Taiwan Trip: FAQ

On this page, I will answer questions you have emailed me.

Question: Will there be an opportunity to observe/study in an acupuncture clinic?
Answer: Yes. Dr Lee has a full scale clinic. While herbs are his dominant treatment modality, he also uses acupuncture on many of his patients. Note that traditional Chinese medicine historically was dominated by herbal treatment. Acupuncture has become much more popular in the west than it ever did in East Asia. In Taiwan, acupuncture has seen an increase in popular only in the last 15 or 20 years.

Question: Do we need a visa to enter Taiwan?
Answer: Currently Taiwan offers a landing visa (a visa issued upon arrival at their airport customs) for 30 days for US citizens. However, one must carry a valid passport that will not expire in the next 6 months or so. It is strongly encouraged that you check with your local Taiwan visa office here or here for specific information regarding your trip.

You are responsible for ensuring that your passport is valid and your Taiwan visa situation is okay. If you passport is set to expire within 6 months of planned entry to Taiwan, you are encouraged to apply for a new passport as soon as possible.

Question: Will we get CEUs for the study part of the trip?
Answer: I am currently applying to NCCAOM for CEU credits. I will update everybody when they are approved!

Question: Will the herbal clinic be focused on Shang Han Lun approaches to treatment, or general internal medicine diagnosis and treatment?
Answer: Dr. Lee  draws on several schools of Chinese medicine in his treatment strategy for treatment. One of his main resources is the Shang Han Lun/Jin Gui Yao Lue and he is considered an expert on this treatise.

Question: Can we choose our airplane seating and request special meals?
Answer: We will purchase tickets for the group and will attempt to convey special requests with the travel agent. But we will ask each individual to contact the airlines themselves to confirm these requests. Much of this can now be done online. Unfortunately we cannot be responsible for airline seating policies or arrangements.

Question: Some of my classmates studied herbs in Shanghai and they said that a lot of herbs were used that aren’t commonly available in the U.S.  So while they learned a lot it didn’t carry over to practice in the U.S. quite as much as they had hoped.  Is the same true in Taiwan?  Also, I am assuming that Dr. Lee sees a wide variety of different cases or does he have a particular specialty?

Answer: My teacher, Dr. Lee, generally prefers to use the most common herbs. Most of his formulas are based in the Shang Han Lun, Pi Wei Lun  or Zhang Jing Yue. So they are commonly available in the US as patents, granules or individually constructed through raw herbs. Chinese physicians in Taiwan are mostly general practitioners who have their own private clinic (unlike physicians in Mainland China who mostly work as specialists in hospitals). However, like any practitioner, he has his personal specialties, the foremost of which is cerebral-spinal trauma. He is also famous for auto-immune, cancer, eye, gyn and many other areas of medicine.

What is the hotel like and what facilities does it offer?

We chosen a hotel that is within a few blocks of Dr. Lee’s clinic.
Check out its website: http://intl-house.howard-hotels.com/
It is between two major universities, National Taiwan University (the Harvard of Taiwan) and National Taiwan Normal University which both have lively day and night markets with lots of small shops and restaurants. Many foreigners choose to live in this area when the first move to Taiwan due to the youthful energy and easy access to everything. It is also near major bus and subway (MRT) hubs making transportation extremely convenient.

Laundry and clothes:

The hotel should have a laundry service for a hotel price. There are likely several laundry mats in the alleys behind the hotel. This is fairly traditional, but also especially here because the neighborhood is a student area. The weather should be right around 70, but being spring it can get hotter into 80’s or lower into 60’s. Also be prepared for light rain. You can always buy a small umbrella there–they magically appear for sale on the sidewalks for about 100nt or $3-4 with the first drop of rain.

Money Exchange and credit cards:

You can exchange money at the airport for a fairly good rate (at least it usually is). I actually prefer to exchange money at this airport. The rates often are slightly better than in town and there are no service fees. They may not be open at the time you arrive if you are arriving really early. In that case, you can exchange your money on Monday. Near the clinic there are a couple of banks that will exchange your money with little trouble.

Make sure that you bring new $100 bills. Foreign countries tend to not want to exchange older model bills. Traveler’s cheques can also be cashed, but usually only at banks and for a little extra trouble. You can of course exchange at the hotel, but the exchange will not be in your favor. Banks tend to close earlier in Taiwan than in the US-around 3pm. So don’t until the end of a day before exchanging. There are many ATM machines around if you want to pull out cash through your credit card, debit card, etc. But make sure you talk to your bank or credit card company to make sure you can do that.

Also, it is a good idea to let your credit card company know that you will be traveling to Taiwan and for which days. Otherwise, they may automatically deny charges for your protection.