Thinking about visiting or working/living in Taiwan? Here are some things you should know if you’re going to be staying for a while. You can also check out my gap guide on Go Overseas. It’s more extensive and has sites with everything you could possibly want to know.
What to pack:
- Deodorant – they do have it, but it tends to be the spray variety, and there’s limited selection
- Tampons – ladies, note that you can find them in very, very few places, so bring them if you must
- Advil and prescription medicine – their medicine is different from ours, tending more towards the herbal side, so if you have prescriptions or OTC that you use often, bring enough to last your stay. Also, they don’t have things like Advil or Aleve, so stock up.
- Oatmeal packets, granola bars, etc. – they have oatmeal and granola, but it’s expensive, slightly different, and only a few varieties and flavors. Also, for the first few days you’re getting used to the place, it’s nice to have some on hand.
- Snickers, Reese’s, Ranch, taco seasoning, chili mix, etc. – they only have a limited selection of spices Americans are used to. They have plenty of Thai and Asian, but taco and chili stuff? Not so much. For candy, they have things like Twix and a few others, plus great Asian brands, but if you must have Snicker’s or Reese’s, bring ‘em.
- Makeup – yes, all of Asia is obsessed with makeup, so you’ll be able to find a bunch, but it is all ridiculously expensive. Mascara for ten bucks? Geez.
- English books or ebook – English books are few and far between, so if you’re an avid reader, my advice is to buy a Kindle or Nook. Seriously, that device I used almost as much as my laptop.
- Hand sanitizer – didn’t see this there, but it sure comes in handy after riding buses and trains.
- Peppermint oil or other herbal oils – if you’re into that stuff, like I am. Peppermint oil on your temples on a hot day is a breath of cool air. Literally.
What not to pack:
- Stationary – if you’re big into letter writing or journaling, don’t worry about taking stuff. Taiwan is practically the stationary capital of the word. Notebooks, paper, letter sets, stickers, and cards galore.
- Office supplies – along with stationary, if you’re going to be working, you can find anything you need for the office as well. Most bookstores double as office suppliers, and the stores are everywhere.
- Shampoo and conditioner – unless you have a specific brand you like, you can buy it there. Heck, you can even find travel sized packs at the 7-11s. It’s cheap too.
- Towels and sheets – if you’re coming in for the long haul, don’t worry too much about bringing this stuff. You can easily find it as the local grocery and home goods store for cheap.
- Heavy coat, boots, and winter wear in general – Taiwan is hotter and wetter than most places in America, so the winters are mild. However, few places have heating, so it will be necessary to bundle up occasionally. I found that buying a coat there for one season was perfect. Cheap, and that way I didn’t need to pack a coat.
Next segment>>what to expect.