18 Nov One Thing I Wished I Knew Before Travelling To Taiwan
by Nester Chen
Oh Taiwan, how much I truly enjoyed my time here. I know I only stayed for a short five days here, but it was enough for me to see how absolutely delicious of a city you really are – wait, delicious? I totally meant to say beautiful, yes, beautiful city.
I really didn’t mean to start off with the fact that all I do is eat, eat , and eat…but when you are travelling in Asia and you’re surrounded by a variety of different foods everyday, it’s kind of inevitable to be eating around the clock. I am definitely guilty of eating an unprecedented amount of food while I was here. I mean we all do our research to find the best food places right? And I mean there’s no better way to get to know a city and its culture, than to eat your way through the city. Sounds simple right? Well it was until I realized how only a small percentage of places in Taipei accepted credit cards. Before we dive into this a little further, let me give you a little context to my situation at the time.
So I was on a Summer exchange in South Korea at Korea University (a university I definitely recommend by the way), and after going to Korea I travelled with two of my friends to Taiwan and Japan. Because of the fact that I was going to be in Korea for quite some time before I travelled to Taiwan, I thought it was a great idea to not bring as much Taiwan currency, and just get a travel credit card (assuming credit cards were widely accepted globally). I mean don’t get me wrong, getting the Amazon Chase credit card was one of the best decisions that I’ve made on my entire trip, but that’ll be another post though. Anyways so I thought that since I was going to only spend five days in Taipei, I wouldn’t need a lot of cash anyways. That was where I was wrong. Also when I’m travelling I don’t hold back on spending money. Anyone else with me on this? I know I can’t be the only one!
So when I started to run low on money on the second day, I wasn’t even panicking cause I was all like “I have a credit card anyways, I’ll be fine”. Ha! Jokes on me, because when I decided to use my credit card at one of their popular convenient stores, I was told that it wasn’t accepted. So at first I was like okay, it’s probably just this place because they aren’t as well known. Then I went to 7/11 thinking that this place must take credit cards. Nope, they didn’t accept credit cards. Okay so at this point I’m starting to worry a little bit right? Then I see McDonalds, and it felt like I was seeing the light at the end of a tunnel because it’s McDonalds so they absolutely MUST take credit cards right? Nope, nope, and nope. Even McDonalds didn’t accept credit cards, this was when I realized I was in a tough situation.
I mean at this point I wasn’t completely broke, but was definitely getting there. And you’re here thinking it’s probably not a big deal because I can just go to the bank or a currency exchange place to get more cash right? Well we all know the saying of how when one thing goes wrong, all things go wrong. That could not have been truer in my situation because just my luck that during the time that I was there, it was a holiday weekend, and none of the banks there were open during holidays. If you’re thinking that I’m definitely doomed at this point, you are quite correct – BUT! Yes there is a ‘but’ to this situation. Thankfully, my friends who joined me after my exchange brought more cash than I did (even though they were starting to run low as well), so we managed to make it through the last couple of days with the remaining cash that we had. Well of course by this point we were restraining ourselves from spending money on things that weren’t as important anymore like their well known cheap false eyelashes (we were all only able to buy one box of them, and they were for souvenirs). So lesson here is to make sure that if you aren’t planning to bring a lot of cash, to make sure that the places that you are travelling to accepts credit cards – seriously, I can’t stress this enough! Before anything else, this should be your top priority when researching for a place to travel to, and yes, even before researching the top food places to go to.