By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: How can I get around Taipei? Iím doing a DIY trip there shortly.

A: By foot and by public transit and if you wish to splurge on cabs, then you can consider this option too. While the roads are well marked, I wouldnít recommend a car rental unless you are traveling with a companion familiar with the city. The traffic can get pretty hectic.

Now once you land in Taipei at the Taoyuan International Airport (formerly Chiang Kai-shek International Airport) be sure to visit the Tourism visitor information centre located in Terminal I at the first floor arrivalís lounge. If you missed this information booth donít worry. There are plenty more around.

You might wish to visit the Taiwan Tourism Board online at before you leave home and click on the "Useful Contacts" link. You can find detailed contact information, including telephone numbers and addresses, for tourist service centers, including visitor centers at Taoyuan International Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport, and various national scenic areas, as well as county and city government visitor centers.

So letís suppose by now you are jet lagged and loaded up with maps and brochures you got from the visitor information centre. Now youíre ready to depart the airport. Taxis are frequent and readily available and so are buses and shuttle buses. If you plan on taking a bus, you can pay the driver but make sure you have Taiwanese dollars.

You can purchase local currency right at the airport to make your life easier. Bus fare runs about NT$110 to $140 for a single fare and travel time into Taipei will run at about one hour. Once you reach your accommodation you can enquire at the conciergeís desk for nearest shops, and subway routes.

In Taipei, they refer to their public transit system as the MRT or Taipei Metro. Depending on how many days you plan on staying, you can purchase a Taipei Pass available at any subway station. A one day pass costs $180NT and gets you unlimited rides on the metro and buses. For $250NT, you can buy a one day unlimited use pass which also gets you three trips on their Maokong gondola. The gondola is a great way to see the sights.

Lastly should you need help while in Taipei you can call the 24-hour toll-free Traveler Information Hotline at: 0800-011-765. This free service has a team of friendly staff who can assist you in English.


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