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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Taiwan > Taipei

Taipei Weather

33°C

Local time Taipei

Currency

NT$

Getting around Taipei

Public transport

Those using public transport have two options in the capital, the bus or the metro. The MRT Mass Rapid Transit System (tel: +886 2 2181 2345; www.metro.taipei) has five lines covering the major areas of the city. Trains are frequent and run all day until midnight.

The system is efficient, cheap and not too crowded, and there are signs in English. You can buy single-journey tickets or passes allowing unlimited travel for one day, 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours.

Buses are plentiful and services frequent, reliable and comfortable, although they should be avoided during rush hour (0730-0930 and 1700-1900). A pre-paid TaipeiPass can be used on buses and MTR (www.easycard.com.tw).

Taxis

Taxis are the most convenient way to get around; they are also cheap and plentiful. They can be hailed on the street, picked up outside hotels, or a dispatch taxi may be called via an English-speaking radio calling system from almost any destination. Taxis are all metered. Writing destination addresses in Chinese is essential as many drivers do not speak English.

To order a taxi, call the toll-free taxi hotline (tel: 0800 055 850, press 2 for English, in Taiwan only) or Taiwan Taxi (tel: +886 4058 8888).

Driving

Taipei's street numbering system is very confusing and traffic is congested, making driving in the capital difficult. As a result, hiring a car and driver is preferable to driving yourself. It is only worth hiring a car to drive out of Taipei, although traffic congestion means that it takes a long time to get out. Most people prefer to fly, as internal flights are cheap and the domestic terminal is situated at Sungshan, in the heart of the city.

Driving is on the left and the minimum driving age is 18. Speed limits range from 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas to 80-110kph (50-68mph) on freeways.

Car hire

An International Driving Permit is required to hire a car. This is valid for 30 days. If you wish to extend your International Driving Permit, you need to take it, along with passport and a passport-size photograph, to the nearest Vehicle Registration Department to apply for a 'Driver's Licence Visa'. All vehicles need Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance.

Major providers at the airport and in the city include Asia Rent-A-Car Service (tel: +886 2 2500 6633; www.asiarent.com.tw), Easy Rent (tel: 0800 024 550, in Taiwan only; www.easyrent.com.tw) and VIP Car Rental Co (tel: +886 2 2713 1111; www.vipcar.com.tw).

Bicycle hire

Because of the heavy pollution, riding a bicycle in central Taipei is not recommended. However, in greater Taipei designated bike paths are gaining popularity. 

You can rent bikes through YouBike (tel: + 886 2 8978 5511; http://taipei.youbike.com.tw), the city's bikeshare scheme. 

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

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The United Hotel

Although somewhat in need of an upgrade, this hotel in the commercial centre is a solid mid-range choice. Perks include an airport limo service and business and fitness centres, and there's a downstairs cafe and a Cantonese restaurant.

Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza

Imposing, but calm, and consistently voted as one of the best hotels in Taipei, the Shangri-La has all you need for a great stay, including a heated rooftop pool, a sauna and a spa. Restaurant choices include Japanese, Cantonese and Italian, and a cocktail bar with dazzling skyline views.

San Want Residence

This hotel does 'boutique luxury' to perfection, with an emphasis on good service. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and park or city views, and there's also a Western and Asian restaurant where the free breakfast is served. The collection of contemporary Taiwanese sculpture is a reason enough to pop in without staying. Children over 12 only.

First Hotel

This mid-sized business hotel in the eastern business district has a distinctly Chinese ambience. It has 176 clean and comfortable rooms equipped with cable television and internet access. Shanghainese cuisine is served at Ning Yuan restaurant on the third floor. The hotel also has a business centre and fitness room.

The Grand Hotel

Brighton's most famous hotel, and one of the only 5-star establishments in the city, the The Grand’s elegant Victorian building enjoys a central seafront position. This extensive hotel has more than 200 lavishly appointed rooms, and offers a stylish and luxurious base from which to explore the city. Its afternoon teas are world famous too.

Yomi Hotel

Set in the lively Shuanglian neighbourhood (and four minutes' walk from the MRT station), this budget hotel offers a raft of freebies: bicycle use, Wi-Fi device, bottled water and snacks, plus breakfast and use of a washer/dryer. Rooms are simple and minimalist but have flat-screen TVs, and there's a 24-hour convenience store next door.