If you are planning on visiting Taipei, and you should, don’t worry about your transportation. When you come to Taipei, you will find that public transportation is heavily utilized. This is quite a contrast to the lifestyle in my hometown of Houston, Texas. In Houston you need to have a car, otherwise you will turn your thirty minute commute into a three hour commute. However, here in Taipei the subway, bus system, and taxis are all very accessible and fast.
If you will be in Taipei for a week or more, I highly recommend getting an easy card. They look just like a credit or debit card, and can be used to take subways, buses, and pay for things at many stores like 7-11, and Family Mart. 7-11’s and Family Marts are everywhere in Taiwan. For most foreigners, these convenience stores will provide you with many things you need like snacks, water, and toiletries if necessary. All these things can be bought on a Easy Card. But to pay for things with an Easy Card, you must first purchase one, then load it with money.
Getting an Easy Card is simple. You can walk into any subway station and you will see a machine (looks like an ATM) that will allow you to purchase an Easy Card, they will be designated with the Easy Card logo that you see above. The instructions on the machine are English enabled for those that do not speak any form of Chinese.
After you buy the card you will need to load it with money. If you will be in Taiwan for at least a week, I would recommend $500- 700 NTD to start. This should last you at least a few days of convenience store usage plus transportation. If you need to add more, you can always add more money at any 7-11, Family Mart, most branded convenience stores, and subway stations.
Once you have your Easy Card you just need to decide where you are going, and what route to take. The subway system in Taipei is extensive and will take you to most places. However, if you find yourself inconveniently far form a subway station, use your Google app to check if a bus route would suite your travel. Using Google to coordinate my local travels has been fantastic. When I am in a hurry I can easily check if it is faster to take a bus, subway, or even walk.
And If you feel lost, do not be afraid to ask a local. People in Taipei are friendly and will generally try to help you if they can.
If you do not want to buy an Easy Card I would recommend sticking to the subways and taxis. You can use cash for single trip tokens on the subway, and taxi drivers always have change. However, I do not recommend getting on a bus without an Easy Card. From my experience there may not always be change if you do not have an exact amount, and it is a general pain in the ass.
I hope this helps your travels in Taipei. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.