Driving a car or riding a scooter are my two favorite ways of moving around Taiwan. Having your own set of wheels allows you to visit remote places in the mountains or countryside. Traveling by car also lets you set your own schedule.
Renting a car in Taiwan should only be an option if you are extremely comfortable and confident at the wheel. Traffic in Taiwan can be described in one word: chaotic!
Watch this video to give you a little idea of what traffic may be like in a big city. As you can see, there is a police officer who’s controlling the circulation, so people are “behaving” well here…
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Advantages of renting a car in Taiwan
- travel whenever you want, you don’t have to follow bus or train timetables, you create your own schedule / itinerary
- access remote parts of Taiwan such as small villages in the Central Mountain Range
- bring more stuff, such as camping / cooking gear
- experience a true feeling of adventure
Driving may not be for you if you…
- get nervous in crazy traffic
- don’t have a good sense of orientation
- don’t have an international driver’s license
- are not familiar with either Mandarin Chinese or the Roman alphabet
- are planning to mostly visit cities
Where can you rent a car in Taiwan?
In my opinion, the best places for renting a car in Taiwan are airports and High Speed Rail (HSR) stations. Why? Because airports and HSR stations are near highways.
It can be very challenging, and even dangerous, to drive in the middle of a big Taiwanese city if you’re not familiar with the local style of driving. Driving in Taiwan is a completely different thing than driving in a western country.
“There are traffic rules and regulations, but they are seldom followed.”
Countryside driving is not as stressful as city driving. That’s why many people opt to rent a car at either Taoyuan, Taipei, or Kaohsiung airport, get on the highway, and leave the busy metropolitan area in order to get their feet wet on quieter, safer roads.
Renting a car at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
The only car rental company I recommend at Taoyuan Airport is Avis because their cars are new and reliable, and the office is inside the airport. Other car rental companies are NOT located inside the airport, and you must take a shuttle to get to their pick-up location and it’s just a major headache you don’t want to deal with after a long flight.
Avis Rent a Car is at Terminal 2 at Taoyuan Airport. They are open Sun – Sat 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM.
Phone: +886 3 6565 990
Renting a Car in Taiwan – Rental Costs
With Avis, it’s about 2,400NT$ per day for a tiny sub-compact car like a small Kia Morning. An economy car such as a Ford Fiesta is around 2,600NT$, and a bigger sedan for 4 people will cost you more or less 3,600NT$. If you’re in the mood for luxury, a Mercedes Benz premium wagon can be yours for 8,000NT$ per day.
Facts about driving a car in Taiwan
- Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
- You need an international driver’s license to drive and rent a car.
- If you get into an accident, don’t move the car until the police has arrived.
- Gas stations are far and between in the countryside, so make sure your tank is never too low.
- There is now a zero-tolerence for alcohol, so don’t even think about having a beer before driving.
- Highway toll fees will be deducted from your credit card as you go. It’s 40NT$ every time you pass under the blue light sensor.