Driving in Taiwan is probably the same as other developing countries. The rush hour traffic of highways and main roads causes impatient drivers in a hurry. Parking in the main cities must be along a planned street or in a parking lot. However it is very different while driving in countries, with less traffic at leisure and usually no problem parking on the side of the road. Public transportation is convenient only in Taipei City, but not practical in other cities even at downtown areas. Therefore, driving or riding a scooter is the choice of most locals. Usually the road is shared by cars, scooters, some bicycles and pedestrians, so the drivers must pay attention. By the way Taiwan is right-hand traffic, so the driver sets on the left of a car.
Taiwan has 1200 km coastline and 70% of mountain area. It would be the best experience driving to the mountains or along the coasts. The highest point of the public road in Taiwan is Wuling, which is located in Hualien on Line 14A, with 3,275 meters above sea level. The most dangerous public road could be Line 8, which crosses the Central Mountain Range, and even has not been fully repaired since the 921 earthquake in 1999. In general, the main roads on the mountain are well maintained, but beware of soil and rock collapse after heavy rain. Be careful of some narrow roads when two cars are passing by. To avoid getting lost or unable to call for help, don’t go down paths without a clear sign.
To rent a car in Taiwan, the passport, international driving permit (IDP) , national driver’s license, and main driver’s credit card are required. IDP has a 30-day validity. For more than 30 days, you have to apply to the Motor Vehicle Driver Information Service (MVDIS) a driving permit, which is valid up to one year. Except the passport, an one inch photo of applicant is a must for a driving permit. The business hour of MVDIS in every county are Monday to Friday 8:00~17:00, closed on weekends. You can also rent a scooter when you arrive at an offshore island or stay in a part of a city. The required documents are the same as car rent. For a long term residence, 68 countries around the world have mutually recognized driver’s license with Taiwan. Simply use the national driver’s license of these countries, you can drive in Taiwan based on the Traffic Safety Regulation No.55. Japan driver’s license need an additional Chinese translation, because of a mutual condition required between two countries.
Documents for pick up a car
- National driver’s license and IDP
- Credit card：deposit from the main driver
- Printed voucher：preferred currency
- Reference：中華民國外交部全球資訊網 (mofa.gov.tw)
- Reference：持互惠國之外國駕照.pdf (roc-taiwan.org)