Taiwan is a place that should be explored not just with public transportation (as convenient as it is). If you only take public transportation everywhere you go, you are missing out on a huge part of Taiwan. You could take taxis everywhere to see these sights, like a rich Chinese person, or you can take the cheaper option and rent a vehicle. Many of the scenic and rural sights of Taiwan can’t be experienced except by hiring your own vehicle.
Renting cars or scooters in Taiwan:
Taiwan is the scooter capitol of the world. Driving a scooter is dangerous, but scooters are fun. They are also pretty easy to learn how to operate; if you can already drive a car and/or ride a bike, picking up riding a moped shouldn’t be that hard. There’s not much better of way to experience Taiwan than cruising down the streets like everyone else with the wind blowing in your face. However, if you are afraid that scooters are dangerous, I would suggest renting a car.
Scooter Rental Fast Facts:
Scooter rental places are next to most all train stations in Taiwan. Some scooter repair shops also rent them.
Cheapest is 100 NT a day, average is about 500 NT, expensive is 800 NT.
What should I bring?
Maybe rain gear. Usually they will provide rain gear for you. They will definitely give you helmets. Some will siphon the gas out before you ride.
Do I need a Scooter License?
Maybe, it depends on where you go. If you go to an outer island, usually they don’t care. If you go to a more rural part of Taiwan, most likely they will accept an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). If you go to a place such as Taichung, no one will let you rent a scooter unless they see your Taiwanese license. For more information, please see our blog post about getting a Taiwanese driver’s license.
How do I get a local Taiwanese licence?
Check out our guide on getting a driver’s licence in Taiwan here.
Cities that require a local Taiwanese Scooter License: Taichung, Taipei, Magong, Chishang.
Cities that only have a few shops that will let you rent with an IDP: Tainan (北門租車）, Hualien (Pony leasing and Rental Group 小馬租車集團)
Cities that accept an international driver’s permit: Tainan (北門租車）, Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Nantou county (Sun moon lake and Jiji) , Taitung, Hualien (Pony leasing and Rental Group 小馬租車集團), Ruisui, Kenting, Jiaoxi, Nanzhuang, and offshore islands
Cities that do not require a license: Offshore islands (Xiaoliuqiu and Green Island) and Chiayi (some).
Anything else I should consider when renting a scooter in Taiwan?
- You cannot ride on national highways, freeways, in front of Taipei main station, and inner lanes of some multiple lane roads.
- Most left turns require the two-step turn, which means you pull off to the right of the intersection and stop in a white box. Then you wait for the light to turn green. If there is no box or two-arrow sign in the intersection, and its a small intersection, you can probably turn left without the two-step turn.
- Turning right on a red light is against the law.
- When turning right, check your blind spot and the space behind you for scooters. There are scooters everywhere. To make a safe right turn, make sure to signal early, turn slowly, and check your mirrors and blind spots.
- Check for speed cameras and red light cameras. These are the only effective way of traffic enforcement in Taiwan, and they are everywhere!
- Getting in an accident can be messy and involve a long litigation process. If it’s just a minor accident, consider paying cash to the other person and avoid calling the police if at all possible. However, always consult with your rental company on their accident policies.
- There are a few lanes in Taipei City that are just for buses. Don’t drive on them.
- On some roads there is a small lane to the right of the road meant for scooters.
- If you are riding into the mountains, make sure you have enough gas for the journey.
- If you come to a blind corner, there should be a round mirror at the intersection to let you see if there is any oncoming traffic from the right or left.