Souvenirs of Taiwan

OK guys, I need some ideas here. I’m heading back to Canada soon to visit friends and family. What distinctive, special Taiwanese/Chinese gifts can I get for them?
All suggestions/advice gratefully received.

aboriginal clothing
cheap jewellery from the jade market
and a knock-off version of Windows ME

A good start. Keep 'em coming.
Jade stuff can be bought back home. Anything you can’t get in the Western world? Not ducks heads, or stuff like that. Handicrafts?

You might get some small pieces of those colorful ceramic figurines from Chaiyi b[/b] used in temples around Taiwan. I think its called “Jiao Jr Tao”.

Or, you might pick up some of the nifty glass sculpture (molds??) that are available in some of the more up-scale malls, like Yuan Chi, on Tunhua S. Road.

If they like tea, get some of the Oolong tea from Mucha.

Or, you might want to get a few of those electrified mosquito swatters… they’re a real blast!

I find that scrolls with either Chinese calligraphy or bamboo/wildlife scenes make for good gifts. Shop around and you can find some that are quite nice for reasonable prices and they transport easily (unlike those life-size statues of Chiang Kai-shek).

How about a nice virulent dose of typhoid? Ask Poagao for details. A gift they won’t forget in a hurry.

ha! it is a yearly question for me as my wife refuses to let me blow off giving gifts.

a great stall is the painting stall in the huaxi street “snake alley” night market, all kinds of chinese style scroll paintings at good prices, or have them paint a calligraphic inscription for you.

for sheer one-stop shopping volume you cannot beat the government approved store on the corner of zhongshan south road and xuzhou (or is it suzhou?) rd. one price so no bargaining but some fair buys to be had.

your younger relatives may appreciate boxes of incense.

tawainese 24k gold pendants, earrings and such make nice gifts for mom perhaps if your budget permits.

my mom also went nuts over a pendant made from an opaque reddish form of amber, don’t know what it’s called but you can find it in jade jewelry stores, its not as expensive as the full blown variety but still really nice.

The government shop (previously mentioned - near Ta Da hospital) out of a cab on the way to the airport…you’ll find every Taiwan souvenir - the kitsch and the rich - here at night market prices.


Ever get a souvenir where you wonder where it fits? Someone brought us a little ceramic cat from Japan that I thought was so hideous… some woman who had a thing for my husband… and I wanted to throw it away so badly but he wouldn’t let me, so I hid it behind a potted plant. Stay away from those things.

Other ideas in case you haven’t already BTDT:
silk bags–there are nicer embroidered ones
parasols–some can be used, not just decorative
painted paper fans–cheap but pretty and older ladies like and will use them
pendants made from antique pottery shards and trimmed in silver (find them at the Bazaar in Tienmu)
Other token gifts (the kind you just pass out as you meet friends) might be those silk wallets, checkbook holders, lipstick cases, coin purses.

And shameless plug, but hey, you asked for ideas:

        Pearls for mom, grandma and sisters!

I’ll have a small table at the Connections bazaar in Tienmu, November 12, with pearls for little girls, women and teens. PM me for more information.

Sorry I had no ideas for guys–I’m much better at giftgiving for kids! The others’ suggestions about the government store on Zhong Shan is an excellent one–great prices and lots of stuff.


Get everything in one place.

Go to the Handicraft Mart near Tai Da Hospital.
They have five floors of local and Chinese handicrafts for very reasonable prices.
I always pop in there before taking a trip home.

Here’s the MAPin English.
And their HOMEPAGE

I’m not selling typhoid at the moment. Although you might ask around certain western eating establishments.

I can’t think of what would make good gifts, though. Been here so long I can’t think of what’s considered special over there. Try the National Palace Museum, I guess.


I’m not selling typhoid at the moment. Although you might ask around certain western eating establishments.[/quote]

Be careful of the rims of things, Poagao!

Take a good look at the map I linked. See anything funny in the pinyin?

Jane ai Rd. eh? Interesting…

If you go up to Damshui b[/b] you can look at there night market along the shore, they usually have some very cheap knickknacks. You can buy a few of those back massage things they sell. I’d have to agree with Alien, however, the Handicraft Mart has tons of stuff at all price ranges and they have some cool things.

There is a store in the Shimingding b[/b] area that sells traditional style Chinese slippers. Bought one for all the ladies in the family last month and they were all very happy. Here’s a link to an article in the Taipei Times.


When I saw that article, I thought of my grandmother. After all my time here in Taiwan, the only thing she ever wanted was Chinese silk slippers. I never could find the really lovely kind anywhere, just the cheesey ones, and so, never sent her any. She died just a couple months before I saw that article. :cry:

Grandma had tiny Chinese sized feet, but mom and I do not. Do they have larger sizes there, would you know?

My wife takes a size 76 in Taiwan, about a size 9 women’s in Canada, and she was able to fit into the largest sizes there. If your mom and you aren’t giants you should be able to find a fit.

Oh, and I’m sorry to hear about your Grandma.

I am with Alien, the “Chinese Handicraft Mart” has it all. Overwhelming selection actually.

Else the Tamshui market along the main road and promenade (well …) is a good place to shop around.

In my humble opinion, either a copy of my book


(see Cranky’s site - I don’t have the exact URL).

Steve Crook


:bulb: :bulb: :bulb:

I don’t usually give away this kind of advice for free, as I’m lousy at finding gifts myself and I’d hate to see my standby “unique” gift become the Taiwan “staple” soveignir like those replicas of Chinese ciggerette ads. But… as I get older I’m trying to learn to be more generous, so I’m gonna spill the beans on the best gift idea that I’ve come up with for those abroad or in Taiwan.

Taiwanese Puppets -

One of the (the?) handcraft puppet making workshops has a stall (small shop) on the very basement floor of the Dunhua Eslite. If your buying for kids - get one of the cheap plastic ones (like 150 NT or something, they have real kung fu action wepons that stab, poke and swirl, as do the more expensive ones as well).

If you’re doing the adults - who need something pricier - you can move up the price ladder. Thy have ones up to 8,000 and beyond I believe, and whole range of other price categories like; 500NT, 1000NT, 2000NT. The more expensive, the fancier the clothes of the puppet and the finer the detail on the faces. They come with a little stand and presto!! You have the ultimate ‘special something’ that just reeks of Taiwan culture, and is beautiful and and unique gift - for the time being anyway. Well, I got my Mom one, and she claims to LOVE it! Though you never can tell, she’s a big fat liar.

There. I gots to get me some karma for that one