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Taiwan Travel Preparations

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Posted By Zyen Hoo

So, you have decided to visit the Land of Bubble Tea. Famous for a lot of great food including beef noodles and braised pork rice, Taiwan is a popular vacation spot especially for Malaysian Chinese who love their food and want to visit somewhere Chinese-y that isn’t mainland China.

Taipei is approximately 4h40m flight from Kuala Lumpur

Personally speaking, Taiwan is not on my must-visit list, but when I was invited to visit by one of my closest friends has been stationed in Taiwan, it was an opportunity that I would not pass!

This is a list that I have compiled based on my personal experience – more for myself, as a reminder for when I next go to Taiwan again. But I figured this would be useful for my countrymen and countrywomen, so this list is more suitable for Malaysians – especially those who are budget-conscious, like me. Sorry folks, I can’t please everyone. Still, you might find certain bits useful! You just need to pandai-pandai (cleverly) figure out what to change.

Apologies in advance for any error, omission, or inadvertent misrepresentation! Do let me know if you spot any, so that I can make the necessary corrections.

WHAT TO WEAR

You can pretty much wear what you wear back in Malaysia. The difference is that Taiwan does have four seasons as it is much further up North from the equator (in case you didn’t know that).

So you can dress like back home during spring (March – May) and summer (June – August). You can also dress the same in autumn (September – November), but bring a light jacket because it can get cold outside – temperatures average 16-23 °C. Do bring thicker clothing for winter (December – February). It doesn’t snow here except in the mountains, but hey, with global warming now, you never know.

Me in Taiwan! This photo is taken in front of Taipei 101, in October 2019, where temperature ranged between 16-19 °C. The weather is pretty cool, so I carried a light jacket with me in case it got too chilly. But with all the walking during sightseeing generating some heat, there was not much need for the jacket.

WHAT TO BRING

So, assuming that you already have your itinerary planned and your clothes all sorted out, here are some additional things you MUST include in your packing list:

  1. Travel adaptor. Taiwan runs on 110 V voltage, while Malaysia uses 240 V. You will need the travel adaptor to convert the wall socket connection, otherwise that multi-USB charger you’re bringing will be completely pointless!
  2. New Taiwan Dollars in cash. Taiwan largely still use cash transactions, so make sure you bring enough cash; or at least enough to get you started until you get to a currency exchange kiosk.
An example of a typical electrical socket in Taiwan. Gasp! Malaysia’s plug won’t fit. You’ll definitely need a travel adaptor!

UPON ARRIVAL

  1. Automatic tourist visa up to 30 days. If like me, you are here for a short holiday, you do not need to pre-apply for a visa, unless you plan to stay in Taiwan for more than 30 days. In that case, you will need to apply for a special visa extension at the nearest Taiwan consular, or alternatively, you have to leave and re-enter the country – 30 days is granted starting from the most recent date you arrive. The visa is automatically given upon arrival. Yay for Malaysian passports!
  2. Arrival card. All non-Taiwan citizens and residents would need to fill an arrival card. You can get the cards on-flight from the flight attendants when you’re flying in; otherwise, cards are available just before the immigration counter. Don’t be so eager to get to the counter – make sure you get a card and fill it up first!
Automatic visa granted upon my arrival! Yay Malaysian passport!

PROHIBITED ITEMS

Do not bring the following items, unless you want to be denied entry into the country, or if you don’t mind paying a hefty fine (and still have the items confiscated from you).

  1. NO MEAT PRODUCTS. Taiwan was one of the countries in this region affected badly during the swine flu epidemic less than 10 years ago, hence the strict ban on meat imports. Anyone caught bringing in or smuggling meat products will be fined upwards of NTD$10,000. Seriously not worth it, and besides, Taiwan’s local meat products are pretty tasty too – no need to bring in foreign meat.
  2. Cash equivalent of NTD$60,000 or more. Although personally if I had this much cash in hand, I wouldn’t be flying economy in a low-cost air carrier.

For a more complete list of prohibited or regulated items, please refer here: What can I bring into Taiwan

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