Taiwan Dollar - TWD
The Taiwan dollar is in use in Taiwan and is officially called the new Taiwan dollar, although the name is somewhat obsolete now. The ‘new’ currency has been in use since 1949!
It is recognised on the international currency markets by the letters TWD. As you might expect it is split into 100 cents as it is decimal in nature like all the other dollar currencies around the world. As is the case with many dollar currencies you will usually see letters in front of the dollar sign to indicate which currency is in use. In this case you will see it displayed as NT$, which stands for New Taiwan dollar.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
You will find a selection of coins you can use while in Taiwan. These include the smallest coin, the NT$0.50 coin, which is not often seen in use. You may also use the NT$1, NT$5, NT$10, NT$20, NT$50 and the NT$100 coins.
You will also find five banknotes, three of which are quite commonly used. These are the $100, $500 and $1,000 notes. You may also see the $200 and $2,000 notes but they are very rare although they are still legal tender.
From past to present – the history of the Taiwanese dollar
As we have learned above, the Taiwan dollar was brought into use in 1949. However the dollar was also used before this, and was known – perhaps understandably – as the old Taiwan dollar. This version of the dollar was only in circulation for around three years, during the time the country was part of Nationalist China. The old currency eventually became worthless by 1949 which was why the new Taiwan dollar was brought in.
To give you some idea of how worthless the old currency had become, you need to look at what happened when the change was made. At this point $40,000 in old Taiwanese dollars were worth just one new dollar. It’s incredible to think about but this was the change that was made in hope of settling things down again financially. It looks to have worked because the currency has been in place ever since and seems to have no real problems.
How to get hold of the Taiwanese dollar
While some countries accept more than one currency, this is not the case in Taiwan. This means you always have to make sure you have some Taiwanese dollars on you in case you need them.
Of course you can also use credit and/or debit cards to make payment for things. It is usually better to use a credit card since you are protected for your purchases if anything should go wrong. Just make sure you notify your card provider that you are heading to Taiwan. If you don’t you may find your card is refused because your provider believes it might be used for fraudulent transactions. This is the last problem you want to sort out while you are on holiday. It is also worth noting that some smaller shops may not accept credit cards and in these instances you will have to pay cash.
You will be able to use cash machines to withdraw money to pay for various things. However some machines don’t accept foreign bank cards. Before you go, make sure your card will be accepted by the machines in Taiwan. Your bank should be able to advise you on this.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Taiwanese dollar
It is just as easy to find out the value of this currency in relation to your own as it is to find out the value of any other dollar currency. All you need is a currency conversion tool – you’ll find them on many different websites relating to currency. Just select your home currency as the starting currency and then find the Taiwanese dollar as your destination currency to convert to. You can either choose to convert one unit to see what you would get in the way of these dollars or select a specific amount – for example however much you might want to take away with you if you are going abroad.
For those visiting Taiwan who want to learn more about the country prior to booking a trip there, a visit to the official website might be useful. You can visit the Taipei Representative Office in the UK website at http://www.roc-taiwan.org.
Travelling safely with Taiwanese dollars
Every year thousands of people from the UK alone choose to visit Taiwan. Some of these trips are for business purposes but whatever the reason might be for your visit the chances are it will be a successful and enjoyable one. This country thankfully has very low rates of crime – indeed you might actually be safer here than you are in your own country. With that said however, it is a good idea to make sure you stay safe and exercise the usual common sense.
For example you shouldn’t carry more cash around with you than you need to. Furthermore it might be useful to split whatever cash you have into different pockets. Money belts are used by many travellers all over the world to keep their cash and valuables safe – you may benefit from using one as well.
The basic rule of thumb is not to make yourself any more of a target than you can possibly help. If you follow this rule you should be perfectly fine, as is the case with the vast majority of visitors to Taiwan each year.
Where to spend your dollars in Taiwan – and what to spend them on
When you first think of Taiwan you probably cynically think of the infamous ‘made in Taiwan’ saying that often gets attributed to many goods that arrive all over the world having left this particular country behind. However this country has plenty more to offer than you may at first think.
Taiwan is an island situated off the south eastern coastline of China. It is actually part of the Republic of China instead of being a country in its own right. Its capital is Taipei which is in the northern part of the island and it provides a great place to start your exploration of the island. Indeed there are many transport connections both onto the island here as well as to every area you could wish to visit on the island itself.
For many people a visit to Taiwan is not complete unless they go to Taipei as well. There are certainly plenty of tourist attractions here so you won’t run short of things to do. For example you can see the magnificent Longshan Temple which dates back well over 200 years. This is just one of many temples in the city, including the Taipei Confucius Temple which doesn’t date back as far – only to the 1870s in this case.
Elsewhere in Taiwan you can see the Taroko National Park. This regularly appears on lists of the best sights on the entire island, and when you see it for yourself you will understand why. With cliffs, waterfalls, greenery and exploratory paths all over the place, it provides a great excuse to spend the day appreciating nature in all its wonder.
Nature is one of the more unlikely benefits you will experience when you visit Taiwan. Indeed many people who know little about the country don’t realise just how much it has to share. There are many areas of the island that boast stunning natural sights, such as Sun Moon Lake, Tri-Mountain and the North Coast and Guanyinshan among others. There are no fewer than eight National Parks here and the island’s volcanic history has led to mountains and dramatic scenery to be seen in many different areas.
Indeed you will find much to see and do no matter where you choose to stay in Taiwan, and regardless of whether you opt for an inland or coastal location. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has done an excellent job of highlighting the many delightful areas and destinations that Taiwan has to offer. If you want to make the most of your time on the island it is best to do your research prior to catching your flight.
It is not unreasonable to state Taiwan is an unexpected surprise in many ways. Any visit to this island is sure to meet with some amazing sights, regardless of how long you stay there for. From major cities to stunning natural sights and everything in between, Taiwan has something for everyone. Its National Scenic Areas have been carefully chosen to showcase the best of natural Taiwan, while the cities hustle and bustle reveal yet another side to the island.
You may now be considering whether it might be worth booking a trip to Taiwan at some point. The experiences you have there will almost certainly reward your efforts. Many of the sights are free and the ones you do pay for are more than worth the investment. Where will you go first?