While there are a variety of ways to get on the internet in Taiwan, some people who are traveling here for just a short trip manage to do fine with the free WiFi spots. The quality of connections is sometimes poor or broken, so it’s not a surefire solution, but it’s a great option for real penny-pinching travelers.
Note that if you want a reliable connection all the time, you should get yourself a data SIM card or portable WiFi box, which are really inexpensive compared to most countries. It’s especially useful to get a data SIM if you want to use the YouBike bicycle rental system, to help you get around on Google Maps and to use the YouBike app to find YouBike stations.
The main national WiFi network run by the government, iTaiwan has over 5000 access points in public areas across Taiwan. It’s mainly available at places like tourist attractions, metro stations, museums, galleries and tourism information centers. It’s available from the moment you officially enter the country at a major airport, such as Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
To get started soon after arrival, you can sign up a few days before on the official website. You then activate your account by using the WiFi spots after immigration. Finally, head to a Travel Service Center in the airport or metro station to receive an account number. You can also use a Taiwan mobile number to register. The process is a bit of a pain, but worth it once you’re surfing on that free WiFi!
Other WiFi networks
Various cities also have their own free WiFi networks in public areas, such as Taipei Free. You’ll often see logos designating the area as having free WiFi. Tourists can almost always find either one of these or iTaiwan in a busy station or popular tourism spot.
At convenience stores
The two biggest chains in Taiwan, Family Mart and 7-Eleven, sometimes have free WiFi in their stores. In 7-Eleven, look out for the ‘ibon WiFi’ or ‘.1.Free- WiFi’ WiFi networks on your smartphone and follow the instructions to sign up. At Family Mart look for the ‘Fami-WiFi’ network. Note that these networks can be cumbersome to sign up to, are often only in Chinese, and have unreliable connections, so not many people use them.
Other shops like Carrefour supermarket also have free WiFi.
At your hotel or hostel
Unless you’re really in the sticks or staying up in some mountain hut, your accommodation will provide WiFi. It’s almost always free apart from a very few old-fashioned hotels.
Department stores and shopping malls
The major and more upmarket shopping spots, like Taipei 101, usually have pretty reliable WiFi that you can use for free. You might need to download an app for more than 10 minutes or so of usage, but it’s a great option if you’re spending lots of time shopping or eating in the food courts.
Cafes and restaurants
Just like most countries, cafes such as Starbucks will have WiFi, but you are sometimes required to make a purchase before getting an access code in Taiwan.
Do you know any other places that are good for WiFi in Taiwan? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.