taiwan information - currency / money
The currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD, but also referred to as TWD), known locally as NT, 元 (yuan) or 塊 (kuai).
The exchange rate for US$1 is NT$33.105 (as of 1 Jun 2007). An easy rule of thumb is that NT$100 roughly equals US$3; NT$1000 roughly equals US$30. Taiwan's smallest denomination, the single dollar coin, is worth about 3 US cents.
One euro equals NT$44.536 (as of 1 Jun 2007). As a rule of thumb, NT$100 roughly equals €2.50; NT$1000 roughly equals €25.
Taiwanese currency is fully convertible and there are no restrictions on taking currency into or out of the island. Currency exchange is possible internationally, although you will get a much better rate if you wait until you arrive at the airport to exchange currency at the 24 hour window. Most banks in Taipei and Kaohsiung will also exchange money or offer cash advances on credit or debit cards. You should bring American currency, and additionally, please be sure to bring newer bills, as the banks and exchange-centers (such as in department stores) will only accept the newer bills. They will not at all accept the old-style small-bust bills, and the department stores will not exchange bills older than 1997. Don't forget to show your passport!
If you've forgotten to bring any money at all, but have your credit or debit card handy, there's no need to fret. Taiwan's banking system is light-years ahead of most other countries, with the ability to use any of the abundant 24-hour ATM Machines to withdraw cash from anywhere in the world using the Plus or Cirrus systems. Certain banks' ATMs will even tell you your available balance in your own currency or in NT$. There is a per transaction limit of NT$20,000 for ATM cash withdrawals (HSBC Global Access customers may withdraw NT$30,000 from HSBC ATMs).
Most hotels and department stores accept credit cards, generally Visa and Master Card as well as JCB. Diners Club or American Express cards are seldom accepted. Most restaurants and small stores do not accept cards, and cash is the main form of payment. Because street crime is rare, it is common for people in Taiwan to carry large amounts of cash with them.
Prices in Taiwan are expensive by Asian standards, though still significantly cheaper than Japan. A meal at a street stall may cost NT$50 or less; a meal at a Western fast food restaurant will run you about NT$100; a hotel room at a swanky hotel might cost NT$5000 or more.