1 travel Taiwan

                            Traveling and living in Taiwan.

Taiwan was called 'Ilha Formosa' by the  Portuguese - The "green island".

This is a collection of links to information about travel and living in Taiwan.
Most of the info is in the form of links, because most of the useful info has been 
very well written in other sites already. Here I simply put it all together.

Cafes in Taipei:

There's a really cool student type cafe near Technology Station, I forgot the name. They are so cool they even play Leonard Cohen !
I think I found it: It's called Rufous and is on this Google map here they give a website as
ipeen.com.tw but it's hard to verify without knowing how to read Chinese. 

1. Tadpole near MRT Gongguan/NTU Station
It's inside Treasure Hill Artists Village
This Artists Village was very popular among artsy young people a couple of years ago.

2. Cafe Trouve near MRT Guting/Shida Station
The photos speak for themselves. Also, that neighbourhood is great for leisurely walks in the alleys.

ESLite Bookstore & ESLite Cafe inside --- A cafe to sit down, chill, meet new friends ( 24 Hrs Book store )
http://www.eslitebooks.com/   Eslite Bookstore (Dunhua South)  Address: 2F, 245, Dunhua S. Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei

Lots of info on Cafes and Taiwan/Taipei  http://yuminghui.pixnet.net/blog/post/26964075, and Couchsurf post here.

Tadpole point


the area is called Bao3 Zang4 Yan2 (Treasure Hills)
treasure hill arts village

Paragliding in Taiwan:

     In Puli, the instructor Chris has been recommended to me (we have not yet met) and he knows good English, does tandem flights.
     http://www.flytaiwanpara.com/paragliding_body.aspx?id=2     http://www.flytaiwanpara.com/news_body.aspx?id=24&class=3

Smaller club in Taipei, only weekends, you need to know Chinese: http://www.paratpe.org.tw/

Taiwan: Before you go:

Intro to the country: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan
Wikitravel:  http://wikitravel.org/en/Taiwan  A full introduction and practical overview of Taiwan: Travel, Food, Accommodation, Money, Work, Tourist sites for Taiwan.....


  1. 1 Cafes in Taipei:
  2. 2 Paragliding in Taiwan:
  3. 3 Taiwan: Before you go:
  4. 4 Visa for Taiwan: 
  5. 5 Flying to Taiwan
    1. 5.1 Getting to the Taipei Intl. airport
  6. 6  airport bus from Taipei Main Station to International Airport new page here. 
  7. 7 Where to look for Accommodation in Taiwan: budget & backpackers:
    1. 7.1 Accommodation in key cities in Taiwan:
      1. 7.1.1 Taipei accommodation
      2. 7.1.2 Taichung city,
      3. 7.1.3 Tainan city,
      4. 7.1.4 Sun Moon Lake,
      5. 7.1.5 Hualien, Taroko Gorge
  8. 8 Travel insurance
  9. 9 Taipei - enjoying the city
    1. 9.1 Hot Spring close to Taipei
    2. 9.2 Movies, Jazz & art in Taipei
    3. 9.3 Shopping and English info about things in Taipei
    4. 9.4 Festivals in Taipei
    5. 9.5 Free wifi in Taipei
  10. 10 Restaurants, eateries in Taipei
    1. 10.1 Vegetarian Restaurant in Taipei
    2. 10.2 Silver jewellry
  11. 11 Taiwan: Train travel, bicycling, hiking, festivals, events, paragliding,....
    1. 11.1 Travel Links in random order - 
    2. 11.2 Bus travel links: mostly English
  12. 12 Ships to Taiwanese Islands  -from Taiwan.
  13. 13 Ship between Taiwan & China [cheap but slow]
  14. 14 Expat community: Jobs, places to live, cars, cats, dating, visa, etc...for anyone wanting to live and work in Taiwan:
  15. 15 Changing Money in Taipei
  16. 16 About the  New Taiwan Dollar NT$  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Taiwan_dollar
  17. 17 Mains power plugs
  18. 18 More info on Taiwan & Taipei
  19. 19 Social Conscience - Taiwan
  20. 20 English language Newspapers:
  21. 21 Maps of Taiwan
  22. 22 Ebooks in Taiwan
  23. 23 For real Geeks/Nerds/Computer freaks only:
  24. 24 Reading Chinese Characters on your Computer:
    1. 24.1 The quick and simple way for anything  up to and including  Windows XP:
    2. 24.2 Windows XP and Server 2003  (uses 230MB of space, more complicated than the  above method)
  25. 25 Displaying Chinese characters in Firefox
  26. 26 More info on counties and cities of Taiwan
  27. 27 Chi gong Qi Gong in Taiwan

By Wikitravel: it is community generated and thus avoids commercial bias towards certain hotels, resorts, tour companies etc... . 
Great introduction to Taipei (the capital) http://wikitravel.org/en/Taipei

  Meet local Traveler-friendly Taiwanese and expats at socials and get-togethers. Details are here:
Read a few of the messages and see what you think.

What is CouchSurfing really ? http://www.couchsurfing.org/about.html/faq#house

Heiko's tips on meeting local traveler-friendly people in Taiwan http://heikorudolph.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-to-dive-beneath-tourist-surface.html     The Taiwan or Taipei Couchsurfing groups have some regular events you can join - Taiwan wide group: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=417   and the Taipe group is here:

Lonely Planet: The other great introduction and jumping off point for further info on Taiwan.Lonely Planet on Taiwan:(but more commercially oriented)  http://www.lonelyplanet.com/taiwan  

And info on the capital Taipei is here http://www.lonelyplanet.com/taiwan/taipei

Thorntree: One of the best sites to search for specific info is the good old Lonely Planet Thorntree. Just search for what you are looking for, read the stuff others have asked and answered: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/      Read a few of the questions and answers first and gauge the atmosphere before asking YOUR questions. Search to see if others have asked similar questions. (Sign in if you want ask your own questions).

Road Junky
: Travellers information point, hostels, insurance, tips, country info, disucssion & community forum http://www.roadjunky.com

Visa for Taiwan: 

Do I need to get a visa ?

Want to stay and work in Taiwan  ?
Taiwan consular affairs

Notice on extension of stay (for Brits)

Office in Hong Kong who do Taiwan visas

German Passport & Visa "Deutsche Staatsangehörige benötigen für Besuchsaufenthalte von bis zu 90 Tagen kein Visum, soweit bei der Einreise ein bestätigtes Rück- oder Weiterflugticket sowie ggf. ein Visum für das Zielland vorgelegt werden kann. Dies gilt jedoch nur für Einreisen über die internationalen Flughäfen Taiwan-Taoyuan International Airport und Kaohsiung International Airport, die Flughäfen Kinmen, Magong (Penghu) Taichung, Hualien, Taitung und Taipei Songshan Airport sowie die Seehäfen Keelung, Hualien, Taichung, Kinmen Shuitou Harbour, Mazu und Kaohsiung."
(from: http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Laenderinformationen/00-SiHi/Nodes/TaiwanSicherheit_node.html#doc334586bodyText4)

Visa info  for when you are
Taiwan: i.e. visa extension etc...
24-hour hotline, service in English. 0800-024-111

Flying to Taiwan

AirAsisa from Australia they fly only to Kuala Lumpur (KL), then from there you take a flight to anywhere in Asia you want to go, including Taiwan.  The two flights usually work out cheaper than a direct flight from Australia, and you can stop over in Malaysia for a while if you want.
Prices vary a lot depending on the dates you want to go. I've flown Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur (KL) for AUD $300 return (all taxes included), other times I've paid AUD $750 for the same trip. All their flights from Australia go to KL first.
I paid AUD$170 KL to Taipei December 2009  and only $78 Taipei to Bangkok.
There are lots of good deals by other airlines. It changes fast.

Air Asia KL to Taipei May2012, approx AUD $550.  No Air Asia from flights BKK to Taipei.

Flying to Macau with AirMacau (I hour ferry ride to Hong Kong ~133 HK dollars)
The fares to Macau are usually more expensive or similar to flying to Bangkok (BKK). So you may want to consider just flyiing to BKK or to Vietnam directly.

Taiwan airports: there are two, International visitors will usually arrive at the Taoyuan International airport more details here:

Taiwanese Airlines:

Getting to the Taipei Intl. airport

 airport bus from Taipei Main Station to International Airport new page here

"Chin Nan Temple" 指南宮!below: like something out of a movie

Where to look for Accommodation in Taiwan: budget & backpackers:

My first stop in looking for Accommodation is the good old Lonely Planet guidebook on Taiwan. You can either buy the whole Guidebook or only buy the Taipei city chapter for around AUD$12 as a PDF file. You need to print it your yourself or read in on a computer.

Youth Hostels Taiwan http://english.yh.org.tw
 for accommodation, the site also has links to Travel, railways, hiking, cycling, Camping, National parks, Youth Hostel tours etc.... Cycle Taiwan, National Parks Taiwan Rail Package,     Hiking Taiwans Mountains,    Festivals and events,     Taiwan YHA Tour Package,  

Then there are the websites that specialize in Hostels and Backpacker acommodation, the "usual suspects" are: (in order of most number of cities and hostels listed for Taiwan Dec09)
In Taipei the Hostel prices seem to range from AUD $30 / night for a single room with ensuite, to AUD $20 or less for shared accommodation. Cheaper for couples. (November2009)

A range of places to stay in Taipei is described at Wikitravel:
Budget (US$10 ) to five star options are listed by location and district.

And of course if you want to stay with local people, surfing their couch, or staying on their floor check out:
My profile on CouchSurfing is at: http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/cinnamon/

Anything above Hostels and backpackers: Mid to High range Acommodation :  2* Two Star to -> 5* Five Star
This site has been useful for me for business travels since 2004: book and pay online, present voucher to Hotel.
One payment that includes all, nothing extra, and an online invoice to print out and keep the corporate accountants happy. (I get no commission from octopustravel.com ) If you have a good PERSONAL experience of any similar sites which you can recommend please email me heikorudolph@yahoo.com 

Accommodation in key cities in Taiwan:

Taipei accommodation

Howard Civil Service International House = Around 1800NT  inc service charge  & breakfast http://intl-house.howard-hotels.com/CT_AsiaPacific2.php
Howard Int, NO. 30, sec 3, Xinsheng S. Rd, Taipei City. tel: 02-7712-2323
 Howard house is....
- new,  super clean, space, bright, modern, efficient check in, very fast, simple.
- rooms are nice, enough space, high ceiling.
- FEELing is nice, reminds  me of modern new places, a clean good feel. Germany of my childhood had places like that.
- wifi 200NT/day (or 30mins free/day at the biz center)
- great range of breakfast - make that a fantastic range, like a full on buffet lunch!
- efficient fast check out, no fuss, no mini bar circus.
map and more details http://www.hrd.gov.tw/e_content/facility/facility01.aspx

KDM hotel = Around 2080 NT  inc service charge & breakfast  http://www.kdmhotel.com.tw/en/index.html
KDM =  Older, the energies are Heavier, more dense energies, age and many people passing through.
- everything is clean, works, and is in good condition.
- ceiling is lower,
- but feel is HEAVYier, denser. (for me)
- wifi is free

- breakfast is ok, limited selection.

Business hotel at: www.royalbiz.com.tw

Taipei hostel close to the Main Station http://www.taipeihostel.com/location.html

In 2012, Hostelworld http://www.hostelworld.com/  was good to find hostels in Taiwan. The thing with hostels is you need to be ok with late nights,  people up till late, more of a young people's scene. If you want private rooms and space and quiet, you can  get that at hostels, but need to book ahead and check if they have single/double rooms. Some do, some don't. worth it if you find a good one.
Otherwise, go for the range of good solid, hotels above, Howard house, KDM, etc... 2000 NT approx/night.

Taichung city,

A home like place in the middle of the city, not far from the train station is run by John Wang

Nice rooms, clean friendly in a block of appartments. May2012 :-)

A Hostel near feng-jia night market. It also provide English service.
The link below: http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/fengchia-home/

Youth Hostel in Taichung: it's a bit far from the center, but  the site is very good on how to get there, with a map and written directions.

Tainan city,

Socorro Hostel, cute and cosy, prefers females (usually) https://www.facebook.com/socorrohostel

Sun Moon Lake,

"Ming Tarn Guesthouse" is what the signs out front say, "Sun Moon Lake Guest House" is what the Website says:  http://sunmoonlakeguesthouse.com - 5 rooms, big, new, clean, NT$1000 Weekdays, NT$1500 weekends.  The Lady in charge speaks English, very friendly and down to earth. Check the site for contact info and directions.
At street level all you will see is a restaurant, run by the same owner. Look for a sign for "MING TARN Guest house" over the entrance of the restaurant.
There are many many other hotels and cheper places around the street from the Visitor Information Center. Weekday rates of NT$ 1000 to 1500  (December 2009).

Hualien, Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge & surrounds http://www.hualien-best.com.tw/english/

Accomm ~US100+ / night  http://www.taroko.gov.tw/English/?mm=3&sm=4&page=1#up

These two charge around NTD 1,000-1,200 per night, use Google translate for English!
Chine Youth Camps - https://www.ezhotel.com.tw/cyh/eng/?hotelid=12, Tienhsiang Youth Activity Center)  room price NT$2200

Govt info about Taroko Gorge everything you wanted to know and more

 other places in and around Taroko area:

1. Tienhsiang Youth Activity Center
    Tienhsiang Youth Activity Center, NO. 30, Tienhsiang RD., Shioulin Town, Hualien city

2.  "Catholic Hostel 天祥天主堂 '' (http://wikitravel.org/en/Taroko_Gorge) Catholic Hostel, NO. 33, Tienhsiang RD., Shioulin Town,  Hualien city   ~$500 / person
       Tel +886 (03) 869 1122. A popular budget hostel, NT$500/single room. Very basic rooms but reasonably clean. Staff is mostly non-English speaking.
3. Kuanyuan/Guanyuan YAC

Taipei - Google Map

Doing something different - help locals, as volunteer work for a day or more http://www.topologytravel.com/live-as-a-local.html

Travel insurance

If your are based in Australia: personally I found the cheapest travel insurance you can get in Australia is: AAMI
You DO have be an Australian resident over 18 and under 65 though.
I think they cover the big stuff.
Of course if you want all the bells and whistles and to be covered for every conceivable minor detail then you'll have to pay almost twice that at the local travel agent. Travel agents are great at scaring the s*** out of you to get the highest premium insurance for you, and the highest commissions for themselves. 
And in case you are wondering: no, I don't get click-through ratings, or adverstising bonus or anything by recommending AAMI. A few years ago HSBC bank had the cheapest Aussie travel insurance but they got more expensive and went for higher premiums (for themselves) and are now just so so.... .

Taipei - enjoying the city

Hot Spring close to Taipei

In Beitou, easily reached by local train from Taipei - not far.

Movies, Jazz & art in Taipei

In Ximending there Cinema: www.cinema7.com.tw
 Some Hollywood, some exotic stuff thrown in. Worth keeping an eye on. There is another Cinema around the corner from this one, don't have the webbsite.

This venue INFINE COMMUNICATIONS: has Film and Culture, and Blues and all sorts of artistic stuff: http://www.infine-art.com

European Film festivals free films for all, 
facebook group : http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=69884145693&v=info

$130NTD for weekdays,
$140 NTD on the weekend,
All the films in the theater you can see from 9am to 11pm just for one price.
The movies are not the newest release film,but it's cheap and still pretty new.
It's near Tōng Huà night market/通化夜市.

地址: 台北市通化街24巷1號
電話: (02)2702-3130
from Couchsurf post  movie times here

Heiko's map of places in Taipei here

Shopping and English info about things in Taipei

from the site Taipei City Govt: http://english.taipei.gov.tw/TCG/index.jsp
Where to Find the Best Books in Taipei
Department Stores
Taipei Shopping Go to fan consumerist fire
Play in Taipei
Themed Shopping Areas of Taipei

Festivals in Taipei

Free wifi in Taipei

Restaurants, eateries in Taipei

Silverwork studio Chung's

Taiwan: Train travel, bicycling, hiking, festivals, events, paragliding,....

Bicycle site for cycling in Taiwan  http://www.cycletaiwan.com/ has bike maps online, see "where to cycle" menu item.
Giant Bicycles rental store at Sun-Moon Lake has real time map with GPS locations of all its bikes out of rent. You can see the progress of  the riders around the lake on a Google Map here.
Cycle adventure tours by Giant here http://www.giant-adventure.com.tw/eWeb_giant-adventure/Website/aboutus.asp. They do the backup, and support, standard or customized tours.
Story of a positive cycling experience with a rental bike at Sun Moon lake here.

Cyclist and writer about things Taiwanese http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/
Cycling in Taiwan http://taiwanincycles.blogspot.com/

From the Youth Hostels Taiwan site come these links: 
National ParksNew HI ! Taiwan Rail Package,     Hiking Taiwans Mountains,    Festivals and events,     Taiwan YHA Tour Package,  

Paragliding CS post 2012.

Train travel details http://www.railway.gov.tw/tw/  taiwan rail  great site for times and  prices NOTE this does NOT include the High Speed rail aka Bullet train of Taiwan
Train and tickets stuff http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw/twrail/English/e_index.aspx   great site for times and bookings english
The man in Seat 61 has info on trains anywhere world wide http://www.seat61.com/  also great info on ferries to from Japan, China, worldwide ....

High speed rail, the way to whizz round the country from one end to the other in less than 2 hours at 300km/hour  http://www.thsrc.com.tw/

Travel Links in random order - 

Bus travel links: mostly English


Chinese sites: NT$140 bus book http://www.emap.com.tw/product_detail.php?ProductID=742 .
  http://www.pto.taipei.gov.tw   bike maps, maps travel in TW http://www.sunriver.com.tw/infonews.htm

To use Google Maps, start off with an English version of Google Maps - eg, maps.google.com - so that names are shown in English(/PinYin) AND Traditional Characters.

To use for directions:
1/ Click with Right mouse-button on either address or location you've already found, or any other location, and then from the pop-up menu select either 'Directions from here' or 'Directions to here'.
2/ Do same for other end of route, or enter address or location in the field provided for it in the left-hand Directions pane that opens up when searching for Directions.
3/ Just below that there's an area for selecting routing - select Public Transport or Walking (or car!).

If either start or end point are wrong, correct in the data field or just click and drag the start/end icon. You can even R-click and add another destination point (at end or in middle).

The bus route options that appear there (ditto MRT or combo of both) are reasonably good - even tho sometimes it misses a bus option or a better route, it's pretty reliable. Results show you the bus(es) and connections, stops to get on & off, even times and crude schedule info (eg, Bus 906 runs every 20 mins).

Ships to Taiwanese Islands  -from Taiwan.

Ship to Matsu from Keelung port: the site is in Chinese:

Ship between Taiwan & China [cheap but slow]

Here are some couchsurfing posts that give details of how to go via ship and Kinmen Island between Taiwan and China.

The first post August 2008 is here: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=111&post=1451916    

The second post of November 2009 is here http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=111& post=4261163#post4378180  2009 info here

The third post of December 2009  is here: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=417&post=4574847

CS China Taiwan by ship  http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=417&post=8560981

Other sites and links that explains how to go to Taiwan by boat: http://iguide.travel/Taiwan/Getting_There/By_boat

"Getting to mainland China?" here: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=1311&post=4756844   

Expensive cruise options slow, luxurious, pricey http://www.cruiseabout.com.au/product/Asia-1197291

If you have any new information on ships to or from Taiwan, form China, or Japan, please let me know. I'd like to update the site.

Language learning DIY

Expat community: Jobs, places to live, cars, cats, dating, visa, etc...for anyone wanting to live and work in Taiwan:

Teaching and Living in Taiwan (TEALIT) www.tealit.com  Foreigners looking for housing, teaching jobs, computers, cars, motorbikes...

Forumosa sites:  http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/index.php  And this is the famous FORUMOSA site, which is a huge discussion board about all things Taiwanese, living there, Visa, work, events, Cars & motorcycles, Parenting, Schools, Dating, Relationships, Chinese Learning, Volunteering, Health and Fitness, Travel, etc....  It is the Global site for all things Taiwanese.
Forumosa's blog at .ORG http://www.forumosa.org 
Insightful articles about Taiwan, living there, etc... http://taiwanease.com
Taiwan's online classified ads for jobs, and renting appartments, cars, etc... http://taiwanted.com

Other Job sites for Taiwan
and there is web-based, work from any location sites, i.e. freelancer websites, odesk.com, elance.com, freelancer.com  fiverr.com 

Taipei Living costs: From Couchsurfing post this is the info about living costs in Taiwan, December 2009;

$6-7000 accomodation
$2-300x7x4 = $8400 on food, you can live on about 100 per day but you will have wasted away after a few months.you need to think about drinks,tea and coffee etc too which can be about $50 each.

Toiletaries: $500
Transport : $64x2x7x4 $3584

deposit on accomodation 1/2 months rent.


Then there is paying for your arc/health insurance card, but your work might do that.

So you will have (if no extra costs are needed)

$2500-$18484= NT$6516 or US$201
He gets about $800 US to live on and it seems to be just enought for his needs, but he had to use some savings to get settled down and pay for his room deposit etc.

Taichung Living costs: Example December2009:  2 Bedrooom ppartment with 2 bathroom/toilets =  NT$8000, / month + security guard etc.. NT$2,000/month  Washing NT$30 / load. drying NT$40 / load.  Electrity NT$2,000/month,  Water & Gas NT$500/month billed every 2-3 months.

Appartments/rooms for rent, how to find and where - Couchsurfing post here http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=1311&post=4656246
and another one here http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=6940&post=4687841

Software jobs:
there is shortage on well-experienced Java script, PHP developer. An inexperienced programmer earns 1500-2000 USD...A well-experienced ones can be double . It is low in EU standard but living cost is also low in Taiwan. Some Taiwanese companies offer stock options/shares, end of year bounce.. which are normally quite generous  (from CouchSurfing post)

You can get about 25k - 30k USD for a C++/Java developer in some international company. And that is in my opinion a pretty decent amount of money to live free.
check the 104 site for software jobs http://www.104.com.tw
It's in Chinese, you could try Google Translation.

Academic jobs:
Almost all academic position available in taiwan will be posted here  http://web1.nsc.gov.tw

English Teaching jobs:
English teaching jobs, getting visa to stay in Taiwan http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=1311&post=4824253

Is this English school reputable ? doing a bit of research to see how fair and honest an English school is, what it's reputation is.
Directory of Schools http://www.oxfordseminars.com/esl-schools-directory/asia/tai...
Forumusa posts http://forumosa.com/taiwan/viewforum.php?f=35&sid=c42257304c029683dfeb4d50753dfc8d
Couchsurfing Posts: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=1311&post=4947988

Hi tech jobs http://hirecruit.nat.gov.tw/english/index.asp

Education: Scholarships, Research positions etc....
Ministry of Education info for research positions: http://english.moe.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=3
and for students: courses, scholarships etc... http://english.moe.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=2

Changing Money in Taipei

The following comments were received on the CS group when I asked about changing Australian Dollars to Taiwanese Dollars before going to Taiwan. After arriving in Taiwan, I found that everyone sent me to the Bank of Taiwan for money changing. That seems to be the ONE bank that always changes it. Whenever I tried a different bank, the people there sent me to the Bank of Taiwan.

I suspect wouldn't be too hard. There are banks
everywhere, including many offices of banks who do
international business. There are also currency
exchange places in a number of strategic locations
(possibly more widespread than I know - I never really
looked for them).

They have these things called 'banks' in Taiwan and any large bank in a city will accept AUD and convert it to NTD for you. In 9 years in Taiwan, I never had trouble converting AUD, HKD, THB or any other currency I had with me.

The same can not be said for bringing NTD into Australia unfortunately - as the New Taiwan Dollar is not officially recognised in Australia - nor very few other countries for that matter.

uhhhh...actually many banks don't take AUS $, just like they don't take CDN$. I went to HSBC thinking it being an international bank would take my CDN but no. I think the smaller local banks are better at changing smaller currencies. But for sure you can change AUS$'s

Oh I agree. International Banks (including Australian Banks) are generally a ripoff in Taiwan. Support the local banks and go to their larger branches.

Yes, you can change AUD into NTD (Taiwanese Dollars) in most big Taiwanese banks. But bring a little USD wouldn’t hurt. In some off-shore islands, when you run out of NTD, the only currency that shop owners recognize is USD. You can hardly find any ATM to withdraw NTD there, you have to go to bank desks for it, try to image if it’s on Friday night, banks are off for weekends??? 

About the  New Taiwan Dollar NT$  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Taiwan_dollar

Exchange rate for New Taiwan dollars (NT$) to other currencies
Australian dollars to Taiwanese Dollars   http://coinmill.com/AUD_TWD.html
Taiwanese Dollars compared to lots of other currencies http://www.x-rates.com/d/TWD/table.html

Mains power plugs

Mains Power and plugs around the world: search the page for Taiwan
 Taiwan basicall uses two parallel flat pins.
more on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_power_around_the_world

More info on Taiwan & Taipei

  - Lifestyle, Politics, local info.
On Taipei City (the capital) and biggest city in Taiwan

About the whole country:

Taiwan nightlife, restaurants, check the website.

This article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Taiwan discusses the history of Taiwan (including Penghu). For history of the polity which currently governs Taiwan, see history of the Republic of China.

This article  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Republic_of_China#Republic_of_China_on_Taiwan.2C_1945.2F1949-Present  discusses history of the state which currently governs Taiwan Area. For the history of Taiwan, see history of Taiwan

One often  meets  one's destiny while trying to avoid it.

Social Conscience - Taiwan

Taiwan International Labour Org
Mission: To facilitate the communication between migrant workers and local community, to improve migrant workers' labor conditions and social status, and to advocate all laborers' rights and welfare.

Green party http://www.greenparty.org.tw/index.php/en

English language Newspapers:

Maps of Taiwan

Mobile phones:
Buying a pre-paid  SIM in Taiwan is going to be lot cheaper than roaming: (your phone MUST be  unlocked, if  it is locked you can only get it unlocked in your HOME country before you go)
I you have roaming from your home country, then you don't need a new SIM. But a local phone number with a local SIM card is usually cheaper for calls IN that country.

Mobile phone network info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Network_Code

FarEasTone GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / UMTS 2100

APTG Asia Pacific Telecom CDMA 800

Tuntex Telecom GSM 1800

Chunghwa LDM LDTA/Chungwa Telecom

KG Telecom GSM 1800 Roaming with FarEasTone

VIBO Telecom UMTS 2100

Chunghwa GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / UMTS 2100

MobiTai Communications GSM 900 Roaming with Taiwan Mobile

Taiwan Mobile Co. Ltd GSM 1800 / UMTS 2100

TransAsia Telecoms GSM 900 Roaming with Taiwan Mobile

Ebooks in Taiwan

Chinese ebooks http://www.taiwan.com.au/

For real Geeks/Nerds/Computer freaks only:

Computer Electronics  components:
I posted the following message on Couchsurfing Taiwan group:
I'm looking for the really hard core electronics, stores, the computers, laptops, electronic kits, components, software, etc... the equivalent of the famous AKIHABARA of Tokyo.
I"m sure Taipei must have somewhere like this ? Original Couchsurf post here

Guanghua Market
光華數位新天地         official market website (chinese)  http://www.arclink.com.tw/index.do
wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guang_Hua_Digital_Plaza            Google map of Guanghua Market
Just get off Zhongxiao Xinsheng station, and go north along Xinsheng road a bit, it'll be on the left side.
Computer + electronics components as well, whatever you like. Some good shops are in the basement areas too.

Need laptop keyboard replaced ? Specialist shop is '' GOLD keybord''. 
台北市八德路一段82巷9弄18號. Tel:2358-7911 Fax:2358-7912 cell:0912-579082
Open from 14:00 to 21:00
I will call the boss to make sure if he could solve your keybord?

Also more upmarket consumer goods in IT at the Main Station
The bottom part of the K-Mall is all computer+electronics (no components, though), or near by NOVA, which is full of the stuff, but might be a bit more expensive than Guanghua.  http://www.nova.com.tw/

There should be a few more places, but these two are the most frequented by the locals I know....

Reading Chinese Characters on your Computer:

check out your system's ability to show Chinese Characters here:
This webpage will tell you if your computer can cope with Chinese and East Asian writing or not.

The quick and simple way for anything  up to and including  Windows XP:

You can use the installation packages intended for 98/NT by following these links:

Simplified Chinese. (China - Mainland)
Traditional Chinese. (Taiwan)

No disc is needed for this option. Usually works with Win XP as well.

Windows XP and Server 2003  (uses 230MB of space, more complicated than the  above method)

Windows XP and Server 2003 include native support for East Asian languages. To install the files, check the Install files for East Asian languages in the Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Languages. Note that a minimum of 230 MB of disk space is required and that the Windows installation CD-ROM is needed while installing support for East Asian languages using this method.

Instructions for Windows XP and Server 2003

Displaying Chinese characters in Firefox

NOTE: this changes the language of all the menus on Firefox, NOT the content of the webpages you look at.
Showing different languages  on your Firefox browser:

this changes  the language on all the menus of your browser.

Installing Language support on your PC

More info on counties and cities of Taiwan

from   http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=6940

List of each county/state in Taiwan and an information page on it is at wikepedia on:

The list is copied below: from Wikipedia - a list of counties and cities under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China (Taiwan) ranked by population. Data is current as of June 2009 and was sourced from the Ministry of the Interior.
Rank County name¹ Chinese name Population
City name Chinese name Population
1 Taipei 台北縣 3,849,492
Taipei 台北市 2,616,520
2 Taoyuan 桃園縣 1,967,038
Kaohsiung 高雄市 1,526,420
3 Taichung 台中縣 1,559,178
Taichung 台中市 1,070,145
4 Changhua 彰化縣 1,312,165
Tainan 台南市 769,892
5 Kaohsiung 高雄縣 1,242,652
Hsinchu 新竹市 408,466
6 Tainan 台南縣 1,103,789
Keelung 基隆市 388,703
7 Pingtung 屏東縣 883,075
Chiayi 嘉義市 274,171
8 Yunlin 雲林縣 723,065

9 Miaoli 苗栗縣 560,581

10 Chiayi 嘉義縣 547,550

11 Nantou 南投縣 531,307

12 Hsinchu 新竹縣 506,546

13 Yilan 宜蘭縣 461,461

14 Hualien 花蓮縣 340,903

15 Taitung 台東縣 232,071

16 Penghu 澎湖縣 94,886

17 Kinmen 金門縣 89,471²

18 Lienchiang 連江縣 9,798²

1. Only the cities of Taipei, Kaohsiung, province-administered cities and counties are listed. County-administered cities are excluded.
2. Kinmen and Lienchiang are under the jurisdictions of Fuchien Province of the Republic of China (not to be confused with the Fujian Province of the People's Republic of China). All other counties are part of the Taiwan Province.

Chi gong Qi Gong in Taiwan

Odds and ends

shop that sells small bottles with eye dropper, all sizes, from tiny to big
103台北市大同區鄭州路31號    Website and map of shop's location (not sure where North  is on this map)   http://bottles.com.tw/about_us.php        Open from 0930 to 1900    map1 assuming North is down to bottom of page on map on shop's website!  (map1 English)      map2 assuming North is TOP of page on map of shop's website
Be careful reading maps in Asia: North is not automatically at the top -  North can be any corner of the page and is sometimes not indicated. - good luck :-)

bible shop in taipei
台北市中正區金山南路一段72號  map1

- the above are all links to other sites, which I've found useful.
If you think anything should be added/changed, let me know, just leave a comment below or email  heikorudolph@yahoo.com 

NB: most links are shown fully expanded, so that the page is easy to copy and use.  Use commonsense, no warranty of any kind for any of this info, it is simply one person's offering for others.

Disclaimer: I should not have to say this, but the commonsense seems to need spelling out: Use this site at your own risk, The author is not responsible for content found on any of these links.
I saw a sign once that told people not to use a wheelchair to go down some steep wooden stairs. Presumably unless it is written it's not obvious ?

Dec 22, 2009, 2:08 PM
Dec 22, 2009, 2:08 PM
Dec 22, 2009, 2:08 PM
Jan 4, 2010, 3:58 AM