Driving: How can I avoid getting lost?

Thanks, I’m the original guy who posted this, I think I will pass on the GPS, but I was wondering if there is any other way that I can get around safely while driving in my car and not getting lost ? What do you recommend as far as maps are concerned once I get in Taichung, and Ching Shui, are there reliable maps in English that I can purchase that will help me get around. Or is there another option, basically I am asking, what is the best way not to get lost in Taiwan if you can’t read the signs besides staying at home. Thankyou, Rick

Can someone give me some advice on ways to avoid getting lost while driving in Taichung and Ching Shui, these are the two places that I will be traveling to, and I really need some advice on how to avoid getting lost, I’ve ruled out a GPS, and am worried to get into a car for fear of getting lost. Please help. Thankyou. Rick

Since most of the street signs in Taichung are in Chinese only, it can be a real challenge. I found that the best way to learn my way around town was to get lost and then drive around until I found a place I recognized. It was kind of scary at first, and you need to make sure you have some free time.
I know this isn’t very helpful, but it’s all I’ve got. You can also pick up a copy of “Compass” magazine. They have a pretty decent map of Taichung with Chinese and English street names. Just remember that the English names are sometimes spelled a little (or a lot) differently.

Chung Gang Rd in Taichung runs the length of the city. Find it, and learn the landmarks close to the places you need to go. Train Station, Sogo, etc. Then learn the names of the other major streets that cross it.

Chung Gang Rd also runs straight through to Ching Shui, up the hill past Tunghai University, then down to the ocean.

Start there and good luck. :slight_smile:

Many of the street signs in Taichung have Romanised Chinese (Chinese in Roman letters) as well as in characters. I think that all the signs on Zhonggang (Chung Gang) Rd have Romanisation. I second the recommendation to get hold of the free “Compass” map. Just be aware, as the other poster said, that sometimes the Romanization systems used vary. (Funnily enough, the Compass map seems to be a little behind the times now as many of the signs in Taichung are now in Hanyu pinyin.)

The Compass map only covers Taichung City though. And as you go up Zhonggang Rd, over the hill, towards Qingshui (Chingshui) and into Taichung County I think that there is less Romanization on street signs.

After a while you’ll probably find that you recognize some of the characters on road signs. That’s how I started reading characters. The same characters tend to crop up again and again – stuff like the four compass directions, mountain, water, etc.

As a non-reader of Chinese, I always try to find the Chinese address on the map, and try to memorize the characters for the roads nearby and the general direction I am supposed to go. This has worked pretty well for me.

We are on a small island, so you can’t get THAT lost - when you meet the ocean, you can just double back. :wink:

not like you’re going to wander into a rough neighborhood by mistake either.

I don’t mean to be presumptious, but do you have a legal license to drive in Taiwan? I only ask because you seem unfamilar with driving in Taiwan and don’t want you to get into trouble because you didn’t know the conditions associated with international licenses.

Before I forget; don’t forget your compass. The first 3-4 years, I relied very much on compass directions to get me to the area I wanted to go - especially downtown.

Yes, compass. A huge help.

I must confess to being a dreamer and pay little attention to my surroundings while driving or being driven. As such I made a big discovery recently for Taipei. The tallest building 101 and the tall building near the train station give you great landmarks to move between.

I do circle work until I slowly edge toward my destination.

Keep in mind that Taiwan is a long thin Island. You’re going to hit the west coast and ocean or hit mountains to the east. Try to do circle work inbetween the two and work toward your destination.

It really is daunting without being able to read signs. I agree with the OP. But, get out there and you can make it happen.

Get someone to write in Chinese the name of a well-known location near where you live or work.

Whne you feel you’ve lost your way, show someone the piece of paper and watch their body language for general directions. Do this every five minutes, as locals can be very liberal with directions but less forthcoming with the right directions. :wink:

Before long, you will recognise where you are and be able to navigate yourself. That’s what I used to do when leaving Taipei, though it soon became easy to recognise the characters for Taipei and find my own way home.

Getting lost is a great way of exploring and always a good way to find interesting places. :slight_smile:

Hello, I’m afraid, I be very very afraid. of getting lost :slight_smile:
What is the best tips on not getting lost while traveling in a
car in Taichung and surrounding areas. anyone will help,
landmarks to look for, best maps. How do people do it ?

One tip I’ll give is don’t ask people how to find __ number road. They don’t know the numbers (which is normal). And don’t ask “Which way to Kenting?” as you’ll get the answer “It’s impossible to go there by bike, sutpid foreigner…go home and take a train”.

So when asking for directions I look for the next nearest town on the map…and just ask how to get to that…and hopefully that will get you to the road you were looking for in the first place.

But getting lost is half the fun…it’s a freaking island…you wont’ stay lost for long. If I had a day off I used to just head out…then take a bunch of new roads paying no attention to which ones I was taking…and then have fun trying to find my way home.

Getting lost is great…if you have the time.

Well, you may consider a GPS system (e.g. Garmin, Mio, etc.) if you can input your data in Chinese. Alternatively you may purchase a map. Most convenient stores and stationary shops have maps of all larger cities in Taiwan. Before you start your trip you also can look up the route on Taiwan Map or Maporama and print out your itinerary. :sunglasses:

[quote=“rick”]Hello, I’m afraid, I be very very afraid. of getting lost :slight_smile:
What is the best tips on not getting lost while traveling in a
car in Taichung and surrounding areas. anyone will help,
landmarks to look for, best maps. How do people do it ?
thanks[/quote]Hi Rick,

I merged your new thread in here as it’s on the same topic as this one that you started previously.

Have you got hold of the Compass map yet?

Obviously the most basic thing for not getting lost is remembering where you’ve come from. So when you turn onto or off a road, make a mental note of the junction. Look for details of shops etc. and use mnemonic techniques.