I didn’t realize just how many people are looking for private drivers and private tour guides in Taiwan until I started my Taiwan Travel Planning group. It is definitely one of the most common FAQs about Taiwan. People in the group are constantly asking for private driver, car charter, and private guide recommendations.
However, hiring a private driver in Taiwan that you found in a Facebook group or a recommendation from other travelers has some potential legal and insurance issues.
I’ve put together this article to clarify these issues, and to give some Taiwan driver and private guide recommendations that I have personally vetted.
Legal Concerns about Hiring Drivers/Guides in Taiwan
Here is an important fact about Taiwan: In order for a driver in Taiwan to take you around, they legally must have a commercial driver’s license. Driving anyone besides your friends/family for pay without a commercial driver’s license is illegal.
Second, even with a commercial driving license, these drivers are not allowed to introduce places to you (i.e. be a guide) unless they ALSO have a tour guide license. Last but not least, among those guides in Taiwan with a tour guide license, only a very small percentage of them have an English tour guide license.
Besides this legal concern, going with an unlicensed driver or guide could cause you major insurance problems if something bad happens on your Taiwan trip.
Licensed guides and drivers usually work through a travel agency, which provides additional insurance besides whatever travel insurance you may or may not happen.
In other words, if something bad happens while touring with an unlicensed guide, it could cost you a lot of money, even if you have your own travel insurance for Taiwan.
Taiwan Private Driver/Guide Recommendations
Best English Speaking Tour Guides
The following are fully licensed commercial drivers AND certified English speaking tour guides. This means that their rates will be higher, but they will communicate in excellent English and be able to provide guide services to you and your group.
- David M. Liaw of My Taiwan Journey is an enthusiastic member of my Facebook group, often sharing his detailed knowledge of Taiwan’s remote high mountain roads.
- Henry Chen (Facebook link) is another very popular certified driver and English-speaking tour guide. Everyone who takes a trip with him raves about how knowledgeable and friendly he is, with several people saying he really made their Taiwan trip.
The following are certified commercial drivers or travel agencies but NOT certified English-speaking tour guides.
This means they will be able to drive you from point A to point B, or drive you around for multiple days, but their English ability will vary. Because they are not licensed guides, you cannot expect them to introduce places do you – legally, they aren’t even supposed to.
- Steven Hsieh of ArTrip has a commercial driving license and can take you anywhere in Taiwan. Even when he’s booked, he may be able to help you find another driver. His travel agency can also provide car rentals. He is well reviewed in my group and can speak some English.
- Anda Travel (Facebook page) is another travel agency that can arrange private drivers all over Taiwan. Because they work with multiple drivers, the English ability may vary.
You can also find single-day drivers for various locations in Taiwan on Klook.
All of these are licensed and insured. The ones that say “private driver” (or “car charter” on Klook) means that can take you around to multiple spots, with a customized schedule.
The ones that say “private transfer” means that just take you from Point A to Point B. Shared transfer means that it will be in a van or minibus with other travelers.
- Private Driver for Taipei (half-day and full-day available, can do Taipei city only or day trips from Taipei)
- Private Driver for Yangmingshan National Park (read my guide to Yangmingshan and suggested Yangmingshan driving itinerary)
- Private Driver for Jiufen and Shifen area
- Private Driver for Yilan (see my Yilan guide)
- Private Driver for East Coast (see my guides to Hualien and Taitung)
- Private Driver for Taroko Gorge (see my Taroko Gorge guide)
- Shared Transfer from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake (see my Sun Moon Lake guide)
- Private or Shared Transfer from Taichung to Cingjing Farm (see my guide to getting to Cingjing)
- Private or shared transfer from Sun Moon Lake to Cingjing Farm
- Private Driver for visiting Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm in one day
- Private driver for Alishan or shared transfer to Alishan from Chiayi (see my Alishan guide)
- Private Driver for Tainan (see my Tainan guide)
- Private transfer from Kaohsiung to Kenting (see my Kaohsiung guide)
- 3-Day Driver from Taipei to Cingjing Farm, Sun Moon Lake, and Alishan
You can also get licensed private drivers on the Tripool app. These can be booked for point-to-point trips anywhere in Taiwan or for an hourly rate. For point-to-point service, there is a surcharge for making stops on the way.
There may also be a surcharge for going to high-elevation places like Alishan. Any questions you have about it are likely answered on their FAQ page.
Finally, you can find contact information for some private drivers if you do a search in my Facebook group. However, unless I was the one recommending them, I can’t guarantee that they are licensed and/or legit.
Guided Tour Recommendations
If you’re looking for a private guide for a single day or destination in Taiwan, a lot of them can be found on Klook.
Klook is a platform that lists guided tours from a variety of local providers. These are small group tours with English speaking guides. Most of them drop you at the destinations and give you some space to explore by yourself. They are high in value, because you can see more in one day than you could by public transportation, and for a relatively decent price.
Here are some examples of popular guided tours available on Klook:
- Guided day tour of Taipei’s mot popular sights (learn more in Taipei guide)
- Guided day tour to Beitou and Yangmingshan
- Guided day tour to Shifen, Jiufen, and Yehliu (including Golden Waterfall in photo above!)
- Guided day tour to Heping Island in Keelung, Jiufen, and Shifen (see my Keelung guide)
- Guided day tour to Taipingshan from Taipei
- Guided day tour Taroko Gorge from Taipei or from Hualien on Klook
- Guided day tour to Sun Moon Lake (read about all my recommended Sun Moon lake guided tours here)
- Guided day tour in Taichung (see my Taichung guide)
- Guided day tour from Chiayi to Alishan or Taichung to Alishan
- Guided day tour of Kenting from Kaohsiung
- Guided Tainan tour from Kaohsiung
- Guided Kaohsiung day tour (including Fo Guang Shan Monastery)
- Guided East Rift Valley tour from Taitung
Luxury Guided Tours in Taiwan
For multi-day fully personalized luxury tours of Taiwan, I recommend Life of Taiwan. They can do all the planning for you, prepare intimate cultural experiences, and they stay at some of the best hotels in Taiwan. They have family, tea, and culture-focused tours. They aren’t cheap, so please only make serious inquiries, and let them know that Nick sent you over.
Here are some other guided tours of Taiwan:
- This 5-day tour of Taiwan is a large tour English bus tour that visits several of Taiwan’s most famous attractions in a short period of time. It is only available on certain days and does not include Taipei, so you should include a few days of exploring Taipei on your own before or after your trip.
- This 3-Day Alishan and Sun Moon Lake tour departs from Taipei, allowing you to see these two famous attractions without figuring out the complicated public transportation to them.
If the above don’t match what you are looking for, then I suggest you consult a travel agent in your country to see what they have for Taiwan. I don’t recommend find guides in Facebook groups because you have no way to know who they really are and whether they are licensed or not.
I hope this clears up any questions you had about hiring a private guide or private driver in Taiwan. I hope you have an amazing Taiwan trip!