The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

5 necessary basics to driving successfully while touring Taiwan

Written By: herbrunbridge - Aug• 10•11

Friendly Taiwanese gas station attendant always read to fill you up with a smile

Particularly in eastern and southern Taiwan, driving your own car is a wonderful expeience. Three great drives, with wonderful ocean vistas, include:

Northeast Coast National Scenic Area 

East Coast National Scenic Area

Kending National Forest Recreation Area and Hengchung Peninsula

In other posts relating to driving a car in Taiwan as a visitor, WoWasis has addressed how to rent cars in Taiwan, and a bit about the challenges of driving in Taiwanese cities (unless you can read Chinese).  Here are a few basics that will make your driving experience more pleasurable:

1)      Whenever possible pass any vehicle that blocks your view. You’ll need to see every sign on the road as far ahead as possible, so pass, pass, pass. If you don’t, you’ll be constantly lost from missing important signs hidden by the truck or bus ahead of you.

2)      Just because you know the rules doesn’t mean you’ll always want to obey them. It isn’t legal to turn right on a red light, but people in Taiwan do it all the time. Lots of cars go 120km or more in a 110 km speed zone. Lots of people pass slow vehicles on mountain roads by going over double yellow lines.

3)      We’ve never ever seen a cop stop anyone for anything other than an accident. Taiwanese are, in general, safe at high speeds, and the cops seem to be aware of this. WoWasis would never encourage you to speed, but we’ve been known to get to our destination well ahead of schedule.

4)      Those roadside bathrooms are really clean. Rest stops occur every few km on major roads, and they have food courts there, and gas stations too, where the attendants to the pumping while you go and investigate the plumbing facilities. Cleanup crews work constantly, cleaning mirrors, sinks, toilets, everything.

5)      Taiwan has some of the best roads in Asia, that’s why we don’t mind paying the tolls on the freeways. We gotta believe we’re in paradise. Great freeways, no cops, relatively little traffic. Did we tell you how much we appreciate good roads? We wrote a blog post last year on how bad the roads in the Philippines are, particularly those that cross the cordillera. Worst we’ve ever seen, in any country, anywhere. We once wrote too, that you can judge the quality of a country by how good its sidewalks are (are you listening, Thailand?). That goes for its roads, too, and Taiwan sets the standard in Asia, as far as we’re concerned.

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