1. MRT tickets
Instead of paper tickets for the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit system) in Taipei, they use blue chips that look like these.
It’s environmentally friendly because once you leave the underground, you insert the coin into a slot and it stays there until the staff collect it at the end of the day to put back into the ticket machines. No waste. It’s great.
2. Road laws
One of the first things I noticed since I arrived in Taiwan was that even when the light turns red for traffic and the green man comes on for pedestrians to cross the road, some cars will still cross the road where people are supposed to walk. I chalked it up to Taiwan being similar to China in that aspect where road laws are optional but then I realised that that was just how they did things. I thought maybe cars just went through red lights whenever they felt like it, but it turns out that only the ones who turn a corner need to do that. I can’t explain well over text so here’s a crude drawing I whipped up in 5 minutes.
The issue is, the timing is all off. In the UK, the cars going straight ahead and the ones turning the corner set off at different times. Their traffic lights are different, but here, they all go at the same time which causes some cars to cut through the pedestrians crossing the road. I guess it’s not actually an issue when everyone here is used to it and that’s just the way things operate here, but it’s just something to be careful about. Cars and bikes cross the paths of the pedestrians all the time. Plus the pavements are apparently roads for bikes too, so be careful of that as well.
3. WiFi and chargers
Smartphones and tablets are used by everyone here in Taipei. I’d say 60-70% of people in the public are using their phones at all times. Completely pulled that statistic out of my bum but you get the idea. For this reason, there is almost always free WiFi everywhere and a ton of charging ports. Even here in the hotel room, there are two chargers made up of several cables for different devices. Here is my phone using the lightning cable. There are even two more in the lobby for people who need to charge their phones while down there.
4. Couples are aplenty
There are couples everywhere. You can’t go 5 minutes outside without seeing a two people hold their hands somewhere. It almost makes me feel sorry for the single people who live here. There’s a lot of activities here for people going on a date. Would recommend coming here with a significant other.
Taipei people seem to have an obsession with bananas. I don’t know if this has been a thing for ages or if it was a recent fad but bananas are everywhere. My freakin’ hotel gives them out for free in the lobby. I’ve made it my mission to snap a picture of every banana related thing while I’m here.