Taiwan Risk Report
Security travel advice for Taiwan
Threat level: Low
The current travel safety advice for visiting Taiwan is to remain cautious of petty crime, be vigilant as the international threat to visitors across the world from terrorist organisations is heightened, and be aware of the extreme tropical weather which can occur.
Taiwan is an island in the South China Sea which has been an independent country since 1950. China regards Taiwan to be a rebel region that must be reunited with the mainland in due course, by whatever means necessary. Political demonstrations are common in Taiwan, mostly around election time, and there have been isolated cases of political violence in recent years.
In several tourist hotspots of Taiwan, reports of purse snatching by thieves working in pairs on mopeds have become increasingly more common in the past year. It is advised that you should keep a photocopy of your travel documents, most importantly being your passport, other identification, and credit card, in case of the unlikely event of becoming victim to bag snatching.
Recent evidence from the U.S. Department of State suggests there may be some Islamic State sympathisers operating in Taiwan who are possibly planning to conduct small scale terror style attacks like the attacks in Paris in 2015.
There is considered to be an overall heightened threat of a terrorist attack internationally against foreign nationals, from terror groups or individuals motivated by the Islamic State. Tourists should be extra cautious when travelling to Taiwan.
The Peoples Republic of China insists that nations should not have official relations with both China and Taiwan. Because of this statement by China, Taiwan only has formal diplomatic and economic ties with a few countries; it is officially recognised by 21 United Nations member states and it is with these countries that Taiwan maintains international relations with.
The USA is one of Taiwan's most important allies, and they rely heavily on them for protection and support. The UK does not have a diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.
To legally drive you will need an International Driving Permit. You will also need to register with the nearest Vehicle Registration Department and apply for a driver’s licence visa. This can be done upon arrival in Taiwan.
The tropical cyclone season in Taiwan can be devastating to the country and normally occurs between May to November, sometimes resulting in serious flooding and landslides. Due to the unpredictable weather, the driving conditions in rural areas can be dangerous.
One of the main safety advisories when driving in Taiwan is to be aware of the amount of scooters and motorcycles on the roads. The main issue with this is that they do not adhere to safety precautions on the road and generally ignore traffic laws. As many of these bikes are operated by local people they do not care for the convenience of foreign travellers in hire cars so be extra wary when driving close to them; they usually do not pay any attention to what you are doing.
In the event of a road collision always make contact with the police as they have a history of trying to claim that tourists are to blame and will demand cash compensation. It is advisable to take photos as evidence of any damage or injury before the police arrive.
Currency: New Taiwan Dollar
Time now in Taipei:
Visitors to Taiwan must obtain a tourist visa or in advance from their nearest Taiwanese embassy, unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries or countries whose nationals are eligible for visa on arrival, the includes all of Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
It is advised that visitors to the Taiwan are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus, which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
There has been a significant increase in cases of Dengue Fever in the past year. As the disease is spread through infected mosquitoes, you should take all precautions to avoid being bitten including wearing appropriate clothing and using mosquito nets at night time. Cases are usually concentrated in the south of Taiwan, take this into consideration when planning your trip. More information on Dengue fever can be found here: Dengue Fever facts
American Institute in Taiwan
No. 7 Ln. 1,
34 Sec. 3,
Telephone: +886 2 2162 2000
The British Office Taipei
110 Taipei City,
Telephone: +886 2 8758 2088
Other useful info
Police emergency: 110
Medical and Fire emergency: 119