Driving in Taiwan can be a fun, but sometimes stressful, experience! While driving is the best way to visit more out of reach areas such as Nantou, Hualien, and Taitung, those visiting Taipei should stick to public transit since driving and parking within the city can be difficult.
Taiwan has 2 major highways, numbers 1 and 3, that run north to south from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Other highways include Highway 2 which connects Taiwan Taoyuan Airport (TPE) to Highways 1 and 3, Highway 5 which runs from Taipei to the southern point of Yilan, which connects along to Hualien and Taroko Gorge, Highway 6 connects Taichung to Nantou and Qingjing Farm, and other highways serve as connectors to different cities, all branching off Highways 1 and 3.
All highways in Taiwan are tolled electronically by either scanning an E-Tag prepaid account or scanning the license plate of the car and billing later. Those renting cars are expected to pay for these tolls when returning the car.
Taiwan's roads are notorious for having well-placed speed trap cameras along the sides. These cameras are very visible, however, with ample warning times and clearly marked signs (in Chinese only), and finding them can be a fun game for passengers in the car.
Traffic in Taiwan moves along the right side of the road, similar to the United States. and visitors from Singapore, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, and Thailand should be aware that traffic is on the opposite side of the road and should exercise caution.
To drive legally in Taiwan, please be sure to first apply for an International Driver's Permit (IDP) in your home country. In most cases, an IDP is sufficient to drive a car in Taiwan. Country-specific regulations can be found on on this website.
Renting a Car
Driving a Motorcycle / Scooter in Taiwan
A motorcycle license (either Taiwan or international) is required for rental, and those without prior experience are not recommended to drive a motorcycle in Taiwan. While some shops may be lenient and rent to those without a proper license (especially if you ask nicely), most will politely decline. Driving a motorcycle in heavily trafficked areas is not recommended, however, cruising around more sparsely populated areas such as Hualien and Taitung is suitable even for those with minimal experience. Places such as Penghu, Green Island, and Orchid Island (Lanyu) are especially suitable for riding a motorcycle, and for those without a proper license it is easier to find a rental. Renting an electronic bike (popular in Kenting) is a good option, and those with a valid car IDP are permitted to drive a 50cc motorcycle with a green license plate. Although a 50cc is not powerful enough to climb hills or carry too much weight, it is fine for scooting around town.
Information for Singaporeans
International Driving Permits can be applied for at the Automobile Association of Singapore (AA). Fee is S$20, and a photo is not required as it will be taken at the office. Please bring your NRIC and drivers license to one of the following AA locations:
- AA @ GB Point - Next to Blk 69 Food Centre, formerly the site of Mandarin Theatre, 535 Kallang Bahru
- AA @ 51 AMK - Next to AMK Hub, above McDonalds and S11 coffeeshop, 51 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3
Information for Malaysians
International Driving Permits can be applied for at any JPJ or AAM office. Fee is RM150 per year, and 2 passport-sized photographs are required. Please bring your MyKad and drivers license, as well as a photocopy of both sides of both cards to the office and apply. Please note that Malaysians are not allowed to have 2 licenses, so the Malaysia license must be surrendered to the JPJ while the international license is active. After returning from your trip, cancel your IDP and reclaim your domestic license from the JPJ.
Information for USA residents and Canadians
International Driving Permits can be applied for at any AAA (or CAA) office. Fee is US$20 (C$25 for Canada), and 2 passport-sized photographs are required. Please bring your local state/province drivers license to the office and apply.