10 Reasons to visit Taiwan & 4 Not to! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

10 Reasons to visit Taiwan & 4 Not to!

Most Indians flock to Thailand, Bali, Malaysia and even Hong Kong/Macau but not many visit Taiwan. Reasons could be many- Taiwan isn't promoting itself as a tourist destination to Indians, the economy is strong on its own without depending on tourists, Visa process is not easy and Taiwan isn't really cheap and flight options are limited. Taiwan country is smaller in size than India's Kerala state. Still if you're done visiting other destinations in Asia, Taiwan is worth considering for your next vacation.

Here are some reasons why it is worth planning a trip to Taiwan.

1. Easy & Free e-visa if you have US/UK/Canada and other visas. If you have a valid visa for USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia etc then you can apply for e-visa to enter Taiwan. You will get acknowledgement instantly and for free, which is good enough for a 14 day visit (more than enough to explore all of Taiwan)- more details here

If you don't qualify for eVisa then you've to get hold of a travel agent, spend some 7-8k INR and get Taiwan visa.

2. Off beat. Everyone has gone to Thailand or Bali, everyone is going to Vietnam now, but not many have visited Taiwan. You will have something unique and off beat to brag about in your peer group.

3. Few unique experiences- Sulfur hot springs, Sky lantern experiences, small islands off the coast, nature trails etc are unique experiences in Taiwan.

4. High speed rails- you can reach any part of the country within 2-3 hours using High speed rail. Taipei to Kaohsiung is about 350 kms and you can reach in 90 minutes flat for about 3000 INR in a train that touches 300 kmph. No real need for domestic flights.

5. Flight tickets reasonable: If you plan well, you will get flight tickets to Taipei for around 35000-40000 in full service airlines like Singapore Airlines and 25000-30000 INR in low cost airlines like Air Asia or VietJet. This amount is not very cheap but not too huge either, at par with what it costs to fly to Bali, Europe, Africa etc. So worth considering Taiwan if you're done with other destinations

6. Less crowd: Taipei has much less crowd compared to other touristy destinations in Asia such as Hong Kong, Bali, Bangkok etc. Wait time is lot less to enter any attraction, buy something at the cafe etc

7. Better English speaking people and app support: People in Taiwan can speak English better than those in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines etc. Also everyone is used to translator app so it is lot easier to converse with locals.

8. Disciplined and safe place: Locals obey traffic rules diligently, there are not much risk of a theft compared to other Asian destinations. Rented a scooter in Liuqiu island, could leave helmet and stuff unattended- no one would steal. Can't say the same for many other destinations in the world.

9. Less scams: Many tourist destinations in Asia (or even Europe) are known to scam tourists in one way or other. Vehicle rental, hotel booking, tour booking, selling overpriced stuff etc. However people in Taiwan are very fair, punctual. A promised tour operates as per schedule, a vehicle rental ends peacefully without having to submit original passport or being tricked to pay for existing damages, no hawkers trying to sell stuff forcefully to tourists. Everything is fair, well defined and reasonably priced.

10. Visit before it is too late: there were rumors of China wanting to attack Taiwan and claim it as Chinese territory. It hasn't happened so far but we never know. Might be worth making a visit before another war breaks out and destroys a country. Already too many wars- Russia-Ukraine, Israel and its neighbors. Don't want more conflicts, but there isn't much we can do about it.

11. Bonus: Go close to mainland China without China visa

There are some islands, such as Kinman county- so close to Chinese mainland but part of Taiwan territory. You can take an 1 hour flight from Taipei to Kinman and spend some time on this island so close to China.

However below are some things to keep in mind, some reasons that may discourage you from planning a visit to Taiwan

  • Taiwan is more expensive than South East Asia: Everything in Taiwan costs a bit more compared to similar product or service in other South East Asian countries like Indonesia or Thailand etc. Food, Day tours, hostels everything is a bit more expensive in Taiwan, almost at par with European prices. Watch out for my Taiwan trip expense report.
  • Nothing extremely exceptional: Except a few unique experiences, Taiwan doesn't have any exclusive or only available in Taiwan kind of experiences for tourists. Hot springs, lanterns, islands etc are available in other countries as well. Temples, ocean, nature spots are available all over Asia so didn't find anything exceptional in Taiwan. If you've not yet visited other countries, Taiwan can probably wait.
  • Unless you qualify for eVisa, normal visa process is more complex than Europe. No VFS here, have to catch hold of an agency and send everything to them. The time, effort and money spent on visa may not be worth it if you have better alternatives.
  • Earthquake prone: Taiwan is an earthquake prone area and gets several small quakes throughout the year. People here are used to it and doesn't usually affect the plan, but the recent 7.4 earthquake was biggest in 25 years and did damage some cities. When you're planning your trip several months in advance, hard to predict natural disasters- that risk you've to take. An earthquake happened 3 days before my scheduled trip and I had to decide if I should cancel or not. After input from locals and careful consideration I decided to proceed as I had no plans to visit areas affected by earthquake and rest of Taiwan was safe. [Full details here]. I took a calculated risk and everything went well, but your risk perception could be different.
Hope this helps. More posts are coming up on Taiwan trip expenses, places I have visited and other tips.

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