Taiwan’s currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (or simply NTD, but sometimes known as TWD), with one unit known locally as NT, yuan (or more officially ) when written in Chinese or colloquially in Mandarin as the kuai. In Taiwanese, one unit is referred informally as the kho. This guide’s $ costs are all in New Taiwan Dollars.
Taiwanese currency is freely convertible, and there are no limitations on bringing or moving money into or out of the country. International currency conversion is available, but you will receive a far better rate if you wait until you get at the airport to exchange money within the 24 hour window. Most banks in Taipei and Kaohsiung will convert money or provide cash advances on credit or debit cards. If you bring American money, please bring newer bills since banks and exchange facilities (such as those found in department shops) will only take newer notes (bills from 1996 and 2003 are not accepted at most places, due to a high proportion of forgeries bearing these years). Torn or damaged banknotes will most likely not be replaced, and old-style small-bust bills, including the $2 bill, are not accepted, regardless of when they were produced. Taiwan National Bank will accept older bank notes as well as wrinkled or damaged bank notes for exchange. Department shops will not accept invoices dated before 1997. Remember to bring your passport!
There’s no need to worry if you neglected to bring any money but have your credit or debit card with you. Taiwan’s banking system is light years ahead of most other nations, with the ability to withdraw cash from anywhere in the globe via the Plus or Cirrus systems from any of the numerous 24-hour ATMs. Certain banks’ ATMs will even display your available balance in your local currency or NT$. ATM cash withdrawals are subject to a $20,000 per transaction restriction (HSBC Global Access clients may withdraw up to $30,000 from HSBC ATMs). Visa debit cards are not widely accepted, although they may be used at ATMs operated by Chinatrust banks (but not those in 7-Elevens). It should be noted that ATMs at post offices will not take cards without an EMV chip.
If you want to remain in Taiwan for an extended period of time, you need establish a Taiwanese bank account. While several of the big international banks, such as Citibank and HSBC, have branches in Taiwan, they often demand significant deposits in order to establish an account, so you may want to choose one of the major local banks, such as the Bank of Taiwan. To establish an account, you must present your passport and Alien Residence Card to the bank. This implies that although individuals on long-term visas, such as student and work visas, are permitted to establish an account, tourists on short-term trips are not usually permitted to do so. Visitors who want to open a Taiwanese bank account may get a piece of paper with an ID number from the local Immigration Agency office as a replacement for the ARC, although not all banks accept it. Larger banks often have English-speaking personnel on hand to help foreigners.
Most hotels and department shops accept credit cards, most notably Visa, MasterCard, and JCB. Cards such as Diners Club, Discover, and American Express are seldom accepted. Most restaurants and small businesses do not take credit cards, therefore cash is the preferred method of payment. Because street crime is uncommon in Taiwan, it is normal for individuals to carry significant sums of cash about them.
Taiwan is very costly by Asian standards, although it is still considerably less expensive than Japan. A bare-bones budget of NT$1000 will get you by for a day, but you’ll definitely want to double that for comfort. A lunch at a street stall may cost NT$50 or less, a dinner at a Western fast food restaurant may cost NT$150, and the most upscale restaurants may cost more than NT$1000. Hotel rooms at a fancy hotel may cost NT$5000 or more on the top end of the range. The cost of living decreases substantially when one travels away from major cities. Taxis are reasonably priced and often have a fixed charge for popular locations, so inquire ahead of time and negotiate if you disagree.
Tipping is not often done in Taiwan. Bellhops at high-end hotels and airport porters are exceptions and should be compensated with 50 new Taiwan dollars each bag. Tipping to express gratitude for excellent service is also popular. Full-service restaurants generally charge a 10 percent service fee, which is considered adequate. Tipping is also not required in taxis, and drivers will typically give you your change down to the last dollar.
Night markets are a mainstay of Taiwanese entertainment, shopping, and dining, as they are in many Asian nations. Night markets are open-air marketplaces that are often located on a street or alleyway, with merchants selling a variety of goods on both sides. There are many discounts to be obtained, and haggling is anticipated anywhere prices are not posted. Every night and at the same location, there will be a night market in the major cities. They are only open certain nights of the week in smaller cities and may migrate to other streets depending on the day of the week.
Every city has at least one night market, and bigger cities, like as Taipei, may have a dozen or more. Because night markets are busy, keep an eye out for your wallet! Shops offering the same goods tend to cluster in the same area of town. If you want to purchase anything, ask someone to take you to one store, and chances are there will be other businesses offering comparable items nearby.
For those who dislike the idea of bargaining and fraudulent products, Taipei has a plethora of shopping malls where prices are generally set and items are real. Otherwise, retail avenues in bigger cities like as Kaohsiung and Taichung may readily provide you with everything you need. And, of course, there is the fashionable Ximending () in Taipei, where you can find pretty much everything connected with youngsters for set rates.
In night markets and tiny shops, bargaining is acceptable and expected. Computer chain stores and department stores often have set pricing, but if you buy frequently, you may be able to receive a “registered member discount.” In any case, it’s always worth a shot!
When negotiating in tiny shops, keep in mind that the agreed-upon prices are usually cash pricing. If you wish to pay with a credit card, the vendor will usually add up to 8% to the price as a “card charge,” etc. The charge is made up of the credit company’s commission as well as the local sales tax/VAT. Even if you pay cash, you are unlikely to get an official receipt since the vendor would be required to declare and pay their taxes in full. If you ask for a receipt or “fa piao” (), you will receive one, but you may have to pay an extra 3-5 percent.