I’m from Europe and planning to visit Taiwan for the first time, like, this week. Already had a flight reservation (it’s in the air at the time of writing this) but ended up postponing the trip (thanks Eva Air nice refund policy).
I got a little bit scared due to typhoon news plus it seems that my original plan of driving a motorcycle around the island is too crazy / impossible.
Here’s my random selection of questions:
Is the weather in there looking safe for a trip around the island this month? Say 10-15 days drive and stop here and there.
Is there a chance an European can rent anything bigger than a 50cc scooter? It’ll kill me to have to drive on those things. Ideally I want a proper motorcycle, no scooter, at least 200cc. But I can’t find much info on renting those. I have the European A2 license and the international thingy, which limits me to bikes up to 48hp.
Well, all in all, I just don’t want to bury the 2000 euro in flights to get there and find that the weather is crazy and I can’t do what I wanted to, maybe it’s better to postpone for later this year?
No. Tourists who have valid International Driving Permits may only rent cars, and scooters up to 50cc, even if you hold a motorcycle license back home. Car rental companies accept credit cards, but most scooter rental shops don’t. They will ask to keep your passport, as a safety deposit, until you return the scooter.
Be prepared to deal with some scooter companies that will tell you they don’t rent to tourists who only have a passport.
On the other hand, you may also find a scooter shop willing to rent you a 150cc scooter without even asking for your IDP/driver license. You’ll get in trouble if you are pulled over though, especially if you are involved in an accident. I wouldn’t risk it.
I would not recommend riding a scooter around the island, even under good weather conditions. Considering the bad weather this month, I’d suggest renting a car.
That’s not true if you have a motorcycle license + IDP (which is the case here, although equivalent of European A2 does not exists here, but it’s not a big deal)
Anyway, I’ve never got asked for a driver license while renting scooter.
Most of the rental places will only have scooters in displacement of 100 to 150cc.
In any case your biggest concern should be insurance - mandatory 3rd party one as we know from Europe is not mandatory here and rental companies will not have it, so you better get your own and/or stay away from Lambos and all the luxury cars (plenty of them on the streets here)
OP, get a white plate 250cc or under. 50cc and imo you’re actively a bigger danger to yourself than you’d be on a slightly more powerful motorcycle. Don’t need crazy power to get around. I think A2 is basically 400cc and under, but don’t push it too hard. If you’re a single person looking to get around, a 150 will take u up just about anything if you’re a good enough biker (@TT has challenged my perceptions of what is possible on the 150cc wolf, which we both own), and a 250 will be nice for the extra power but not strictly necessary. Also, white plates much easier to park – yellow and red (250+cc) have to park in car spots, white plates can park in normal scooter spots (and in many cases just all over the fucking place, esp outside of Taipei and to my perception Kaohsiung. Taichung has tonnes of “illegal” parking that’s never gone after. Not that I recommend doing so for longer than like a few minutes!)
As the other posters have said, don’t go too pricey because if you wreck it you’ll be in a big hole of debt. Hence 250 or under. Your best bet really is a Wolf or KTR (NOT KTM) – cheap bike overall and with reliable, cheap, and quick repairs. I know Robby Kilpatrick can help you, he has a 2007 150cc Wolf in stock, check his site at RKRT rentals. Based in Taoyuan (where the airport is) and a real standup dude.
If you want to jump to a Gixxer 250 or MT15 or whatever, you can probably find one; I’d communicate in advance and be prepared to reimburse the full cost of one in the chance you wreck it. The traffic here isn’t good and you’ll figure that out quickly I think I’d rec the Gixxer 150/250 or the FZS150 (idk of there’s a 250) because they’re cheaper so you break it you buy it hurts a bit less. But hey, u do u.
If you’re around Taichung and need anything, shoot me a message. Can try to help as needed.
Well I do wonder if he has a tour license and public liability and other required insurances that he needs for clients? Problem in Taiwan is many people have called themselves tour guides their customers have had serious injuries and deaths only to find out the so called tour guide is unlicensed and uninsured. Several cases of hiking groups being led by tour guides who had no license.
If you’re from a country that even remotely resembles the UK, you’ll probably stand in the middle of one of Taiwan’s typhoons, note that it’s a bit windy and rainy, and wonder when the typhoon will arrive.
Typhoons here rarely have much destructive power. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but in 20-odd years in Taiwan there have only been maybe two typhoons where I thought “well, it looks a bit scary out there, definitely wouldn’t be smart to go outside for any reason”. There’s no point trying to schedule your trip around typhoons anyway; the worst that can happen is that you’ll be holed up in a hotel for a couple of days.
As for the traffic, it’s a lot better than it used to be. If you’ve ever experienced French drivers blasting out of a side street screaming “priorité à droite!” you probably won’t have any problems.
No idea about the legality of hiring a larger bike, I’m afraid, but a 125cc scooter is perfectly OK for 50km intervals, perhaps 100km in a day. And Taiwan is really small. Yes, a 250cc is definitely a noticeable improvement for driving comfort. But it’s not a dealbreaker.
And honestly if I were going for that I’d just go for a MT-15 which is a brilliant little machine but def a bit more expensive here. The best by far imo of all the bikes I test rode. Gixxers aren’t very comfy. The lil wolf and the FZS did better, although the FZS wasn’t a ton better and really isn’t that much different from a wolf with better equipment on it basically. Output isn’t brilliant for a Japanese 150. But whatever, that’s aside the pt.