Let’s face it. No one wants to travel without a phone nowadays. Having Internet access will make your Taiwan trip much easier in many ways.
Luckily, Taiwan has very fast reception almost everywhere. What’s more, it’s very easy and affordable for tourists to buy a prepaid SIM card for Taiwan when they land at Taoyuan, Songshan, Taichung, or Kaohsiung International Airports.
I’ll also cover Taiwan SIM card prices, step-by-step instructions for getting your SIM card when you land at any airport in Taiwan, and how to buy a SIM card in the city.
Why SIM Cards Are the Best Choice for Taiwan
If you have a SIM card for traveling around Taiwan, I can guarantee you won’t regret it. This card will come with unlimited data, plus you’ll get some data for making phone calls.
Here are Taiwan-specific reasons why SIM cards are the best choice:
- GoogleMaps works really well in Taiwan. You’ll use it not only for navigation but also for opening hours of attractions, bus times and bus stop locations, restaurant reviews, and more.
- There are many other useful apps for Taiwan, some of which require a local phone number to sign up. Translation and transportation apps can be life savers – see the best apps for Taiwan here.
- Having a local phone number will allow you to register for a YouBike account and connect an EasyCard to your account. You can still rent a YouBike without an account/phone number, but its more difficult.
- Many hotels in Taiwan communicate with their guests using the LINE app. You’ll need Internet to use the app.
- You may need to call restaurants to make or change a reservation. This can only be done if you have a SIM card. You can also send text messages in Taiwan, but few people there do that – everyone uses the LINE app for instant messaging.
The Best SIM Card for Taiwan
No matter which airport you are flying into, I recommend ordering this Chunghwa SIM card on Klook.
If you need an EasyCard too, then you can get both with this EasyCard + Chunghwa SIM deal.
Why It’s the Best
- Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信 or Zhonghua Dianxin) is widely considered the best provider in Taiwan. Travelers and expats consistently report that it provides the widest coverage and it is the top-selling prepaid Taiwan SIM card o Klook.
- By ordering it on Klook, you can pay for it before you arrive, so you won’t have to prepare cash or see if your credit card will work at the airport mobile phone kiosk. Just show your email voucher and passport to pick it up. Secondary identification may also be needed – see the Klook page for details.
- When you pick up the SIM card at the airport or in the city, the clerk will help to install it for you and make sure it works.
- Data is unlimited, so you can use the web as much as you want, including videos, video games, etc.
- Options include 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, or 30 days (sometimes not all of these are available), with the option to add TWD 50, 100, 150, or 430 for local calls (for the average tourist, 50 should be enough for a short trip or 100 for a longer trip).
- If you are traveling with 2 or more people, you could even just buy one SIM card and share data with your companions.
- Chunghwa’s tourist SIM cards are 4G, which is generally more than good enough for Taiwan. If you want 5G, you can buy it at the airport and it will be more expensive.
Taiwan SIM Card vs. eSIM vs. Pocket WiFi Device
|SIM Card||– Unlimited Data|
– Phone calls and SMS
– Can register for YouBike and sign up for apps
– One person can share data with a friend
– Up to 6 months available at airport
– Clerk will activate for you
|– Need to pick up at airport|
– Can’t be extended
– Need to carry (and not lose!) your home SIM card.
|eSIM||– Works as soon as you land|
– No physical product needed
– Works for LINE app, which everyone in Taiwan uses for communicating
– Regional and global plans available
|– Only works on newer phones (see list)|
– Only some have unlimited data
– Max 30 days
– Can’t register for YouBike (but single rental still possible)
– Confusing set-up
|WiFi Device||– Can be shared by up to 5 devices|
– Can rent for up to 90 days
|– Need to charge every day|
– Need to pick up at airport
– Need to return at end of trip
– Extra thing to carry around
eSIMs are the latest trend for travelers (see my guide to using eSIMs in Taiwan). If you get an Airalo eSIM for Taiwan, my most recommended one, it will start working as soon as your plane lands in Taiwan. In fact, the hardware is already in your phone (only in newer phones!)
All you have to do is download the Airalo app, choose the plan you want, pay, and follow the instructions so that it works as soon as you arrive in Taiwan. It will connect you to Chunghwa’s service, which is the same as my most recommended SIM card for Taiwan. It’s not only easy but also very cheap.
In Taiwan, almost everyone uses the LINE app to communicate via instant messaging or phone calls. So an eSIM will be enough to communicate with hotels (they will often want to connect with their guests via LINE).
On the downside, with an Airalo eSIM, the data is not unlimited. You’ll only get 1 to 10 GB, depending on the plan you choose. If you run out, it’s easy to buy more. Other companies like Holafly do offer unlimited data but it’s quite a bit more expensive than Airalo.
Also, you’ll ONLY get data, which means you won’t get a local phone number. This means you won’t be able to make phone calls or register for a YouBike account.
Pocket WiFi Devices
Pocket WiFi Devices like this one are another popular option, but they are becoming less so. The main benefit of a Pocket WiFi device is that it can be shared among up to five devices. This means a whole family can share just one device.
A major downside here is (again) no local number or phone calls. Also, for multiple people to share it, you’ll need to be relatively close together, so it may not work if you’re in different rooms. The device is an extra item that needs to be carried around and charged every night. Last but not least, you’ll have to return it at the end of your trip.
How to Pick Up Your Taiwan SIM at the Airport
No matter which airport you arrive at in Taiwan (Taoyuan International Airport terminal 1 or 2 in Taoyuan City, Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taichung Airport in Taichung, or Kaohsiung Airport in Kaohsiung), the pick-up procedure will be the same.
However, the opening times for pickup are different at each airport. For Taoyuan Airport, the pick up times for the SIM card on its own are 6 AM to Midnight, so this is good for anyone landing in Taiwan from 5 AM to 11 PM. If you get the EasyCard + SIM card deal, you can pick it up earlier, from 4:30 AM to 11 PM, suitable if you’re landing from 3:30 AM to 10 PM.
Step 1: Purchase on Klook
Before departing for Taiwan, purchase your SIM card voucher on Klook. You can purchase the voucher anytime before your trip. It has no expiration date. One person can only get a maximum of one SIM card.
If you’ve never used Klook before, you can sign up with my referral code. This will give you a free credit in your account. You should see this under “discounts” on the check-out page. I’ll get a credit too, so thank you!
After you pay, you’ll receive the voucher by email within a few minutes. Make sure to save it to your phone. If you think your phone might run out of battery before reaching Taiwan, also print a copy.
Note that there is free WiFi at Taoyuan International Airport, so you’ll also be able to access the email when you get there.
Also note that your phone must be unlocked (most phones made after 2017 are) and must have a SIM card slot.
Step 2: Go through Normal Airport Arrival Procedures
When you first land in Taiwan, you’ll need to exit the plane, follow the signs to Arrivals, go through immigration, collect your check-in luggage from the conveyor belt, and go through customs and into the Arrival Hall.
Under normal conditions, it usually takes about 1 hour to get through Taoyuan International Airport, while other airports may be a little faster. If several airplanes land at once or there is any other delay, it could take up to 2 hours.
Note: If you’ve already submitted your arrival form online, you don’t need to fill in a paper arrival card before going through immigration. There’s no QR code – they will just see it in their system when you present your passport.
Step 3: Find the Chunghwa Telecom Counter
For each airport, there is a specific counter you’ll need to find to pick up the SIM card. You can find this information on the Klook page by choosing the Airport under “Pick-up Location” and then reading the “Package Details”.
For example, for Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1, the pick-up counter is Counter number 6 and for Terminal 2 it is Counter number 2. Klook even provides a map of the pick-up counters for each airport.
Chunghwa provides even more detailed maps here.
Step 4: Present Your Voucher & Passport
At the counter, simply present your email voucher and passport for identification. For certain passports of types of visas for Taiwan, you may have to provide secondary identification. See the Klook page for details about that.
The clerk will provide you with the SIM card that you ordered and even insert and activate it for you. The clerk should also test that it works. Don’t worry, they do this hundreds of times every day, so they know what they are doing!
Want to make a test call? Try dialing 0800-011-765. This is Taiwan’s 24-hour tourist hotline. They have service in English, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin. You can ask them any question you have about traveling in Taiwan! Also try doing a quick Internet search to test your connection.
Step 5: Use Until the Activation Period Ends
The day you activate the SIM card will count as your first day. The card will stop working at 11:59 PM on the last day of the validity period (3 to 30 days, depending on which one you purchased).
However, you cannot extend the time of these tourist SIM cards in Taiwan. Once the days run out, the SIM card can no longer be used. So make sure to get one that will cover your whole trip.
If the ones on Klook are not long enough, you can get longer ones at the airport (up to 6 months).
How to Buy a SIM Card at the Airport
You don’t HAVE to buy your SIM card on Klook. You can also just show up at the airport and buy a SIM card when you get there.
The main benefits of buying on Klook are that you can pay for it online before you arrive and Klook sometimes offers small discounts. You can also save money by using credits that you get in your account (for example if you sign up with my referral link) or by referring your friends to Klook
The benefit of buying at the airport is that you can compare the prices (and line-ups!) at different providers at the airport. Here are the different mobile phone centers at Taoyuan Airport, with their locations and opening hours.
The earliest mobile phone counter at Taoyuan International Airport (T1 and T2) opens at 4:30 AM and the latest one closes at midnight (the Klook/Chunghwa one by comparison is only open from 6 AM to midnight. Click to find opening hours for Songshan Airport, Taichung Airport, and Kaohsiung Airport.
You may need to have Taiwanese cash to buy the card (read about what currency Taiwan uses). Most of them accept credit cards, but international cards don’t always work in Taiwan.
Another reason to just buy your SIM card at the airport is if you need it for a longer period than the ones available on Klook. In Klook, the maximum one is for 30 days, and even that is sometimes not available. At the airport, you can get SIM cards which are valid for up to 6 months.
Taiwan SIM Card Prices
The prices at the airport are going to be pretty similar to the ones on Klook, but it’s worth shopping around if you care. There will be more plan options at the airport that what you can find on Klook.
How to Get a SIM Card in the City
If you want to buy the Chunghwa SIM card on Klook but your flight arrives in the middle of the night (from around 11 PM to 5 AM), you can either wait at the airport for the Chunghwa counter to open at 6 AM, or just go to the city and pick it up from a Chunghwa shop later in the day.
You can also go to any of these shops to buy a tourist SIM card for Taiwan if you’re already in the city and didn’t buy the Klook deal.
How to Get a Monthly SIM Card Plan
If you’re planning to live in Taiwan, you may want to sign up for a phone plan. You’ll need an ARC (Alient Resident Card) to do this. You can get an ARC through employment, marriage, coming over as a student, etc. It may take several weeks or even a few months after landing in Taiwan to get your ARC.
Most plans are for two years, with fines if you want to break the contract early, and will include a new phone.
These plans aren’t much cheaper than the tourist SIM cards offered at the airport, so if you’re planning to stay for only a year or less, consider to just buy the longest plan you can at the airport.