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Above: Typical motorcycle (scooter) parking lot.

Images

Me and my scooterScooter Motorcycle in Taiwan

Taiwan is a good place to practice parking.
Taiwan Honda Civic 4AT 

The narrow streets, countless motorcycles and parking hazards take their effect. Or maybe it's just my bad driving?
Taiwan Honda Civic 4AT 

Driving a car in Taiwan (Scooter Info below)

Before I went to Taiwan I went through the trouble of getting one of those international driver licenses. It was a waste of time and money. If you have a US driver license, it CANNOT be used unless Taiwan has a reciprocity agreement with that state. Last I checked there are only 2 states with reciprocity agreements, Missouri and Oklahoma. The reciprocity agreement will allow you to directly receive a Taiwan driver license with any Missouri and Oklahoma license.

DO NOT GET AN "INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS LICENSE", you will only be wasting your money!

What if I do get caught with a Taiwan driver's license

Good question! I have yet to find an answer. I have heard stories of English teachers/foreigners getting out of tickets because they pretended they didn't speak Chinese. Most of the police offiers in Taiwan don't speak English that well so I have heard of them just letting foreigners go. I never received a ticket from an officer and was never stopped, so I am not sure of what the punishment would be. The best advice is to stop at stoplights (Taiwan doesn't have stopsigns) and to wear your helmet. Doing these two things will probably prevent about 99% of the possible reasons the police have to stop you.

How do I get a Taiwan Driver's license?

There are two parts, a written test and a driving test.

Taiwan Driver LicenseMy Taiwan DL.

The Taiwan written test:

Written test was taken on the computer. The test on the computer is written in Chinese, however, the computer will read you the question in English. The handbook is also in English. The handbooks are hard to find. The driving course I went to did not have any copies, it is best to ask other teachers or your school, they may have the driving handbook. The driving handbook is written in English and explains all the signs and odd rules in Taiwan.

Taking a Driver's Ed Course

The driving class is about $10,000NT (about $300 USD). It is 5 weeks and an instructor will go over all parts of the driving test. I think it is a monopoly and the drivers in Taiwan are really bad! But the instructors are nice and the $10,000 includes 1 hour practice time 5 days a week for the 5 weeks. The car you practice in is also the car you will drive for the test. I drove a beat-up Ford. Most of the practice cars are all FORDS and are painted this weird blue color. The cars have wooden shades on the roof to shield you from the sun during your driving practice.

The driving test.

The driving test is on a course at a driving school. The driving test is this: drive an s-shaped curve forward, then drive it backwards -> then parallel park -> then back the car into a parking spot -> then drive down a straight stretch of about 200 yards without touching the sides -> stop on a hill -> stop at railroad crossings -> stop at pedestrian crosswalk .

If you touch any of the lines during any of the tests, you will hear a beep. If you mess up once, you lose 25 points. The ironic thing is that you need 80% (out of 100%) to pass. So basically you can’t make any mistakes. Also, during the driving test, the other people taking the test will be waiting and everyone is watching you!

Where to buy a car?White Honda Civic

I would recommend buying a used car. I bought a 1993 Civic (see right) back in 2003 and it cost me about $2,800 US at the time. It was pretty much trouble free except for a dead battery.

I would recommend shopping with someone local to help in the haggling process.

Gas?

The difference is that in Taiwan, you don’t need to pump your own gas. And instead of gallons, they use litres as the unit of measure. The gas stations have employees pump the gas for you, you just indicate which grade and how much (either “full tank” or you can specify a dollar amount). Gas stations also offer car washes with some fill ups and even have people hand dry your car after a wash.

Free stuff when you buy gas

Depending on the total cost of your fill-up, most gas stations in Taiwan will either provide you with boxes of tissue paper, or have a chart where you can select stuff based on your fill up amount. Prizes start when you fill up more than $100 NT dollars.

The gifts are anything from boxed tissue paper, paper towels, dvd movies, and I even picked a wooden brush that I still have.

Driving a motorcycle/scooter in Taiwan

Can I ride a motorcycle using my US driver's license?

You could. But it is best to just get a Taiwan motorcycle license.

I have a Taiwan driver's license, do I need a motorcycle license?

Yes and no. If your motorcycle is 50cc, then you can ride a motorcycle with your Taiwan driver's license. Any motorcycle over 90cc requires a separate motor cycle license.

How do I get a motorcycle license?

Take a written test and the driving test. The driving test is really easy! While at the Taiwan equivalent of the DMV, I saw the motorcycle test, it is just you driving around 30x30 square. The test proctors make sure you stop on the line and make sure you don't go outside of the solid white lines.

Can I buy a scooter/motorcycle?

Yes, they are easy to find. It is best to buy one from someone who may be leaving since it is cheaper. Smaller the cc, the cheaper the scooter.

Do I need to wear a helmet?

In the past a helmet was optional, but now it is required to have a helmet. I would highly recommend a helmet.