Taiwanese customs and etiquette : Important things you should know

If you’re planning on visiting, studying or moving to Taiwan you should definitely know more about the Taiwanese customs and etiquette. In this post we will be going over some of the most important Taiwanese customs and etiquette you should know before you go to Taiwan!

The Taiwanese people are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in Asia, thats why we want to make sure you will fit in well and they will not dislike you for making mistakes in etiquette they might see as unpolite.

Taiwanese customs :

Ways of greeting

Nowadays Taiwanese people are getting used to the western people and western influence, so its getting more common that the people shake hands. Although this more a way of greeting in the business industry but its also getting common in normal daily life. Mostly this is a way to greet each other for men.

The original way of greeting a stranger i giving a slight nod of the head or a slight bow to the person they’re meeting.

Putting your left hand over your right hand and bringing it up to your heart is a way to respect and greet the elderly people of Taiwan.

Taiwanese customs and etiquette : Important things you should know 1
A respectful way of greeting the elderly people in Taiwan (Credit : guilinholdiay)

Physical contact and verbal communication

There are a few ways of verbal communication that are not done in Taiwan. For example calling people and calling them with your fingers, just pointing at people with your finger is seen as unpolite and rude. Furthermore is winking also seen as disrespectful.

When it comes to physical contact, touching people, putting your arm around people and touching a baby’s head is not done. Neither is show physical affection toward a partner in public a common thing in Taiwan.

Touching stuff or pointing at things with your feet is also a thing not to be done in Taiwan because feet are seen as something dirty so it shouldn’t be used for this.

Shoes in houses

Its important to know that you should always put out your shoes when entering a house, even when the host says you don’t have to!

Bad omens

Death is a taboo topic, even in a sarcastic or jokingly way, so avoid talking about death or accidents because its a sort of bad luck in Taiwan.

Furthermore when giving gifts don’t rap them in white paper or use a white envelop, it means that the writer is gonna die very soon. White flowers are also a no go when it comes on giving as a gift because they are related to death.

Taiwanese customs and etiquette : Important things you should know 2
The white flowers should not be given as a gift because they’re related to a funeral
(credit : flowers-image.blogspot)

The chinese word for ‘four’ is also a word the Taiwanese people are not very keen on because it sounds like death. Thats why a hospital will never treat people on the 4th floor and some people don’t even want to live or work there.

Giving and accepting gifts

When accepting a gift it is important to accept it with both hands, this is a sign of appreciation. While giving the gift it is also important to mention you are giving it unreservedly, that will be seen as a very polite way to give a gift.

If the receiver of the gift refuses to take the gift, politely persist until they accept it. This is a way of being polite.

Public behaviour

People do not shout in public in Taiwan, this is not in there nature. So try not to shout publicly.

Furthermore is showing frustration or anger publicly not done, if you do this people in Taiwan will look weird and will definitely not appreciate it. The Taiwanese people will keep this to themselves.


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