Postal Services in Taiwan & Poste Restante

Taiwan's Postal Service

Taiwan has an excellent postal system, called Chunghwa Post. It's fast, efficient and very reliable, and staff are always friendly and helpful, despite often being very busy. Most post offices in large cities seem to have a staff member who speaks English, but should you find yourself at one that doesn't, some patience, miming and a pen and paper should suffice. During the last eight years I've sent everything from simple letters to my life's possessions through Taiwan's postal service, both nationally and internationally, and never had any problems.

Poste Restante in Taiwan

To many Poste Restante conjures up images of the times gone by, usually of sending letters to overseas travellers with no fixed abode. However the system is still operational (at least in Taiwan) and it's a great way to send a box or two to yourself if you're moving here and have too much to carry on the plane, as surface mail is generally the cheapest and most eco-friendly way of sending items overseas. As of August 2014 international parcels (sent using the traditional postal system, not couriers etc) will be kept for up to two months, however as facts like these change it's best to check the official postal website for confirmation before sending anything.

Address items to:

Your Full Name
Poste Restante

When you arrive in Taiwan go to the Beimen (North Gate) Post Office (北門郵局), a short walk from Taipei Main Station, with ID (your passport) to collect it. I found staff extremely helpful.

If you have a local Taiwanese phone I highly recommend writing the number on the form, or that of a friend here or perhaps even an overseas phone number, as that way the staff can call you when it arrives or if there is a problem (which there shouldn't be).

 Hungry? The Huaining Loving Hut is a few minutes walk away.

Addresses in Taiwan

There is no consistent romanisation of Chinese street names (or any names) in Taiwan, and because it's a political issue this problem is not likely to be solved any time. (The currently-ruling, pro-unification-with-China Kuomintang / Chinese Nationalist Party favour using the same system as China [surprise, surprise] while the pro-democracy and independence Democratic Progressive Party favour a more traditional Taiwanese system (Tongyong Pinyin) which takes into account Taiwanese and Taiwan's many aboriginal languages and better matches Taiwanese pronounciation of Chinese). So the same road could be written Chungsiao Rd, Chung Siao Rd, Chung-siao Rd, Zhongxiao Rd or Zhong Xiao Rd, even at the same intersection. Also, some road names are sometimes translated into English, but not usually. for example Science Park Rd (in the Hsinchu Science Park) is written as both Ke Xue Gong Yuan Road and Science Park Road, and road signs are not always consistent with each other, or with Google Maps.

The solution to this is quite simple: if at all possible, address letters in Chinese. Ask any Taiwanese person to write them for you, or copy and paste them, printing them at a 7-11 if necessary. Send an image file to anyone sending stuff to you from overseas so that they can print it out and attach it to the envelope.

This information is correct due to the best of my knowledge in August 2014, and is based on my experiences with Chunghwa Post, including sending many boxes via Poste Restante. However I cannot take responsibility if this is not correct, so please check the official website (also listed above). Also, please let me know with a comment below if anything here (or elsewhere on Formosa Guide is out of date. Xie Xie.

Is something out of date? Please let me know.