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Top Taiwan Hotels


Taiwan The emerald island lying just 160 kilometres off the Chinese mainland is a feisty character. It lives an uneasy existence, precariously overshadowed by its vast and uncompromising neighbour. Taiwan is a land at peace, but embroiled in one of the thorniest dilemmas of the East. Originally populated by seafaring peoples from the Pacific islands and groups from the archipelago that today forms the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, Taiwan remained a backwater for millennia. By the time the Portuguese dropped anchor in 1517 and christened it Ilha Formosa - Beautiful Island - it was being steadily settled by Fuj ianese from across the Strait, and displaying a predominantly Chinese population. In subsequent centuries, the Chinese, Spanish and Japanese were to play a game of musical chairs with the island until after World War II, when the newly formed United Nations decreed that Taiwan would be returned to China. But before that could happen, the communists won the bloody civil war on the mainland, the nationalists fled to the province of Taiwan and each side settle down to plot the other's downfall. The dispute simmered for decades and the two governments were to diverge along very separate paths. Both sides have evolved into different entities, and much to China's indignation Taiwan did very well for itself. The economy boomed, leaving the sluggish mainland in its wake. Since taking control of its own affairs in the 1950s Taiwan has enjoyed an average GDP growth of 9 per cent a year, ensuring it emerged as one of the four 'tiger economies' alongside Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. Despite recent wobbles in the Asian financial arena, Taiwan remains financially robust and a major manufacturing base. Finally China is blossoming economically and, ironically, the greatest threat from across the Strait now looks to be cheap and inexhaustible labour rather than menacing missile launchers. Currently Taiwan's international status is a grey area so its awkward position means it falls into a category all of its own. It exists in diplomatic no-man's-land. For the apolitical it is best described as an unofficial country. Taiwan never declared independence, and Beijing's non-negotiable stance is that Taiwan is a renegade province - and that reunification is inevitable. Chinese foreign policy is almost defined by the issue and takes a very dim view of anyone in the international community daring to treat Taiwan as a country. No country may maintain official diplomatic relations with both Taipei and Beijing and for the Taiwanese it has been a long diplomatic march into oblivion. Faced with the choice, only 27 nations now recognise Taiwan, most of which are Third World recipients of economic aid. Taiwan, incidentally, held the Chinese seat at the United Nations until 1971 when it was replaced by the PRC. Despite the diplomatic slide, Taiwan booms and the capital Taipei encapsulates a boundless entrepreneurial energy. A sprawling, gritty metropolis, it is home to three million and known for its tide of zipping mopeds and - to be brutally honest - ugly architecture. Most visitors are here for business, but you do not need to look too hard to find pockets of tradition, impressive monuments, good food and uncommonly friendly inhabitants. Taipei also hosts the National Palace Museum, one of the best collections of Chinese artefacts in the world. Away from the big city are traditional temples and some prime hiking country. Majestic scenery exists along the east coast, across the dramatic mountainous interior and within national parks such as Taroko Gorge and Hsiukuluan River. Across the Strait are more islands dotted like stepping stones to China. From one, Kinmen, you can actually see the mainland. Taiwan's hotels mirror its persona - functional business hotels with below-average architecture. First-class friendly service is a major plus even if English is not widespread. The best hotels are in the capital and the standards deteriorate pretty quickly outside, although there are some pockets of excellence. Being comparatively small Taiwan shares a fairly uniform climate, with slight variations due to latitude and altitude. Generally speaking, the north and the mountainous regions are colder and wetter than the south. Despite its northerly latitude, the island experiences a tropical monsoon climate, seemingly drawing the leftovers of the various typhoons that have battered Southeast Asia. Most are dissipating by the time they get there but occasionally it is buffeted by vicious storms. Intermittent typhoons and torrential rains wash over Taiwan during the otherwise humid summer - roughly June to September - while the winter is mostly cold, blustery and cloudy. Taipei can be visited all year round, but like the rest of the country, is at its best around spring or autumn. More...

Visas

Visitors to Taiwan should ensure that their passport or travel document is valid for at least 6 months and proof of ongoing travel must be held. It is also advisable to carry documents verifying the purpose of your visit. An automatic fourteen-day visa-free privilege is afforded to residents of selected countries and certain nationalities can apply for a thirty-day landing visa on arrival.

All other foreign nationals, not entitled to use the visa-exempt privilege, are required to obtain a valid visa prior to arrival in Taiwan. Visa information can change and should be checked.

Customs

Receipts are issued when currency is exchanged and these should be kept if you wish to exchange NT$ before departing the country.

Visitors may take the following into Taiwan duty free:

  • Alcohol - 1 litre of alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco - 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 454g (1lb) of tobacco

Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are extremely severe, ranging from long prison sentences to the death penalty.

Time

Taiwanese time: GMT + 8 hours

Currency

  • New Taiwanese Dollar (NT$) - Check current exchange rates
  • 100 cents = 1 NT$
  • Notes issued NT$1000, NT$500, NT$100, NT$50
  • Coins issued in NT$50, NT$10, NT$5, NT$1

Tipping

Tipping is optional in most situations, although some large hotels and restaurants may add a 10% service charge to the bill. Tip porters around NT$50.

Banking Hours

  • Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 3.30 pm
  • Saturday 9.00 am to 12.00 pm

Language

Mandarin is the official language in Taiwan; however many residents also speak the local Taiwanese dialect. English is not widely spoken.

Telephone

The international dialling code for Taiwan is 886

When making international calls from Taiwan, first dial 002 +country code + area code + telephone number

Local Telephone Codes

Haulien 038
Hsinchu City 03
Kaohsiung 07
Taichung 04
Taipei 02
Taitung 089
Tsaochiao 037
   
   

Electricity

  • 110 volts and 60 cycles AC
  • Flat two and three pin plugs are most common. A universal adapter is an important travel item.

Water

Tap water should be boiled before consumption; however bottled water is widely available.

Health

The standard of medical service available around the country can vary; therefore you should ensure that you have adequate health insurance covering evacuation. Generally, there are no need for inoculations but always check the current situation and vaccination requirements with a doctor when planning your trip.

International Airports

  • Kaohsiung
  • Taipei - Chiang Kai-Shek

International Airport Departure Tax

NT$300

Domestic Airports

  • Chiayi
  • Chimei
  • Green Island
  • Haulien
  • Kaohsiung
  • Makung
  • Orchid Island
  • Taianan
  • Taichung
  • Taipei - Sungshan
  • Taitung
  • Wangan

Domestic Airport Departure Tax

None

Etiquette/Dress Code

As with many Asian countries, situations should be avoided which would cause a loss of "face". Try to steer clear of confrontation as it is not appreciated and will only worsen rather than resolve any situation.

Casual and smart clothes can be worn around city and country locations in Taiwan, although some restaurants and bars do have a dress code. On beaches, topless sunbathing is never acceptable.

Diplomatic Missions

A limited number of countries have diplomatic representation in Taiwan.

Useful Sources of Information

Further information on Taiwanese culture and tourist attractions.

  • Taiwan: Arts, Attractions, History

Weather

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Spring (March - May) 21 - 25°C 193mm
Summer (June - August) 24 - 33°C 275mm
Autumn (September - November) 20 - 27°C 144mm
Winter (December - February) 12 - 29°C 97mm

Taiwan straddles the Tropic of Cancer in the Pacific Ocean and enjoys a sub-tropical climate with four seasons - spring, summer, autumn, winter.

  • Summer - rainfall is at its highest and the weather tends to be hot and humid. Visibility is quite often poor at this time of year due to low cloud and mist and there is also a high possibility of typhoons between June and October.
  • Winter - usually mild, however temperatures can drop below average.

In general, lightweight clothing should be worn most of the year and warmer clothes are necessary in the cooler months.

Best time to visit: During the spring or autumn when both humidity and temperatures are comfortable and rainfall is relatively low.

Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during hot weather.

Featured Taiwan Hotels

4 stars
From
$81
per night (USD)
The Tango Taipei LinSen

The Tango Taipei LinSen

Jhongshan District, Taiwan

Location The Tango Taipei LinSen is situated in Taipei's renowned historical... More...

 
4 stars
From
$62
per night (USD)
Cosmos Hotel Taipei

Cosmos Hotel Taipei

City, Taiwan

Location Cosmos Hotel is situated on Chung-Hsiao West Road in the heart of Taipei,... More...

 
5 stars
From
$159
per night (USD)
Grand Hotel Taipei

Grand Hotel Taipei

Jhongshan District, Taiwan

Location The Grand Hotel is located in Yuan Shan Mountain, about a kilometre from... More...

 
5 stars
Landis Hotel Taipei

Landis Hotel Taipei

City, Taiwan

Location Located in Taipei's central business district, the hotel is close to... More...

 
4 stars
From
$204
per night (USD)
Imperial Hotel Taipei

Imperial Hotel Taipei

Jhongshan District, Taiwan

Location Situated right in the heart of Taipei's business centre, with a... More...

 
5 stars
From
$408
per night (USD)
Gloria Prince Hotel Taipei

Gloria Prince Hotel Taipei

Jhongshan District, Taiwan

Location Conveniently located near Taipei Station and Shuang Lien MRT Station, Gloria... More...

 
5 stars
From
$143
per night (USD)
Grand Hi-lai Hotel Kaohsiung

Grand Hi-lai Hotel Kaohsiung

Cianjin District, Taiwan

Location Grand Hi-lai Hotel is located in the business and financial district of... More...

 
5 stars
From
$193
per night (USD)
Hotel Royal Hsinchu

Hotel Royal Hsinchu

Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan

Location Hotel Royal is conveniently situated on the doorstep of Hsinchu's... More...

 
5 stars
From
$152
per night (USD)
Shangri - La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei

Shangri - La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei

Da-an District, Taiwan

Location Shangri - La Far Eastern Plaza occupies an ideal location in the heart of... More...

 
5 stars
From
$53
per night (USD)
Sheraton Taipei Hotel Taipei

Sheraton Taipei Hotel Taipei

Jhongjheng District, Taiwan

Location The Sheraton Taipei Hotel is located in the centre of Taipei's... More...

 

Taiwan Travellers Tales

alison kitzman
9/1/2005

Getting a rental car online was virtually impossible, so we ended up getting a car with a driver to take us over the North-Cross-Island Highway. Though the roads were treacherous and we only averaged about 35 kph the views and stops here and of the Taroko Gorge and our return up the East Coast Highway were amazing. Our stay at the very "grand" Grand Hotel helped make our stay in the surprisingly nice, interesting and diverse city of Taipei wonderful.


alison kitzman
8/27/2005
Stayed at:

Getting a rental car online was virtually impossible, so we ended up getting a car with a driver to take us over the North-Cross-Island Highway. Though the roads were treacherous and we only averaged about 35 kph the views and stops here and of the Taroko Gorge and our return up the East Coast Highway were amazing.


margaret ginther
5/25/2005

The Shilin night market is probably the main attraction. Don''t forget to try the fried chicken there as it is the best ever.


hyung won suh
5/8/2005

The city of Taipei itself is not too large. In all frankness, I think Taipei can be toured in about 2 full days. The Taipei subway is a great way to travel around Taipei. It''s affordable, fast, and clean. It''s so much better than the NYC subway system that I take to commute daily. I was in Taipei for about two days. I visited the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and two night markets. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is a noteworthy place to visit and it is beautiful. The night markets were fascinating and it was a mecca for exotic foods and drinks. But in all honesty, I think that if you''ve visited one night market, you''ve visited them all.


david shirk
4/29/2005

The Baiyang Waterfall trail is beautiful and easy (strollers can even make the journey) with wide trails and beautiful overlooks. The restaurant beside the post office is good for a quick meal and more predictable and fresh than some of the other restaurants. There is an ATM in the post office.


marcin dziok
4/15/2005

Ask for Thai restaurant (not takeout) just around the corner. If you can''t take Chinese food anymore, visit Pig&Whistle British Pub in downtown. however don''t order Mexican food in there. Indian Spice Shop is pretty good too. If you are looking for gifts, you must go to Handicraft Mart in Taipei. And don''t be afraid of trying food on the street, cheap, fresh and very good.


wee chong ng
3/27/2005
Stayed at:

Taipei is a nice place to visit. Weather is good and people are certainly friendly when answering queries. Jiu Fen is a very nice place to visit where there are alot of things to buy and a lot of unique food to savour. The place is clean also. We thoroughly enjoy the place with it''s scenery. Would definitely visit Taipei all over again and perhaps would wander further south of Taipei to places like Alishan!


robin parkin
3/16/2005

Arriving at the main International Airport (CKS) we boarded the service bus to Taipei Station (we are not backpackers and I am 64). This turned out to be the best choice as the last stop is around the corner (about 300 yards) from the Cosmos Hotel entrance. We tried a coach trip to the scenic north coast, a bit dissapointing, so we went independent! After that and boarded the excellent MRT to the end of the line at Danshui which seems to be a bit of a local holiday town. Very interesting. We spent an evening at the Shilin night market and surrounding area, where we enjoyed amongst other things the best food of our visit to Taipei. Once again the MRT provided our transport. We were in Taipei for only three nights and quite enjoyed it. we did not experience any problems.


allyson mackenzie
3/16/2005
Stayed at:

I had one day. I visited the National Museum on a friend''s recommendation. It was very interesting and a worthwhile place to see. I also stopped by the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. Climbing up the stairs to get to the top was reminiscent of a certain scene from Howl''s Moving Castle. I don''t want to give any spoilers here, so if you''ve seen the movie you''ll know! The food from the market areas was cheap. I didn''t find it to be all that delicious though.


david smith
3/9/2005

I was on a business trip, and did not have much time for sight seeing, however I can recommend a visit to the Grand Palace Museum for an impressive collection of extremely ancient Buddhist artefacts. Also worth a visit is the Confucius Temple, and many other Buddhist temples, within walking distance of the hotel.


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