traveling or visiting Taiwan

8 hacks you need to know when traveling or living in Taiwan

Taiwan is an awesome place. When traveling or living in Taiwan, there are certain things you need to know. Either to avoid misunderstanding or adopt local custom easily.

Hack 1 When traveling of living in Taiwan, you needs to know when and how to pay

In Taiwan, if you walk into a local food shop, there are 2 ways to pay.

The first way is to pay first. The shop owner or the clerk will tell you how much in total and ask you to pay. They will say:請先付款(qǐng xiān fù kuǎn)or請先買單(qǐng xiān mǎi dān), which means “pay first, please”.

The second way is pay before you leave. You can either ask the shop owner/ clerk to collect your money or go to the counter with your bill. Under this situation, nobody will ask you to pay before you leave.

If you feel confusing about when to pay, the best way is to ask:先付錢還是吃完再付(xiān fù qián hái shì chī wán zài fù)?which means: pay first or after finish?

Hack 2 how to mark “amount” when ordering food in a local small food shop in Taiwan

There is a fun way that Taiwanese mark amount in the food shop or tea shop. We will use one Chinese character–正 to represent “5”. If the amount is 1, then we will make “一”, if the amount is 2, then we will mark as “丅”…till five. Then we will write another “正”。

Hack 3 how to pay bus fee when living or traveling in Taipei

Here, I specially indicate Taipei, because Taipei has the most convenience and popular public transportation system.

Before you take bus, try to buy the “easy card”. You can storge money in advance. Then you can use the card to take bus、MRT、train、boat. You can also use it to pay your bill in some shop, like convenient stores.

When you take bus with easy card, you need to punch your card(刷卡/shuā kǎ) both get in and out. The machine will charge automatically.

Hack 4 greeting words

Except 你好(nǐ hǎo)、早安(zǎo ān), there are still other popular greeting words, like:

吃飽了嗎(chī bǎo le ma), which means did you have your meals?

去上班啊(qù shàng bān ā), which means are you going to work?

Hack 5 frequently asked question in Taiwan

There are some questions may lake you feel uncomfortable, but are popular questions here.

你幾歲(nǐ jǐ suì): how old are you?

你有沒有男/女朋友(nǐ yǒu méi yǒu nán /nǚ péng yǒu): do you have a boy/girl friend?

這個多少錢(zhè gè duō shǎo qián): how much did you buy that?

你喜歡台灣嗎(nǐ xǐ huān tái wān ma): do you like Taiwan?

Hack 6 customized service~one of the very special service in Taiwan

In Taiwan, there is special service is you can ask to adjust the flavor of your order. Like the following items are the most popular things:

半糖(bàn táng): which means half sugar.

少冰(shǎo bīng): which means lesser ice-cube

不辣、小辣、中辣、大辣(bú là、 xiǎo là 、zhōng là 、dà là): which indicate how spicy your food will be, from not hot at all to very hot.

Hack 7 “wait for a while” doesn’t really mean “short time” in Taiwan

When a Taiwanese tell you: please wait for a while, it never means “a while”, especially in a restaurant or food shop. People always tell you: 快了(kuài le), which means very soon, but nobody knows it will take how long actually.

When you hear people tell you “等一下(děng yī xià)” or “馬上(mǎ shàng)”, it literally means very soon or quickly, but actually means “wait” only.

Hack 8 Taiwanese does not used to say “NO” directly

If a Taiwanese doesn’t like something or doesn’t have the intention to do something, he/she will not say no directly. How to know their real idea? Normally Taiwanese use the following ways:

If they don’t like the flavor: they may say, 很好吃,可是我不習慣那樣的味道(hěn hǎo chī ,kě shì wǒ bù xí guàn nà yàng de wèi dào). It means: the taste is good, but I am not used to eat that.

If they don’t feel comfortable to join an activity, they will say the following sentence first: 我先看看我那天有沒有事哦(wǒ xiān kàn kàn wǒ nà tiān yǒu méi yǒu shì o)! which means let me check my schedule first.

After that, they say: 不好意思,我那天有事(bù hǎo yì sī ,wǒ nà tiān yǒu shì). Which means: sorry I can’t go with you because I have appoint with the others.

Here you can read about 10 need-to-know Mandarin Chinese sentences in Taiwan

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