Taipei is a very well connected city and getting around Taipei can be confusing. That’s why you’ll need the internet to get around. Google Maps in Taiwan is pretty accurate when it comes to trains, subway, and bus schedules. In some parts of central Taipei, Google Maps will even SHOW you where the bus is and live update its location on the map.
Taiwan SIM Card And WiFi Routers
If you’re not into Google Fi or public WiFi, you could pick up a Taiwan SIM card or WiFi router at the airport.
Taiwan SIM Card Prices:
|Pick Up||Duration||Data||Domestic Calls||Price in TWD|
|TPE Airport||5 Days||Unlimited||50TWD Preloaded||$270|
|TPE Airport||7 Days||Unlimited||150TWD Preloaded||$470|
|TPE Airport||10 Days||Unlimited||100TWD Preloaded||$470|
The service in Taiwan (cell phone and hospitality) is outstanding. LTE/4G speeds throughout the city so you’ll always be connected at a high-speed. When you pick up your SIM card, they will set it up on your phone for you. They’ll also tape your old sim card to the inside of your phone case or put it in a small envelope for you.
SIM Cards from Taiwan Phone Companies
Alternatively, you can just pick up a SIM card at any of the phone providers in Taiwan: Chungwha Telecom, FarEasTone, and GT. These providers have locations all over Taiwan and you can find them in many of the popular destination in Taipei. It’s worth it just to go into a store to pick up a SIM because
The prices are about the same for all companies for short-term prepaid cards in Taiwan. But, if you buy online from Klook and pick up the SIM at the airport, the price is cheaper.
To roughly convert the prices for phone services in Taiwan, the NT$300 3-day pass is about $10USD and the NT$1,100 30-day plan is $35USD. It’s pretty affordable to get high-speed mobile internet in Taiwan which is definitely worth the convenience.
Taiwan Phone Contract Prices Long Term
If you’re like me and actually living in Taiwan, there are cheaper prices for phone service in Taiwan but require long term contracts. I signed up for a 2-year phone contract with GT in Taiwan. The price is NT$300/month for 6GB of high-speed data. That’s $10USD/month. On top of that, I can still use my Google Fi without having to pay the higher data rates. For comparison, I could use 1GB of data with Google Fi for the same price as 6GB with GT.
The 2-year contract will have a total cost of $240USD. That’s not too bad. The only drawback is that GT is the cheapest phone provider in Taiwan. I get texts daily from different numbers promoting some product or service. So it looks like they are selling people’s contact info to offset their low price. I just ignore it, especially since I can’t read any Chinese.
Free WiFi Taipei
Taipei has A LOT of free WiFi which is available for tourists! You can make it around the city without needing cellular data, but it’s still inconvenient when compared to having your own data anywhere you go. Here’s a list of popular places in Taiwan with free wifi:
- Taipei Airport
- Taipei Airport MRT Train
- iTaiwan WiFi gives free access to WiFi throughout Taipei provided by the Taiwan government. You will need to register in advance. Check out the user guide if you’re having trouble setting up.
- Many restaurants and cafes
iTaiwan is a popular network, really make sure to sign up online before having to use it in Taiwan. The process is confusing and at some points you have to use your passport number even though it says phone number. Personally, I don’t like using public WiFi for safety reasons with my personal devices. If I do use public WiFi, I make sure I use a VPN. Google Fi has a built-in VPN so you stay secure when using public WiFi.
I tried using free WiFi in Taiwan for a week and found it very inconvenient. Since most of the WiFi have time limits between 30-60 minute before having to re-log in. But the inconvenience varies for people. For a short trip, I’ll pay the inconvenience fee and get a SIM card in Taiwan.
Using Google Fi In Taiwan
I’ve been using Google Fi since it was in its beta stages of “Project Fi”. It’s one of the cheapest and highest phone quality services in the United States. My favorite feature when traveling is that there are no additional fees for using data internationally. You can also make calls back to the United States for no additional cost.
Since it’s Google, I can use Google Hangouts to make calls and texts from my computer. This makes things convenient for me since I’m on my computer a lot. Using Google Fi In Taiwan is a great option since I can use my same phone number while still making calls to the United States for free. This is my referral link to Google Fi and we both get a $20 credit if you sign up.
Google Fi Costs
Google Fi costs $25 USD a month plus $10/GB used. It’s incredibly easy to set up and sync with your Google accounts. Their newer phones have SIM card slots, but if you’re using Google Fi, you don’t need a SIM card to use their service!
Data speeds in Taiwan Using Google Fi
At best, I get 25mbps when using data on the Google Fi LTE network in Taiwan. That’s pretty fast since I can still stream anything and load any page without a delay. BUT, in Los Angeles I get speeds of 150mbps. I honestly think that’s too fast because I don’t want anything to load that quickly, especially when I’m paying for data.
Google Fi Reception
Within central Taipei, Google Fi does an excellent job of staying connected to the strongest network. It will switch between service providers depending on the network strength. The only issue I have with Google Fi is when I’m in less connected areas.
I’m currently living in the North side of Tamsui. It’s a suburb with not the greatest cell phone service for Google Fi and I had to buy a local SIM card just to have a stable internet connection.
Data in Taipei is very affordable. You can survive without a SIM card in Taiwan, but it’s inconvenient when compared to the low cost for unlimited data. Everyone has their price for convenience and a SIM card will cost you $3USD/day on a short trip. On a month long trip it will average out to $1USD/day for data in Taiwan.