What is Considered Rude in Taiwan?

When it comes to social etiquette in Taiwan, there is no doubt that the country’s people are extremely polite. However, there are a few things that are considered rude and must be avoided to avoid offending others.


When you are first introduced to a person in Taiwan, it is polite to nod your head or give a slight bow. This may seem like an awkward move to some foreigners, but it’s considered very acceptable and is actually quite common. It also helps you to keep up your conversation and make a good impression on the person you are introducing yourself to.


Unlike in other countries, handshakes in Taiwan are not as firm and men must wait for women to initiate the shake. A shaky handshake is viewed as rude and can lead to a bad impression.


If you are in a public place, do not spit out your saliva when talking to someone. If you’re in the countryside, this is not as much of a concern but it can still be off-putting if you’re in an urban setting and want to be polite.

Gift Giving

When you are given gifts in Taiwan, take care to use two hands to open the package. It is a sign of respect and shows the recipient that you care about them.

You should also wrap your gifts carefully and don’t write anything on the box or card you receive. This is because the Taiwanese are not comfortable with Western style writing and would rather the person’s name was written in traditional Chinese.

Don’t leave your receipts on the table when you are buying a meal or at a restaurant (they are usually placed on the table in front of you). This is a waste of money, so instead, you can donate your receipts to a local charity.

Be sure to use both hands when you are opening and closing a door. This shows the other person that you are in control and are serious about what you’re doing.

If you are in a group, it is important to assemble in a row or line. This allows everyone to see the other persons and gives you a better chance of speaking with them without being ignored.

When eating, don’t sit down with your legs crossed or cross your feet. This is considered inappropriate in Taiwan and can cause discomfort for other guests.

Do not eat all of the food in one sitting and then waste it by discarding it on the floor. It is also not a good idea to put chopsticks into a bowl of rice, as it looks like incense or a funeral urn.

If you are in a business meeting, introduce yourself to the most senior member of the group. This way, you can be assured that you are in the right position to discuss any topic. You can then ask any questions you might have. In addition, you can ask the most senior member of the group to make any announcements.