Taiwan: Money & Costs

In Taiwan, costs for the traveller are on a par with a good number of European countries, reflecting the rise in the standard of living on the island. However, Taiwan is still cheaper than Japan (which isn’t saying much). If you stay in youth hostels, live on noodles and travel by bus, you could get by on US$15.00 to US$20.00 a day. If you want a bathroom of your own, a few souvenirs, a couple of taxi trips and a decent feed or two a day, budget US$35.00 to US$50.00 a day. Staying in Taipei will cost you more than heading out to the country.
Travellers cheques and cash can be changed at international airports and large banks, but you’ll have trouble in rural areas. When changing money it’s best to stick to US dollars for cash and cheques if you can – other currencies will cause you problems. When changing cheques, shop around, as commission costs can vary widely. For the most part, only larger banks such as the International Bank of China (CBC) and Bank of Taiwan can change money. There are no legal private money changers in Taiwan, but if you’re stuck some jewellery shops will change cash. Major international credit cards can be used at big hotels and flashier restaurants or to get cash advances at your card’s offices.
Tipping is not the done thing in Taiwan. (However, at some nicer bars in Taipei the waitresses and waiters may expect a tip especially if they are used to Western customers.) The only people who really expect you to shell out are hotel bellhops and airport porters, who will expect about US$1.00 a bag. Big hotels and restaurants will stick 10% service charge and 5% value added tax on your bill. Taiwan is not a developing country, so don’t expect to haggle yourself a bargain – you may be able to get a slight discount (around 10%) in street markets and small shops.
Currency of Taiwan is New Taiwan Dollar and symbolized as ‘NT$’.

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