How To Scoot Around Taiwan

Congratulations! You’ve landed in Taiwan. Now what? If you hope to travel around the island (or between Asian countries), keep these tips in mind.

North to south in six hours by car

There are several ways to travel around the island itself. One option is, of course, simply renting a car and driving. By car, it takes about six hours to traverse Taiwan from north to south.

Zip around Taiwan on the HSR

The high-speed rail (HSR) is the fastest — and most popular — way to get around Taiwan. Many people consider the HSR the pride of the Taiwanese transportation system. For just NT$1500 ($50), you can travel the length of the island in under two hours. (Remember, that would be six hours by car.)

Round-trip tickets will save you money. Discounts are available for groups of travelers, children, seniors. It’s best to buy a reserved-seating ticket in advance, although non-reserve tickets are also available.

For the truly adventurous

Want to keep your mother awake at night? Adventurous travelers can go by moped, staying in different hostels along the way.

Flights between Asian countries

For travel around Asia, the moped won’t cut it.

Taiwan’s largest airport is the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE, formerly the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport). It offers international flights from northern Taiwan. Since 2008, the airport has offered direct flights across the strait to mainland China.

For international flights from southern Taiwan, use the Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH).

Automatic 30-day visa

Visitors to Taiwan carrying a US passport (valid for 6 months after entry) and a confirmed airline ticket (to another country or back to the US) automatically receive a free 30-day visa. A warning: the 30-day visa cannot be extended once issued.

Travelers who wish to stay longer than 30 days must apply for a visa before entering Taiwan. A traveler’s visa can be obtained from a Taiwanese consulate in the US, and costs around $140.

Passport stamp: ROC

Travelers visiting Taiwan should know that Taiwan is under the control of the government of the People’s Republic of China. However, Taiwan has its own government and is fairly autonomous. This is an extremely sensitive political issue. Do not bring it up in casual conversation.

  • Taiwan is officially the Republic of China, or ROC.
  • Mainland China is officially the People’s Republic of China, or PRC.

For more info

For more details on visa requirements, visit