Taiwan culture · Culture in Taiwan  TodayTourism All Destinations | Europe | Asia | North America | Africa | South America | Oceania | Hotels

Culture in Taiwan


Culture in Taiwan

Taiwan shares several cultural taboos with other East Asian nations.
  • Some Taiwanese are superstitious about anything connected with dying ? unlucky things should never be mentioned. One thing to note is that the number 4 (four, pronounced 'si') sounds like the word for death in Mandarin.
  • Do not write people's names in red. This again has connotations of death. When writing someone's English name, this is not a problem, but avoid writing Chinese names in red.
  • Do not whistle or ring a bell at night. This is an "invitation to ghosts".
  • Do not point at cemeteries or graves. This means disrespect to the deaths.
  • There are numerous taboos dictating that certain objects shouldn't be given to others, often because the word for that object sounds like another unfortunate word:
  • The Taiwanese are certainly not puritanical and enjoy a drink, especially the locally brewed Taiwan Beer and Kaoliang. However, Taiwan does not have a culture of heavy drinking and is rare to see anyone drunk on the streets. While over indulging in alcohol is not a social taboo as such (and some people do so at weddings), it is considered a sign of lack of self-confidence and immaturity, and doing so certainly won't gain you any respect among Taiwanese friends.
  • You are expected to remove your shoes before entering a house. You will find some slippers to be worn by visitors next to the entrance door. It is likely to be the same ritual for bathrooms and balconies where you will be expected to remove your slippers to wear a pair of plastic sandals (though it is less shocking not to use the sandals by then).
  • In public places, especially in Southern Taiwan, physical contacts of any sorts should be avoided.
  • As you will get along with Taiwanese people, you are very likely to receive small presents of any sorts. This will be drinks, food, little objects... These are a very convenient way to lubricate social relations for Taiwanese people, and are specially commons betweens friends in their 20s. You should reply to any such presents with something similar, but it does not need to be immediate, or specific to the person (i.e. keep it simple). As a teacher you are not expected to offer anything in return (i.e. in a classroom environment) as long as the relationship stays formal. However beware of the sometime overly generous parents who can go as far as offering presents running in the thousands of NT$ and who will then expect you to take special care of their child (understand that their expectations will be considered as fair in Taiwanese culture).
  • You are not expected to tip in hotels, restaurants and taxis, though bellhops may still expect 50 TWD or so for carrying your luggage.
  • If you should need to use a temple's washroom, bow to any statues of deities you see on the way whether or not you believe in them. While most people will not mind you using the temple's washroom, they expect you to treat their place of worship with respect. If you plan to offer gifts (such as simple fruits) to the statues of deities in the temple, it is expected that you wash the fruits and your hands prior to offering. In additional, upon entering and leaving a temple, do take note and avoid stepping on the extra step (a single raised step, similar to that of a stair's, often found at the gateways) that divides the outside and the inside of the temple. Always try to step over it instead of on it.

  • The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Taiwan


    Where To Stay & Best Hotels in Taiwan - updated Jul 2024

    SAVE up to 75% on Last Minute deals! Search for discount Taiwan hotels, motels, apartments, hostels, guest accommodations and vacation resorts. Book now and pay at the hotel. Instant email confirmation!


    >>> SEARCH FOR DEALS <<<

    WHERE TO TRAVEL NEXT IN 2020


    Taiwan Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

    Europe | Asia | North America | Africa | South America | Oceania | All Destinations