Bubble tea, anyone?
Because… Taiwan is reopening its borders on 13 October 2022!
That said, flight ticket prices have gone up thanks to the surge in demand… a Scoot economy round-trip ticket from Singapore to Taipei now costs around $482 in November, compared to $300+ pre-COVID.
But if diving into the world of bubble tea, beef noodles and night markets remains your priority…
This guide is for you!
TL;DR: Taiwan Travel – What Singaporeans Need to Know
- Latest Taiwan COVID-19 restrictions
- Using a Multi-currency card for your travelling
- Make use of credit cards for rewards and lower fees
- Get your travel insurance
- Types and prices of accommodation
- Transport in Taiwan
Taiwan’s COVID-19 Restrictions
From 13 October 2022, Singaporeans will be able to travel to Taiwan regardless of vaccination status.
You will not require a pre-departure COVID-19 test, and there will also be no on-arrival tests and quarantine.
In principle, arriving travellers are expected to abide by a “seven-day self-initiated prevention” approach where travellers should stay at an accommodation that meets the requirement of “one person per room” (with a private bathroom) during this period.
However, you are required to do up to four non-supervised self-swab Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) and these test kits will be given to you at the airport.
When do you use these test kits: On arrival (Day 0), Day 2, Day 4 & Day 6
Children under two years of age will not be required to take rapid tests during the self-initiated prevention period.
Important Reminder: The day you arrive is counted as Day 0. Make sure to have your quarantine arrangements ready because you’ll need to show this as proof when you check into your flight.
Do I Need To Be Vaccinated To Travel to Taiwan?
You do not need to be vaccinated to travel to Taiwan at the moment.
Therefore, you don’t have to produce any vaccination documents.
However, it’s always preferred to have the documents ready just in case.
Do I need a VISA to enter Taiwan?
Nope, Singaporeans will not need a tourist visa to enter Taiwan from 13 October 2022.
The visa exemption period for Singaporeans is 30 days. Nationals of other countries may be eligible for an exemption of up to 90 days.
Do I need to wear a mask in Taiwan?
Yes, there is a mask mandate in Taiwan!
So bring enough masks for your trip and be a socially responsible tourist!
However, masks are not required on flights to or from Taiwan – except on EVA Air and China Airlines.
Singapore Airlines passengers will not be required to mask up, as per the airline’s latest global mask policy.
What are the airlines that have resumed the Taiwan-Singapore route?
As of 10 October 2022, flights between Singapore and Taipei are operated by Singapore Airlines, Scoot, China Airlines, EVA Air and Starlux.
Using a Multi-currency Account & Card
Multi-currency accounts (and cards) like Revolut lets you exchange and store New Taiwan Dollars (TWD) in the account for use when you go over. They function like debit cards in Taiwan.
Under the Payment Services Act (PS Act) these digital multi-currency accounts have a wallet limit of S$5,000 and an annual spending limit of S$30,000.
There are some things to take note of though:
- Your bank or card issuer may charge you a fee for adding money to these accounts.
- Overseas ATM withdrawals may still incur charges by partner banks. These fees are beyond the control of digital banks.
- Likewise, foreign merchants and retailers may also impose a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) fee.
Instarem Amaze in Taiwan
The Instarem Amaze card facilitates any cross-border transactions and using this card overseas minus unpredictable currency conversion fees.
You’re allowed to link up to five Mastercard debit or credit cards, thus eliminating the need to carry multiple cards with you!
However, the downside is that there is no ATM withdrawal function. So, if you’re heading to the rural locations of Taiwan, you might want to explore other cards.
Revolut in Taiwan
If you have a Taiwanese bank account, you can easily transfer money using a Revolut account.
With a free Revolut account ATM card, you can withdraw up to ~$200 USD per month without any fees (after which they charge 2%).
Revolut charges 0.5% for foreign exchange exceeding ~$1000 USD per month. They also charge $3-4 USD for SWIFT transfers. Moreover, Taiwanese banks typically charge a fee on incoming USD transfers (e.g. Fubon charges $7 USD), but their USD to NTD rates are usually extremely good.
Bank of Taiwan and Fubon ATMs work well with Revolut cards and don’t charge any fees. Some other banks may charge a fee!
Do note that Revolut does not support NTD as a currency, so you have to transfer USD, which means that your Taiwanese bank account needs to support USD.
That said, you can still withdraw cash without a Taiwanese bank account using the Revolut Mastercard.
TransferWise in Taiwan
You can withdraw money for free twice a month, as long as the total amount is S$350 and under.
There is, however, a S$1.50 fixed fee per transaction, and if you withdraw more than S$350, you will be charged a 1.75 per cent on top of the fixed fee.
For the transferring of money, TransferWise charges 3.2USD for SWIFT transfers and their foreign exchange rate is roughly similar to Revolut.
If your source/sender currency is USD, you have to create a Same-Currency transfer and select USD.
Do note that TransferWise too, does not support NTD as a currency, so you have to transfer USD, which means that your Taiwanese bank account needs to support USD.
Wirex in Taiwan
You can use your Wirex Card to withdraw cash from any Visa-supported ATM.
There is, of course, a 2% fee imposed for ATM withdrawals.
There is a daily ATM withdrawal limit of up to S$1,400, inclusive of any ATM fees (eg if the withdrawal fee is $5, your limit is $1,395), and you can withdraw up to five times a day.
YouTrip in Taiwan
You can use your YouTrip card to withdraw cash from any overseas ATM that displays the Mastercard®, Maestro® and/or Cirrus® logos.
Withdrawals will be processed at YouTrip’s wholesale exchange rate, which supports 150+ currencies, including TWD.
Do note that there is a withdrawal fee of S$5 or equivalent, a daily withdrawal limit of S$5,000 and there might be some ATM operators that may impose additional fees (will display in ATM before withdrawal).
These are the steps to follow to withdraw cash using a YouTrip card:
Pro-tip: Top-up your preferred using UOB AMEX or GrabPay to get 1.7 per cent cashback!
Cash is King
While cashless options are on the rise, it is still a good idea to bring some cash along with you as there will be places that do not accept cashless payments.
This includes night market street booths!
Sometimes they may accept alternative payment methods like LINE Pay or smart cards like Taiwan’s EasyCard, but mostly cash.
Personally, I will bring 50 per cent of my spending budget in cash while keeping the remaining in a multi-currency card.
But of course, if you are touring the rural areas of Taiwan, you might want to have a much higher percentage in cash.
Use Credit Cards for Rewards and Lower Fees
Aside from bringing cash along, remember to take advantage of credit cards to enjoy rewards and lower currency conversion fees while you spend in Taiwan.
The Amaze card by Instarem for example, lets you enjoy 1 per cent cashback on foreign currency transactions* on top of any existing credit card rewards you may have.
Pro Tip: Pair the Citi Rewards card with Amaze to earn 4 miles per dollar on overseas spending!
It’s time to also check out credit cards that help you earn miles as you spend abroad.
Travel Insurance With COVID-19 Coverage
Since COVID-19 is here to stay, you should at the very least, cover any possible COVID-19 expenses that may spring up when you’re overseas.
Do compare the different products before you purchase any!
Choosing An Accommodation in Taiwan
From spartan hostels, mínsù (homestays), and hot spring hotels, to fancy resorts, Taiwan has all sorts of accommodation options.
Typically, a hostel would likely cost you about 350TWD per night, while basic budget hotels would be 600 TWD per night.
A look through Rough Guides, these are the average prices of accommodation:
|Accommodation||Estimated Price Per Night
|Budget Hotel||600TWD / SGD27|
|Mid-range Hotel||1,000 - 3,000TWD / SGD45 - 136|
|Mínsù (Homestays)||1,000 - 3,000TWD / SGD45 - 136|
|Hostel / Dorm||350 - 450TWD / SGD16 - 21|
|Hot Spring Hotel / Resort||6,000TWD / SGD272|
|Airbnb||Vary based on location and size of the room|
Buy a Taiwan High-Speed Rail Train Pass
Travelling within Taiwan can be made easier when you purchase a Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) Train Pass!
With options for a two, three and five-day pass, you can get unlimited access to travel across Taiwan’s major cities.
That said, if you’re not in a rush and prefer taking things slow, try the intercity transport options such as intercity buses, rail trains (subway, aka MRT) or the Tze-Chiang (Express) & Chu Kuang (Semi-Express) Trains.
These are cheaper alternatives and you would be better off just buying tickets separately as needed, or using an Easycard.
That said, these are the prices on Klook:
|Number of Days||What It Is||Price (SGD)|
|Flexible 2-Day Pass||Unlimited rides on Taiwan High Speed Rail trains for any 2 days of a designated 7 day period|
Passengers will have to visit the ticket counter to select the specific date, and no changes can be made after the date is confirmed
|3-Day Pass||Be able to select your start day, unlimited rides on Taiwan High Speed Rail trains for 3 consecutive days||$95.90|
|5-Day Pass (Standard)||Access unlimited travel for 5 days on Taiwan High Speed Rail and Taiwan Railway trains|
You will get unlimited travel on Taiwan Railways for 5 days and unlimited travel on Taiwan High Speed Rail for any 2 days
You will get the same unlimited rides on the mentioned days, plus the option to make seat reservations for the trains and the chances of taking Taroko Express and Puyuma Express when seats are available
|5-Day Pass (Express)||$162.55|
Important note: Don’t forget to grab a railway bento and drink before you hop onto the train!
- Do check out Klook and other similar sites as you may be able to find cheaper accommodations and experiences while enjoying cashback
- Consider renting a pocket WIFI while you’re there and remember to bring your portable charger as Google will be your best friend when navigating in Taiwan.
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