Shipping stuff to Taiwan

Hi I would like to ship some clothes to Taiwan, and I was wondering what is the best/cheapest way to do that? Just put it in a cardboard box and ship by UPS or something? Will the clothes get moldy or wet? About how much would 1 box cost (From california)?

Oh yeah, I am shipping to Panchiao City in Taipei Hsien (county), so in the address would I put Taipei or Panchiao or both?


Before I moved to Taiwan in May, I shipped about 13 boxes here – clothes, CDs, video tapes, books, pictures, etc… None of them were ruined and all made it safely, with the exception of one box.

I don’t think UPS will ship personal items. At least, that is what I remember being told by them. I shipped everything via the US Postal Service. If you ship by ground (it goes by ship), it is the cheapest. Though, it can take the things over a month to get here. My boxes were shipped the beginning of may and I received the last one the beginning of July.

Airmail is possible. Though, it is a lot more expensive. I’m not sure of the total cost for airmail. For ground, you are only allowed up to a certain weight and size limit in your boxes. For size it is the circumfrence and length of the box added together can’t exceed 72" (I think). The weight, if I remember, is around 44 lbs. But, you can call the postal service and they will give you all the info.

When you ship, make sure you list all the items in the boxes as used – e.g., used clothes and videos. There is little chance that they’d charge you import taxes anyway, but this will gaurantee less problems.

If the package is for someone else, make sure to mark the form to return it to sender (you), if it is undeliverable. If the boxes are for you, after you move, you have the option of choosing to abandon them if they can’t deliver. This is what I chose, since I had no place to return them to after I left the States.

You can also insure the packages. I chose not to, since the stuff was used and I was going to abandon it anyway, if not delivered. You can make that choice for yourself.

As for the address issue, that you’ll have to check with someone else. I’m too new, myself, to know what is the best. Though, I’d assume you can do what I do… “Tamshui, Taipei…”

Hope this helps,


You would address the boxes “Banqiao City, Taipei County, Taiwan, ROC.”

Or “Banchau, Panchiao, Banchiu, Panchau,” all of which can be seen on various road signs, as well as several other spellings I’ve forgotten.

But Banqiao is the hanyu pinyin form of Romanization of the city name, and if you’re caught using something else, Cranky Laowai, Maoman and Dan Jacobson will abduct you and try to re-educate you. Maoman will also tan your scrotum and use it as a tobacco pouch.

You have been warned.

I shipped a few boxes over from the US a few years ago… I think it was around US$50 per box by USPS. It took some time to arrive but I had no problems.

Make sure to declare properly but never ever any transmitter or label something as “telecommnunications equipment” as you will have a hard time to bring this in.
Cost of shipping depends usually on weight and size of the package, so no general advise here.
Add those littel silicon bags against humidity for sensitive stuff, else I reckon to vacuum seal the clothes in plastig bags.

As for clothes in general I don’t see a problem and I wonder why UPS wouldn’t ship that - have myself shipped personal items many times from Malaysia to Germany with e.g. DHL and TNT.
Expensive though. As long as you pay and don’t ship forbidden items they wouldn’t say anything in my experience.

Thanks guys, very helpful, appreciate it.

LJ - So it took 2 months to ship your stuff by USPS?? and it’s not even guaranteed right? That probably why they have the abandoning option…how much did it cost for you per box? When you shipped it to an address to Taiwan, did someone have to sign for it,pick it up, or did it arrive at your doorstep? Basically I’m shipping to an empty apartment (that I’m moving into) and I’m not sure if I am get anyone to sign it. But I’d also like them to not get lost…if that’s possible.

Rascal - Where do you get the little silicon bags that you’re taking about? Or the vacuum seal bags? I was thinking of just using mothballs, does that work? I was also thinking of using regular plastic bags for lining, but couldn’t figure out a way to fit the bags properly in a box.

This worked for me:
Forget mothballs, silica gel bags and all that. Before you put anything into a cardboard box, put a big black plastic garbage bag in first. Then fill the box/bag combo until it is full, knot the bag tightly and tape shut the box. It’s hermetically sealed even for shipping in a 20-foot leaking container on the deck of a boat at sea for 2 months. If the box is too big for the biggest bin bags, pack in smaller boxes.
As for clearance at customs / delivery to your apartment, I can recommend Orient Pacific International (phone 02-2834-3108-9/fax 02-2835-7023), as I used them before. The sales guy was James Chen, and he was a bit of a knob but spoke good English.
If it takes you a while before to find a place to live, they will warehouse your stuff for a month or so for free and then charge something insignificant per day therafter.
I’m sure lots of companies do the harbor --> home bit for you, so shop around on the net and see what turns up. Don’t even consider doing shipping import paperwork yourself unless you have bags of time on your hands and can fill out official forms in chinese. Even then, I’m not sure it’s possible for a foreigner to do it.

hope that helps …

If you or anyone you know is flying over, it might end up cheaper and easier to just bring overweight baggage. I usually buy those big Rubbermaid storage boxes and pack 2 of 'em full with whatever I want to bring back that particular trip (it’s worked with breadmakers, microwaves, ice cream machines, clothes, blowtorch for my hot glass studio, lots of weird stuff). Of course now after 911 they might give you a bit more trouble on some things.

Even if you add the cost of a taxi to get you and your stuff home from the airport, it might be better than paying big bucks to the USPS and having to wait a long time.


Behold how I nicely dispose of the awkward county name via use of the
postal code:
Dongshi 423 Taiwan
So I assume
Banqiao 220 Taiwan
should work fine.

The frivolous “ROC” may be neatly tossed in the dumpster with no ill

The postal codes are on but
don’t use the spelling systems you find there as it isn’t even the
latest “anti communist” version the government has cooked up.

P.S. This brings up an interesting question for you reporters and
editors to go ask: how will the Central Government controlled romanize Taibei city streets in their index
being that Mayor Ma will not use the silly “Tongyong Pinyin”.

The reason it took so long is that I shipped everything by ground (sea). So, don’t send anything you’ll need right away this way. Unles you aren’t moving for two months. If you send it airmail (keep wanting to type it airmale ), it will be faster, but more expensive.

It cost me around $70 US for each box. Sometimes, less. Like was said, it all depends on how big and heavy the box. And, the USPS WILL insure them, if you ask. I just decided NOT to. Insuration, of course, costs more. My stuff wasn’t worth it.

As for packing it. I didn’t add any plastic bags, etc… though, I did use bubble wrap and styrofoam for the more “sensitive” things. And, even some framed prints I shipped made it all right. But, you could go the plastic bag route.

I had to sign for them, but only 'cause they were being sent to a building with security. So, they wanted to confirm that I had received them. But, as far as the post office is concerned… I don’t think you need to have someone sign for it.

Rascal – I don’t know why UPS had a problem with clothes. However, they were suggested to me and when I called them, they said they wouldn’t do it.

Rascal - Where do you get the little silicon bags that you’re taking about? Or the vacuum seal bags? I was thinking of just using mothballs, does that work? I was also thinking of using regular plastic bags for lining, but couldn’t figure out a way to fit the bags properly in a box.

Silica gel bags is of course the correct term, thanks moneky.
As for the vaccum bags ask your - aeh, mum - you know those things you suck empty with a vacuum cleaner?
This will also reduce the volume, so you can squezze more into one box / suitcase or whatever …

Rascal – I don’t know why UPS had a problem with clothes. However, they were suggested to me and when I called them, they said they wouldn’t do it.

Well, guess I would choose another courier service then …

Monkey - How do I use Orient Pacific International? Do I send my stuff to them instead of my destination address? Do I have to use one of those companies? Will packages get to my destination of I dont?

Dan Jacobson- So I wouldn’t even write Taipei?

LJ - that’s strange, I asked USPS and they wont insure unless its airmail…

Rascal - I asked UPS as well and they do deliver personals, but just extremely expensive.

You can send your goods as far as Keeling harbor by doing all the paperwork your end. Find a boat that goes straight to Keelung, not stopping at Kaohsiung first. You DO have to pay for the paperwork in addition to the cargo handling and shipping fees.
Your frieght forwarders will then give you the necessary documentation to release the cargo when you get here (called the “bill of lading”.)
When you arrive in Taiwan, call a company such as Orient, they will come and see you, you give them the bill of lading, copy of passport etc and they will take those to do the customs clearance and then transport the goods to your place. If you exceed your free harbor storage time (called “demurrage”, they pay that for you to release the good, and then you reimburse them.
Important: I just reread your post and your only shipping one box? Forget it man. Unless you’re gonna be sending over lots of stuff, you are not going to save any money. Consider 10 larges boxes of stuff the minimum. Save the money and buy new clothes!

I am sending 3 or 4 boxes, I just found out that I can take 2 for free on EVA Air, and each additional on is just 89 bucks. Compared to 160 per box something for USPS (up to 2 months, no guarantee) and 2-300 bucks per box for UPS, taking the stuff with me on the plane is by far the best option I think…

Thanks guys for the info.

So I wouldn’t even write Taipei?
Oh, you mean Taibei. Yes according to which I have whipped up
especially due to you, you would only write Taibei if you lived in Taibei
City, but not in Taibei County.

I found that the cheapest way to send things is by air cargo, which means sending things on commercial passenger airlines as “unaccompanied luggage”. The price is usually only US$1 to US$2 per kilogram (50 cents to US$1 per pound), but I have always sent about 100 kilograms. The price per kg is based on how much total weight you send, and of course it’s cheaper per kg if you send more total weight.

In the States, to send things by air freight, you can just directly call the air cargo office of any airline that has regular flights to the desination where you want your things shipped to. But in Taiwan, you are required to go through a “freight forwarder”, which is a middleman who combines your luggage with other people’s luggage in order to make easy money because he/she still charges you about the same as the airline would have charged you if your stuff wasn’t combined with other people’s stuff.

The only disadvantage of air cargo is that the Customs officials will definitely open every single box and look at everything in each box. As long as you don’t have large quantities of anything, then it should be obvious that everything is only for your personal use, so you shouldn’t be charged any customs tax. But if you have large quantities of something, then it might look like you are trying to sell it, so they might charge you customs tax. But even if you are forced to pay customs for something, it’s still much cheaper to send things by air cargo than through the post office.

Then when your things arrive at the international airport in Taoyuan (or in Gaoxiong), you have to go to the air cargo office of the airport to pay the customs taxes (if any) and pick up your boxes. But unless you can borrow someone’s truck, you will probably want to pay a moving company (the guys that put stickers all around everyone’s front doors) to ship your things from the airport to your house.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, in Taiwan it’s impossible to rent a truck like U-Haul or Ryder. So instead, you have to pay a moving company to pick up your boxes. But if you pay a “customs broker” to help you clear customs, then he will also arrange a trucking company to send your things to your house.


just curious, but what about sending stuff (lots of stuff) back to the US?

Unfortunately, as far as I know, in Taiwan it’s impossible to rent a truck like U-Haul or Ryder. So instead, you have to pay a moving company to pick up your boxes.

A case for “Steven the Mover” me thinks …

In addendum to this antique thread, let me say that it IS possible to rent trucks here.

I’ve done so a couple times. There are size choices too. I got a flat bed “stake truck” once. The other was smaller. The one rental location I remember clearly is just on the Nei Hu side of the Cheng Gong bridge to Nan Gang (west side of street). Look for chu zu huo che. (Dang that pin yin. Sorry, Bob, I’ve been exposed to too many systems and can’t keep em straight.)

All went smoothly both (or more?) times except that parking, and choking up alleyways, in Taipei were the expected headaches. People are used to having things choked up though, so they are pretty tolerant if there is activity, and it looks like folks are making an effort.

I do remember I parked once near my then home on Hangchou S. Rd. I knew it was a paid parking area, but I couldn’t find the meter person, didn’t have all day, and so went about my business. Returned to truck, no notice on windshield, drove off. Rental company contacted me a couple weeks later when the parking people caught up with them. I paid off. End of story.

I have ordered lots of stuff from the US and always chose USPS (I was afraid anything UPS is due for some customs fee) and used the spelling system on and it works just fine… Then again that is small airmail package so I dont know about lots of stuff going by sea…