How to Get to Taiwan, China
According to bridgat.com, Taiwan has 3 international airports. The busiest is Taoyuan (website in English), located 40 km southwest of Taipei. It serves as a base for China Airlines and EVA Air, consists of 2 terminals and receives most international flights. Aircraft from Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and other Asian cities land at Kaohsiung (website in English) and Taichung (website in English). Domestic flights are served by Songshan (website in English).
There are no direct flights from Moscow to Taipei, options with connections are offered by Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, Air China, China Airlines, Emirates, Korean Air. The cheapest tickets are from Air China: 450 USD one way with a departure from Sheremetyevo and a transfer in Beijing (flight duration – 30 hours). Air China also has the fastest flights: travel time is 12 hours, departure from Sheremetyevo and docking in Beijing.
High-speed trains, buses and taxis run from Taoyuan Airport to the center of Taipei. Buses depart to the capital hourly, ticket price is 30 TWD. Trains will take you to the city in 20 minutes, the fare is 160 TWD. There are taxi ranks at both terminals, a trip to Taipei will cost 1500-2000 TWD.
For those who travel around Asia, it is more convenient to fly with local low-cost airlines. Hong Kong Express Airways, Spring Airlines, Air Busan and other carriers offer low cost flights between Asian cities. For example, with HK Express you can fly from Hong Kong to Taichung for 3500 TWD (journey time – 1 hour 35 minutes).
Transportation in Taiwan
For intercity travel around the island, you can use domestic airlines, rail or buses. It is better to book tickets in advance – flights are almost always full. Buses are both public and private. The latter are the most affordable type of long-distance transport.
The fare for a taxi is about 70 TWD for 1.5 km, each subsequent 300 m is about 5 TWD.
Most taxi drivers don’t speak English, so it’s a good idea to ask the hotel clerk to write the name of your destination in Chinese in advance.
City buses must be stopped like a taxi, and when exiting, press a special button. Ticket price depends on the distance: from 15 TWD and above. The administrative center of Taipei Province is divided into zones, when moving from one to another, you will have to pay extra for travel.
Taipei has a metro (MRT) open from 6:00 am to midnight. Tickets are purchased from vending machines at the stations. The metro is also divided into zones, the fare depends on the route. For example, a trip from the Taipei Zoo to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall will cost 30 TWD. You can get directions and exact ticket prices on the Metro ‘s website (in English).
EasyCard will help you save on travel. It is sold at all stations, costs 100 TWD, and offers significant discounts on subway and bus tickets.
For comfortable movement in Taiwan, you can rent a bicycle. YouBike rental stations are located in Taipei, Taichung and other cities. During the first 4 hours, every half hour rental costs 10 TWD, the next 4 hours – 20 TWD. After 8 hours, every 30 minutes of skiing will cost 40 TWD.
Rent a Car
Driving in Taiwan, especially in large cities, is an ambiguous experience for a Russian tourist. Taipei has confusing roads, constant traffic jams, parking problems, and the number of bicycles and scooters scurrying around makes your eyes widen. It is much more convenient to rent a car for moving between cities and exploring the island’s many natural attractions.
Rental offices are located at airports and major cities. Avis, Chailease, Destinia, Expedia and other companies offer their services. Renting an economy class car costs from 3270 TWD, a standard model – from 4440 TWD, an SUV – from 5540 TWD, a premium car – from 9970 TWD per day. Get ready for a long search for a parking space in advance: parking lots in cities are always crowded. Paid parking services cost from 30 TWD per hour.
Youth Travel Card
In 2009, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education launched the Youth Travel program, which allows young people to freely travel around the island and experience its original culture. There are 2 types of “Youth Travel Cards”: blue (for local residents) and red (for visitors to Taiwan). Both cards are designed for young people between the ages of 15 and 30 and offer discounts on travel, accommodation, shopping and visits to the country’s most important attractions. You can get a red card for free at tourist centers (at airports, train stations and metro), as well as at youth volunteer centers located throughout the island.
Youth Travel Card holders are provided with discounts on travel in public transport and tourist buses, accommodation in hotels and hostels, meals in cafes and restaurants, attending Chinese lessons. Reduced prices for admission to museums (for example, the National Museum of Natural Sciences) and other cultural institutions. The full list of Youth Travel partners is available on the official website of the program (in English).