What makes Taiwan a unique country to travel to?
Taiwan is a stable democracy with a strong and well-developed economy. Tourist facilities are widely available.
Although the overall violent crime rate in Taiwan is low, you should avoid high crime areas, namely areas where massage parlors, barbershops, and nightclubs operate as covers for prostitution and are often run by criminals. In contrast to these illegal fronts, ordinary barbershops and other legitimate businesses prominently advertise their services, and you can see the interiors through storefront windows. Illicit establishments generally do not advertise, and casual passersby cannot view their interiors. Several U.S. citizens have been assaulted in these establishments and in the areas near bar and nightclub districts. Taiwan’s public buses and subway are generally considered safe, but passengers in taxis – particularly women - should exercise caution when traveling alone in taxis late at night. In several parts of Taiwan, incidents of purse snatching by thieves on motorcycles have been reported. You should keep a photocopy of your passport, other identification, and credit cards in a safe place.
Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but you may also be breaking local law.
The emergency telephone number for Taiwan services (ambulance, fire, police) is 119. The number for police is 110. Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault may call 113. Taiwan Police also offers a 24 hour telephone line for foreigners in English: 0800-024-111.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Health facilities in Taiwan are adequate for routine and emergency medical treatment. Physicians are well trained and many have studied in the United States and speak English. State of the art medical equipment is available at many clinics and hospitals. Hospitals’ nursing services provide medication dispensing and wound care but generally not the daily patient maintenance functions found in U.S. hospitals. Taiwan regulations require ambulances to have emergency equipment and supplies and to be staffed by trained medical personnel (dial 119). For information on specific clinics and hospitals, please refer to AIT's website.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC’s website : http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/taiwan.htm Or Taiwan's CDC: http://www.cdc.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=5
Safety and Security
Taiwan is a modern democracy with vibrant public participation. Political demonstrations are common, especially around election time. Since Taiwan democratized in the early 1990s, there have been very few cases of violence associated with political demonstrations. But even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. You should avoid areas of demonstrations if possible and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any political demonstrations. The American Citizens Services Section of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) will post notices regarding demonstrations in Taiwan on the AIT website whenever it receives reliable information about them. In most cases, AIT will not send out a warden message when it has information on a planned demonstration.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While traveling abroad, you may find that road and driving conditions are significantly different from those in the United States. The information below concerning Taiwan is provided for general reference and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Roads in Taiwan's major cities are generally congested, and the many scooters and motorcycles that weave in and out of traffic make driving conditions worse. You should exercise caution when crossing streets because many drivers do not respect the pedestrian's right of way. Be especially cautious when driving on mountain roads, which are typically narrow, winding, poorly banked, and which may be impassable after heavy rains.