Asia > Taiwan > Taipei
See: Why hire a car in Taipei ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring. Yes, this site is being updated, but the graphics will come later)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Taipei?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest. That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than simple yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Taipei?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Taipei car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Taipei with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Taipei?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Taipei, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
Of all the 300 cities featured in Carornocar, Tampa really does stand out as the one place where a rental car really is completely and utterly essential – more so even than cities like Phoenix.
Why? Visiting Taipei using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Taipei ?
Now there are plenty of American cities which sprawl across large areas, but which have at least made some attempt at installing a light rail system (Houston, Dallas and Denver for example), and there are even sprawling American cities in the (geographical) south which actually have heavy rail mass transit systems, but where a hire car still makes more sense, including Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Then. There. Is. Tampa!
Tampa really does stand out on its own as somewhere that it feels like an act of self punishment to come here and not have access to a car in some form.
Yet we also think that Tampa is a great place for a visitor to drive, notwithstanding the more than occasional spot of congestion, which can always be found in any city that builds itself around the car and makes little effort to provide any alternatives. As a driver in Tampa, you will find that you aren’t just rewarded with multilane highways, but that the city and the neighbouring area also has a huge network of fantastic bridges, which can turn any drive from drudgery to delight, especially if you are travelling outside the peak periods.
Now we shouldn’t dismiss Tampa entirely by saying that there is no public transport here, as that is not the case. There is simply no substantial rail-based public transport, other than a token trolley (the TECO line) in the downtown area, and a daily train service running between Miami and Washington DC, that takes a dogleg route to call in at Tampa.
Of course, there are still all of the usual buses, including bus connections between Tampa International Airport and not just downtown Tampa, but also St Petersburg and Clearwater. Naturally, there are also scheduled coach services running from Tampa to Orlando and also down to Miami, but none of these public transport options are anything like as flexible as driving. If you want to look up any sample trips, just try making it between Tampa and St Petersburg without a change of bus! Yes, you cando it, but you are relying on a pre-booked Greyhound, instead of a turn up and go urban or regional bus. Any journey between the two centres is going to take 90 minutes to two hours by bus, compared to just under an hour in a rental car, in light to mid-level traffic.
This is why Tampa is the only destination to score a full 10.0 on our index of car hire necessity. We don’t think that such a score is a remotely good thing, because it means that there is little choice for visitors, or for anyone else either. You don’t just need a car to come here, you need a car to get around on every small journey, and you’ll need a car just to get across the road from the grocery store parking lot to the drive-in restaurant on the other side.
The city is also a complete nightmare to walk around, unless you are keeping yourself just to the more historic downtown areas.
Things really don’t get any better once you head towards the huge white sandy beaches that bring people to the Tampa Bay area in the first place. One strip mall will lead to another, but if you want to go between them using your own two feet, you will find little shade from the sun, and none at all from the wide lanes of traffic.
Why not? Visiting Taipei without a car
Why don't you need a car in Taipei ?
- No reason to visit Tampa without a car, if you have the choice of getting one.
- You can visit the Tampa Bay area by coach from various points in Orlando, either by scheduled coach, or by a free service for guests of Busch Gardens – see Mears Express.
- TECO trolley operates in downtown Tampa – it’s largely a heritage throwback, but it runs through areas where you can also walk between most places.
- If you are just coming to laze on the beach, you will be fine – various airport shuttle services are available throughout the region.
Tampa really is the ultimate in car dependent sprawl, and the area is worse off because of it.
Ratings: How does Taipei compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Taipei? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Taipei, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.
How does this compare if:
You are travelling:
Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc
Does car rental make sense on different budgets?
Do you need to hire a car in Taipei? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Taipei (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".
Should you rent a car in Taipei? TBC
This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good.
See global comparisons
Hiring | Driving | Parking
Trains | Buses | Local travel
Car hire basics:
Public transportation basics:
Regular bus services: YES
Coach (inter-city): YES
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Taipei airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Taipei car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 1
2019 - 1
2021 - 1
Average score - 1
Do you or don't you need a car in Taipei ?