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A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Taiwan

A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Taiwan

Thanks to its amazing food, charming landscape and amazing affordability, Taiwan is quickly becoming one of the best destinations for travelers of all kinds. Plus, the people are so welcoming and kind, you’ll simply wish to move to this magical country! But, before you completely relocate, make sure to nail your first Taiwan visit.

Hit the right time

Taiwan has a very mild climate, which means nice weather all year round. The average temperature is 23°C, but from May to September you can expect plenty of rainfall and from June to August typhoons are quite regular in Taiwan. Rain can completely ruin your trip and make many attractions unavailable, so make sure to avoid these months. Ideally, visit Taiwan anywhere between October and March, which will ensure you have pleasant weather with mild temperatures.

Fill your pockets with cash

Even though most fine dining restaurants and high-end cafes accept credit cards, cash is king in Taiwan. It’s always needed when shopping at markets, street food stalls and other smaller places. It’s best to exchange your money in big banks like Bank of Taiwan (臺灣銀行) or China Trust Bank. You can also use ATMs, but the exchange rates are not as great. However, be careful since all banks are closed on weekends and they only work until about 4 pm on weekdays.

Where to stay

If you’re staying in Taipei, expect to be treated to some great accommodation. Most neighbourhoods are good, but Ximending commercial area and Taipei Railway Station are probably the most practical places to find a hotel. These areas are fun, lively and filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. Make sure to check out featured hotels in Taipei (台北特色酒店) for some good picks that will ensure you have a luxurious and pleasant stay. In addition, Taipei has amazing public and private transport, so you’ll get to visit all the sites on your bucket list no matter where you’re located.

Get an Easy Card

Speaking of transportation, one of the best things you can do as soon as you arrive in Taipei is getting an Easy Card (悠遊卡). Public transportation is very reliable, easy to use and fast, so you’ll get to travel from point A to point B with ease. There’s really no need to splurge on a cab, but if you need to grab a taxi, you’ll have no problem finding one.

Don’t worry about staying connected

One of the best things about travelling in Taiwan is its great internet connection. Almost anywhere you go in Taipei you’ll have access to Wi-Fi, which makes it really easy to stay connected. With your phone in your hand, you’ll have all the information you need (Google Maps will really help with getting around).

Make sure to try the beef noodle soup

Taiwan’s most famous dish is beef noodle soup (牛肉麵). If you check out the internet for the recommendations, most will point to famous Yong Kang Beef Noodles, which are amazing. However, if you’re staying in Ximending, make sure to check out Fu Hong Beef Noodles. This tiny restaurant serves huge bowls of beef noodle soup with thick noodles and plenty of beef to go with them.

Don’t miss the lantern festival

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most romantic things you can do in Taiwan, so make sure not to miss this amazing event. This year, the festival is taking place on February 19, but dates for 2020 and 2021 are already known (February 8 and February 26). Only an hour train ride from Taipei there is the Shifen village of Pingxi district that’s home to a lantern festival. The fare is only $100 NT one way, so it’s pretty affordable. Arrive early to avoid the crowds and you’ll also have time to check out the nearby Shifen waterfall before nightfall.

There’s really something for everyone in Taiwan, so make sure to put this island on your to-visit list. No matter if you’re an avid foodie, an aficionado of Asian culture or just a curious traveller that loves to explore new places, you’ll certainly want to return to Taiwan.

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