5 Things You Should Know Before You Visit Taipei

Taipei is an ultra-modern city, but it also has deep rich cultural roots and it is becoming more and more a gateway to East Asia and Southeast Asia. Here are five things you should know before you visit Taipei, Taiwan.

Bring Cash
The currency in Taiwan is the NTD or new Taiwan dollar. Make sure you carry a bit of this around with you especially if you are going out for meals. This is because many of the very famous restaurants don’t accept credit cards.

Tipping is Unnecessary
Tipping is not customary here in Taiwan, so don’t worry about tipping in restaurants or taxis. If the taxi fare is 95 NTD and you give the taxi driver 100 NTD and tell them to keep the change, that’s okay but don’t feel you have to tip the taxi drivers or restaurant staff as well. Now, if you are staying in a four or five-star hotel, then sometimes the staff that works in the hotel will expect the tip especially the porter that carries your bag.

English is not Widely Spoken
What you will find when you visit Taiwan is that people do not speak as much English here especially compared to Southeast Asia. But no worries, if you come to a restaurant in Taipei like Din Tai Fung in Dongmin everybody on staff can speak English and virtually all of their restaurants have English-speaking staff. That is not the case with all restaurants so you will find a little more of a language barrier. However, many restaurants in commercial districts will have at least one person on at all times that could speak English.

If you go to a traditional morning market in Taipei, then it will be a bit more of a language barrier for you. Food stalls and little restaurants that are around the night markets probably will have a bit of English language skills and sometimes Japanese and Korean as well. Most of the signage is in English in Taipei City especially and all the transportation services have English and will all have English speakers on hand at any time as well. Also, no worries when you are visiting tourist attractions like Taipei 101, the number one tourist spot in Taipei. Most of the staff speak English and many museums and tourist attractions also have English-speaking staffs.

Claim your VAT Refund
Claim the 5% VAT tax when you leave Taiwan. All foreigners can get back up to 5% VAT but you must spend 3000 NT dollars on the same day which is about $90. Do that at a big department store or retail outlet that that sells big-ticket items and they will be happy to issue you that receipt. You can take that to the airport on departure and cash out and get your money back either on your credit card or cash. Don’t ask night market stalls or outdoor clothing stores to give you a receipt they won’t do it.

World Class Public Transportation
Taipei has one of the best metro systems in the world; it is super efficient and very convenient. If you think you will be in Taipei more than a couple of days, you should get one of the easy cards because not only is it convenient to get around on the MRT and bus system but you can also use it to use the U-Bike system which is a fantastic way for getting around the city.

I hope you have an amazing time in Taipei Taiwan. The people are extremely friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid to get lost you are in a safe place.

What To Do When You Feel Post-Travel Depression

When it comes to post travel depression, it is one of the most uncomfortable feelings that any traveler could ever experience. After an amazing trip halfway across the world, returning home and trying to live a normal life once again can seem like an impossible task to accomplish. Instead of discovering something new every single day, life becomes pretty boring – or that is what you think at least. That being said, you might feel like something’s not right. But guess what? Something is indeed off, and it is completely okay for you to feel this way. What you are actually going through right now is simply called the post-travel depression. As you can see, post-travel depression is a real thing, and after spending a longer period of time traveling the world, coming back home can feel like the hardest part of your journey. But you are not alone. With this in mind, there are some certain things that you can do to make yourself feel a little bit better!

Explore Your Hometown

It is pretty much safe to say that you have become an expert when it comes to discovering cool new places, haven’t you? After all, you spent the majority of your time abroad taking short trips to nearby cities and seeking out cool new neighborhoods. With this in mind, instead of crying and moaning about how you are not on the road anymore, you should do the exact same things at home. Go on a short trip to a nearby city, participate in a local cultural activity, or go on a hike with a friend or two.

Practice What You Learned

While it is true that you are no longer surrounded by foreigners on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean that you can’t put those new skills of yours to good use in your hometown. For example, there are many different things that you can do to practice the language that you learned while you were away from home. You can read the local news online or watch a movie in your target language.

Plan Another Trip

One of the best ways to get over post-travel depression is to plan another trip. While it is true that not every single problem can be solved by going on a road trip, sometimes getting away is a great way to give yourself some much-needed relaxation time. It is like fighting fire with fire, isn’t it?