Preface Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:27 AM
The island of Taiwan was
first incorporated into the Chinese empire in 1206 under the Mongol
Yuan dynasty as a protectorate. In 1684 it was added to the coastal
province of Fujian -- by which time a number of other powers were
also staking their claim. The Portuguese gave Taiwan the name
Formosa, by which it is still sometimes known; their tenure was
brief and they were soon replaced by the Spanish and later the
Dutch, who both sought to control the lucrative trade routes
commanded by Taiwan. Later, Taiwan became a wild and woolly frontier
outpost of China's Qing dynasty -- which, after being defeated by
the Japanese in 1895, -- transferred control of the island to Tokyo.
With Japan's defeat in World War II, the Nationalist government of
Mainland China regained control of Taiwan, and was forced to retreat
there in 1949 after having been defeated by the Communists on the
The past 50 years have witnessed stunning economic development of
Taiwan: the island has enjoyed one of the highest economic growth
rates in the world during this period and has transformed itself
from an agricultural economy into a high-tech and services-oriented
export powerhouse. The last decade has seen an equally amazing
political evolution. On 18 March 2000, for the first time, an
opposition candidate won the presidential election. The peaceful
transfer of power from the Kuomintang (KMT) to the Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) validated Taiwan's democratic political
The United States broke official diplomatic relations with Taiwan
in 1979 in order to establish official ties with the People's
Republic of China (PRC). At the same time, the U.S. Congress passed
the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) establishing the American Institute
in Taiwan (AIT) to conduct the "unofficial" relations between the
people of the United States and the people of Taiwan. In addition,
the TRA declared that peace and stability in the region are in the
political, security and economic interests of the United States; any
effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful
means would be a "grave concern to the United States"; and committed
the U.S. to provide Taiwan with defensive articles and services as
necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain sufficient defense capability
against the use of force from the PRC.
Over the years, the Taiwan people have repeatedly expressed their
appreciation for U.S. support, particularly for its economic and
military assistance. The hundreds of thousands of Taiwan students
who have studied in the U.S. have helped cement Taiwan-U.S. ties and
instilled appreciation for U.S. values in the broader Taiwan
AIT is a private, non-profit corporation with headquarters in
Arlington, Virginia and offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung, and is
managed by a board of trustees.
As authorized by the Taiwan Relations Act (see appendix), AIT
conducts commercial, cultural and other relations with the people of
Taiwan. Its Taiwan counterpart, likewise non-governmental, is the
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO). TECRO
has its headquarters in Taipei and offices in Washington, D.C. and
twelve other American cities.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:16 PM
Named "Ihla Formosa", or Beautiful Island, by the Portuguese,
Taiwan is a land of contrasts. It has everything from industrial
towns and cities to rural towns and spectacular mountain vistas,
from centuries old Confucian ceremonies to modern music and chaotic
traffic to friendly people willing to help a stranger.
Taiwan is a small island 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144
kilometers (89.5 miles) wide at its broadest point, and includes a
number of smaller islands. It is a little bigger than Maryland and
foothills and mountains covering over two thirds of the island. Yu
Shan (Jade Mountain), Taiwan's highest peak at 3952 meters, is
taller than Japan's Mount Fuji.
The Tropic of Cancer bisects the island, so the climate is sub-tropica
with temperatures ranging from 12 to 35 degrees Celsius (54-95
Northern Taiwan has two long seasons (summer & winter) and two
short seasons (spring & autumn).
Spring, mid-March to mid-May, is mostly sunny and mild with brief
spells of cloudy skies and rain showers. Spring's average daily
temperature is 17-25C or 62-77F.
Summer, mid-May through late September, is hot with an average
rainfall of 10 inches a month, mostly from afternoon showers and
Autumn, late September to early November, is characterized by
mild temperatures and afternoon showers.
Winter, November through mid-April, is characterized by low cloud
drizzle, fog and occasional winds.
The daily temperatures range between 17 - 24 degrees C (62-75F)
in November, dropping to 12 - 19C (54 - 66F) in January and then
rising to 14 - 22C (57 - 72F) in March. Occasionally, the
temperature drops below 1OC (50F), especially in the mountainous
The typhoon season usually starts in mid-June and lasts through
October. An average of 12 typhoons form in the Western Pacific each
year. The average daily temperature range in Taipei is 21 - 29C (70
- 84F) in May; 24 - 35C (75 - 95F) in July and August; 23 - 33C (73
- 91F) in September; and 20 - 27C (68 - 81F) in October.
Due to the high humidity, the heat and cold are much more
uncomfortable than the temperature ranges suggest.
Kaohsiung enjoys a milder, drier winter than Taipei, but summer
temperatures average about the same.
As a result of its subtropical position and heavy rainfall,
Taiwan's natural landscape is constantly green with the varied hues
of forest, shrubs and coarse tropical grass. All but the peaks of
the highest mountains are covered with vegetation.
Taiwan is very active geologically, sitting as it does at the
juncture of the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates. Steam vents
and hot sulfur springs abound. Earthquakes are a common occurrence
Population Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:38 AM
Taiwan's culture is a blend of its distinctive Chinese heritage
and Western influences. Fine arts, folk traditions, and popular
culture embody traditional and modern, Asian and Western motifs. One
of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum,
which houses over 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade,
calligraphy, painting and porcelain. This collection was moved from
the mainland in 1949 when Chiang Kaishek's Nationalist Party (KMT)
fled to Taiwan. The collection is so extensive that only 1% is on
display at any one time.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:16 PM
People in Taiwan firmly believe that democracy is here to stay.
The direct popular election of President Lee Teng-hui in 1996, the
first such direct election of a leader in 5,000 years of Chinese
history, marked Taiwan's transition into a fullfledged, multi-party
democracy. The election of Chen Shui-bian as President in 2000
marked the first peaceful transition of power from one political
party to another. President Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
faces vigorous opposition, which has played an important role in
Taiwan's unique status in the international arena is tied to the
island's recent history. In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang
(KMT) fled to Taiwan after being defeated in the Chinese Civil War
by the Communists under Mao Tse Tung. For decades, the KMT
authorities on Taiwan maintained that they were the sole legitimate
government of all of China and that they would at some point reunite
all of China under their rule. Beijing and Taipei fought for
international recognition, and, over time, Beijing clearly began to
win the diplomatic struggle. In 1971, the People's Republic of China
(PRC) replaced the "Republic of China (ROC)," the official name of
the government in Taiwan, in the United Nations. In 1979, the U.S.
switched its diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing. By 2002,
Taiwan maintained official diplomatic relations with only
In 1991, Taiwan gave up its claim to rule all of China, although
it still claims legitimacy based on unbroken "ROC" sovereignty. The
KMT still officially favors unification with mainland China, at some
time in the future when the mainland is prosperous and democratic
and enjoys a fairly equal distribution of income. The DPP party
charter officially favors independence. The PRC continues to
consider Taiwan an inalienable part of China. Beijing's fear that
Taiwan might be gradually drifting toward independence occasionally
sparks tension across the Taiwan Strait. In 1996, the PRC conducted
missile exercises within 25 miles of Taiwan's two major ports, just
as the island was getting ready for its first direct presidential
election. In response to these exercises, the U.S. dispatched two
aircraft carrier battle groups to the region, in order to underline
Washington's commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan
issue. Despite these political tensions, non-political ties between
Taiwan and the PRC have grown tremendously. Since 1987, when Taiwan
lifted a ban on all contacts with mainland China, Taiwan trade and
investment on the mainland has grown rapidly, with some private
analysts estimating that there has been more than $40 billion worth
of investment in the PRC. Two-way trade across the Taiwan Strait is
approaching $30 billion annually; and, since 1987, there have been
millions of visits to mainland China by Taiwan residents.
Taiwan has 5 branches of government: the Executive Yuan (the
administrative branch of government), the Legislative Yuan
(legislative), the Judicial Yuan (judicial), the Control Yuan
(similar to a government-wide inspectorate) and the Examination Yuan
(charged primarily with administering examinations for entry into
Taiwan's civil service). There is also a nonstanding National
Assembly that formally served as an Electoral College for electing
the President, but now is charged primarily with amending the
constitution. The island is divided into 21 cities and counties, as
well as 2 metropolitan areas, Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:41 AM
The people of Taiwan are proud of their cultural tradition. The
largest collection of Chinese art objects in the world is exhibited
in the National Palace Museum. Many pleasant days can be spent
visiting the galleries, exhibits, and museums throughout the island,
and it is a rare visitor who does not purchase a few paintings,
pieces of sculpture, ceramics, woodcarvings, or handicraft articles.
Traditional Chinese music and opera coexist with Western forms,
while contemporary entertainment ranges from modern dance to quiz
Every city has movie theaters where films produced in America,
Europe, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are shown. Television is a popular
entertainment offering a wide range of programming, mostly in
Chinese but via cable TV, English and Japanese programs are also
The performing arts complex at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Plaza
has hosted internationally known performers and groups such as the
New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Luciano Pavarotti and Wynton
Marsalis. The state-of-the-art National Theater and the equally
well-appointed National Concert Hall have hosted a variety of
Chinese performers as well as Western artists, ranging from the
Vienna Boys Choir to the Martha Graham Dance Company. The Sun
Yat-sen Memorial Hall, with a seating capacity of 2,600, and the
Municipal Social Education Hall are other premier performing arts
venues in Taipei. Besides performances of Western classical music,
occasional concert dates by headliners such as B. B. King and Ray
Charles, jazz pianist Chick Corea and rockers like Ricky Martin and
Michael Jackson dot the Taipei musical calendar.
In a culture that has traditionally respected scholars and
scholarship, a high value is placed on education as an avenue for
economic and social advancement. Many visitors comment about the
number of people holding doctoral degrees from the U.S. who comprise
the elite in industry, commerce, government and, of course, academic
circles. A free public education is mandatory for the first nine
years and is available to all youth in Taiwan; an examination
process limits access to senior secondary and higher education.
Acceptance is based upon demonstrated academic performance and
extra-curricular achievements. There is keen competition for the
better schools and economically rewarding fields of learning.
Students are under heavy parental and social pressure to study
diligently. Opportunities exist at many universities for
undergraduate foreign study. In 2000, at least 31,000 students
departed for study abroad, the vast majority to the United States.
Currently there are over 29,000 students from Taiwan studying at
colleges in the United States.
Taiwan is a fascinating island that combines both the Occident
and Orient in the fields of art, science and education. It is an
exciting culture that intertwines old China with the new West--from
ancient Chinese art and modern nightclubs to brush calligraphy and
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:47 AM
Taiwan's economy has transformed rapidly in recent years. The
role of traditional manufacturing -- products such as shoes and
bicycles -- has declined, with many factories moving to lower-wage
locations. Meanwhile, Taiwan has become a manufacturing and R&D
center for "high-tech," capital-intensive products such as
semiconductors and flat-screen displays. Taiwan companies are world
leaders in high-tech oriented "original equipment manufacturing,"
meaning that they are often the "hidden" designers and manufacturers
of brand-name products such as laptops, digital cameras, and other
information technology components. Taiwan's fifty years of nearly
uninterrupted economic growth have generally been export-driven.
Until the late 1980s, Taiwan was dependent on the United States to
absorb up to half of its exports. In recent years, a growing number
of Taiwan investors have set up factories in the PRC and Southeast
Asia. As a result, Taiwan has become a key supplier of high-end
manufacturing inputs to these locations. The PRC is now Taiwan's top
export market (although many products exported there ultimately end
up reprocessed and sent on to the U.S., E.U., and Japan). Spurred
partly by growing demand for industrial inputs and partly by
liberalization of tariff and non-tariff barriers, Taiwan is boosting
its imports. In 2001, Taiwan was the eighth-largest trading partner
of the U.S., with imports worth $18 billion (down from $25 billion
in 2000 due to the recession). U.S. bulk commodities and industrial
equipment have always sold well in Taiwan. Sales of U.S. consumer
goods and high value food products have also risen sharply in recent
Per capita GDP exceeded US$15,000 in 2000, before dropping to
about $13,000 in 2001, due to a recession and currency depreciation.
Unemployment increased significantly in 2001, peaking at 5.33
percent in October, before falling to just over five percent by
With its accession to the WTO on January 1, 2002, Taiwan has
regained membership in an international trading body.
As part of its liberalization efforts, Taiwan is slowly
privatizing and deregulating areas of its economy previously
dominated by stateowned monopoly enterprises, such as
telecommunications, petroleum refining and utilities. Private firms
are also encouraged to construct and operate infrastructure projects
such as harbors, municipal transit systems, and high-speed railways.
Foreign investors have been allowed to participate in these and
other major projects.
Banking, insurance, real estate development, and the securities
markets have also been opened to foreign participation. Capital is
free to move to finance trade-oriented transactions, including
foreign direct and portfolio investments. Restrictions on foreign
exchange have been significantly relaxed.
Taiwan is generally open to international investment. The United
States and Japan are the largest foreign investors in Taiwan. About
2,200 U.S. firms are on the island, ranging from one-person offices
to major production facilities, especially in the electronics field.
An active, effective American Chamber of Commerce holds regular
meetings in both Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Automobiles Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:17 PM
Even though the Institute provides home-to-office transportation
at reasonable cost to the employees living in the Yangmingshan
housing area, a personal car is a great convenience. Driving in
Taiwan is different from driving in the U.S. The traffic has been
described as liquid, an accurate visualization of how the vehicles
all seem to fill in any gap. Motor scooters, cars, trucks and buses
make heavy traffic that sometimes has only a facade of structure and
enforcement. Newcomers find the driving practices confusing until
they realize that there is no pattern and caution and alertness are
required at all times.
A small to mid-sized, sturdy car is best suited for maneuvering
in Taipei's heavy traffic. Virtually all vehicles are involved in
minor accidents at some point during a tour here. Outside urban
areas, the major roads are generally well-paved and maintained.
Four-wheel drive, heavy-duty tires and shock absorbers are only
necessary for those who want to do off-road mountain exploring on
rough or unpaved roads. Rustproofing, a defogger, windshield wipers,
and especially air-conditioning are virtual necessities in this
humid environment. You might want to consider a CD or cassette
player to study language and for driving outside the city where
radio stations might be difficult to receive. Catalytic converters
are required on all vehicles imported into Taiwan.
The authorities strictly enforce detailed regulations on the
importation, use, and sale of motor vehicles. Before you plan to
import a car, carefully read these regulations under Notes For
All personnel assigned to AIT register their cars and receive
license plates free of charge, one car per employee.
Drivers' licenses are issued without cost to all AIT employees
and adult family members. Those with valid U.S. or valid
international drivers' licenses usually do not need to take the
local driving test. However, individuals who only possess valid
international drivers' licenses must have the licenses endorsed by
the Taiwan Highway Bureau before driving in Taiwan. International
drivers' licenses may be obtained at a nominal fee at any time
during your stay in Taiwan, but they are not respected by all
countries. If you expect to be driving elsewhere in the region
during your tour, it is best to secure an international driver's
license in the U.S. before coming to Taiwan, if possible.
Auto Insurance Auto liability insurance is mandatory and must be
obtained locally before the vehicle is moved from the port. The
minimum insurance coverage required is: Bodily injury, per person
NT$13,000,000 (US$475,000.00) Bodily injury, per accident
NT$6,500,000 (US$238,000.00) Third party property damage NT$520,000
Personnel should be aware that local law only requires third
party liability insurance in the denominations listed above, but due
to traffic congestion and the number of accidents, AIT suggests
coverage at much higher rates. Local insurance companies sell
liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. Some employees
choose to have their automobiles insured through U.S.-based
companies. Local insurance rates for all-risk comprehensive policies
range from US$800.00 to US$1,500.00 yearly. Employees should compare
prices before selecting a company.
Gasoline Tax-free coupons for the purchase of gasoline are
available from the AIT cashier or at the Association Distribution
Center (ADC). Coupons are available in NT$200 denominations. These
coupons are valid at China Petroleum Company service stations
throughout Taiwan. Unleaded gasoline is available throughout the
Local auto repair facilities are generally satisfactory for most
makes of Japanese, European and American vehicles. It will be
economical to bring spare parts, which you would expect to replace
during a tour, such as oil/air/fuel filters, motor oil, and lamps.
Spare parts for some American and European manufactured automobiles
are available locally, but they are usually expensive. One must
expect occasional delays for special parts, especially on imported
Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:48 AM
Inside Taipei City, there are taxis, buses and the metro system (MRT).
Many taxis cruise the streets, and even on the rainiest day you can
usually catch a cab. Bus service is very convenient and inexpensive,
although buses are usually crowded at rush hour. On Yangmingshan,
moreover, buses are often crowded when the Cultural University is in
session, or during the flower season, when many pilgrims go to
witness the blooming of the cherry blossoms. Many people take taxis
and buses whenever convenient, rather than drive in the hectic
traffic, especially in areas where parking is difficult. A
rudimentary knowledge of Chinese or the address written in Chinese
is necessary, since taxi and bus drivers generally have little
English ability. Women and children are encouraged to take taxis in
the evening only from reputable taxi companies from which you can
order a taxi (lists are available at AIT). Taxi and bus fares are
less expensive than in the U.S. There is a 20% surcharge for taxi
fares from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and from three days before to three
days after the Lunar New Year's Holiday. Tipping is not generally
The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system has been in service since
1996. There are now six lines servicing most of the greater Taipei
area, including Tamshui, Hsintien, and Panchiao. The MRT
conveniently links the shopping, residential and tourist sites in
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:49 AM
Public transportation in Taiwan is good, and rates are still
cheaper than in the U.S. Air-conditioned trains operate on a daily
schedule about five hours apart between the cities on the main
western trunk line that links Taipei and Kaohsiung. Nine express and
several other airconditioned trains operate daily between Taipei and
Hualien on the northeast coast.
Northern Link railroad provides comfortable service and a
spectacular view between tunnels on the Hualien to Taitung East
Coast railroad. The three-hour trip is offered five times per day.
The North-South Highway, a toll road, connects
Keelung-TaipeiKaohsiung. Driving time from Taipei to Keelung is less
than 30 minutes and Kaohsiung can be reached in approximately 6
hours; all travel times are highly variable, depending upon traffic.
Scheduled buses travel the road between Taipei and Kaohsiung on
an average of every two to ten minutes. Other buses, some
air-conditioned, link small towns and villages, as well as the major
Domestic airlines provide regular jet service on modern aircraft
between the island's major cities, and several feeder airlines
provide connections to Taiwan's outlying islands. The speed,
convenience and relatively low cost of domestic air travel make it
the preferred option for travel between Taipei and southern and
eastern Taiwan cities.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:49
Local telephone service is good and international direct dial
telephone service to the United States is excellent. Worldwide
telephone and fax service is available to and from Taipei and
Kaohsiung at reasonable cost. Station-to-station international calls
are reasonable. Internet service is widely available through DDSL
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:50 AM
American employees of AIT can use the following addresses:
Personal Letters, Magazines & Packages: John Doe 4170 AIT Taipei
Place Dulles, VA 20189-4170
Pouch Mail: John Doe 4170 AIT Taipei Place Department of State
Washington, DC 20521-4170
International Mail: Jane Doe American Institute in Taiwan 7 Lane
134, Hsin Yi Road, Sec. 3, Taipei 106, Taiwan
In Washington, the mail is collected on a regular basis, pouched
and forwarded to Taipei. By special arrangement between the
Institute and the U.S. Government, magazine and package mail is
processed for shipment by the Department of State. Mail is
dispatched from Washington and Taipei on a regular basis. U.S.
postage at domestic rates is required and stamps are available from
the Association Distribution Center (ADC). Transit time for letter
mail from the point of origin is approximately 10 days; for
magazines and parcels, it can take 14 days.
Incoming packages may not exceed 17x18x30 inches, and no one
dimension may exceed these limits. The new weight limit is 45
pounds. Insured mail and packages will not be accepted by the
Washington address for shipment to AIT. Registered letters and
packages are accepted for shipment to AIT.
The outgoing mail from AIT may be used for letters, cassette
tapes, and video tapes, and also for returning merchandise received
from the United States. The AIT Employee Association (AITEA) has
developed a program that enables AIT employees to mail packages, via
the pouch, by paying standard U.S. postage plus the air freight
charges to Washington, DC.
Please remember that you are limited in what you can mail to AIT
via the Washington addresses prior to your arrival or while on R&R
and Home Leave. You should use your accompanied baggage, air freight
and household weight allowance to cover the shipment of effects to
AIT. Some boxes may be sent through the pouch prior to your arrival,
but the pouch should not be used to circumvent the established
weight allowances. All employees and dependents are reminded to
review 5 FAM 332.4(5) and 6 FAM 168, as well as 02 State 221973,
which explain the use of the pouch and the limitations on what can
be shipped. Personnel who violate these regulations will be required
to reimburse AIT for the shipping costs of the items from Washington
Local mail service is efficient (5 to 7 days) for international
mail but may be subject to inspection. Approval must be obtained
from TECRO before packages can receive duty free clearance from
customs. Customs clearance takes approximately 5 to 7 working days.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:51 AM
The International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) station provides
English-language radio programs 24 hours a day on both AM and FM
stereo frequencies. Some programs are bilingual. In addition, there
are many Chinese AM and stereo FM stations. There are stations
broadcasting western, classical and popular music part of the day,
although the commentary is in Chinese. Short-wave reception from
major world capitals is generally good.
Three TV stations in Taipei broadcast throughout Taiwan. Most
programs are in Chinese, but the stations do carry some U.S.
programs and movies. Residents now have access to the Japanese (NHK)
and Hong Kong (Star) Satellite Systems via cable TV, featuring
several news, sports and general entertainment shows in English.
Cable TV also carries CNN, HBO Asia, Cinemax, Disney and ESPN
International. Schedules for these shows are listed in the English
language newspapers. Cable TV is available in all current AIT
housing areas with prices similar to those in the U.S. Some English
soundtracks from cable TV require a stereo TV in order to switch
between Chinese and English, and sometimes Japanese.
American-standard TVs work without modification in Taiwan. There are
local video and DVD clubs with reasonable fees. A Blockbuster Video
is located near AIT, and there is also one near the Taipei American
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
2/18/2005 2:18 PM
Three English-language newspapers are published daily on Taiwan.
In addition, The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and the
Asian Wall Street Journal can be delivered to your home. Airmail
subscriptions to Hong Kong or Tokyo English-language newspapers are
also available. Weekly subscriptions to the Asian editions of Time
and Newsweek can be delivered to your home or office. Other American
magazines are generally available locally but are very expensive.
Have subscriptions to your favorite magazines delivered through the
Libraries: There is a large Taipei Municipal Library near AIT's
main offices. Anyone 15 or older can become a member of AIT's
American Resource Center, borrow books and use its computer resource
library. Taipei American School (TAS) parents and students can use
TAS library cards to take advantage of that extensive library.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:20 PM
AIT Health Unit. AIT has a small health unit in the main office
building. The health unit is normally staffed by two Registered
Nurses (RNs) with U.S. licenses. The Regional Medical Officer is
posted in Manila and makes frequent visits. The Health Unit is run
according to State Department guidelines and the nurses are able to
Out Patient Clinic. Taiwan has adequate medical care. Some of the
physicians are U.S. trained. Since 1997 AIT has had verbal or
written contracts with nearby hospitals and clinics. The local
medical facilities operate on a two-system basis. One is the
National Health Insurance Clinic and the other is the Non-National
Health Insurance Clinic, also called the VIP Clinic (which only
accepts cash or credit cards, at the time services are rendered, and
you must file your own insurance paperwork). The National Health
Insurance Clinic is not "user friendly" to the non-Chinese speaking
individual. The Health Unit has a list of physicians from which the
nurses can make referrals.
Immunizations. Recommended for adults are:
Hepatitis A - Series of two inoculations Hepatitis B - Series of
three inoculations Japanese Encephalitis - Series of three
inoculations Typhoid Vaccine - 1 inoculation at age 2, then boosters
every 2 years or 1 capsule of 4 doses, then boosters every 5 years
Tetanus- Booster every 10 years
Prescription Medicines. Personnel who use prescription medicines
on a regular basis should make arrangements to receive these through
the pouch. The Health Unit does not endorse any particular pharmacy.
However, two pharmacies recommended by some people at post are
Morton's Pharmacy and CVS Drug Store. Also, some employees take
advantage of the Merck Medco system of ordering prescription
medicine through the mail.
Local Pharmacies. Most medications are available locally without
prescription. If you choose to self-medicate, be aware that there
have been reports of counterfeit and ineffective medications in the
Dentists, Orthodontists & Periodontists. Excellent dental care is
available in Taiwan, and prices are comparable to U.S. prices.
Community Health Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:18 PM
In 1999 the Taipei City Government implemented the Universal
Garbage Disposal Program (4R's: Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and
Regeneration). As a result, Taipei has seen great changes in its
sanitation. Due to the tropical climate, insect infestation is a
major problem. Several cases of Japanese Encephalitis, a
mosquito-borne viral infection, have been reported since June 2001.
Malaria is another disease that is transmitted through the bite of
an infected female mosquito, but Taiwan has not had a reported case
since 1966. Another mosquito-transmitted disease is dengue fever.
There have been numerous reported cases of dengue fever since June
2001, many resulting in death. None of AIT's employees have
contracted dengue fever.
Community Services Center
The Community Services Center is designed for foreigners. The
center provides counseling sessions either by a certified therapist
or by a social worker. The center also offers adult education
classes and local community tours.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:21 PM
Meat should be eaten only if well-cooked. Occasionally, there are
cases of upset stomach and diarrhea.
Taipei has a modern water treatment center for all tap water, but
some water pipes are old and this can lead to water contamination
prior to reaching your residence. If, even after installing a filter
(AIT houses are provided with a filter in the kitchen) and/or
boiling the water to be consumed, you still have doubts about the
safety of your water, you are encouraged to buy bottled water. If
you decide to drink distilled water, you should make sure to add
minerals to your diet.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/18/2005
There are many employment opportunities available to family
members in Taiwan. AIT often has vacancies for its designated
spousal positions (that is, those positions requiring a security
clearance). However, all positions are open to qualified AIT
Eligible Family Members. Current positions which are designated as
being specifically for spouses include: Community Liaison Officer (CLO),
Consular Associate (2), Nurse, Information Management Assistant,
Roving OMS, and Systems/Administrative Assistant.
The AIT Employees Association (AITEA) also maintains a small
staff, including a manager, cashier and part-time bookkeeper for the
Association Distribution Center (ADC). These positions are generally
open to EFMs. An EFM is also employed as the AIT newsletter editor.
EFMs also have ample opportunities to teach in language
institutes (especially English), colleges, Taipei American School,
preschools, or even private tutoring. A bachelor's degree is usually
required and a higher degree is often preferred.
The passage of the "Employment Services Act" in April 1992 now
requires all foreigners to obtain a valid work permit before being
allowed to work. Spouses of AIT employees have been regularly
granted work permits, but it does mean giving up duty-free
purchasing status for the spouse with the work permit. In addition,
those employed locally are subject to income tax. Incomes are taxed
at 20% for the first 183 days or less, but the rate changes to 6-40%
based on the amount you make afterwards.
An annual summer hire program for teens and college-age
dependents is organized and implemented through the Community
Liaison and Human Resources Offices. Minimum eligibility age for
this program is 16 years.
EFMs wishing to teach should bring their teaching credentials;
however, these are not required for teaching English as a second
language. Others should bring resumes, letters of recommendation
from previous employers and samples of their work, if applicable.
A note for teachers: Full-time teaching opportunities at Taipei
American School (TAS) are limited due to heavy competition for the
positions and limited personnel turnover. Substitute teaching is
generally available and sometimes can lead to a regular position.
Interested EFMs should contact: Human Resources Office Taipei
American School Fax: 886-2-2873-1641
TAS conducts recruiting interviews on the east coast of the U.S.
Inquiries regarding the availability of specific employment
opportunities can be made to the AIT's Human Resources Office (HR)
or Community Liaison Office (CLO).
American Istitute - AIT Taipei
Post City Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:26 PM
The American Institute in Taiwan is headed by a Director, whose
responsibilities are to maintain unofficial U.S. relations with
Taiwan; and to direct AIT's activities in Taiwan. Along with the
Executive Office there are 11 other sections: Administrative (ADM),
Political (POL), Consular (CONS), Economic (ECON), Commercial (COMM),
Agriculture (AGR), Public Affairs (PAS), Research & Planning (RAP),
Technical Affairs (TECH), Liaison Affairs Section (LAS) and the
Chinese Language and Area Studies School (CLASS).
Additionally, a small branch office in Kaohsiung provides some
services in the south of Taiwan.
The main AIT office in Taipei, is located at:
American Institute in Taiwan 7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Rd., Sec. 3
Taipei 106, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2709-2000 Fax: 886-2-2702-7675
After Hours Phone: 886-2709-2013/4 AIT Homepage: http:\\ait.org.tw
Office hours are Monday - Friday 0800 - 1700, with one hour for
lunch. The offices are closed on American and local holidays.
The Commercial Section is located at:
Suite 3207, International Trade Building 32F, #333 Keelung Road,
Sec. 1 Taipei 110 Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2720-1550 Fax: 886-2-2757-7162
The American Cultural Center is located at:
Suite 2101, International TradeBuilding 21F, #333 Keelung Road,
Sec. 1 Taipei 110, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2723-3959 Fax:
886-2-2725-2644 E-mail: taipeimail.ait.orq.tw
The Agricultural Trade Office is located at:
Room 704, Lotus Mansion 7F, #136 Jen Ai Road, Sec. 3, Taipei 106,
Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2705-6536 Fax: 886-2-2706-4885
Language School Students
The AIT Chinese Language any Area Studies School (CLASS) is
located on Yangmingshan, adjacent to the principal housing areas and
about 11 miles from the main AIT office: 5 Chang-Sheng Lane, Ai Fu
3rd Street Shantzehou, Yangmingshan Taipei 111, Taiwan Phone:
886-2-2861-2447 Fax: 886-2-2861-5142 CLASS is a part of AIT Taipei
and functions as a regular office. The primary mission of the school
is to provide full-time, advanced training in speaking and reading
Mandarin Chinese for employees who need to attain professional
levels of language proficiency. The goal for trainees who have
already reached the FSI Limited Working Proficiency Level (S-2/R-2)
in Chinese is to reach the General Professional Proficiency Level
(S-3/R-3) in a training program lasting about ten months. The School
also offers basic courses in other Chinese dialects, as required.
Concurrent with the language course, CLASS provides students with
an area studies program consisting of classes on Chinese culture,
seminars with local academics, lectures, area orientation trips and
extensive self-directed reading.
Students are usually asked to arrive in Taiwan the first week in
August, and the school year runs from August through early June of
the following year. The daily class schedule is ordinarily from 8:30
a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Classes consist of a combination of small
groups and tutorials, depending on the needs of the students and
available resources. In addition to scheduled classes, students are
responsible for three to four hours of outside preparation each
evening. Spouses may avail themselves of the Post Language Program
Direct Funding Initiative if they wish to pursue language training
on their own.
Language students reside in AIT housing on Yangmingshan along
with other AIT personnel and are included in social functions of the
AIT community. Most aspects of this post report will apply to CLASS
students as well as other AIT employees.
Language School students are advised to bring a small cassette
tape recorder or player (such as a Walkman) with them, which they
will find useful for language practice. Also, students should be
sure to pack dictionaries and other reference works in their
airfreight, since they will need them from the very beginning. It is
recommended that students bring television sets if they have them. A
VCR (preferably multisystem) is also highly recommended.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:27 PM
Newly arrived employees usually move directly into their
permanent quarters. If it is necessary to stay in temporary
quarters, AIT will make these arrangements prior to your arrival.
Temporary lodging can be either a furnished and equipped apartment
or house or a hotel.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:29 PM
All AIT American direct-hire employees live in AIT-leased
housing. About half of the employees live on Yangmingshan, located
eleven miles from the main AIT Office, usually about a 40-minute
drive. Other residences, consisting of houses and apartments, are
located in downtown Taipei. AIT housing conforms to the guidelines
in Airgram A-171 and 6 FAM 720.
A small Japanese-style guesthouse located near the Yangmingshan
National Park is available to AIT employees and their families, at a
nominal charge, for a weekend or weekday get away.
AIT encourages employees to indicate a preference of mountain (Yangmingshan)
or downtown housing area several months before they arrive so that
their request will be on record when the Housing Board meets to
assign housing (usually in April for the summer cycle). Families
with children generally prefer to be on the mountain where the air
is cleaner and where there is room for the children to play outside.
More importantly, the Yangmingshan housing is convenient to the
Taipei American School.
Singles and couples with no children or very young children often
prefer the downtown apartments so they can avoid the commute. You
are encouraged to contact the CLO if you have questions about the
housing so that you can make an informed choice. The CLO gives new
employees the name of their representative on the board and you are
welcome to contact that person as well.
Deputy Director's Residence
The Deputy Director's Residence is located in downtown Taipei.
The house is conveniently located near the main AIT offices.
Detailed information can be obtained from the Chief of the
Additional residential units are located in downtown Taipei and
on Yangmingshan. The Yangmingshan units are comprised of three- and
four-bedroom detached homes with walled or fenced yards, and two
downtown locations have three- and four-bedroom apartments.
The apartments are modern and adequate to meet all requirements,
with 1,290 - 1,500 square feet of living space. A few of the
apartments have parking. The Hsin Yi apartment building has a
communal laundry room in the basement, while at the Dun Hwa building
each unit has a small combination washer/dryer; there is also a
small community exercise room at Dun Hwa. AIT is gradually letting
old leases lapse and acquiring new, more modern housing.
Houses on Yangmingshan are located in three main housing areas,
which are within walking distance of each other. The houses are
approximately 50 years old, but almost all have modern renovated
kitchens and bathrooms, and other improvements. Most of the houses
are detached three- and four-bedroom ranch style, with approximately
1,300 - 2,300 square feet of living space. The houses in these areas
include domestic employee's quarters. There are also two
five-bedroom houses and five two-bedroom duplex, two-story
townhouses with 900 square feet of living space. The ADC, a small
commissary-type operation, is located in the Yangmingshan housing
area. Also, there is a small country club located on Yangmingshan
adjacent to the AIT housing area. The club has tennis courts, indoor
and outdoor swimming pools and a restaurant. The country club offers
free membership to all AIT personnel. In addition, a very basic
weight/workout room is located on the AIT compound.
All AIT housing is fully equipped with major appliances,
including a washer and dryer (with the exception of the Hsin Yi
apartments); all have a dishwasher (with the exception of the
townhouses), microwave, vacuum cleaner, built-in water filter, 2
dehumidifiers, air-conditioning, floor fan, ironing board, stove and
refrigerator. Master bedrooms have queen-size beds; other bedrooms
have one twin bed. Shower curtains are not usually furnished.
All houses contain basic furniture, but many employees prefer to
augment this with personal items in HHE or purchased locally.
Limited shipment allowances are best used for kitchenware, china,
tableware, linens, blankets, bedspreads, clothes, iron and other
small appliances, reading lamps, entertainment items and decorative
pieces. These and most other items for household use are sold on the
local market, but they are usually more expensive. Storage space is
extremely limited, so be careful when deciding what to bring.
Furnishings Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:29 PM
All AIT housing is fully equipped with major appliances,
including a washer and dryer (with the exception of the Hsin Yi
apartments); all have a dishwasher (with the exception of the
townhouses), microwave, vacuum cleaner, built-in water filter, 2
dehumidifiers, air-conditioning, floor fan, ironing board, stove and
refrigerator. Master bedrooms have queen-size beds; other bedrooms
have one twin bed. Shower curtains are not usually furnished.
All houses contain basic furniture, but many employees prefer to
augment this with personal items in HHE or purchased locally.
Limited shipment allowances are best used for kitchenware, china,
tableware, linens, blankets, bedspreads, clothes, iron and other
small appliances, reading lamps, entertainment items and decorative
pieces. These and most other items for household use are sold on the
local market, but they are usually more expensive. Storage space is
extremely limited, so be careful when deciding what to bring.
Food Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:30 PM
A great variety of good quality fresh fruits, vegetables and
meats is available. Taipei has dozens of excellent large open-air
food markets where daily shopping can be a very interesting
experience. There are also large numbers of Western-style
supermarkets and hypermarkets, including Wellcome, COSTCO,
Carrefour, Tesco, etc. There are many good bakeries and small
convenience stores throughout the city, which stock familiar
American snack foods as well as local products. Imported foods are
expensive, but not outrageously so. Taiwan's fresh pork is
excellent. Locally cured bacon and ham, chicken, capon, duck, pigeon
and goose are sold year round, as are duck, chicken and pigeon eggs.
Fish, shrimp, prawn, crab, lobster, squid, clams and oysters are
plentiful. Canned and dried fish and meat are popular items with the
Chinese. Good beef imported from the U.S., Australia, and New
Zealand is available, albeit at higher prices than in the U.S.
The people of Taiwan are the world's largest per capita consumers
of fruit, so there is an incredible variety of quality fruits, both
local and imported, available throughout the year. You can find
apples, bananas, pineapples, oranges, tangerines, pomelos,
grapefruit, papayas, mangoes, plums, lichees, guavas, persimmons,
limes, watermelon and cantaloupes.
Vegetables available include lettuce, spinach and a wide variety
of other greens, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, squash, turnips,
radishes, green beans, snow peas, bean sprouts, water chestnuts,
bamboo shoots, fresh ginger, onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant,
beets, mushrooms, asparagus, potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus
varieties seldom found in the U.S. Imported Western-style
vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, button mushrooms and celery
can be very expensive.
Short grain rice, steamed bread, noodles and bean cake, as well
as baked bread, rolls and pastries are always available. Generally
long grain rice is not available, but this may change after WTO
accession and market liberalization. French and whole wheat breads
have become increasingly popular.
Dairy products such as milk, flavored milk, butter (salted and
unsalted), cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, whipping cream and
cheese are available, but at very high prices. There is a relatively
small selection of cheese available, but better than in most of
Asia. Many of these products, with the exception of fresh milk, are
imported from Australia, New Zealand or the U.S.
Brand name baby foods are available on the local market. Since
most stores have a high sales turnover of these products, there is
little need to be concerned about freshness.
The ADC, a small grocery outlet, is located in the Yangmingshan
housing area. The ADC attempts to supply those packaged foods and
cleaning and household specialty items that are either unobtainable
or expensive locally. The ADC also provides a range of American and
foreign liquor, wine, American beer and diet and regular sodas.
Special orders can also be placed through the ADC for other items
not normally stocked. The standard mark-up, to cover shipping and
costs, is 45% over the wholesale price from the U.S. West Coast
Clothing Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:32 PM
A wide variety of styles and price ranges of clothing is
available in Taipei but most employees of AIT supplement the clothes
they bring with purchases from mail order catalogs or purchase
replacement clothing while on R & R or vacation in the U.S. There
are tailors available but they are expensive and ready-made clothing
is not always available in U.S. sizes. Children's clothing and shoes
can be purchased locally with a wide selection of expensive and high
quality clothing available from department stores, and less
expensive and more uneven quality clothing available in small shops
Raingear is needed for all family members. Boots are a necessity.
They can be purchased locally or ordered as needed. Good umbrellas
are in plentiful supply on the local market and inexpensively
priced. (During the summer, Chinese women carry an umbrella as a
protection from the sun as much as from the rain.)
Good quality dress shoes are not available at reasonable prices.
Ladies sizes 7 and above, and men's sizes 9 and above are especially
difficult to find. It is advisable to bring a good selection,
especially for adults. Due to the dampness, special care must be
taken with leather products to prevent mildew.
Although at most functions office dress is appropriate, on rare
occasions there are events which require formal dress. Locally-made
formal wear for men and women is of very good quality, though
Fabrics, zippers, thread, and other notions are available for
those who plan to sew.
Men Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:32 PM
Men require a good supply of durable, lightweight suits, for
office wear during the five to six months of hot, humid summer
weather. Medium to heavyweight suits, slacks, and sports jackets are
needed the rest of the year.
Men wear jackets and ties for the office or evening. Women wear
either a business suit or dress. Good tailoring for men's and
ladies' suits is available on the local market at high prices and
good locally-made and imported materials are available. There are a
few days in winter when a medium weight topcoat can be worn, but
normally a lightweight coat or raincoat will suffice.
Women Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:33 PM
Women should plan to wear lightweight, cool attire during the
long, hot, humid summer. Cotton is more comfortable than synthetic
blends in the long summer. Many women feel cotton lingerie is
essential during the summer, but it is not always available locally.
Pantyhose can be bought locally but larger sizes are not always
Taipei's winter temperatures, which are in the fifties, do not
reflect the penetrating dampness and cold winds. Wool suits,
dresses, sweaters, and a warm topcoat and raincoat are needed. Warm
robes and house slippers are essential, especially on Yangmingshan,
and can be found in limited variety in small shops selling over-runs
from local manufacturers.
Children Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:33 PM
For children, a good supply of cool clothing is necessary in
summer, including shorts and T-shirts and simple summer dresses for
girls. Warmer apparel is required for winter, such as coveralls or
slacks, long-sleeved sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, and coats.
Houses tend to be drafty, so jeans and corduroys are excellent for
small children. The British School has a uniform, but the Taipei
American School does not, and students dress much as they would in
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:34 PM
Common American-made cosmetic products can be found on the local
market, but at high prices. The ADC does not stock these products.
Cosmetic items, especially hypoallergenic items, eyeliner, or a
particular type or shade of cosmetic, should be brought in plentiful
supply until the situation can be surveyed and replacement sources
established. Non-prescription drugs, cigarettes, and some tobacco
products can be found locally. American greeting cards and
stationary are available but at much higher prices than in the U.S.
Invitations can be printed locally at reasonable prices, and party
supplies are available at specialty stores. Prices are also much
higher than at home. Bring birthday party supplies with you--or a
good imagination, which can produce interesting substitutes.
Basic Services Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:35 PM
A wide variety of basic services including dry-cleaning and
laundry, small appliance repairs, key-making and shoe repairs is
available locally. Florists and photo shops (portraits and
developing service for B/W and color) are plentiful and not
unreasonable. Services provided by these shops are generally
A large plant market, located under the lian-Guo Overhead Freeway
between Hsin Yi Road, Sec. 3 and Ren Ai Road, right next to AIT, is
open every Saturday and Sunday. A terrific variety of beautiful
orchids is available, as are seeds and a wide variety of other
plants and gardening supplies at reasonable prices.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:37 PM
English-speaking domestic employees, usually women from the
Philippines and known as amahs, are available. Many have previous
work experience in American homes. Salaries vary depending on the
work performed, but since you must sponsor the services of an amah
hired from outside of Taiwan, employment packages need to include
round trip air fare to the Philippines (approximately US$250) plus
room and board or a housing allowance. Salaries range from $500 to
$700 per month (for full-time) plus a bonus month's pay at Christmas
or New Year's. Most amahs work five and one-half days per week and
do daytime childcare. Some cook and are able to assist with
entertaining responsibilities. The CLO can assist you in contacting
domestic employees whose sponsor is leaving Taiwan.
Part-time employment of an amah that is being sponsored by
another family can sometimes be arranged. It is difficult to find
Chinese servants who will live in; however, Filipinas are quite
willing to accept these positions. Some AIT families have hired
Chinese nannies to care for their children. With the exception of
the small apartments, AIT houses have basic quarters for a domestic
Yard care (mowing the grass, raking leaves, trimming hedges and
shrubbery) by a local yard service can be arranged but the monthly
cost is about US$100. Most amahs don't do yard work. AIT does not
provide grounds maintenance except for the Director and Deputy
Local laws offer minimal protective welfare to domestic workers.
Amahs apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and must apply
for National Health Insurance (NHI). The employer picks up the
majority of the NHI premium, presently at sixty percent.
If you would like more information about hiring household
employees, please contact the Community Liaison Officer.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:39 PM
Taipei has Christian churches of many denominations: Baptist,
Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Seventh-day
Adventist, Assemblies of God, Church of Latter-Day Saints and
others, including non-denominational Churches of Christ and some
interdenominational organizations. Most services are conducted in
Mandarin or Taiwanese, but there is a small choice of English
The Taiwan Jewish Community Center offers Shabbat services every
Friday evening. It also offers Sunday school programs for children.
Jewish holidays are celebrated by the Center.
Taipei has one mosque and countless Buddhist temples.
Additional information can be obtained from Gateway (a resource
center for the expatriate community) after your arrival.
At Post Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:39 PM Excellent school
facilities are available in Taipei. The school of choice for most
family members of AIT employees is the Taipei American School (TAS),
located in Tien Mou. TAS has about 2,100 students in K-12 and is
housed in a modern four-story facility. The school has students
representing over 50 nations. Approximately 65% of the students are
U.S. citizens, with approximately 80% of the students ethnically
Chinese. The school year runs from mid-August through early June.
All new students are required to take a placement test prior to
admission. Preschool is recommended but not required. In order to
attend kindergarten at TAS, children must be 5 by October 31. There
are no exceptions to this rule.
Classes at TAS are conducted in English with an American
curriculum. Secondary school foreign languages include Chinese,
French, Spanish and Japanese; Dutch and German are offered for the
native-speaker level at extra cost, but this is not covered by AIT.
In addition, Chinese is available for elementary students after
school. An Asian Studies course is required for graduation from the
upper school. Computer courses are a regular part of the curriculum
beginning in kindergarten.
The high school curriculum, generally regarded as academically
challenging, is concentrated around a college preparatory program.
Thirteen advanced placement courses and the International
Baccalaureate Diploma are also offered. TAS graduates are regularly
admitted to the best American universities.
Taipei American School is governed by a Board of Directors
elected by, and from, the students' parents. The staff is hired from
the U.S., New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Europe and locally.
AIT pays for transportation to and from TAS. The tuition is
covered by the education allowance. The school has no boarding
Prospective students' parents should request applications through
the CLO. Applications should be completed by mid-April for the
Morrison Academy-Bethany Campus is an interdenominational
Christian school with K - 9th grades. Transportation is available
but not from Yangmingshan. The school is located in the downtown
area not far from AIT. Some AIT parents have chosen to send their
children to this school in the last few years. Allowances cover
expenses. For more information, write to:
Superintendent, Morrison Academy-Bethany Campus PO Box 30 - 134
Taipei Phone: 886-2-2365-9691 Fax: 886-2-2365-9696
Yangmingshan Christian School, operated by the Seventh-Day
Adventist Church, is a small American-system school providing
instruction for K-8th grade (organized in multi-grade classrooms).
It is conveniently located about two miles from the Yangmingshan
housing area. Transportation is available and allowances cover
expenses. Total student population is less than 50. For more
information contact: Principal, Yangmingshan Christian School #64,
Lane 80, Chuang Ding Road Yangmingshan, Shihlin, Taipei Phone:
886-2-861-6400 Fax: 886-2-861-3998
The Taipei British School, the Deutsche Schule Taipei and the
Ecole Francaise de Taipei share a campus known as the Taipei
European School (TES). TES is located at: The Primary School No.
731, Wen Lin Road Shih Lin District Taipei, Taiwan Phone:
886-2-2834-5223 Fax: 886-2-2834-5224 The Secondary School Swire
European Campus 31, Chien Yeh Road Yangmingshan, Shihlin Taipei,
Taiwan, ROC Phone: 886-2-2862-2919 Fax: 886-2-2862-1662.
Preschools operating in Taipei provide a somewhat American-style
preschool in English. The one located within TAS and run by the
Taipei Youth Program Association (TYPA) is one of the most popular
ones for AIT families. Another popular preschool is the Montessori
Pre-school, which is only one block away from AIT. For other
options, please contact the CLO.
Away From Post Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:40 PM Since schools in
Taipei are considered adequate, there is no education allowance for
schools away from Taipei. Parents sending their children to boarding
schools would receive an amount up to the Taipei education
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:41 PM
To assist students who have minor learning difficulties, the
Taipei American School (TAS) employs resource teachers in the lower,
middle and upper schools. There is one speech/learning specialist
for the entire school and a reading specialist in the elementary
school. Students with moderate to severe learning problems cannot be
accommodated. The CLO will assist with contacting the school for an
early appraisal of whether TAS has the capabilities to accept a
child. The CLO can also assist to research the current availability
of other resources in Taipei.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:40 PM
Educational opportunities at local universities are limited.
Applicants must be fluent in Chinese and universities have
restrictions on the number of foreign students who may apply.
Auditing of courses is permitted.
Group or individual class instruction in Mandarin is available
through the auspices of the AIT Post Language Program Direct Funding
Initiative. AIT contracts with a local institution to provide
intensive Chinese language survival training, mainly for spouses and
specialists. In addition, the Community Services Center gives a
class in "Survival Chinese" for those only wishing to use their
Mandarin for shopping and getting around town. Private tutors may be
hired at a reasonable hourly rate for individual or group lessons.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:45 PM
Because of Taiwan's excellent record in international
competition, there is great interest in baseball, especially among
young people. Taiwan now has two professional baseball leagues.
Bowling is popular among the Chinese, and many alleys are open 24
hours a day throughout Taipei. League bowling is available for men
and women. Professional league basketball, with many American
professional players, has many teams with a full regular season of
play. In line with the increased interest in sports on Taiwan,
foreign basketball, soccer, and volleyball teams are frequently
invited to compete with local teams, providing the opportunity to
see professionals in action.
There are numerous 18-hole golf courses in the Taipei area, but
membership is costly. Generally, anyone may play on these courses by
paying greens and caddie fees (US$100). AIT employees may sometimes
obtain special memberships at a more reasonable rate at some
Taipei American school offers a program of competitive sports for
high school students including swimming, diving, soccer, basketball,
softball, track, cross country, volleyball, badminton, rugby and
tennis. Sports and recreation at the elementary levels are handled
by the TYPA for which parents must pay the fees for sports
involvement. TYPA offers a wide range of activities which supplement
the TAS education but are available to any foreign passport holder.
AIT employees presently are granted free membership to the PIBC's
Yangmingshan Country Club and its downtown facility. The
Yangmingshan club has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, men and
women's saunas, a restaurant and tennis courts. There is also a
small room for aerobics and showers at the main AIT compound
Several larger hotels have swimming clubs with nominal dues.
The pastimes of skin diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling are
also easy to pursue on the extreme southwestern coasts and among the
Penghu Islands. For divers there are qualifying courses, rental
equipment, and organized dives. If you have equipment, bring it with
you but remember that the excessive heat and humidity affect
Sporting gear such as golf and tennis equipment is sold in Taipei
at reasonable prices. Good tennis racket restringing is also
available from local pros at private tennis clubs.
Horseback riding (dressage, jumping and trail riding) facilities
are available, although the options are limited and expensive.
Winter sports are limited to the rare skiing in the central
mountains of the island, during a very short season. These areas are
difficult to reach and do not offer the usual amenities for a skiing
holiday. The one ski lift broke years ago and has not been repaired.
Strict conservation laws enacted by the local authorities make
hunting illegal. (See Firearms and Ammunition under "Getting to the
For the running enthusiast, the Taipei Hash House Harriers
sponsor men and women's organized runs on Saturday and Sunday. These
are open to all and starting points are published in the English
language papers. The Harriers also sponsor competitive road races,
often in conjunction with other local organizations. Running is
becoming popular in Taiwan, and running shoes, suits, etc., are
widely sold at prices comparable to the U.S.
There are several fitness centers but the prices are generally
high. Many AIT employees use the Gold's Gym near AIT.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:30 PM
Aside from the outdoor sports listed above, many people have
found the moderate climate from October to April ideal for hiking.
AIT has an active hiking club and there are several local hiking
clubs and many good trails to climb. Family picnics and cookouts are
Gardeners will find they have great opportunities to try their
success with subtropical plants and flowers that could be cultivated
only with difficulty in the U.S., but which bloom here with a
minimum of care and effort.
Touring is a popular pastime. There are many interesting places
to see, some of which can be reached in a day. The Community Liaison
Officer organizes regular sightseeing and orientation trips for the
AIT community, as do local clubs and groups like the American Club
and the Community Services Center.
The following list highlights some of Taiwan's attractions:
Pitan (Green Lake): Eleven kilometers (seven miles) from Taipei
by highway, this lake is noted for its deep green water. It is a
favorite spot for picnics and outings.
Wulai Waterfall: South of Pitan, but higher in the mountains,
this scenic area is inhabited by aboriginal villagers who perform
their traditional dances for visitors. The view of the cascade may
be enjoyed from a picturesque "railway" where a cable car ascends to
a mountain resort.
Hsien Tung (Tunnel of the Gods): This is a cave near Keelung that
contains three crypts of great depth that echo the thundering of the
She Liao Islet: On this islet at the mouth of Keelung Harbor is a
cove that has many monuments with Dutch inscriptions, a legacy from
the period of Dutch influence.
Kuan Yin Mountain: Some 2,000 feet high, it stands impressively
at the west side of the mouth of the Tamsui River opposite Taipei.
It is the site of a famous Buddhist temple.
Tatun Mountain Range: This range lies east of the Tamsui River,
north of Taipei, and consists of a group of volcanic peaks. It
includes the Yangmingshan area, where many Americans reside. The
main peak, a beautiful cone called Chi Shing Shan or Seven Star
Mountain, rises 3,903 feet. There are six geysers and numerous hot
sulfur springs in the area. Many miles of paths and trails
crisscross these mountains, offering the hiker or casual stroller a
glimpse of terraced rice fields and village life, as well as
magnificent views of Taipei to the south and the Pacific Ocean to
Tamsui: This is the original Formosan seaport where the Old Dutch
Fort of San Domingo is located. Sun Moon Lake: Travel is feasible by
air, train or car to Taichung in west central Taiwan, and from there
by road to the lake. Sun Moon Lake, 2,500 feet above sea level, is
considered one of the world's most beautiful lakes. Aborigines at
the village entertain visitors with their dances and sell souvenirs
Ali Shan is further south, at 8,774 feet, and can be reached by
highway or a spectacular narrow gauge mountain railway. Here you can
see 2,000-year-old cypress trees with tall straight trunks of
enormous size. Ali Shan features the most famous sunrise in Taiwan.
Yu Shan: From Ali Shan it is possible to climb the 13,064-foot Yu
Shan, or lade Mountain, the highest mountain in East Asia. A permit
is required to climb Yu Shan. Kentina: The southern tip of Taiwan
has beautiful beaches and extensive coral reefs, hot springs,
unusual scenery, and a very large tropical arboretum established by
the Japanese and currently maintained as Kenting Park. Kenting is
roughly two hours drive from Kaohsiung. There is a variety of
facilities and accommodations available, from luxury to backpack.
The Cross Island Highway, bisecting Taiwan west to east, crossing
high mountains, skirting deep gorges, and following mountain
streams, provides spectacular views and challenging driving. This
trip is not for the faint of heart. In Lishan, the middle point on
the trip, there is a hotel. Here the road splits into a northeast
branch, ending at Ilan on the northeast coast, with a subbranch
north to Taipei, near the Shihmen Reservoir, and an east branch,
emerging at Taroko Gorge National Park. The gorge, which also has
hotel facilities, is bordered by awe-inspiring, steep, marble cliffs
and steadily blowing winds. Off this east branch road is a
spectacular drive to Wu She via Ho Huan Shan, Taiwan's only ski area
accessible by car. Here the Taiwan Forestry Bureau maintains a
hostel for skiers and hikers at an elevation of 11,200 feet. It is
open for skiing in January and February, but snow conditions are
unpredictable and facilities are rustic.
A trip down the east coast precipice highway between Suao and
Hualien offers views of dramatic scenery from a road which clings to
the side of awesome cliffs hundreds of feet above the Pacific. These
are reputed to be the highest sea cliffs in the world.
Travel Outside of Taiwan
Any part of Southeast Asia can be visited from Taiwan. Sydney,
Australia is the authorized Rest and Recuperation (R & R) point, but
Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines are more
convenient vacation spots. Taipei is 80 minutes by plane from Hong
Kong, three hours from Bangkok and Tokyo. There are frequent flights
to each city from Taipei.
Entertainment Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:51 PM
Local air-conditioned theaters show Chinese, Japanese, American,
and a limited number of European films. American film offerings vary
from first run movies to re-releases. American movies are generally
in English with Chinese subtitles. Warner Village has the latest in
modern multiplex-style theatres. Karaoke is a popular evening
entertainment and there are numerous venues for this form of
entertainment. Some of the larger, Western hotels offer
Western-style nightclub acts and discotheques, but these are
expensive. Beer houses, teahouses and coffeehouses are in vogue in
Taipei and they are abundant. Taipei also has many western-style
pubs, some featuring live bands playing a variety of popular music
and encouraging dancing. Others offer darts or pool. Although many
pubs will have "happy hour" discounts, drinks usually start at
around US$4.00 $5.00.
Art circles in Taipei are quite active. A continuous cycle of art
exhibits is stimulated by a spirited debate on the relative values
of Chinese vs. Western and traditional vs. modern art. The Taipei
Fine Arts Museum makes a special effort to introduce a wide variety
of modern arts to Taiwan.
Chinese Restaurants and Banquets: Some Etiquette Tips. It is
important to be prompt when attending Chinese dinners and banquets.
Chinese people always arrive early, say "How do you do?"
individually, beginning with the host/hostess and extending, if
possible, to all invited guests.
Rice wine (shaohsing) is often served at Chinese dinners,
although guests may drink juice or water if they desire. The first
toast is frequently a general one, with everyone drinking together,
usually as soon as the first dish is presented. After this it is
general practice for all at the table to toast others, starting with
the host/hostess toasting the guest of honor. Couples generally
drink as a unit, though they are free to drink as individuals.
Remember that the Chinese only drink shaohsing when toasting. There
is always a tumbler of water, beer, or soft drink to quench one's
thirst. In toasting one does not necessarily say anything, but it is
common to specify the kind of toast. The most common toast is "gan
bei" (literally, "dry cup," the equivalent of "bottoms up"). Both
parties are expected to drain their glasses and show each other the
empty glass. You do not necessarily have to "gan bei"; you may
respond with "sui yi," meaning "drink as you please," or, on
occasion, "ban bei," meaning "drink just half the glass." Ladies,
upon being toasted, may just sip from their glasses. The whole table
may drink together with the arrival of new dishes.
The guest of honor at a Chinese dinner should be aware of other
customs. The honored guest is expected to partake of the new dish
first. Other guests will then follow. The guest of honor should be
the first one to leave when the dinner is concluded. The serving of
fruit and tea signifies the dinner has come to an end. The guest of
honor should then make the motion to leave, thanking his or her
host/hostess and depart. Otherwise, the other guests will have to
continue waiting for the guest of honor to depart. Most Chinese
dinners last about two hours.
Among Americans Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:52 PM Social activities
among Americans take the form of dinner parties or cocktail parties
at private homes or dining out at various restaurants. With the
exceptions of the Director and the Deputy Director, most
representational entertaining is done in restaurants.
Families with children at Taipei American School may participate
in the many activities centered around the school: plays, student
concerts, sports, and events like the school's annual International
International Contacts Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:53 PM Taiwanese
people are gregarious and pleased to make American friends. It is
easy to meet Taiwanese through work or in any number of clubs and
organizations. Golf clubs, tennis clubs, bridge clubs, softball and
volleyball teams provide an opportunity to meet Taiwanese who have
similar sports interests.
Local chapters of the Lions, Rotary, and Jaycees are active in
Taipei and are eager to have American members. The American
University Club, an association of alumni from various colleges and
universities in the U.S., includes many American members, but the
majority of the members are Chinese. There are many other alumni
organizations as well. Other international clubs include the Ali
Shan Oasis, the Shriners Club, the Knights of Columbus, Zonta
International, and Toastmasters. The Taipei International Women's
Club and Service League activities offer a broad opportunity for
service and social contacts. Taipei also has an active YWCA that
offers a variety of adult educational courses ranging from yoga and
Chinese cooking to shadow boxing and scroll mounting. The Taipei
Christian Women's Club sponsors frequent tours and lectures. These
events are open to the public and advertised in the English-language
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:54 PM
It is a Chinese custom to exchange cards upon introduction. An
employee will usually distribute at least 200-300 cards a year, if
not more. Engraved and printed cards, including invitation cards,
may be obtained locally at reasonable prices and within a few days
after arrival. Most cards used in Taiwan have English on one side
and Chinese on the other, so it may be better to order your cards
immediately after you arrive and after you have received your
Special Information Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:44 PM
Post Orientation Program
There are two types of sponsors at AIT:
Office — helps you complete check-in procedures with the
Administrative Section. The sponsor is chosen based on which office
you will be assigned to.
Social — picks you up at the airport, introduces you to your
neighborhood, shows you where to shop, etc. This sponsor is chosen
based on housing proximity and, if possible, family makeup.
Sponsors are responsible for greeting the newcomers, setting up
their quarters and introducing them to other AIT families and the
local shopping areas. Introductions within offices are the
responsibility of each new arrival's co-workers.
The administrative check-in is scheduled the first work day after
your arrival in Taiwan. Group sessions are scheduled for the
administrative orientation for CLASS students. Each new employee and
each family member should have the following data readily available:
Current tourist passport.
Valid American driver's license (if you want a local license).
Shipping and vehicle information.
Health insurance identification card for your American carrier.
A copy of your most current earnings statement.
Allotment information: name, address and account numbers of your
bank for direct deposit of salary checks.
Checkbook or U.S. cash for conversion to local currency.
The whole family should plan to attend the first half-day of
administrative check-in so photo identification and applications for
official documentation can be arranged.
American Istitute - Kaohsiung
Post City Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:55 PM
Kaohsiung is Taiwan's largest and busiest seaport, and with a
metropolitan population of over 1.5 million people, it is the
island's second largest city. The population is growing rapidly,
keeping pace with the dynamic economic growth of the island. In
contrast to Taipei, which sits in a basin, Kaohsiung lies at one end
of the 160-kilometer (100 mile) long Chianan Plain, the agricultural
heartland of Taiwan, and has considerable room for expansion.
Originally a small fishing village in an agricultural area,
Kaohsiung is the world's fourth largest container shipping port. It
is also home to much of Taiwan's heavy industry and has the road,
rail, and airline infrastructure to support it. Kaohsiung has daily
flights to Hong Kong, Japan and various Southeast Asian cities, as
well as frequent domestic air service. Kaohsiung has one of the
largest oil refineries in Asia, and there are hundreds of large and
medium-size factories producing petrochemicals, cement, textiles,
plastics, electronics, machine tools, plywood, processed food, and
numerous other products. A large integrated steel mill, shipyard and
two petrochemical complexes are located on the southern outskirts of
the city. There are also four export processing zones in the
Kaohsiung area. These bustling industrial complexes produce a
substantial portion of the goods manufactured in Taiwan. The
sprawling city, with its heavy overcast of pollution and constant
construction activity, is reminiscent of industrial cities
There are several institutions of higher learning in the
Kaohsiung area, including a teachers college, two medical colleges,
and the National Sun Yat-sen University. Kaohsiung has an excellent
Fine Arts Museum and an active program of concerts and cultural
events at the Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center.
Nearby scenic spots include Cheng Ching Lake and forest parks in
the mountains of Kaohsiung County.
Kaohsiung has a dry, mild winter, with most of the rainfall
occurring during the typhoon season, lasting from May to September.
The city receives much less rain than Taipei and therefore has a dry
dusty appearance most of the year.
In addition to frequent air flights, Kaohsiung is also connected
with Taipei by railroad, which takes about 4-5 hours. It is usually
a 5-hour drive by car, although it can take much longer on holidays,
when the north-south freeway is extremely congested. From Kaohsiung,
road, bus, train, and air connections can be made to all points on
Taiwan. Telephone and postal services are excellent. Kaohsiung is
connected with all other major cities in Taiwan and many overseas
locations through telephone direct dialing.
Comments on utilities and equipment, food, clothing, supplies,
and services in the Taipei section of this report apply also to
Kaohsiung, although there is a greater variety of goods and services
available in Taipei.
Not far from Kaohsiung is Taiwan's former historic capital,
Tainan. With its well-restored temple honoring Taiwan's national
hero, Koxinga, its old Dutch Fort at Anping, and a Confucian Temple,
Tainan has a different cultural flavor than those of Taiwan's other
cities. And, less than two hours drive from Kaohsiung is Kenting
National Park, a vacationer's delight not unlike Hawaii in its
Housing Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:55 PM
AIT Kaohsiung employee apartments are located within 20 minutes
driving distance from the office. The office is located on the fifth
floor in one of the city's more modern office buildings.
AIT maintains furnished townhouses, which typically consist of
three or four bedrooms, three baths, kitchen, utility room,
living/dining room combination and balcony, as well as a parking
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:56 PM
Taipei is not quite halfway around the world, west from
Washington, DC. Airfare via the Pacific is cheaper than flying by
way of Europe.
Most travelers arrive at Chiang Kaishek International Airport (CKS).
CKS is in Taoyuan, approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the
city center. The drive time is normally around an hour but traffic
can double that time.
Northwest, United and Continental Airlines currently serve Taipei
from the U.S. Travelers have the option of flying directly from San
Francisco on United, via Tokyo on Northwest or United, or via Guam
on Continental. Check with your travel office for the latest flight
Customs, immigration and travel service officials generally speak
some English. Most official travelers are met on arrival if AIT has
received advance notification. If you arrive after hours and are not
met, call the AIT office at 02-2709-2014. An American is on duty at
all times. As soon as you know your travel plans, please notify AIT.
If you are in Washington, your travel plans should be sent through
HR/CDA/AD. If you are overseas, coordinate the arrangements with
your HRO. This will allow AIT to ensure that all arrangements have
been made prior to your arrival and that you are met at CKS Airport
upon your arrival. Since arrivals often coincide with the typhoon
season in late summer, it is very helpful for AIT Taipei to have
your travel plans for your stops on the way to Taipei so we can find
you if the airports here are closed at your scheduled time of
arrival, like during a typhoon, for example. For those assigned to
Kaohsiung, reservations should be made through AIT for hotel
stopovers in Taipei.
Accompanying Baggage & Currency Restrictions
Accompanying baggage is limited to those articles that are
exclusively for the personal use of the passenger. Duty-free items
include cigars (25 or less), cigarettes (200 or less), tobacco (1/2
pound or less), and one bottle of alcoholic beverage per adult, if
for personal use. Accompanying baggage is subject to inspection by
Unaccompanied Air Baggage & Household Effects
AIT employees and their family members and members of household
assigned to Taiwan have duty-free import privileges for their
unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) and surface shipped household
effects (HHE). If you intend to import articles in addition to UAB
and HHE, consult with GSO for clearance, because the authorities
exercise strict control over high-duty merchandise such as pianos,
TV sets, refrigerators, freezers, etc.
UAB shipments from the U.S. take about 12-16 days to reach
Taipei, and customs clearance takes about seven working days.
Surface baggage, household effects, and cars reach Keelung, the port
of entry, in about two months; customs clearance requires about
seven working days after arrival. For this reason, if convenient,
surface shipments should be sent several weeks before your
departure, but it is not recommended that HHE or vehicles be timed
to arrive here before you do.
To facilitate customs clearance and avoid delay, copies of
packing lists for air and surface shipments should be sent to one of
the following addresses:
S/GSO American Institute in Taiwan 7, Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road,
Section 3 Taipei 106, Taiwan
4170 AIT Taipei Place Dept. of State Washington, DC 20521-4170
Visas and Inoculations
Persons assigned to Taiwan must carry a valid regular tourist
passport with a courtesy visa issued by TECRO, and an up-to-date
immunization record. Those traveling to Taiwan on temporary duty (TDY)
orders may enter with a visitor's visa, good for a stay of up to two
months. This visa may be extended twice, each time for two months,
allowing for a total stay of six months. If you are planning to stop
in Taipei for a few days while in transit status, you are urged to
obtain a visitors' visa. However, transiting without a visa is
permitted for a period of up to 14 days. Holders of regular
passports who enter Taiwan with resident visas must acquire exit
permits before departing. It takes about one week to obtain exit
permits at the local police stations. (Courtesy visas do not require
Those coming from areas infected with cholera, yellow fever, or
plague must have the appropriate inoculations. The International
Certificate of Vaccination, recommended by the World Health
Organization (WHO), is recognized by the authorities. The
certificate must bear the approved stamp of the health authorities
who administer the immunizations; the doctor's signature alone is
not sufficient. In the U.S., the stamp used may be that of the local
or state health department, the Public Health Service, or the
special "S-C Stamp."
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:58 PM
The authorities on Taiwan strictly enforce detailed regulations
on the importation, use, and sale of motor vehicles. Each AIT
employee may import one vehicle duty free. Vehicles may be sold to
anyone with duty-free privileges without restriction, providing the
vehicle can pass the local safety inspection.
Consistent with AIT's policy on the sale of personal property,
employees are permitted to sell their motor vehicle duty and tax
free providing the vehicle has been in the owner's possession (on
Taiwan) for a period of two years. All other vehicles sold, such as
a locally manufactured vehicle that was purchased tax-free and/or
vehicles that have been on Taiwan less than two years, are subject
to local duties and taxes. Personnel are permitted to sell their
vehicle if it has been in their possession, on Taiwan, for a period
of six months and they are in possession of permanent transfer,
separation, or retirement orders. However, these vehicles will be
subject to local duties and taxes. In case of the owner's death, or
in those cases where the vehicle has suffered damage beyond repair,
a special exception can be requested.
The Director's authority to determine restrictions or limitations
on motor vehicles brought to AIT is contained in 6 FAM 165.7. These
restrictions and limitations "may include, but are not limited to,
provisions to assure that the vehicle is suitable and that the
import of the vehicle is not primarily for resale."
In order to avoid abuse or suspicion of abuse, the following
guidelines are provided. They are not necessarily comprehensive and
do not relieve the employee of his responsibility to avoid abuse or
suspicion of abuse. When in doubt, the employee should consult with
the Administrative Officer. Requests for exceptions to these
guidelines should be addressed to the Administrative Officer before
taking an action that might be in conflict with the following: a)
Ostentatious vehicles may not be imported into Taiwan. b) The first
vehicle should be ordered (and preferably received) within the
employee's first six months at AIT. c) A car may not be ordered or
received within the last six months of an employee's tour unless
he/she certifies that it will be re-exported. d) The importation of
a replacement vehicle will require the prior approval of the
Duty-free importation of motor vehicles is restricted to models
up to three (3) years old. For this purpose, the current year is
considered one of the three. This prohibition is based on the model
year of importation (e.g. vehicles to be imported in the calendar
year 2002 must be a 2000 model or later). Right-hand drive vehicles
may not be imported into Taiwan. There are NO exceptions for
vehicles over three years old.
Please include the following information in your notice to GSO if
you plan on shipping a vehicle to Taiwan: Year, Make, Model, Type
(sedan, station wagon, etc.), Number of doors, Engine number, Engine
size in cubic centimeters, Number of cylinders, Color, Vehicle
identification number (VIN), Current value, Net weight,
Customs clearance cannot be obtained until after you have arrived
and received an ID card issued by TECRO. (Processing of the card
usually takes 10-14 working days.) If you provide incorrect
information, the papers will have to be reprocessed after your
arrival and can make for a lengthy delay in receiving your permanent
Importation of motorcycles is prohibited and there are no
Those thinking of importing a vehicle to Taiwan should be advised
that many of the roads and parking spaces in Taipei are narrow and
smaller sedans are easier to maneuver in these tight spaces than are
Pets Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:59 PM
Any AIT American employee who intends to import a pet or pets
into Taiwan must strictly adhere to the regulations. All pets
require an import permit. The following countries have been deemed
rabies free and pets imported from these countries will not require
the 21-day quarantine period:
Japan United Kingdom Sweden Iceland Australia New Zealand Taiwan
All other countries not listed above are considered to be
rabies-infested. Generally, no pets may be imported into Taiwan from
a rabies-infested country. However, an exception to this rule can be
requested for American employees of AIT on the basis of a special
permit issued by the Bureau of Commodity Inspection & Quarantine.
Any pet arriving from a rabies-infested country without an import
permit will be returned to the point of origin at the expense of the
owner. All American employees of AIT who intend to bring a pet into
Taiwan from a rabies-infested country, including the United States,
should forward the following information and documents to the S/GSO:
(1) Name and U.S. address of the pet owner (2) Six (6) 4"x4" color
photographs of pet, (3) Species of pet (4) Breed, sex and color (5)
Age (be specific on the veterinary health certificate and rabies
vaccination--do not use an "under six months" or "over one year"
type answer) (6) Place of birth (country of origin) and present
location of pet (7) Estimated arrival date of pet (8) Mode of
transportation (accompanied/unaccompanied air baggage) (9) Copy of
the owner's passport (10) A valid certificate of vaccination against
rabies dated not less than 30 days and not more than 12 months prior
to shipping. Ensure that the type of vaccine, whether inactive or
live, is noted (11) the original "Official Certificate of Veterinary
Inspection for Small Animals" health certificate stamped and signed
by the country of origin's department of agriculture (for the United
States, this would be a USDA Officer)
Note: (a) The pet must be accompanied by the original health
certificate. (b) Copies of certificates, photographs and the above
mentioned information should be forwarded to the Customs & Shipping
Unit, AIT Taipei, as soon as possible. These documents are required
for issuance of an import permit by the Taiwan Authorities. It takes
around one week to process. The import permit will be faxed to you
and should be handcarried or accompany the pet when it arrives at
CKS Airport. (c) If the pet is sent as cargo, after booking your
flight, please fax a copy of the AWB (airway bill) to the Customs &
Shipping Unit. AIT must receive the AWB at least 5 working days
prior to the pet's departure so our office can apply for duty free
importation for the pet. (d) The pet can only be delivered to the
quarantine station during the normal business hours. If it arrives
after hours, it would stay overnight at the CKS Airport. In order to
avoid the pet staying over the weekend, please schedule your pet's
arrival during the week, before noon on Friday. (e) The pet is not
allowed to be imported into Taiwan if it has transited through
Singapore, Malaysia or Australia. (f) There are two US flag carriers
servicing Taipei -- United Airlines and Northwest Airlines.
GSO will obtain approval for duty-free import of pets upon
receipt of a copy of the airway bill, and will prepare the necessary
customs clearance documents. Picking up the pet and obtaining
customs clearance, however, is the responsibility of the pet owner.
Upon arrival at the port of entry and after completion of the
customs clearance, the pet will be sent to the Veterinary Hospital
at National Taiwan University in Taipei for quarantine. The contact
information for the quarantine facility is:
153 Kee Lung Road, Sec. 3, Taipei Phone: 886-2-2733-5891 Fax:
After the 21-day quarantine period, a designated representative
will pick up the pet and deliver it to your residence.
Importation of pets can be expensive and time-consuming. You must
have an agent or local broker assist with the customs clearance
procedures, making reservations at the veterinary hospital
quarantine facility in Taipei, and arranging transportation for your
pets to the facility. Costs involved per animal are approximately
$800, though these costs depend on the size of the animal and the
distance of your residence from the quarantine facility.
For further information, please contact the Customs & Shipping
Unit by fax at 886-2-2784-2089 or email Carroll Yen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:59 PM
Automatic firearms are prohibited. In addition, employees are
strongly encouraged not to bring nonautomatic firearms or
ammunition. If they are brought into Taiwan, they may not be used.
U.S. citizen employees assigned to AIT must follow these procedures
if they wish to import non-automatic weapons: 1. Prior written
approval of the AIT Director must be obtained before bringing
weapons to Taiwan. 2. No weapons or ammunition will be allowed to be
kept on AIT-owned or -leased residential properties by individuals
or family members assigned to AIT.
Anyone who does bring weapons or ammunition to Taiwan will be
required to declare it, register it with the local authorities, and
turn it over to the AIT Regional Security Officer who will keep it
locked up until the employee permanently departs Taiwan.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
2/18/2005 2:00 PM
The New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) is the currency of Taiwan. The rate
of exchange changes, of course, depending on fluctuating foreign
exchange values, but US$1 to NT$35 is a good rule of thumb (on
October 2, 2002, the rate was 34.92 NT to the dollar). NT paper
currency denominations are 100, 200, 500, and 1000; coins are 1, 5,
10, and 50.
Bank of America cashier services are available at AIT: Monday
10:00-1:30 Wednesday 10:00-3:00 Friday 10:00-1:30
CLASS students and Kaohsiung employees may exchange a limited
amount of currency at their subcashiers.
Employees should maintain a U.S. checking account for deposit of
their salary checks, payment of bills, etc. Current banking laws in
Taiwan prohibit non-residents from opening checking accounts, but it
is possible to open NT$ savings accounts. With the issuance of an
ATM card, one can withdraw cash from ATMs scattered throughout
AIT American employees are not limited to any set amount of U.S.
dollars being brought into or taken out of Taiwan. Tourists with
more than US$5000 or any other foreign currency of equivalent value
at the time they enter Taiwan, and who plan to take such money out
within six months, must declare it at the time of entry.
The Taiwan currency is required for making purchases in local
shopping areas. Official exchange agencies are located at the
airport and most banks.
The following system of weights and measures is currently used in
Taiwan, but increasingly the metric system is being used: Weights: 1
catty = 1.1-1.3 pounds A Taiwan Kilo is only 600 grams, not the
usual 1000 grams Area measures: 1 ping = 36 square feet Distances:
Road distances are in kilometers.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:05 PM
Butterfield, Fox. China: Alive in the Bitter Sea. New York: Times
Hang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. New York:
Cheng, Nien. Life and Death in Shanghai. New York: Penguin, 1986.
Crozier, Brian. The Man Who Lost China: The First Biography of
Chiang Kai-shek. New York: Scribner's, 1976.
Fairbank, John King. China: A New History. Cambridge: Belkap
Press of Harvard University, 1992.
--China Watch. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.
Hucker, Charles 0. China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to
Chinese History and Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press,
Schiffrin, Harold Z. Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese
Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.
Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. New York: W.W.
On Chinese-U.S. Relations
Bader, William B., ed. The Taiwan Relations Act: A Decade of
Implementation. Indianapolis: Menlo Park, CA: Hudson Institute; SRI
Fairbank, John King. The Great Chinese Revolution: 1800 - 1985,
Harper Collins, 1987.
Gilbert, Stephen P., ed. America and Island China: A Documentary
History. Lanham: University Press of America, 1989.
Harding, Harry. A Fragile Relationship: The U.S. and China Since
1992. Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1992.
Tyler, Patrick. A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China: An
Investigative History. Public Affairs, 1999.
Lasater, Martin L. The Taiwan Issue in Sino American Strategic
Relations Boulder, CO.: Westview Press 1984.
Metzger, Thomas A., and Ramon H. Myers, eds. Greater China and
U.S. Foreign Policy: The Choice Between Confrontation and Mutual
Respect. Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1996.
Solomon, Richard, ed. The China Factor: Sino American Relations
and the Global Scene. Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981.
Tuchman, Barbara W. Stilwell and the American Experience in
China, 1911-1945. New York: Macmillan, 1971.
Tucker, Nancy B. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States. New
York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994.
Aberbach, Joel D., Ed. The Role of the State in Taiwan's
Development. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1993.
Ahern, Emily Martin, and Hill Gates, eds: The Anthropology of
Chinese Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1981.
Baldwin , Robert E. Political Economy of U.S.-Taiwan Trade. Ann
Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Barnett, A. Doak. U.S. Arms Sales: The China-Taiwan Tangle.
Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1982.
Chang, Charles Chi-hsiang. Taiwan's Electoral Political and
Democratic Transition: Riding the Third Wave. M.E. Sharpe, 1995.
Clough, Ralph N. Island China. Cambridge: Harvard University
--Reaching Across the Taiwan Strait: People-to-People Diplomacy.
Boulder, C0: Westview Press, 1993.
Cohen, Marc J. Taiwan at the Crossroads: Human Rights, Political
Development, and Social Change on the Beautiful Island. Asia
Resource Center, 1988.
Cooper, John. A Quiet Revolution: Political Development in the
Republic of China. Washington, D.C.: 1988.
Feigenbaum, Evan A. Change in Taiwan and Potential Adversity in
the Strait. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1995.
Finkelstein, David M. Washington's Taiwan Dilemma: From
Abandonment to Salvation. University Publishing Associates Inc.,
Gold, Thomas B. State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle. Armonk,
New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1986.
Gregor, A. James. Ideology and Development: Sun Yat-sen and the
Economic History of Taiwan. Institute of East Asian Studies,
University of California, Berkeley, 1981.
Harrell, Steven, ed. Cultural Change in Postwar Taiwan. Boulder:
Westview Press, 1994.
Hickey, Dennis V. Unites StatesTaiwan Security Ties: From Cold
War to Beyond Containment. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.
Jacoby, Neil H. United States Aid to Taiwan: A Study of Foreign
Aid, SelfHelp, and Development. New York: Longman; St. Martin's
Lasater, Martin L. The Changing of the Guard: President Clinton
and the Security of Taiwan. Boulder, C0: Westview Press, 1995.
U.S. Interests in the New Taiwan
Boulder, C0: Westview Press, 1993.
Li, Kuo-ting. The Evolution of Policy Behind Taiwan's Development
Success. Yale University Press, 1988.
Peng, Ming-min. A Taste of Freedom: Memoirs of a Formosan
Independence Leader. New York: Hold, Rinehart, Winston, 1971.
Tien, Hung-mao. The Great Transition: Political and Social Change
in the Republic of China. Hoover Institution Press, 1989.
Wilson, Richard W. Learning to Be a Chinese: The Political
Socialization of Children in Taiwan. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970.
Wolf, Margery. Women and the Family in Rural Taiwan. Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1972.
Bates, Chris and Ling-li. Culture Shock Taiwan. Portland, Oregon:
Graphic Arts Center Publications, 1995.
Community Services Center. Taipei Living, A Resource Guide for
the International Community in Taiwan (Revised and Updated, Sixth
Edition). Taipei: May 2001.
Storey, Robert. Taiwan: A Travel Survival Kit. Berkeley: Lonely
Planet Publications, 1994.
Zeld, Daniel P. Insight Guide to Taiwan. Hong Kong: APA
Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:12 PM
New Year's Day January 1 Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
January 20 President's Day February 17 Memorial Day May 26
ndependence Day July 4 Labor Day September 1 Columbus Day October 13
Veteran's Day November 11 Thanksgiving Day November 27 Christmas Day
Founding of the Republic of China January 1 Lunar New Year and
Spring Festival Jan 31-Feb 5 Peace Memorial Day February 28 Labor
Day May 1 Dragon Boat Festival June 4 Mid-Autumn Festival September
11 National Day (Double Ten) October 10