Are you planning to go visit Taiwan anytime soon? Before you go, there are definitely some things for you to know.
After all, Traveling to a different country can be very different.
There are many things that might confuse us as well as having things we just simply aren’t used to.
So what should we do?
You can’t expect to go to another country and act the same way as you do in your home country. Things just aren’t the same. In fact some things that you are use to doing might even be considered rude or bad in another country.
This is true for most countries that you’ll be visiting.
Although the Taiwanese people are pretty nice and understanding, it still might be best to do some research before you arrive here. You want to get a feel beforehand just what their culture is like and how to handle things.
Fortunately for you, I am here to help.
I been traveling to Taiwan once a year, every year since I was born and have grown to learn about everything there is to know about Taiwan.
I’ll make it simple for you by listing out the top 10 things you should never do when you are at this beautiful place.
10 Things To Know Before You Visit Taiwan
Now it’s important to know that just because it’s okay to tip in one country, does not mean it is the same way for others. In fact, there are many countries around the world that frown on tipping. Taiwan is one of these locations. Unless you are going to a high end “Americanized” restaurant in Taiwan, then things might be different. However for the majority of restaurants in Taiwan, tipping is actually frowned upon. This is because restaurants pay the servers a fair wage, so they do not need to be tipped. If you do tip, it can seem like you are looking down on them and sometimes they might not like it.
It’s not just restaurants either, but taxi drivers, hair dressers, or any other place you might be accustomed to tip, also don’t usually accept tips. If you do tip, you might find the person you tipped to be chasing you down to return you your money.
Staying Too Long
If you ever walked around in Taiwan, you’ll notice that many of the shops and stalls are pretty small in size. They are not able to handle a lot of customers at one time. Which is why you shouldn’t be overstaying your welcome.
The reason for this is because most restaurants or shops can only fill and serve a certain amount of customers at one time, and they expect you to finish eating and leave so that somebody else can take your spot. If you stay too long, then that means the shop or restaurant will likely not serve as many people as they normally could and would result in them losing money. If you decide to go eat at a small restaurant or shop, try to keep things fast and don’t loiter around too long.
Also for the big fancy restaurants or buffets, there is usually a time limit. Most of these places will have a time limit of 2 hours before you are kicked out.
Walk Left, Stand Right
Something you have to know about Taiwan is that there is a general rule that people follow. It is to walk on the left and stand on the right. This unspoken rule is generally followed for escalators and stairs. You don’t want to be that person standing on the wrong side of the path and block peoples way. Now because it is an unspoken rule, you don’t really need to obey it. However if you do block somebody’s path, although they won’t say anything to you, they will definitely be thinking badly about you. That or the occasional “move sound” or a shove.
If you are ever going to be traveling to Taiwan, one of the things you’ll most likely be riding for transportation is the famous MRT. It is able to take you all throughout the city. Which is why it is important to know how to ride these trains.
There are many train rules that you need to follow.
Some basic and common rules like no eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum. However these rules are pretty easy to follow by.
There are some less obvious rules that you need to follow by as well. Such things include:
- paying attention to the yellow lines on the floor for boarding a train.
- Stand in the yellow lines and don’t skip
- wait for people to finish leaving the train before boarding
- Don’t lean against the doorways as they can open
- Last but not least is to definitely not sit on a dark blue chair. These chairs are for the needy.
Oh! One more thing about trains is that when you are on them, try not to be loud and obnoxious. It is common to see people ride the trains and keep to themselves. People stay quiet or at least talk in a whisper tone. Do not be the person to be talking loudly where everybody can hear you. Other people will judge you and definitely frown upon you for doing that.
Stand In Line, Do Not Cut
Unlike America where people don’t really wait in lines, Taiwanese people are very organized. A good example would be….lets say Costco. If you ever been to a Costco in America then you will know what i’m talking about. Nobody stands in line waiting for the free food they are giving away. People just reach in and grab things without regard for other people waiting in line. That isn’t how it’s like in Taiwan. People will gladly form lines to wait for their turn.
Forming a line is very important as it helps keep things organized. Whether you are waiting for your MRT to come or bus or even at the Taiwan Costco, there will always be a line. So don’t be that person that randomly cuts everybody. Get in line too!
Don’t Randomly Start A Conversation With Somebody
Unlike the western side of the world, people here in Taiwan don’t really socialize with strangers all that much. People tend to keep to themselves here or at least stay with their group of friends together. Although the people on this island are incredibly polite, it doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically be your friend. If you strike up a conversation with a total stranger, sure they might respond back a little bit, but they’ll also think what a weird guy you are.
Also if you do happen to make a friend, you shouldn’t get touchy touchy all of a sudden. By this I mean hugs or high fives. Instead just a simple wave with your hand or a nod will do.
Keep Your Receipts or Give Them To Locals
Unlike other countries where receipts are either useless or just used for tax purposes, the receipts in Taiwan are something special.
The government decided to add lottery numbers on to the tickets. Depending on how many numbers you get matched up, you can win either a little bit of money to a lot of money. It’s an awesome way to get people to keep their receipts. However it’s more for the locals, so if you are a tourist then these receipts are kind of useless to you.
Even if you are a tourist, do not throw away your receipts if you ever get them. These things are amazing and many people will love the chance to collect more. Instead, when you are about to leave Taiwan, why not give your receipts away to some local so that maybe they can win some money.
Don’t Talk About Politics
Now unless you are talking to somebody who is also into politics, it is better to avoid it all together. The reason for this is because the tensions between Taiwan and China is very complex and hard. Many people have their own opinions on the way politics should be handled and if you aren’t careful with your words, you can easily make the other person mad. So unless they ask you first, it’s better to not say a thing about it.
Whenever you are eating in Taiwan, there is something you have to remember. There is something called a chopstick etiquette. Basically what this means is that when you are eating your food with chopsticks, do not stick your chopsticks straight up into your bowl, don’t stab at your food, and also don’t pass around food from one pair of chopsticks to another.
The best way to do things is when you are not using your chopsticks, simply lay them flat across your bowl.
Also some simple things to remember is that you shouldn’t bang on the table or make any noise with your utensils while you are at the table eating.
One thing you should know about Taiwan, is that the food scene here is huge and popular. Taiwanese people love their food. Which is why there are a few things you should know about.
When you are at a restaurant, sometimes it can be confusing at first on how to order or how to pay.
Do you pay first, order, then eat? Or do you order first, eat, then pay? How are you suppose to know?
Well if you are new to the restaurant, the best thing you can do is people watch. Watch how other people are doing things. Then follow exactly what they are doing.
Also it is perfectly fine to eat while you walk. There are many trash cans along the roads, so you can simply eat your food and throw your trash away when you are done.
Hopefully these tips are able to help you out and make your visit to Taiwan a lot better.
By the way, have you bought travel insurance yet? It’ll definitely come in handy if you are thinking about going to Taiwan.
Either way, you’ll definitely have a lot of when on your trip to this beautiful island.
Also, if you are planning to visit Taiwan anytime soon, you might also be interested in some of my other Taiwan posts.
- Taiwan – 15 amazing things for you to do in Taiwan
- Taipei – 15 awesome things do to in Taipei Taiwan
- Food – 15 delicious foods you must try when visiting Taiwan
Or you can check out my complete list of things to do in Taiwan by clicking here.
Let me know how your trip goes!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and are at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and companies that I have personally used and all the income that I generate from this will be used to help maintain the site and make it a much better place.