Taiwan is one of the least-heralded travel destinations in all of Asia, as the enchanting island’s rapid development into an economic and industrial powerhouse overshadows its incredible array of natural, historical and culinary highlights. Taiwan is a fascinating blend of technical innovation, traditional Chinese culture and indigenous traditions. It is the only place on earth where ancient religious and cultural customs thrive amidst a stunningly modern environment. Technological milestones include the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101, and the new High Speed Rail, a bullet train which connects the two largest cities on the island. Beyond the narrow industrial corridors and populous cities along Taiwan’s west coast lies a tropical island of astounding beauty. Here you will find the highest mountains of Northwest Asia and one of the most pristine, secluded coastlines in the entire region. The excellent Chinese-regional and Japanese cuisine completes the picture of a versatile and hospitable travel destination.
Arriving by plane
According to top-medical-schools, China Airlines (CI), the national airline, connects Frankfurt/M. daily non-stop with Taipei. Feeder flights to Frankfurt/M. are possible from Vienna and Zurich with Lufthansa (LH) and Austrian Airlines (OS) from Vienna and Swiss (LX) from Zurich. KLM (KL) flies from Vienna via Amsterdam and Bangkok to Taipei. Air France (AF) offers flights from Paris via Bangkok to Taipei. Flights to Paris from Germany, Austria and Switzerland with Air France (AF) and the respective national airlines. Taipei is also served by EVA Air (BR), Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Bangkok Airways (PG), among others.
Frankfurt/M. – Taipei: 12 hrs 50 mins (non-stop); Vienna – Taipei: 16 hrs 35 mins; Zurich – Taipei: 16 hrs 25 mins (Journey times vary depending on length of stopovers.)
Arrival by car
Tolls: Taiwanese highways are subject to tolls. The toll is recorded and paid exclusively electronically. Documents: In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Arrival by ship
The three main ports in Taiwan are Keelung, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
The cruise operator Phoenix docks in Keelung, among other places, on its world cruises that start in Hamburg. Shipping companies such as MSC and Costa Taiwan also call from Europe.
From mainland China, ferries run from Fuzhou to Matsu Islands and from there to Keelung, from Xiamen directly to Keelung and from China’s Pingtan Island to Taichung.
Traveling by plane
National airlines such as Mandarin Airlines (AE) and Uni Air (B7) serve Taiwan’s major cities from Sung Shan Domestic Airport. Airlines such as China Airlines (CI), Eva Air (BR) and Air China (CA) connect numerous cities in mainland China with various destinations in Taiwan.
Traveling by car/bus
The Taiwanese road network has a total length of 43,200 km and is extensive and well developed, especially along the coasts. An expressway runs from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Main connecting roads are often also signposted in English. Toll: The motorways are subject to tolls. The fees are recorded and paid exclusively electronically. Gas stations: There are enough gas stations in the cities and on the main roads; however, these are often closed at night. For journeys in mountainous regions, it is advisable to carry petrol in a canister.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The roads along the coast are in good condition. Mountain roads can be blocked by mudslides.
Taiwan’s road network includes expressways, officially designated as national roads, and provincial roads. The streets are marked with capital letters and a number partly supplemented with lower case letters; for motorways these are the capital letters NH, for provincial roads PH.
Rental cars are available in the larger cities with and without a driver. The minimum age for drivers varies between 20 and 25 years for the various rental car providers. International hotels often arrange chauffeured car hire for their guests upon request.
Yellow metered taxis are plentiful in major cities. From 11pm to 6am there is a surcharge. It is important to have the destination written in Chinese as most taxi drivers do not speak English.
A public bike rental system allows travelers in the larger cities to rent bikes themselves at various stations. Payment is possible by credit card. Motorbike and scooter rental companies can be found in the towns.
Local and long-distance buses/express buses connect Taipei to all major cities and most major tourist attractions.
Traffic regulations: – Seat belts are compulsory in the front seats; – alcohol limit: 0.15 ‰; – Helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists. Speed limits: – urban: 60 km/h; – on rural roads: 80 km/h; – on expressways: 100 km/h; – on motorways: 110 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Traveling in the city
Downtown Taipei is divided into four squares – North, South, East and West. The name of each major street indicates which of these squares you are currently in (e.g. Minsheng East Road). Taipei’s extensive mass transit network includes buses operated by several private bus companies and several subway lines. The underground trains run between 06.00 and 24.00. The underground stations are also signposted in English. Taxis are also available everywhere and bicycles can be hired from most underground stations via the public bicycle rental system You-Bike.
Locally on the way by train
Taiwan Railways Administration trains run between all major cities on the island. The main tourist routes are – Taipei-Taichung-Chiayi-Tainan-Kaohsiung, – Taipei-Taichung-Sun Moon Lake, – Chiayi-Alishan (dramatic mountain panorama) and – Taipei-New Hualian-Taitung (scenic coastal route). Some trains have dining and sleeping cars. Children under 115 cm tall ride for free. Children between 115 and 150 cm and adults over 65 pay half the normal adult fare. More information can be found on the Taiwan Railways Administration website.
The THSR Pass is valid for unlimited travel on THSR trains for 3 consecutive days or flexible 2 days within a week. The 5-day Standard Joint Pass is valid for two days within the selected 5 days for unlimited travel on the Chu-Kuang Express or cheaper trains and the THSR trains. The 5-day Premium Joint Pass is valid for unlimited travel on the Tze-Chiang Limited Express or cheaper trains on the selected 5 days and for 2 days within the selected 5 days on the THSR trains.
Traveling by ship
Passenger ship connections exist between all of Taiwan’s ports and its offshore islands. More information is available from the local port authorities.