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Country Guides for Asia

Taiwan

Taiwan

For a small land mass with a relatively large population, Taiwan offers a wealth of diversity. A drive from northern Keelung to the tip of the southern Hengchun Peninsula can be easily done in a day, and the traveler will see dramatic mountains, forests (over 50% of Taiwan is forested), sleepy villages, frenetic cities, harbors, rice fields, and miles of shoreline. The Taroko National Park is relatively undisturbed, and indigenous wildlife can still be spotted. The white marble Taroko Gorge, and the Weinshan hot springs are definitely worth a detour. If you are looking for souvenirs, the historic town of Lukang is a center for traditional handicrafts. To experience urban Taiwan, Taipei is home to around 6 million people, wonderful food, an active nightlife, and a lot of smog. For a more peaceful glimpse into history, Tainan is the island's oldest city, and home to literally hundreds of temples.

Language: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages.

Major International Airport:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
TaipeiChiang Kai-Shek Int'lTPE25 miles S

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in East Asia depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region.

Travelers' diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E.coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites (see below). Travelers to some areas in China and Hong Kong S.A.R. (China) may be at risk for malaria. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in China should take an antimalarial drug. The risk of malaria in Hong Kong S.A.R. is so limited that taking an antimalarial drug is not recommended.

If you visit the Himalayan Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least SPF 15, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.

The CDC recommends the following vaccines as appropriate for age (See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect):

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Japanese encephalitis, only if you plan to visit rural areas for 4 weeks or more, except under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Don't eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
  • Don't share needles with anyone.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it. Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.


Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Those traveling to Taiwan are at risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, filariasis, and Japanese encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes, and plague from flea bites. To prevent insect bites, travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

The water supply in Taiwan is considered high risk due to unhealthful viral, bacterial and protozoan contamination. Water should be treated before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

CRIME:Although Taiwan is considered a medium risk location for crime, the overall violent crime rate in Taiwan remains relatively low. Travelers should avoid business establishments such as massage parlors, illegal "barbershops", and illegal "nightclubs" because many of these establishments are run by criminals and are located in high crime areas. In contrast to their counterparts, legal barbershops prominently display the usual grooming services. Illegal nightclubs have no advertisement and are publicized by word of mouth only. Public transportation, including the buses and the subway, is generally safe in Taiwan, but women should exercise caution when traveling alone in taxis late at night. In the past few years there have been several incidents of violence committed by taxi drivers against solitary female passengers. In several parts of Taiwan, incidents of purse snatching by thieves on motorcycles have been reported.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police, and to the American Institute in Taiwan, at Taipei or Kaohsiung. Local police departments have foreign affairs sections that are normally staffed by English-speaking officers. Police contact numbers for the major cities in Taiwan are as follows: Taipei (02) 2556-6007, Kaohsiung (07) 215-4342, Tainan (06) 222-9704, Taichung (04) 2327-3875, Taitung (089) 322-034, ext. 2122, Pingtung(08) 733-6283, ext. 2122.

If you are the victim of a crime while in Taiwan, in addition to reporting to local police, contact AIT Taipei or AIT Kaohsiung for assistance. AIT's consular staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad .

Source: U.S. Department of State

Taiwan's climate is essentially sub-tropical, although the weather becomes more moderate as you travel northward. Travelers can expect hot, humid, wet summers and cooler, dryer winters with a dusting of snow on the mountain peaks. Rainfall is abundant - typically around 100 inches a year. The summer typhoon season stretches from June through September, and cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year.

Taiwan's electrical current is 110/60 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

U.S. passport holders will be allowed to enter Taiwan without a visa for up to thirty days (no extensions allowed) if their passport is valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Taiwan and the traveler has a confirmed return or onward air ticket. Travelers must have already met any additional visa requirements for the next destination, if applicable. If the passport is valid for less than six months from the date of entry into Taiwan, travelers may apply for a landing visa that has a duration of stay of no more than thirty days. The processing fee is US $124.00 and no extensions are allowed. Travelers also have the additional option of applying for and receiving a Taiwan visa prior to arrival in Taiwan. The processing fee is US$100.00.

PLEASE NOTE: No extension of stay or change of status is allowed if the traveler enters on the visa waiver program (30 day stay, no extensions). Travelers arriving in Taiwan with a valid passport and valid Taiwan visas may be admitted for up to 90 days even if their passports are valid for less than 6 months. Travelers who apply for a landing visa upon arrival will be admitted for 30 days or up to the day the passport expires, which ever comes first. For specific information about entry requirements, travelers may contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), 4201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-2137, via either its main telephone number, (202) 895-1800, or its visa section telephone number, (202) 895-1814. The main fax number at TECRO is (202) 363-0999, and the visa section fax number is (202) 895-0017. There is also an Internet address: http://www.taiwanembassy.org. TECRO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office) also has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Taiwan is 8 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Taiwan would be 1:00 am

The unit of currency in Taiwan is the new Taiwan dollar (TWD).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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