Practical Information

Climate

Chinese Taipei is a year-round destination. Summer (June-August) is the warmest and most humid part of the year, while autumn (September-November) is the driest and most comfortable season.

Currency

The New Taiwan dollar or simply Taiwan dollar, currency code TWD and common abbreviation NT$, is the official currency of Chinese Taipei since 1949, when it replaced the Old Taiwan dollar. Originally issued by the Bank of Taiwan, it has been issued by the Central Bank of the Republic of China since 2000.

1 USD = Approx. 29 TWD (as of February 22, 2014)

Language

The language with the most native speakers in Chinese Taipei is Mandarin Chinese followed by Taiwanese Hokkien, or "Taiwanese" for short. 
The most popular foreign language in Taiwan is English, which is part of the regular school curriculum.

Time Difference

The time in Taipei is GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) +8 when standard time is operating.

Emergency Numbers

Fire/Ambulance:   119
Police:                   110

Pharmacies

There are many small pharmacies throughout Taipei. Opening time is from 09:00 to 15:30.

Electricity

Chinese Taipei uses the same standards for electric power as the United States, 110V, 60Hz. Most 110V sockets have two vertical slots, and closely resemble the American system, except there is not a third prong for grounding. A small adapter may come in handy for travelers who need to use their own electrical devices.

Religious Services

Chinese Taipei is highly diversified in terms of religious belief, with the practices of Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Mormonism, the Unification Church, Islam, and Hinduism, as well as native sects such as Yiguandao and others. The country not only respects traditional faiths but also opens its arms to other types of religious thought from the outside.

Gratuities

Tips are not usually expected in Chinese Taipei, especially in restaurants. However, a small tip for bellboys or airport porters or taxis is appreciated (about 1 USD or 30 TWD). Hotels normally include a 10% service charge with room rates and meals.

For restaurants (especially in large hotels), if there is a tip to be taken, they will just add 10-15% to your check. Even very small family style Taiwanese restaurants are doing this now (usually no more than 10%), so if you are sensitive to service charges, ask first. 

Opening & Closing Times

Taipei has many night markets, the most famous and busiest of which is the Shilin Night Market in the Shilin District (accessible from Jiantan Station, 劍潭). Night markets are popular places for low priced eating and shopping. Most night markets in Chinese Taipei open around 16:00 and crowds reach their peak during the late evening hours. Businesses continue operating well past midnight.

Banks: 

Monday to Friday 09:00 to 15:30
Saturday 09:00 to 12:00

Useful Advice

Chinese Taipei offers some of the best culinary delights in all of Asia. Just like in any country it is important to make proper judgment calls on what you choose to eat. Night markets are also safe and for an exciting gourmet experience for travelers to try the different treats that are sold there. Water is also safe to drink, but just as in many places, the purest water always comes from a bottle.

Visa Letter of Attestation

Attestation letters to assist in visa formalities are designed to help overcome administrative difficulties in certain countries. It must be understood that such letters do not imply any financial support or hosting arrangement from IOF, nor a guarantee of a visa being issued. The attestation letter to assist in visa formalities will only be sent on request and only to participants who have paid their registration fees in full.

Should you wish to receive a letter, please note that your request must be registered as early as possible by filling in the appropriate fields in the on-line registration form before August 31, 2014 in case it has not been requested at the time of registration.