I asked some locals what they wanted tourist to know before visiting their country!
1. “Taiwanese people are super friendly towards foreigners, but we don’t hug when we greet. We do shake hands when it’s business related. But most of the time people just smile and say hi when meeting friends or family members. Some girls feel uncomfortable when their guy friends hug them.”
2. “Public transportation is well developed in Taiwan. However, many drivers don’t follow the traffic rules. Don’t expect cars, taxis or buses to yield to pedestrians. Be extremely careful when crossing the street.”
3. “Scooters are super popular in Taiwan because it’s cheap and easy to park. You can find people riding scooters literally everywhere.”
4. “Many Taiwanese cuisine are made of ingredients that are usually considered weird or gross to Americans, such as fermented tofu, animal blood, chicken testicles, etc. It’s ok if you’re not willing to eat them, but try not to say stuff like “Eww”, “That’s disgusting.” or “You’re not supposed to eat that.” because some Taiwanese take it offensive.”
5.”We speak Chinese, but we’re not Chinese. We keep emphasizing that we’re Taiwanese and Taiwan is a country, even though it’s not recognized by most countries. We don’t consider ourselves part of China. Just like Americans also speak English, but you’re not from the UK. Also, here we uses traditional Chinese while Chinese people use simplified Chinese when writing.”
6. “People don’t like the number 4 before in Chinese, 4 sounds like the word death. In hospitals, we skip the 4th floor and call it 5th floor. Nowadays young people are less superstitious, but many people will still avoid this number in different occasions.”
7.”When we see foreigners here, we often automatically assume they’re Americans. American culture is very popular in Taiwan. Music, movies, pop culture and food, etc. Though most people don’t speak English well, everyone knows USA while many Americans thought Taiwan is Thailand, lol.”
8.”Weather here can be like Alabama in summer. Sometimes it’ll rain in the afternoon for just a while then it’s sunny again. But don’t worry you can get cheap umbrella anywhere.”
9.” There are convenience store everywhere, especially 7-11, you can walk to stores and not need to drive a car.
“To answer your question”:
“Frequently being asked by foreigners”
10.“Is Taiwan the same as China?”
>>” It’s a controversial issue but as a Taiwanese I can only tell you Taiwan is not not a part of China. We are an independent country. Thanks plus it’s a totally free country here. We have freedom of speech and stuff.”
11. “Can you go on Facebook and YouTube in Taiwan?”
>> “yes, you can go on any website you want. We don’t have the Great Wall to block you from the access to any website.”
12. “What languages do people speak here?”
>> “we speak Taiwanese which is a dialect and Chinese as our first language.”
13.“Do people speak English here?”
>> “It depends. Young people nowadays are pretty good at speaking English especially we have a lot of tourists coming to Taiwan in these days.”
14.”Do people eat dogs here?”
>> “haha yes we do we also eat people. Well, that’s a stupid question but many people have this weird thinking about all Asian eat dogs. No we do not eat dogs. It’s illegal to eat dogs. You are going to jail if you do that, thanks. There are bad and weird people do strange things in every country. That’s all I can say.”
15. “What are the fun things to do in Taiwan?”
>> “everything you can think of. We have mountains, parks, resorts and amusement parks. And yet, famous hot spring and cold spring. Nightlife is also a big thing in the city. You will def enjoy the nightlife in the city if you are a party animal and a big drinker. Wednesday for ladies night for clubs in Taipei in general. And Friday and Saturday are the most happening days.”
>>” people ride scooters. You can take the metro everywhere basically. It’s very convenient here you don’t need to drive a lot. People rely on public transportation a lot!!”
17.“Just get your metro card and you can ride a bike, take the MRT and take a bus to many places.”
Drinking tip: Drinking age is 18.
Map of Taiwan.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this article!