Getting a Scooter License in Taiwan: Photos and What You Need

Over the last week, I posted part one and two of my experience obtaining a scooter license in Hsinchu.  This time I’ll simply share what you need to bring with you, as well as photos of the Hsinchu Motor Vehicles Office on Ziyou Road near downtown Hsinchu.

Why you should get a license:

Many foreigners drive in Taiwan without a license.  That’s certainly no secret.  So why should you go through the trouble?  Well, the first and most obvious reason is because it’s illegal to ride a scooter without a proper license (it’s not the same as a driver’s license for a car).  The fines may not be very steep, but it can prevent you from getting sued if you do happen to get in an accident (and people may still sue you even if the accident wasn’t your fault).  The second reason is that there are less scooter rental shops that are willing to rent to those without a scooter license.  This makes traveling so much easier and getting around by scooter really is the best way.

What You Need:

  • Before you go to take the tests:
    • ID, like an ARC.
    • Two pictures for a driver’s license and one or two ARC size for the health check: $150 NTD.
    • Health Check at National Taiwan University, Hsinchu Branch: $120 (Map below).
    • Find out the times that the tests and lectures are offered to know how much time you will need to take if you want to finish it all in one or two days.
  • Cost of tests and lectures:
    • Written test (and each subsequent attempt): $125
    • Driving test (and each subsequent attempt): $125
    • Scooter License (paid as you go in for the lectures): $200

Websites:

Maps:

When you type in Hsinchu Motor Vehicles Office it’ll send you way out in the middle of nowhere.  I actually don’t know anything about this place.  But they have a pretty good website in English.

30 minutes apart from each other by car or scooter, an hour and 20 minutes by Hsinchu's terrible (but free) bus service, or two and a half hours on foot, since you probably don't have the ability to drive.

30 minutes apart from each other by car or scooter, an hour and 20 minutes by Hsinchu’s terrible (but free) bus service, or two and a half hours on foot, since you probably don’t have the ability to drive.

I really do recommend searching for this place in Google Maps if you're trying to find it.  The streets in Hsinchu don't make any sense at all.

Make you sure you figure out the directions on Google Maps as it is located at an intersection immediately next to the ramp of an overpass.

 Photos of the Hsinchu Motor Vehicles Office:

Exterior of Hsinchu Motor Vehicles Office on Ziyou Rd.

Exterior of Hsinchu Motor Vehicles Office on the corner of Ziyou Rd and Minzu Rd.  The entrance is right next to the overpass ramp.  There’s plenty of parking inside for cars and scooters.

A shot of the entrance to the parking lot.

A shot of the entrance to the parking lot.

This is the front door that faces the lane on Ziyou Rd next to the overpass.

This is the front door that faces the lane on Ziyou Rd next to the overpass.

If you enter the building from the front door instead of the parking lot then you need to go through this door to find the testing centre.  I've only ever met two people here who can speak English so it might be difficult to ask for directions if you don't know Chinese.

If you enter the building from the front door instead of the parking lot then you need to go through this door to find the testing centre. I’ve only ever met two people here who can speak English so it might be difficult to ask for directions if you don’t know Chinese.

Take these stairs on the outside of the building to get to the Testing Centre.

Take these stairs on the outside of the building to get to the Testing Centre.

Register here for the tests.  There may be plenty of people standing around here waiting for the lectures to begin.  The lecture room is around the corner to the left.  The room filled with computers where you will take the test is to the right.

Register here for the tests. There may be plenty of people standing around here waiting for the lectures to begin. The lecture room is around the corner to the left. The room filled with computers where you take the test is to the right.

This is the schedule for tests and lectures.  I suggest planning ahead so you know how much time you need to take to complete everything.  You can do this over multiple days.

This is the schedule for tests and lectures. You will need to complete two of the safety lectures (nearly two hours in total). I suggest planning ahead so you know how much time you need to take to complete everything. You can do this over multiple days.

This is the schedule for lectures on the front door of the lecture room.  Pay the $200 for the driver's license when you go in.  Your license will be waiting for you when you finish the nearly two hours of lectures all in Chinese.

This is the schedule for lectures on the front door of the lecture room. Pay the $200 for the driver’s license when you go in. Your license will be waiting for you when you finish the nearly two hours of lectures all in Chinese.

Photos of the Scooter Driving Course:

Once the written test is completed and you receive a score higher than 90% you can move toward the driving course behind the building.  These are available at certain times throughout the day.

Once the written test is completed and you receive a score higher than 90% you can move toward the driving course behind the building. These are available at certain times throughout the day.

A closer view of the entrance to the scooter course.

A closer view of the entrance to the scooter course.  If you have a scooter, bring it in here and park it along the side under the roof.

It is located next to the driving course for cars.  Don't worry, this isn't for scooters.  The scooter course is much smaller and a lot more embarrassing if you fail.

It is located next to the driving course for cars. Don’t worry, this isn’t for scooters. The scooter course is much smaller and a lot more embarrassing if you fail.

Here it is!

This is it!  No, really.  That’s it.  Really not much to it.

Wait your turn and watch the video in English above the entrance.  You will need to ask for this.  Watch the others.  Don't laugh if they fail.  You may be next.  Also, that's not very nice.

Wait your turn and watch the video in English above the entrance. You will need to ask for this. Watch the others. Don’t laugh if they fail. You may be next. Also, that’s not very nice.

Start your scooter and stop, if necessary, at the railroad crossing before the line.  Look both ways and proceed when necessary.  Don't forget to signal when you make the turn!  (And turn off your signal light when you finish turning!  I got too excited.)

Start your scooter and stop, if necessary, at the railroad crossing before the line. Look both ways and proceed when necessary. Don’t forget to signal when you make the turn! (And turn off your signal light when you finish turning! I got too excited.)

32 points means you fail.

32 points means you fail.

This is the left turn.

This is the left turn.  Signal!

Go straight down the road, stop before the line if the lights  indicate you to stop.  Make sure you signal at the line.

Go straight down the road, stop before the line if the lights indicate you to stop. Make sure you signal at the line.

Don't cause an accident.  If you cause an accident here you should really reconsider getting a license.  Move to Taipei or Kaohsiung.  Take the MRT.

Don’t cause an accident. If you cause an accident here you should really reconsider getting a license. Move to Taipei or Kaohsiung. Take the MRT.  (Sorry about the terrible quality.  I didn’t realize I was so shaky!)

Signal, stop if necessary, proceed, turn.

Signal, stop if necessary, proceed, turn.

Stop before the line.  There's a stop sign there.  After this you'll have to turn to the left and wait for the tester to prepare the 7-second track.

Stop before the line. There’s a stop sign there. After this you’ll have to turn to the left and wait for the tester to prepare the 7-second track.

Just do what it says.

Just do what it says.

This is the worst.  The worst!

This is the worst. The worst!

It's quite narrow.  I suggest backing up a bit before starting out so that you have some momentum to get over the sensor bar.  It's small but deadly.

It’s quite narrow. I suggest backing up a bit before starting out so that you have some momentum to get over the sensor bar. It’s small but deadly.  Once you finish this in just over 7 seconds then you’re home free!  Head back to the lecture room on the second floor, watch some videos of people doing stupid things on scooters, and get your license!

I hope this has been helpful for someone out there.  There’s a lot of conflicting information out there so I hope that this clears up some of that confusion.

Good luck!  And safe travels!

Oh, the places you'll go!

The best way to travel in Taiwan is by scooter, so get your license!

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