How Safe is Taiwan?

The simple answer is: Very safe. Taiwan is one of the safest destinations in the world for Western tourists. Taiwanese people hold no political or religious grudges against North Americans, Europeans, or people from Hong Kong or Singapore. Standards of hygiene are decent: Unless you’ve an unusually delicate stomach, you’ll be able to enjoy the street food and you can brush your teeth with tap water. (That said, most visitors, like the majority of local people, drink tap water that’s been boiled or bottled mineral water.)

Taiwanese society is affluent (adjusted for purchasing power, in 2023 Taiwan’s per capita GDP ranked 14th in the world). What’s more, wealth disparities aren’t extreme, so crimes of desperation are rare. That said, it pays to take precautions against pickpockets when in a crowd (at a festival, say), and to exercise caution when crossing roads. Throughout Taiwan, roads are generally well maintained and clearly signposted in English as well as Chinese, but it’s usually better to hire an experienced local driver-guide if you plan to spend a lot of time in the mountains.

Beyond the island’s major attractions, non-Asian tourists are still relatively rare, so local people are always helpful and welcoming. Unlike some other places in Asia, foreign visitors are seen as honored guests. Price gouging is almost unknown, and if you leave something valuable in a restaurant or a taxi, there’s an excellent chance you’ll get it back.

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