it’s not without danger. Like many beautiful countries around the world, seismic activity is a real threat in Taiwan. Earthquakes can be seriously deadly and strong typhoons hit Taiwan regularly. Also, there’s China on its doorstep, not recognizing it as a country.
It’s fair to say that there can be complications when visiting Taiwan. So is Taiwan safe? We’re here to help you answer that question with an in-depth insider’s guide packed with information and tips for staying safe in Taiwan.
Obviously, there’s more to staying safe in a country than taking basic precautions. In Taiwan, you might have to deal with earthquakes, hunker down during bad typhoons, and trek safely – it’s all about travelling smart.
We’ll be addressing questions like, “How safe is Taiwan for solo female travellers?” and “Is Taiwan safe to travel for families?” and making sure you know all there is to know about travelling Taiwan with all the knowledge you need to stay safe whilst having an incredible time.
As a group of adventurers, enthusiasts and fearless travellers, it pains us to tell you this, but the fact is that most travel is currently not safe, and in many countries, not possible because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nations across the world are fighting to contain the outbreak and flatten the infection curve – an effort that every citizen and responsible traveller should be part of.
For the most up-to-date safety information and what you should be doing to help, please consult the WHO and your local government.
- How Safe is Taiwan? (Our take)
- Is Taiwan Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
- Taiwan Travel Insurance
- 14 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Taiwan
- Keeping your money safe in Taiwan
- Is Taiwan safe to travel alone?
- Is Visiting Taiwan safe for solo female travellers?
- How Safe is Taiwan travel for families?
- Taiwan Safety For Drivers?
- Is Uber safe in Taiwan?
- Are taxis safe in Taiwan?
- Is public transportation in Taiwan safe?
- Is the food in Taiwan safe?
- Can you drink the water in Taiwan?
- Is Taiwan safe to live?
- How is healthcare in Taiwan?
- Helpful Taiwan Travel Phrases
- Final thoughts on the safety of Taiwan
How Safe is Taiwan? (Our take)
River tracing in Hualien, exploring ancient Confucian temples in Tainan, getting to grips with the futuristic capital of Taipei and eating at any number of the incredible night markets that dot the island nation make Taiwan an awesome country to visit.
And guess what: Taiwan is really safe.
However, there are some things to be aware of. To start with, crime levels might be low, but that doesn’t mean there’s no crime. Pickpockets do exist, so do scams and schemes, but mainly in the shadier areas of towns and cities.
Also, there’s the natural world to contend with. Typhoons in Taiwan can be seriously devastating and earthquakes are pretty common here and can cause a lot of damage. Mountain trekking comes with its own dangers, too.
But mainly, Taiwan is safe and super cool to explore.
Another thing to be aware of is less natural and more people-based. Taiwan has been its own country after gaining independence from Japan in 1945. It’s a stable democracy with its own laws, government, and currency. But because of China’s “two China policy” it’s the largest economy not in the UN. Most Western nations do not recognise Taiwan as its own country.
This is a safety issue as much as a political one: as a result, many countries don’t have embassies in Taiwan. The whole “two China” thing even means that Taiwan can’t get UNESCO World Heritage status (rejected by China) for any of its amazing natural scenery or centuries-old monuments.
It won’t effect your Taiwan Itinerary in any way. Naturally talking about this in Taiwan to locals could be a sensitive issue. On the whole Taiwanese people are proud, independent and liberal.
Is Taiwan Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
Taiwan is totally safe to visit.
Let’s paint a picture for you. 2019’s Global Peace Index put Taiwan 36th on a list of 163 countries. That’s not too shabby, although it went down two places from 2018.
When it comes to safety, Taipei City is much safer than other large capital cities – safer than London, safer than Paris and even safer than New York City. The crime rate in Taipei is so much lower than in these other cities. Basically, Taiwan is up there with other very safe countries like Japan and South Korea.
In fact, so safe that in 2017, it became the first Asian nation to recognise same-sex marriage.
Also, it counted over 10 million visitors in 2017. Most are from China, who don’t see Taiwan as a country but as a province of China.
But that’s a whole other issue…
Then there are the earthquakes. Like most earthquakes, when they’re bad, it’s critical. The one in Hualien in 2018, a popular destination, literally made high-rise buildings sink into the ground and cracked roads and resulted in 17 casualties. It actually happened on the anniversary of the 2016 Tainan earthquake when 117 people died. Needless to say, earthquakes can seriously be dangerous, especially because they often occur without any warning.
Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? Even if you’re only going for a few days, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Have fun in Taiwan, but take it from us, overseas medical care and canceled flights can be seriously expensive – insurance can, therefore, be a life-saver.
Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home.
We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. Why not get a quote from them yourself?
Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing travel insurance companies and what they can offer. There are lots of insurances out there, so don’t feel limited.
Taiwan is safe. However, nowhere is going to be 100% safe. Not just in terms of people, but nature as well. Earthquakes and typhoon season can make Taiwan a pretty unsafe place, actually. So we’ve decided to share a few of our top safety tips for Taiwan. However safe a country might be, it’s always a good idea to travel smart and stay safe.
- It’s important to know what to do in an earthquake – how to behave, how to find safety… Definitely read up on this.
- Protect against mosquitoes – dengue fever is on the rise in the south (Kaohsiung and Tainan). Cover up and use repellent to keep mosquitoes away.
- Watch local news reports and weather forecasts – you’ll want to know when a typhoon is going to hit.
- Know how to deal with a typhoon – take cover! You should be fine in a big hotel, but you should stock up on food and water. Follow the news or local advice.
- Beware of venomous snakes in the mountains – these are a thing. So just, you know, keep your eyes peeled and if you see one, do not approach.
- Avoid drugs – even just smoking weed can bring a strong sentence. Trafficking can mean the death penalty.
- Understand the custom of “saving face” – try not to embarrass people by making a big fuss if things aren’t going your way.
- Don’t talk politics – not everyone is on the same page in Taiwan. Obviously, talking about China-Taiwan issues might not go well.
- Watch your belongings in Kenting National Park – lots of tourists = pickpockets. Watch your stuff, especially on the beach and around bus stops and take a security belt to hide your cash.
- Scams are a thing – credit card fraud does happen. People claim they’re from the government or banks. It’s a thing so frequently check your bank account and contact your bank if you see any suspicious activity.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM – just watch your back, or be on the safe side and use the indoor ones.
- Careful around Yangmingshan National Park bus station – there are pickpockets. Don’t leave your stuff unattended.
- Organised crime is common – it most likely won’t affect you as a tourist, but still, stay away from shady-looking areas.
- Careful of packs of stray dogs in more rural areas – since they’re not owned, they shouldn’t be aggressive. Still, keep clear.
Ok, so Taiwan is pretty safe and there aren’t a lot of things about this island nation that we would say make it unsafe, besides nature. As long as you’re aware of the (very slim) chance of being targeted by a pickpocket, then you should be fine walking around cities. For everything else, doing research, taking care when hiking, and knowing what to do in a natural disaster should keep you safe.
Sleep safe! Choose your hotel, hostel or Airbnb ahead of time so you’re not last-minute booking a less-secure place.
You’ll find our favorite accommodation sorted by neighborhood in the following guides:
Keeping your money safe in Taiwan
Wherever you are in the world, in a “safe” country or an “unsafe” country, there is always going to be a chance that someone’s going to be after your money. And it’s usually the case that the more tourists there are, the more would-be thieves come out the woodwork.
Whilst it’s not a widespread thing by any means in Taiwan, it does still happen. The best way to stop someone picking your pockets is to have nothing in them and use a money belt instead.
If you’re on the look-out for one, a quick Google will show that there seriously is a lot of choices out there. To keep things simple, we’re going to recommend our favourite to you: the Active Roots Security Belt.
Speaking of simplicity, this money belt is all about it. This thing basically looks like a belt, plus it’s sturdy and affordable. Not only are you going to be able to walk around with the peace of mind that comes with having nothing of note to pinch from your pockets with your Active Roots Security Belt; you’re also going to be able to just, you know, wear a normal belt.
If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.
If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.
There are a lot of ways to travel the world, and solo is definitely a good way to go. Since you’re all by yourself you’ll get to do what you want to do without having to worry about anyone else. It also means relying on you and you alone, so you’re bound to grow as a person.
Challenging, rewarding, broadening your horizons… all of these are the benefits of travelling solo. However, it can get a little lonely, you can lose touch with reality, and sometimes you’re more of a target for crime by yourself. Luckily Taiwan is super safe to travel alone. Still, here are a few solo travel tips for Taiwan.
- Check out cool hostels. Do your research, read reviews, and book yourself into a solo-friendly hostel that’s going to be a good place to socialise, make friends and maybe even a travel buddy or two. This is good to beat the solo travel blues, which can happen.
- Talk to local people. Ask people like the staff at your hostel or the people working in the local cafe for insider tips on what to do, where to go, where to eat and where to stay in Taiwan. It’s always a good way to find out some great local knowledge.
- Stay in an Airbnb. A private room in a person’s house so you get to meet local people. Staying in a place like this is going to be a great way to learn about Taiwan. Make sure you read reviews first to make sure the person you’re going to be staying with is actually what you expect!
- Read reviews online if you’re going out drinking or hitting the clubs. Some of them can actually be run by gangs which makes them more than just a little bit sketchy. Seeing a foreigner enter might just make them see dollar signs if you know what we mean.
- Make sure you know how to get home. Trains in Taipei stop at midnight, and chances are you’ll be out after that. Knowing how to get home is going to save you a whole load of issues.
- Don’t get crazy drunk. Getting drunk, fine – but completely wasted in a country that’s not your own means you just won’t have any senses and can be scary and dangerous.
- Get yourself a Taiwan data sim. This means you’ll be able to work out transport, know where you’re going, and keep in touch with people back home when you don’t have wi-fi.
- Do keep in contact with your friends and family back home. Even if it’s just a Facebook update, you shouldn’t just go off-grid. If anything happened to you and people had no idea where in Taiwan you were, that just isn’t a smart move. Keep people updated with your travels.
Taiwan is a great place to travel to. And not only that, Taiwan is an awesome place for a first-time solo traveller. It’s pretty much an amazing introduction to East Asian culture that’s a little more untrodden than Southeast Asia, not as expensive as South Korea or Japan, and not as foreboding as China. It’s literally packed with things to do, and we challenge you to be bored – even by yourself.
Is Visiting Taiwan safe for solo female travellers?
Not only is it safe to visit Taiwan for solo female travellers, but it’s also full of other solo female travellers too! There will be a load of people to meet up with and a ton of things to do around the country, resulting in a pretty much a very cool destination. So don’t worry if you’re backpacking Taiwan solo – It’s safe and very liberal.
Taiwan actually has an amazing female president: Tsai Ing-Wen. She’s unmarried (the first), she’s part-aboriginal, part-Hakka, and she’s pretty much an inspiration. We recommend that you look her up if you want some warm feel about Taiwan and its future.
But travelling as a woman in Taiwan, like anywhere in the world you’ll, unfortunately, have to take more care than a male would. It may be a safe destination, but we’re sharing some tips for solo female travellers in Taiwan to keep you extra safe.
- Apply common sense. When you’re in cities, steer of sketchy looking alleys and deserted street at night time. Walking around by yourself at night is generally fine, but sketchy areas are sketchy areas, wherever you are in the world.
- Stay in a hostel with a female-only dorm. This is a great way to meet other female travellers doing what you’re doing. Chances are, these won’t necessarily be Western women, either, so it will be a good opportunity to meet locals travelling around their own country too and share travel tips.
- Get chatting to the staff at hostels. Getting local tips on everything from sights to see, to food to eat, will put you in good stead to really get to grips with the real Taiwan.
- Join a walking tour. There are free tours like this in Taipei and Tainan and they are a good way to get acquainted with cities when you first arrive. Plus you’ll get to meet other people, too.
- Let people know where you’re going and what your travel plans are. We’re talking about your family back home. This just makes sense; people knowing where you are is better than no one knowing where you are.
- But at the same time don’t feel the need to tell everybody you meet everything about yourself. If you’re married, where you’re staying, where you’re going… If someone feels like they’re a bit too interested, just tell some white lies.
- In rural areas and in the South, dress more conservatively. In cities like Taipei, women dress pretty much how they want and they look pretty cool. But in more rural areas, and also in the South, this is less of a thing. A decent rule of thumb is just to look you at what other women are dressed like and try to follow suit as best you can.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended at bars or clubs. This is just a silly idea wherever you are. Really.
There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.
The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!
At the end of the day, Taiwan is safe to travel for solo female travellers. It’s a progressive country but that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its issues. For example, in certain parts of the country, you may need to dress more conservatively for less attention.
Also, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be 100% safe all the time. That’s just how it is when you travel, whether you’re a female or not. However, Taiwan is like other East Asian countries in that it’s pretty much safer in terms of crime than many others around the world.
All you’ll need to do now is prepare for an awesome time. There’s a ton of stuff to see and do across the country and if you check yourself into a cool, social hostel, you’re going to meet some cool people to experience it with, too!
How Safe is Taiwan travel for families?
Taiwan is actually a really cool place to take your children! However, it is not the most child-friendly of places.
In Taiwanese society, children are taught to be quiet and well mannered in public places and the attitude is that they kind of fit into the parents’ schedule – not the other way round like in most Western countries. So don’t expect there to be a load of amazing playgrounds or things like that.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t safe, and with the younger generation, things are getting a bit more laid-back.
There are some super cool things to do with your children. You can do easy hikes like Elephant Mountain in Taipei. There are outdoor adventures in Taroko Gorge, where lots of families enjoy days out. And in Taichung, there’s stuff like the National Museum of Nature and Science.
State-funded facilities for children, however, aren’t always great. There’s a sort of “well it’s only for children” mindset going on. And when it comes to actually stay safe on a family holiday to Taiwan, there are obviously some things to bear in mind.
For instance, if you’re going to eat out with kids you won’t be finding highchairs or even children’s menus. But hotels are really good to go to with children and you can get high standard rooms for low prices. These often come with buffet breakfasts, so picky eaters can choose what they want to eat for breakfast. Even if that means french fries, which people do in Taiwan.
You can usually get your hands on supplies for children in most places but it isn’t that tricky. Obviously away from big cities, things may be a little harder to come by. We’re talking nappies, etc.
Make sure you’re prepared for hot weather. It’s generally pretty warm in Taiwan, but it can get super hot in the summer months. Keep hydrated and make sure your kids don’t stay in the sun too long and cover-up!
You’ll also want to cover up against mosquitoes. There is sporadic dengue fever, even in cities, but mostly in the south. Make sure you use plenty of mosquito repellent!
Read reviews of places before you book them. You’ll really want to pay attention to just how child-friendly they are, or aren’t.
Adverse weather can affect Taiwan, such as typhoons and earthquakes. Knowing how to keep you and your family safe in the event of anything like this will keep you safe.
But generally, Taiwan is safe to travel for families. Everything’s pretty comprehensive, well connected and, once again, safe.
Taiwan Safety For Drivers?
Driving in Taiwan is generally pretty safe.
In fact, outside of city centres, you’ll be treated to some pretty stunning scenic roads. However, in metropolitan areas, driving isn’t that fun in Taiwan – things can get pretty jam-packed with traffic. Also, it’s important to bear in mind that road conditions can vary throughout the country. As a general rule of thumb: north = better roads than the south.
First things first: you’ll be driving on the left. Good news for anyone who does in their own country.
The alcohol limit for driving is really low, lower even than the UK. There’s really no point drinking anything alcoholic if you plan to drive because not only you might face imprisonment, but your passengers might get fined, too.
Motorbikes and mopeds are everywhere in the cities. Jamming up the entrances to night markets, meandering their way up to red lights to be the first to go, and accidents happen a lot with scooters. Keep an eye on these hazards. Also, you should be really careful about other hazards, like cyclists and pedestrians.
Riding a scooter can be a great and inexpensive way of traveling around Taiwan. Although you don’t need a license to rent a scooter, most travel insurance companies will ask for a valid motorbike license to be able to claim if you crash! Always make sure that you have travel insurance with a motorcycle-riding coverage.
Highways in Taiwan can vary, as we mentioned. During typhoon season expect road closures and flooding. This can actually be a problem for a few days after a typhoon hits.
If you do want to drive, you need to register your international driving license before you can hire a vehicle. You can do this at the local Vehicle Registration Department. Once you’ve picked up your rental vehicle, make sure that you arm yourself with solid rental insurance.
It’s safe to drive in Taiwan, but it’s not particularly the best choice you could be making and might not be worth it. Big cities aren’t fun to drive, like most places in the world. Most road deaths occur in cities, for example, though Taiwan has been improving in this area in recent years.
The public transport is pretty amazing. The drive from Hualien to Taroko Gorge is nice, but it’ll be packed with buses.
Also, a lot of the signage is in Chinese. So there’s that, too.
Riding a motorbike in Taiwan
Taiwan is known for its scooter and motorbike filled streets. Almost 67% of the Taiwanese population owns a two-wheel vehicle. Renting a scooter is the fastest and most efficient way to get around. But is riding your motorbike safe?
There’s always a risk of getting in an accident with any sort of vehicle. So yes, it can be quite risky, especially when you’re not experienced, but the roads are relatively easy to handle, and there are basic road rules that people actually follow.
To be able to drive in Taiwan, you need to present your International Drivers Permit. In some cases, rentals also want to see a legit bike license, but that doesn’t happen too often.
Riding around in the city is a bit more stressful than outside since the streets can get quite packed. If you decide to rent a scooter, you should check out the beautiful scenic roads up North.
You can easily rent a bike in the city. Look out for rentals near bus and train stations. Hostels in Taiwan sometimes offer scooter rentals too. Before you take off, make sure to check your bike (brakes and mirrors should be in good condition) and ask for a helmet!
Is Uber safe in Taiwan?
Uber has come and gone from Taiwan. At the moment, in 2019, it’s back! It is safe to use Uber in Taiwan. It’s a cheaper and more reliable way to get around than taxis. There are no language complications, you know where you’re going, you can track your journey, you can read the driver’s reviews… All the stuff that makes Uber safe in other countries applies to Taiwan.
Are taxis safe in Taiwan?
Taxis are safe in Taiwan. However, there are some things you should be aware of.
Most drivers are not going to speak amazing English if any at all. So when you get into a taxi, be sure to have your destination written down or have a business card of your hotel, or whatever. Learn a little bit of the lingo if you feel like it, but it’s not vital.
You can spot a licensed taxi thanks to the big old yellow “TAXI” sign on the roof. There are so many taxis that they’ll probably be looking for you, rather than you looking for them! They may even stop and ask if you need a taxi.
Taxis are usually metered in the cities. And on the whole, the drivers are pretty honest. Just keep an eye on things like the meter isn’t going up too fast, or that you aren’t being charged a nighttime rate in the daytime – it can happen.
The driver’s ID badge will be displayed on the inside of the car and their license number on the outside of the car.
If you call up a taxi – or if your hotel calls one for you, you’ll be given a number so you’ll be able to figure who it is that’s supposed to be taking you. It’s pretty safe, but there have been instances of people being assaulted in taxis. It’s best to trust your gut. Watch out for things like the taxi driver having a red mouth. Whilst this is ‘only’ betel nut (or “Chinese chewing gum” as one local told us it was), it’s not a good sign.
Taxi drivers have strong political and will probably want to practice their English on you. They’re generally pretty friendly.
However, most taxi drivers will probably be very friendly and you’ll have a smooth experience. Case closed: taxis are safe in Taiwan.
Is public transportation in Taiwan safe?
Long-distance buses and trains connect Taiwan and make this island nation a literal breeze to travel around. They’re convenient, they’re safe, they’re cheap.
Let’s start with MRT which is surprisingly easy to use. This operates in Taipei and Kaohsiung and the capital’s MRT serves over 2 million passengers per day. It is clean, you’re not even allowed to eat on the MRT. There are also English signages, it’s very cheap, and it runs from 6 am to 12 am. Basically, it’s amazing and easy to use.
The city buses are also really convenient and can be a little bit daunting to work out. Try and use your Google Maps to work out the route, or ask the driver for help. Some of them you’ll have to pay at the start, others you pay at the end.
Outside of Taipei and Kaohsiung, it’s buses only in the cities. So you’ll have to get used to them!
When it comes to buses, you’ll have to be a little bit careful of them around Taroko Gorge. They aren’t always in the best condition and they crowd the streets. The bus stops themselves are a bit precarious, too.
Highway buses are also very cheap, quick, easy and safe. They run all through the day. However, you might not want to take them because the trains are so good. The train network and THSR, Taiwan’s high-speed rail service, in Taiwan covers just about the whole island and is very cost-effective. Make sure you book your ticket in advance as they can get pretty busy – especially during Chinese New Year. If you think Taiwan is an undeveloped country, one look at its rail network might make you think again.
Well, maybe not. But this country certainly is on its way!
When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.
A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.
Is the food in Taiwan safe?
Definitely, and this is the place where you’re going to find some of the most amazing night markets you’re ever likely to set eyes on. From Taipei to Kaohsiung, and just about everywhere in between, most cities have a selection of night markets to hit up. They’re all awesome – loads of delicious foodstuffs, from stinky tofu and hu jiao bing (bready pork dumplings) to stuffed green onion pancakes and the much-tastier-than-it-sounds pig’s blood cake, you will never be hungry here. Here are some tips to help you eat like a pro in Taiwan…
- Most stalls at the night markets are going to be safe to eat at. But as a general rule, if you see a line – join it. Stalls are usually popular for a good reason.
- Do hit up the night markets. You’d honestly be a fool not to! But don’t go too late. Not only will some stalls have already closed up and gone home, but also most of the hot cooking would have been done. What’s left is stuff that’s been sitting out for a while so go early when it’s in full swing!
- If you’re worried, take a while to watch what the street vendor is doing. If you’re fine about how they’re preparing the food, or how clean everything looks, then go for it.
- Fruit juices are big in Taiwan. Honestly, there are a lot of different fruits going. Probably some of the biggest watermelons we’ve ever seen have been in Taiwan. These should be generally ok to drink but to be on the safe side (and if your stomach is delicate) perhaps steer clear.
- Make sure the meat you’re about to eat has been cooked through. If not, don’t eat it. And if you’re worried about meat in general, then you can ask for stuff without meat. Chinese is easy enough to learn and especially useful if you’re a vegetarian. Taiwanese people will understand.
- If you’re super worried, head to more tourist-oriented night markets. They’re likely to be operating under more stringent laws imposed by the government. The aptly named Hualien Dongdamen Tourist Night Market is one of them, in Hualien.
- Watch out for seafood at night markets. Things like shellfish, shrimp, or crab might not have been refrigerated properly, so it may just be best to avoid.
- The food is amazingly tasty and cheap, but go easy when you first arrive. The food can be pretty rich and full of flavors and textures you’re not used to. Ease yourself into this tasty world and you’ll be better off.
- Wash your hands. It’s just the easiest way to avoid getting ill. Food safety 101. And if you can’t wash your hands for whatever reason, use hand sanitiser.
Honestly, the food in Taiwan is one of the highlights. If you think you’ve seen night markets in Thailand or Vietnam, well you ain’t seen nothing yet. Night markets are ubiquitous in Taiwan. This country loves its food – and it definitely shows. Everything’s pretty tasty.
There are some pretty strict food safety guidelines in order in Taiwan. That means that things won’t be as ropey as they look. Definitely, research some of the specialties you want to try and seek them out. You won’t be disappointed. Quickly search ‘coffin bread’.
Can you drink the water in Taiwan?
Water is alright in Taiwan, but not the best. A lot of Taiwanese people drink filtered or bottled water. There are actually water fountains all over the cities and in MRT stations, featuring filtered water. You’ll probably get complimentary bottles in your hotel, too.
The thing about Taiwan is earthquakes that can crack water pipes which can obviously lead to water contamination. So take a refillable water bottle and fill up at public fountains. Read our in-depth review of the best travel water bottles here if you decide to do so. If you want to explore the backcountry, we’d suggest boiling and filtering your water or using the GRAYL GEOPRESS.
Buy bottled water if you must, but seriously: think of the plastic!
Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life – Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle.
The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered.
Read our full review of the GRAYL GEOPRESS!
Is Taiwan safe to live?
Taiwan is absolutely safe to live. There are some very fun cities to live in, all of which are rapidly developing.
For example, there’s Taichung. Once the home of “Made in Taiwan” (take a look at your parents’ cutlery), this is now a cool city with a load of repurposed buildings housing cool cafes and restaurants.
However, like any other country, there will be some things you might worry about. We’re not talking about walking around at night. That sort of thing is completely fine and there’s a low rate of crime. It’s more the political status of the country that may cause you concern. This puts Taiwan directly in the firing line of China. The crucial thing is understanding the best places to stay in Taiwan.
There are some political parties in Taiwan that believe that, as officially the Republic of China, they are the real rulers of Mainland China. There are others who just want to be an independent Taiwan. Also, then there are some pro-China parties who support what the People’s Republic of China believe: that Taiwan is a rogue province… It’s a complicated situation. Avoiding any political protests is probably going to be a smart move. And when it comes to talking politics with local, actual Taiwanese people, you may want to keep your opinions to yourself and just listen.
Natural disasters are also obviously a thing. When you’re looking for a place to live, you’re going to want a building that’s at least partially earthquake-proof. No building fully is, but some are better than others. Do your research when it comes to this.
The cities can be completely clogged up with traffic. and pollution can be pretty bad. And there are a fair few motorbike accidents.
Weather-wise, keep an eye on the news in the typhoon season. Generally aside from the bad typhoons, the weather is changeable and ranges from super hot and sunny to extremely humid and cloudy with afternoon downpours. It’s a safe place to live, for sure. Most problems will be environmental.
Also, you should probably learn some Chinese. Taiwanese Mandarin for Taipei City and most of the east side of the island to the south; in the west, it’s actually Taiwanese Hokkien. Mandarin alone should suffice. Some speaking, and some reading – you know, for menus and signage – will really go a long way.
Aside from that, it’s safe to live in Taiwan. We’re all for it!
How is healthcare in Taiwan?
Taiwan actually has a pretty good standard of healthcare, it has the system of a developed country. They’ve got a national health insurance scheme that makes it affordable, and accessible, for pretty much everyone living in the country.
Across the country, you’ll find all sorts of adequate healthcare options: dental facilities that can deal with routine check-ups as well as A&Es,too.
A lot of the staff here would have trained abroad, so thankfully many will speak English.
Do make sure you have good travel insurance and your insurance documents with you if you need treatment, though. Tourists to the country have to pay, and because the care is good, it also means pretty expensive.
Be aware that ambulances in Taiwan aren’t always staffed by paramedics. Sometimes you might not be able to get medicines that are actually easy to come by in your own country. If you are reliant on something, then make sure you pack an adequate amount of whatever it is you need.
But at the end of the day, good treatment is never too far away here. Healthcare in Taiwan is pretty decent.
Helpful Taiwan Travel Phrases
When it comes to the languages spoken in Taiwan, the country certainly is not streamlined. What I mean is while Mandarin Chinese may be the official language, there are dozens of other languages spoken at the local level. The Taiwanese language is spoken by about 70% of the population.
With its four tones and thousands upon thousands of characters, Chinese is definitely an intimidating language. At least make a little effort to learn a tiny bit of Chinese and amuse the locals along the way.
Luckily for backpackers, English is super common in Taiwan and most people speak at least a little English and many people are practically fluent. The Taiwanese are very good with languages. Most people are at least bilingual knowing Mandarin and Taiwanese.
It’s not uncommon for a Taiwanese person to speak 3-4 languages well. Also, all street signs are in Mandarin and English, and on public transportation they always use Mandarin, then Taiwanese, then English.
Also in Taiwan, nobody says “Mandarin.” Mandarin is called Chinese and then there’s Cantonese, which many people speak as well.
Here are some useful Chinese travel phrases to get you started:
Hello = Ni hao
How are you? = Ni hao ma?
I’m fine = Wo hen hao
Please = Qing
Thank you = Xiè xiè
You’re welcome = Bù kè qì
Goodbye = Zài jiàn
I’m sorry = Duì bù qi
No plastic bag = Wú sùji?o dài
No straw please = Bùyòng x?gu?n
No plastic cutlery please = Q?ng bùyào sh?yòng sùji?o c?njù
Where is the bathroom? = Xi shou jian zài na l??
What’s this? = Zhè shì shén me?
I want a beer = Wo yào yi ge pí jiu
How much is it? = Duo shao qián?
Final thoughts on the safety of Taiwan
It’s difficult to say really how safe Taiwan is when, due to politics, many countries are strong-armed by China into not having any embassies in the country. Not having any access to any consular assistance in Taiwan, when there are plenty of other less safe countries out there with all the embassies you could ever dream of, is something that’s scary. If only for the power of its huge neighbour.
But Taiwan is a country. You get a visa when you arrive, it has its own currency and its own laws. China has zero to virtually zero say in how Taiwan is governed. Attempting to take away the legitimacy of Taiwan by forcing other countries around the world to not recognise it, or face the consequences (no business deals with China) won’t take away the fierce independence of Taiwan, hopefully.
Aside from politics, which has recently forced British Airways to advertise flights to Taiwan as flights to a province of China, Taiwan is probably one of the safest countries around. Earthquakes and typhoons may hit and hit hard when they do, but this is nature. It doesn’t stop Taiwanese people from living in their own country, so it shouldn’t stop you. It’s super safe here.
Oh, and don’t forget to get travel insurance!
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going.