Capital: Taipei City
Area: 35,980 km ²
Climate: marine tropical climate; cool winters and humid summers
Population: 23,164,628 (est. 2011)
Languages: Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese
Government Type: Multiparty democratic republic
Information for Foreign Students in TaiwanGetting ThereTaiwan's main international gateway is Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. Located 40km to the southwest of Taipei, it has good connections to major Asian cities and North America.
Obtaining a VisaPlease visit the following website (http://www.boca.gov.tw/np.asp?ctNode=529&mp=2) for detailed information regarding the Taiwanese student visa.
MoneyCurrency used in Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD or TWD). Abundant ATMs make withdrawing cash easy from anywhere in the world using the Plus orCirrus systems. Most hotels and department stores accept credit cards, but AMEX is rarely accepted. Most restaurants and small stores do not accept credit cards.
As a general rule, with the exception of Kaohsiung, tap water in Taiwan is safe for drinking after boiling. Any water or ice you are served in restaurants will already have been processed. Water fountains in Taiwan always incorporate filters, and they can be found in practically every lodge or hotel as well as (for example) larger museums and Taipei MRT stations. You can refill and reuse your bottles at these fountains as well. If you can't find one, then you should buy bottled water.
Safety Taiwan is very safe for tourists, even for women at night. This is not to say, however, that there is no crime, and you should always exercise caution. In crowded areas such as night markets or festivals, for example, pickpockets are a known problem. However, it is fair to say that the streets of Taiwan are generally very safe and that violent crime and muggings are very rare.
Taiwan's train system is excellent, with stops in all major cities. Train stations are often located in the centers of most cities and towns and serve as a convenient hub for most types of transportation. In addition, the train system allows you to bypass the highways, which can become extremely crowded on weekends and national holidays. The new train backbone is Taiwan High Speed Rail, a bullet train based on Japanese Shinkansen technology that covers the 345 km (215 mi) route on the West Coast from Taipei to Zuoying (Kaohsiung) in 90 min. Intercity buses are called keyun, as opposed to gongche which run within the county and city. Buses run by private companies are generally more luxurious (often boasting wide, soft seats, foot-rests and individual video screens) than those run by government-owned companies. Still, even the government-owned buses are comfortable, punctual, and maintain clean facilities on board. Taipei has an excellent, fairly comprehensive subway system called the MRT that makes traveling around the city a snap, and Kaohsiung's metro finally opened in March 2008. Prepaid travel cards such as the EasyCard in Taipei for bus and metro travel are available at metro stations. EasyCards are read via proximity sensors so you do not need to remove the card from your wallet or purse. The MRT is very clean as there is no eating, drinking, or smoking inside of the stations or subway trains. There is also a special waiting area that is monitored by security camera for those who are concerned about security late at night. Taxis are a dime a dozen in major Taiwanese cities. You don't need to look for a taxi - they'll be looking for you. The standard yellow cabs scour roads looking for potential riders such as lost foreigners. It is possible but generally unnecessary to phone for a taxi. Taxis are visibly metered, and cab drivers are strictly forbidden from taking tips. A maximum of four people can ride in one cab, and for the price of one. Relative to American taxicabs, Taiwanese cabs are inexpensive.