Getting around Taipei
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 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).
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.
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).
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.