Location: East Asia
Time zone: GMT/UTC plus 8 hours
Daylight savings time: no
Current time: 09:09
Currency: New Taiwan dollar
Dialling code: +886
Internet suffix: .tw
Taiwan is an island off the southeast coast of China, known for its culture, development levels and historically difficult relationship with Beijing.
Overall security situation: mostly secure
Crime rate: low
Murder rate: moderate
Gun ownership levels: average
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: no
Taiwan is relatively safe. While diplomatic relations with mainland China can be tense, with occasional spats and limited confrontations, the risk of war is overall deemed to be low.
Gun ownership levels are average in comparison to the rest of the world, the murder rate is moderate and the crime rate is low, with some petty crime and limited violent crime.
Society is largely content, with some mostly single-issue grievances. There are occasional protests and demonstrations, some of which can be large, but they are usually non-violent.
Institutions are well-developed.
Terrorism poses an extremely low (albeit not non-existent) level of risk.
Aviation safety levels: potential concerns
Annual road fatality rates: low
Vehicles drive on the: right
Infrastructure quality: excellent
Urban ATM availability: good
Electricity supply: 110V 60Hz
Electricity supply reliability: consistent
Plug types: A and B
Plug type A (2 flat pins, not grounded/earthed)
Plug type B (2 flat pins and 1 rounded pin, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug type A)
Is tap water drinkable: no
Healthcare quality: extremely good healthcare provision
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low
Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):
- Cholera (usually only recommended for aid workers or those spending time in at-risk areas)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B (not always needed)
- Japanese encephalitis
- Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus)
Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: frequent cases
Rabies prevalence: low risk
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: high
Hepatitis B prevalence: high
Hepatitis E prevalence: not highly endemic
Cholera status: occasional outbreaks
Chikungunya virus presence: present
Zika virus presence: not recently reported
Japanese encephalitis presence: yes
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: low/non-existent risk
Chagas disease presence: none
Typhoid fever presence: endemic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: not thought to be present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no
Climate: tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); persistent and extensive cloudiness all year
Terrain: eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
Natural disaster risk: moderate
Natural hazards: typhoons (especially between May and November); flooding; seismic activity
Tropical storms: common
Volcanic activity: Kueishantao Island (elev. 401 m), east of Taiwan, is its only historically active volcano, although it has not erupted in centuries
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: yes
Government type: multiparty democracy
Socio-economic development score: 9/10 (very high levels of socio-economic development)
Adult literacy rate: 98.5%
Unemployment rate: very low
Civil liberties: well respected
Investment rating: investment grade
Corruption levels: fairly low
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: in use
Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
Ethnic groups: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%
Beliefs: mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%
- The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
- However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
- Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
- Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
- Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.
Safe country guidelines
- Even in relatively safe parts of the world, accidents, illnesses and other incidents can still affect traveller safety.
- Make sure you know how to find help if you need it (such as the local emergency service numbers).
- There may still be a risk of opportunistic crime so be mindful of your belongings and take responsibility for your own actions.
- If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
- Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
- Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
- Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
- Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
- Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
- As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.
- Be prepared to respond at short notice to any seismic activity.
- Create an emergency plan to follow in the event of an incident that involves a communications breakdown, so you can meet colleagues at a designated meeting point if you are separated and cannot get in contact with one another.
- Practise drills such as “drop, seek cover and hold on” procedure so that you can take shelter as soon as an incident occurs.
- Know the location of your nearest medical kit and medically trained personnel.
- Knowledge of basic first aid will also be very useful.
- Get away from glass or anything that could fall if shaking starts.
- Consider carrying a whistle that can be used to alert first responders in the event that you are trapped after an earthquake – although bear in mind that in some circumstances and/or locations there may not be much in the way of first response capabilities, particularly following a damaging earthquake.
- In the event of an incident, avoid damaged buildings that might still be at risk of collapse.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Note that earthquakes can trigger tsunamis and landslides so be prepared to move out of harm’s way once the shaking has stopped.
- You may need to move very quickly and with limited time.
- Bear in mind that healthcare facilities and services may be less extensive than what you are used to at home.
- Facilities and services may be particularly limited in rural areas.
- Pharmacies may not offer the same medications you might be accustomed to being able to purchase at home.
- If you use any medications on a regular basis, consider taking extra supplies.
- It may also be advisable to have them accompanied by a note from your doctor.
- In the event of serious or complicated illness or injury it may be necessary for a patient to be evacuated out of the country.
- Ensure that there is sufficient medical insurance in place to cover such an event.
- Civil unrest can lead to road closures and even curfews, which can affect your travel plans.
- Be prepared for delays and route alterations.
- Avoid demonstrations as they can turn violent.
- If demonstrations take place on a frequent basis, research the trends which tend to accompany them.
- Where do they tend to take place? Do they tend to turn violent? Do attendees target specific types of building or representative interests associated with a specific nationality, industry, political group (such as party political offices, state buildings or foreign-owned businesses)?
- Once you have identified the sorts of risks, trends and areas of higher risk to be avoided you can start planning to minimise your exposure.
- Terrorism can pose a risk, even in otherwise mostly safe countries.
- Assess the trends and tactics of any relevant terrorist organisations with the potential for targeting your location and identify potential targets.
- Be vigilant in and around these areas, which could include crowded places, symbolic or sensitive political sites, or busy restaurant, nightlife or tourist spots.
- Use your judgement on the frequency of incidents taking place. Just because an incident has taken place in a certain city does not mean that the city will regularly be hit again – use rational judgement to decide whether or not there is a likelihood that you will be caught up in any future incidents.
- Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to react at short notice in the event of an incident.
- In the event of an incident, get out of the area quickly if it is safe to do so.
- Alternatively hide and try to keep out of harm’s way.
- In most cases you should only try to help other people if it is safe for you to do so.
- Keep quiet and notify the relevant authorities, colleagues or loved ones only when you are out of danger.
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