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andyhsu

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

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I am from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan

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Asia > Taiwan > Useful Info
Submitted on Feb 06, 2019 Useful Info

What language to speak to get around Taiwan

  • Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in Taiwan and is universally understood
  • Some word choice is different from the Mandarin spoken on Mainland, and our accents are different, but we can still understand them and vice versa. So if you can speak Chinese Mandarin you won't have any issue getting around Taiwan at all
  • Written Chinese is very different. We use traditional Chinese characters here but mainlanders use simplified Chinese. If you've learned simplified Chinese script you might not understand many signs and characters used here
  • English proficiency is unfortunately not high outside of tourism industry and top white collar professionals. If you don't speak Chinese, I'm not going to lie you will likely find it hard explore Taiwan outside of the "tourist bubble" as I call it
  • Hotels: high English proficiency. You'll have no problem whatsoever at most hotels and Airbnb. Hostels is hit or miss, more hit than miss
  • Airport and high speed train stations: fairly high English proficiency but you will still run into some staff who don't speak a word of it
  • Tourist attractions: high English proficiency
  • Public transportation and taxi: low English proficiency
  • Supermarkets and convenience stores: low English proficiency
  • Car rental companies: decent English proficiency at major companies. Smaller companies I'd say is hit or miss, more miss than hit
  • Street vendors, fast food, local eateries: low English proficiency