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Taxis in Taiwan: Everything you need to know!

  • When to use taxis


  • How to hail a taxi


  • Helpful Chinese phrases

For English speakers, taxis are the ‘scariest’ form of public transportation in Taiwan, since they’re the least automated and drivers mostly speak Chinese. Even though they’re not the easiest, they are definitely still worth using and sometimes they’re even the only option, so it’s best to know how they work in case you need one!


In America, taxis have largely gone out of fashion and Uber is king, but in Taiwan it is opposite. Like in other countries around the world, Uber has run into legal challenges here and currently only still operates in a few big cities such as Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu. Even in those cities, fare might be higher or the wait might be longer than if you took a taxi. Like everywhere else, when you see a taxi, hail one by sticking your hand up if the light on top of the car is on and they’ll stop if they’re available for passengers. Taxis are mostly new/clean, use a meter and are a safe form of transportation.


You can find taxis at the usual stands outside airports, train stations and MRT stations. It is customary to take the first one waiting in the line. If you’re staying at a hotel or a hostel, ask the front desk to call you one. Friends, bartenders and wait staff at restaurants have also been great at calling a taxi for me if they speak English. The hotline is 55688 and is very easy and quick to call IF you know Chinese. If you don’t have someone to help call or you don’t know conversational Chinese yourself, walk along big/main roads until you find any of the above locations or until you find a taxi. If you’re in a smaller city and use one to get somewhere, ask the taxi driver for his card or phone number to call him for the way back as well. If you’re up for a bit of Google Translate, there are apps like LINE Taxi, Taiwan Taxi 55688, Taiwan Metro Taxi 55178, or Find Taxi you can download and use.


Taxis in Taiwan are almost always metered, unless you are travelling a long way or are out in small cities and then you can discuss the fee with your taxi driver and agree BEFORE LEAVING. Fares usually start at NTD $70 and add $5 for every 200 meters and small surcharges can be added for late night or rush hour, etc. You’ll usually hear a loud ‘beep’ in the car whenever the fare increases on the meter so that you can keep an eye on the price. All taxis reliably take cash (they’ve always had change if needed), but some will also take credit cards and Easy Cards if you see the symbols. Some taxi drivers will know English numbers so they can tell you how much to pay at the end of the ride ($180 = one, eight, zero), some can use their hands to mime the amount, a few nice ones have written the number on a phone or piece of paper for me to see, and some will just show you the meter so you can see for yourself.


99% of taxi drivers will not speak English and if they do, it is VERY little. Honestly, the most Chinese I use is when we take taxis, but don’t let that scare you… it’s still possible to take taxis even with zero Chinese (and even easier with the 6 phrases below)! When you get in the taxi, say hello to the driver and hand them a piece of paper or a note on your phone with the address you want to go to written/typed in Chinese. They’ll look at it, you ask ‘OK?’, they’ll say ‘OK’ and turn on the meter and drive. If you want to get out of the taxi early, you can say ‘here’ or ‘OK’ and point to the curb and they know to pull over. They’ll tell you how much money or you can ask if you want, pay them, say thank you and get out. There is no tipping in Taiwan!


**SOMETIMES, if you don’t have the address written down or copied on your phone, you can have Google Maps open with where you want to go and hand the driver your phone to look at. But sometimes, the driver will say ‘no’ and you’ll need to get out and find another one that can figure it out (the younger the driver, the higher the possibility this will work).


If you’re spending more than 3 days in Taiwan, take 30 minutes to learn and practice basic Chinese numbers (1-10, 20, 30, 40, etc. and ‘100’ will be great) and the below phrases. All can be found in easy Youtube videos and are all you will need in order to take a taxi and communicate with drivers!


  • Hello / Ni Hao! (nee how)
  • Yes, OK / Hao (how)
  • Thank you / xiexie (shay shay)
  • How Much? / Duōshâo qián (doe shaow chien)
  • Goodbye / Bye bye!
  • No / Bu (boo)