MT business travel - Frequent Flyer Franco I-Pang Chung's guide to Taipei

HOW TO GET THERE There are many flights from London, although none is direct. BA, Cathay Pacific and Virgin are good. I like to fly with EVA airline in Deluxe or Business class. Flights from London to Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport take 16 hours.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

AIRPORT TO TOWN Bus transfers cost about NT$200 (£3.50) and take 30-50 minutes. Most big hotels are on the bus routes and most buses terminate at Taipei Central rail station.

BEST HOTEL Caesar Park 1 (formerly Hilton, 38 Chung Hsiao W Road Sec 1, +886 2 2311 5151, is dated, but located opposite Taipei rail station, with department stores nearby. Grand Hotel 2 (1 Zhongshan N Road, Sec 4, 2 2886 8888, offers Imperial Chinese grandness with modern facilities. If attending the Taipei World Trade Centre, Grand Hyatt 3 (2 Songshou Road, 2 2720 1234, is unbeatable, new and high-tech. The Evergreen Laurel Hotel 4 (63 Songjiang Road, 2 2501 9988, is not the best located, but has the best services.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT I like to have breakfast meetings with clients at my hotel as the Chinese and Western breakfast buffet is usually excellent and if meetings overrun I can lunch with the client. For the best steak, try any Wang Steak restaurant (, outlets around town). Service is great and there's none of the usual grill-and-serve stuff; the steak is marinated for two days with special spices and roasted for 11/2hrs before serving. All for under £20! China Pa 5 (145 Anhe Road Sec 1, 2 2702 7011, is also good for business meals, and offers live music.

BEST NIGHT MARKETS Night markets present the best of mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and south-east Asian food at low prices, as well as shopping and drinks. Of the many in Taipei, Shihlin 6 (Wenlin N Road), Jaoho Street 7 and Hwahsi Street 8 are best known.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL? For techno-freaks, Kuan-Hwa Market 9 is the most famous IT district in Taipei. It's crowded and disorganised but has the latest computers and accessories at cut-throat prices. Just don't buy dodgy VCDs and DVDs from the kids hanging around. For the more cultured, the National Palace Museum 10 (221 Zhishan Road Sec 2, 2 2881 2021, has some of the most valuable artefacts shipped out of China before the communists took over. The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall 11 (21 Zhongshan S Road, 2 2393 2740, is worth visiting. Finally, Taipei 101 12 (45 Shifu Road,, the world's tallest building (508m), has many stores and restaurants inside.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE Because of US influence, business and dress codes in Taiwan are not too strict or formal. Suit and tie may be expected, but more casual wear is acceptable for men and women. The Eastern culture demands socialising, so you may be expected to attend bars and clubs during or after meetings, possibly with an attractive hostess present, though businesswomen would be taken somewhere more traditional. Gifts are usually presented to foreigners and, if given, are appreciated.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET Although high-tech toys and accessories abound, make sure the voltage (110V in Taiwan) and video system (NTSC) are compatible with your supply at home. Use trains or buses to travel between Taiwan's cities. Inter-city buses are very comfortable, with private sofa seats, LCD entertainment system, blankets and drinks as standard. Rail tickets should be pre-booked, but you can just turn up for the buses.

- Franco I-Pang Chung is managing director of Raidius Vision and ioRAID.

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