Trip to Taiwan--any advice?

I feel a little bad starting another thread about this, but hey, it might benefit someone in the future, if I get any replies…

Anyways, I will be going to Taiwan for about 9 days from December 23 to January 2nd. I`m planning on spending about 4 nights in Taipei, and then heading south. I want to go to Alishan, Tarako Gorge, and either Tainan or further south, depending on the weather and how I feel.

Looking at weather reports, it seems to be fairly warm but fairly rainy at the moment in northern Taiwan, at least. Is there going to be a lot of rain at this time of year?

Anyways, I am just looking for general advice. Has anyone been to Taiwan before, either for tourism or business (more common, I know)? Any recommended sites? How difficult will it be to communicate outside of Taipei? I don`t speak any Chinese languages… I can speak and read Japanese a little, which might come in handy, who knows?

Also, does anyone know about a good budget for my trip? (I generally go for all the cheapest stuff, so I am talking about a bottom-line budget.) Right now I have somewhat of a dilemma, because I have no credit cards. I`m going to have to bring hard cold cash, but I am not sure a) how much to bring and b) how much to convert into Taiwan new dollars… right now, my money is all in yen since I cant access my American bank account.

Any advice is appreciated! I know TokyoPlayer said his wife has some good Taiwan knowledge, so if he cares to come into this thread… cough cough. :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:

I was in Taiwan VERY briefly last month. The tourist bureau runs a free tour of the city for transit passengers, which I took, which was surprisingly enjoyable. I also glanced at some brochures and was surprised at the reasonable prices of hotels and B&B places, especially outside of the cities.

You might want to look into a prepaid Visa card. I don’t know how widely they’re available, but I had good luck using a Visa Travel Money card a few years ago.

Have a great trip!

If you want to see both sides of the island, you might want to consider flying by domestic air. Alishan and Tainan are on one side of the island, Toroko Gorge on the other, and an earthquake cut off highway transportation across the middle of the island about 8 years ago. Going by ground, to get to one side to the other you would have to backtrack through Taipei or make a complete circuit through (I’m guessing) Kaohsiung.

I’d recommend seeing a bit of the east coast and the central mountain range–huge contrast with Taipei.