Almost ready for your trip to Taiwan? Whether it’s preparing for the intense storms of typhoon season or keeping cool during Taiwan’s blazing hot summers, figuring what to pack for Taiwan is one of the most important parts of your trip planning adventure!
Not sure where to get started? Ensure you’ve got all the bases covered with this complete Taiwan packing list for independent travellers covering everything from what to wear in Taiwan to essential travel gear like luggage and travel accessories that will make your trip sail as smoothly as possible.
What to pack for Taiwan
Whenever I’m in the throes of trip planning, after I’ve booked flights and some mid-range luxury accommodations I move onto shopping for travel insurance. Although it can sometimes feel like an unnecessary expense at times, trust me, you’ll thank yourself for the purchase if anything ever goes wrong!
When you’re looking for travel insurance for Taiwan, you’ll want to look out for a policy that covers things like medical care, trip cancellation, theft, and lost or damaged luggage.
Like most other destinations around the world, one of the most important elements of your travel insurance policy is medical coverage. With the wide variety outdoor activities in Taiwan (and crazy things like six species of venomous snakes lurking about—eek!), good medical coverage isn’t something you’ll want to skimp on.
Although the cost of medical care in Taiwan is much less than a country like the United States, hospitals in Taiwan may refuse to treat you if you don’t have travel insurance with medical coverage. You’ll also want to make sure you have a policy covering medical evacuation for more serious illnesses of injuries requiring longer-term hospitalization.
Looking for coverage at an affordable price? Travel insurance from World Nomads is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online. Get a quote by clicking here.
Guidebooks & Phrasebooks
- Guidebooks: As much as I rely on technology, I rarely travel without a paper guidebook by my side (plus, I love reading). For Taiwan, for guidebooks are most comprehensive than Lonely Planet Taiwan. If you’re sticking around Taipei a little longer, Lonely Planet Pocket Taipei covers the city in a little more detail.
- Phrasebooks: For a relatively small island, there’s a surprising amount of linguistic diversity on Taiwan. The lingua franca of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese. This will undoubtedly be the most useful language for communicating in areas outside of the main cities where finding English speakers will be more difficult. Few Chinese phrasebooks are better in a pinch than the Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook.
- Language Learning Resources: Of course, for a tonal language like Chinese nothing will substitute hearing and mimicking the language. The audio-only Teach Yourself Speak Mandarin Chinese with Confidence is a good place to start. Routledge’s Colloquial Chinese goes further for those interested in going more into depth with Chinese. For coming to grips with Chinese script, Reading and Writing Chinese will teach you everything you need to know.
Luggage & Accessories
- Backpack: Although any type of luggage will help you get around Taiwan like a pro, my own choice would be the Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack or Osprey Porter 46. Both of these compact backpacks, sized as carry-on luggage on most aircraft, are perfect for short-term travel, ditching the inconvenient drawstring-style hiking backpack design for a front-loading one. For more choices, take a look at our top picks for the best travel backpacks for men here and the best travel backpacks for women here.
- Daypack: Whenever I’m travelling, I always like to carry around a daypack to keep a few travel essentials by my side when I’m out and amount. Since I’m absolutely batty about keepin’ it light, I love the ultra-light, packable, waterproof, and value-laden Tortuga Setout Daypack. Or for something a little bigger and more robust, check out the Osprey Daylite Plus. For more choices, peruse our list of the best daypacks for travel by clicking here.
- Packing Cubes: Expand the organizational capabilities of your backpack with a set of packing cubes. No need to go crazy here. A simple set of basic packing cubes are more than enough to stay organized on your trip to Taiwan!
- Universal Power Adapter: With the popularity of charging via USB, most of your favourite devices won’t require separate voltage adapters to charge abroad. Picking up a universal power adapter will serve you well, not just on your Taiwan itinerary, but anywhere you might roam.
- Portable Charger: If you simply don’t want to chance not having enough juice for your devices while out in the city or country, carry along a portable power bank like the Anker Powercore 10000. This portable charger is compact and lightweight, and is equipped with a 10000mAh battery capable of charging an iPhone 6s almost 4 times from a single full charge.
- Pocket WiFi: Stay connected anywhere you visit in Taiwan without using public WiFi by bringing along a 4G Portable WiFi Router. If you’re travelling solo and have an unlocked device, you might consider getting an Asian eSIM Data Plan instead.
- Headphones: Few travel accessories will put you in the zone better than the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones. These premium headphones feature active noise cancellation and crisp sound quality. For a cheaper alternative without noise cancellation, the Sennheiser HD 4.40 Around Ear Wireless Headphones offer excellent sound quality and block out much of the ambient sound while listening to music.
- Kindle: If you’d rather not carry a bundle of books, an e-reader is the perfect way to lighten the load. I personally love the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s lightweight and features excellent battery life and a paper-like screen that’s easy on the eyes.
- Camera: As good as smartphone cameras are getting, there’s no better feeling than snapping photos with a high-quality camera. My own personal preference for travel photography is the Nikon D7200, an awesome mid-range DLSR that’ll take your photos to the next level without costing you thousands.
Virtual Private Network
Even if you’re not relying on Internet cafés (remember those?) for staying connected, ensure your privacy isn’t as cut-and-dry as it sometimes seems. Whether you’re using your own device with a 4G Portable WiFi router or connecting to a public WiFi network, you should safeguard your data by connecting through a reliable virtual private network (VPN).
Among travel VPNs, there’s few better choices than NordVPN.
Although Internet access in Taiwan is open (unlike in mainland China), with NordVPN you’ll be able to route your connection through their servers all around the world, making it easy to access the same services you normally would at home. (That means no more missing the latest episodes of Narcos or Riverside on Netflix!)
Best of all, NordVPN doesn’t record any of your browsing history and uses double encryption technology to protect your precious data. Their “no server logs” policy (thanks Panama!) keeps anyone from hackers to the authorities from peeking or requesting further information about your Internet usage.
Get connected safely in Taiwan (and anywhere) by checking out the latest deals on NordVPN.
- Rain Jacket: It’s inevitable that even if you choose the best time to visit Taiwan, you’ll end up getting rained on. I’d also recommend stuffing an emergency rain jacket into your daypack to combat the possibility. For the hot & humid Taiwanese summer, something lightweight like the Outdoor Research Men’s Helium II or Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II will be perfect. In the milder months of spring & fall, opt for something like the Helly Hansen Men’s Seven J or Helly Hansen Women’s Seven J instead. For more options, check out our guides to the best men’s waterproof jackets for travel and the best women’s waterproof jackets for travel.
- Fleece or Softshell Jacket: In all but the coldest months between December and February, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to pack a fleece. If you’re travelling to Taiwan in winter, the Columbia Men’s Fuller Ridge and Columbia Women’s Fuller Ridge should keep you warm on the odd occasion when the temperatures dip into the single digits or low teens. With Taiwan’s rainy weather, however, warmer softshell jackets like the The North Face Men’s Apex Bionic 2 and The North Face Women’s Apex Bionic 2 are generally more useful. Find more options with these guides to the best men’s softshell jackets, the best women’s softshell jackets and the top men’s fleece jackets and top women’s fleece jackets.
- Hats: In the dead heat of a Taiwanese summer (and even in spring & fall), you’ll want to bring along a hat to protect yourself from sunstroke and heat exhaustion. The UV-protected and moisture-wicking The North Face Men’s Breakaway Hat or the Columbia Women’s Bryce Canyon Hat are great additions to your Taiwan packing list.
- Walking Shoes: If you’re planning to dig mostly into Taiwan’s top urban destinations, I’d recommend packing a good pair of walking shoes. The lightweight, airy, and comfortable Sketchers Men’s Go Walk 3 Walking Shoes or Sketchers Women’s Go Walk 3 Walking Shoes are excellent choices for Taiwan at any time of the year.
- Hiking Shoes: When your Taiwanese adventures take you to the hiking trails, there’s no substitute for a solid hiking shoe. My own personal favourites for warmer climates like Taiwan are the Merrell Men’s Moab Edge and the Merrell Women’s Moab Edge for their breathable design. For more options check out these guides to the best men’s trail hiking shoes and the best women’s trail hiking shoes.
- Socks: For the hot & humid conditions of Taiwan, I’d recommend packing some moisture-wicking, quick-dry ultralight synthetic hiking socks like the REI Co-op Coolmax Ultralight Hiking Quarter Socks.
- Travel Pants: If you’re serious about minimalist packing (and comfort), then you really need to try packing some travel pants! For hot & wet Taiwan, a good pair of lightweight, quick-dry travel pants like the Patagonia Quandary Travel Pants and prAna Brion Travel Pants will come in handy. For more ideas, check out these top picks for the best men’s travel pants.
- Travel Shirts: Like investing in some travel pants, travel shirts will shed a couple extra ounces and save some space in your backpack with their traveller-friendly design. For the bulk of the year, the lightweight & stylish KUHL Stealth Shirt or the ultra-casual REI Co-op Sahara T-Shirt will be excellent additions to your Taiwan packing list.
- Sweaters: Although you’ll spend most of the year in Taiwan trying to stay cool not get warmer, it’s a good idea to travel with a light sweater as a backup for cooler evenings between November and April. A lightweight hoodie like the The North Face Men’s Canyonlands Hoodie should be enough.
- Travel Shorts: Like most of Asia, shorts aren’t necessarily a favourite fashion among locals. With the dead heat of Taiwan, however, you’d be an absolute madman for not bringing a pair along in the warmest months. To not attract the wrong kind of attention, stick to a pair of longer lightweight travel shorts like the prAna Men’s Stretch Zion Shorts or Royal Robbins Men’s Coast Shorts.
- Swimsuit: Like with regular shorts if you want to hit up the beach in Taiwan stick to a longer board short rather than the “European” Speedo look. Swimming trunks like the O’Neill Men’s Santa Cruz Brisbane Board Shorts are stylish without drawing negative vibes from conservative Taiwanese locals.
- Travel Pants: For travelling in a warmer country like Taiwan, it’s best to stick to lightweight and breathable travel pants over regular ones. Few are better overall for female travellers than prAna Halle Travel Pants or, for a little more stylish look, Anatomie Skyler Travel Pants. (These will also come in handy when visiting temples as shorts and skirts are not allowed.) For more ideas, check out these top picks for the best women’s travel pants.
- Travel Shirts: Likewise, switching out your regular shirts for a travel shirts will help you stay cool and lighten up your load. The Columbia PFG Tamami II Short-Sleeve Shirt or the REI Co-op Sahara Heather T-Shirt are good choices here.
- Travel Shorts: Like in both Japan and Korea, it’s not as common for women in Taiwan to wear short shorts as elsewhere in the world. Keep cool with something modest like the Royal Robbins Discovery Bermuda Shorts to blend in better.
- Travel Skirts/Dresses: Similarly, you’ll want to go a little more conservative with your skirt choices in Taiwan than you would in, let’s say, Europe. The lightweight and breathable Royal Robbins Discovery Travel Skirt is a great choice here. There’s even an extra zippered security pocket designed specifically for travellers.
- Swimsuit: Although Taiwan’s modest fashion sense is a little more relaxed on its beaches, you might feel more comfortable in a one-piece swimsuit like the prAna Moorea rather than a bikini.
- Hanging Toiletry Bag: Unless you’re planning to stay in some of the best luxury hotels in Taipei (check some out right here), packing up your essentials in ProCase Hanging Toiletry Bag will help you save space in the sometimes cramped bathrooms found in Taiwanese accommodations.
- Travel Towel: Although most mid-range & luxury hotels will switch out your towels daily, it’s nice to carry around a multi-purpose towel for times when you’re out and about whether it’s in a Taiwanese hot spring or at the beach. The ultra-absorbent and quick-drying REI Co-op Multi Towel Deluxe is an excellent choice that doesn’t weigh down your backpack.
- Travel Umbrella: It’s inevitable that in a place like Taiwan you’ll get caught in the rain. Keep the compact, sturdy & lightweight Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella with you at all times to be prepared for whatever Taiwan throws your way.
- RFID Wallet: After having my credit card information stolen via RFID, I swapped out my regular wallet for a RFID-blocking wallet and haven’t looked back since. The Travelambo RFID-Blocking Minimalist Wallet is a simple but effective solution to ward off would-be scammers.
- RFID Passport Protector: With newer e-passports the same warning applies. Protect your RFID-enabled passports with a Zoppen RFID Travel Wallet & Organizer. There’s even extra room for multiple passports, credit cards, boarding passes, and other travel documents.
- Travel Pillow: When you’re hopping on a crazy-long international flights like to Taiwan, you’ll cherish having a comfortable travel pillow by your side. The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow features an innovative design that supports, not just the neck, but the chin to keep your neck in a more natural position for better in-flight sleep.
- Sleep Mask: I can’t say I’ve used these regularly, but many travellers insist that these are absolute essentials for long-haul flights. If the light in the cabin (or even your hotel room) is a little too bright, the ALASKA BEAR Natural Silk Sleep Mask will ensure complete darkness for an uninterrupted sleep.
- Ear Plugs: If you’re a light sleeper, keeping some ear plugs around is a great idea. For a versatile pair, I’d recommend the Luiswell Travel Ear Plugs. They’re specifically designed for travellers, automatically reducing pressure due to altitude shifts.
- Water Bottle: With the crazy heat & humidity of Taiwan, you’ll want to make sure you’ve always got a water close by to avoid dehydration. The Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle is a nice compact choice for your daypack. If you’re planning on doing some serious backwoods hiking in Taiwan, bring along an awesome GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle. In just 15 seconds, this innovative UV-purifier will filter out bacteria, viruses and heavy metals from natural water sources.
- Hairdryer & Straightener: The humidity in Taiwan can do a number on your hair, especially if it’s got a tendency to get frizzy. Most mid-range & luxury hotels in Taiwan will supply hairdryers, but you’ll often be on your own for a straightener. Although Taiwan’s voltage is the same as the United States and Canada, frequent travellers should consider picking up a dual-voltage dryer like the Jinri 1875-Watt Travel Hair Dryer to use on all their adventures. Likewise, a dual-voltage travel straighter like the Jinri Professional Travel Flat Iron will keep your hair in check wherever you go in the world.
- Oral Care: Don’t forget your favourite toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash for your trip! (Although you’ll have no trouble finding familiar oral care products in Taiwan.)
- Soap/Body Wash/Shampoo/Conditioner: Most mid-range & luxury hotels in Taiwan will take care of these basic toiletries and help you to pack a little lighter. If you’ve got a favourite shampoo or conditioner, bring it along as you might not find the same formula in Taiwan.
- Hair Styling Products: Like much of Asia, there’s a ton of variety in hair care products in Taiwan although finding your exact favourite brand might be a challenge.
- Deodorant: You won’t have a problem finding deodorant in Taiwan, although some major North American brands might not be so easy to find.
- Lip Balm: To protect your lips from Taiwan’s hot sun, be sure to bring along a sunscreen lip balm like the Sun Bum SPF30 Lip Balm.
- Sunscreen: Bringing sunscreen from home is often cheaper than buying it abroad. Anything like Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion should do the trick.
- Hand Sanitizer: Especially when you’re tackling street food in Taiwan, I’d recommend keeping a bottle of Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer in your daypack as a precautionary measure.
- First-Aid Kit: At the minimum, your travel first-aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic ointment and hydrocortizone (for rashes) as well as anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, anti-inflammatory, fever reducing and allergy medications. Keep any prescription in their original bottles. (Trust me, you don’t want to chance it on this one anywhere in the world!)
- Grooming Kit: Don’t forget to bring along a travel-sized grooming kit like the budget-friendly 12-piece Tseoa Professional Grooming Kit. It includes nail clippers, tweezers and scissors and a handful of other grooming tools to stay looking your best.
- Razors: Although it’s getting easier to find good razors abroad, I always bring along my trusty Gilette Fusion 5 instead of relying on those god-awful, skin-hacking disposable travel razors. (Women will likewise love the smooth and silky Gilette Venus Swirl.)
All set with your Taiwan packing list? Here’s some more packing tips for other destinations in East Asia…
- Hong Kong: Combat the hot & humid weather of this former British colony with this complete Hong Kong packing list.
- Korea: Get prepped for a trip to East Asia’s favourite peninsula with this complete Korea packing list and guide on what to wear in Korea.
- Japan: Don’t let the diverse Japanese weather trip up your travel planning! Get packing like a pro with this complete Japan packing list.