I have just rented a car and driven around the island (literally), and here’s my guide to car rental in Taiwan. As with the previous time, i rented from Carplus. I tried to inquire with easyrent as well, and i don’t remember exactly why, but i think it is was easier with Carplus. These two are probably the largest car rental agencies in Taiwan.
You get to choose the exact model of the car you want to rent. I went with a random choice, the Mitsubishi Colt Plus. It was not a good choice, and i think the Toyota Yaris would have been better. You will likely get a white colour vehicle, a popular choice in Taiwan, as with in Korea.
With a 35% discount, the daily rental rate was 1625 NTD (S$75). I just Googled for it, the daily rate for a chauffeur driven 5 seater car is 5000 NTD (S$225), so you definitely save a lot if you do your own driving. More importantly, i would opt of self-drive simply because, this way, you are free to roam and will not feel constrained in anyway.
Compared to driving in Taiwan 5 years ago, i noted that a lot more speed cameras have been installed, all over the place. I’m not sure how strictly they enforce the speed limit, but i will find out in due time, since i think i went past the cameras above the speed limit on two occasions. The Taiwanese don’t really observe the speed limit strictly, so i think there’s some leeway to it. I also noted this time that the driving of the Taiwanese improved, clearly brought about by stricter enforcement.
The manual highway toll collection has also been changed to collection by electronic means (eTag ETC). It’s so efficient that, at the point of returning the rental car, the total toll charge incurred during the car rental period can be tallied on the spot. It has to be paid by cash. It’s cheap, by the way.
One important tip i would like to mention is to be aware of the road division into fast and slow lanes (similar to China). Google maps is aware of this, but even then, you need to keep your eyes open to get into the right lane. You may not be able to make a right turn if you’re in the fast lane, and vice-versa, you can’t make a left turn if you ended up in the slow lane.
Taiwanese drivers are quite forgiving, and they usually don’t insist on their right of way. You hardly ever hear car honking. During peak holiday season, there may be problem finding parking. The way to get around this is to beat the crowd – be there early.
I got the car in Taipei and i opted to return the car at the Taoyuan Airport car rental office. This cost only 500 NTD (S$23), and i think it is so worthwhile. The rental car does not come with petrol topped-up to full tank, which means you most likely need to fill-up petrol as soon as you get the car.
No better way to do your holiday in Taiwan than self-driving. My trip report card to follow soon.