Living in Taiwan
Cost of living
As long as you budget sensibly, it is possible to live very comfortably in Taiwan on a teacher’s salary. Rent in Taipei/New Taipei is typically between NT$10,000 and NT$15,000 per month. It can be cheaper outside of these areas. Food, transportation and utilities are all reasonably priced.
The MRT system in Taipei and New Taipei is modern, cheap and extensive. A short journey costs only NT$20.
City buses cost only NT$15 per journey.
Taxis are numerous, and reasonably priced for short journeys.
When traveling around the country, trains and cross country buses are comfortable and cheap.
A more expensive option is the high-speed rail which runs along the west coast of the island.
Taiwan’s cities also have popular bike-sharing systems run by the local governments.
The food is a highlight of many people’s time in Taiwan and Taiwanese themselves take food very seriously. Eating out is common and often economical. The major cities all have a very wide range of food from around the world. The night markets are exciting places to try a wide variety of Taiwanese food.
Many areas of Taiwan have their local delicacies and the fruit grown in the countryside is excellent.
Taipei recently became the 30th city/region in the world to have a Michelin guide. This will undoubtedly bring more attention to the local food scene.
Many teachers are keen to learn Chinese during their stay in Taiwan. Chinese schools, private tutors and language exchanges are all popular ways of doing this. Many people prefer the traditional Chinese characters which are used in Taiwan rather than the simplified ones used in China.
People are amazed at how convenient life in Taiwan can be. Taiwan has the world’s highest concentration of convenience stores. In the cities you will rarely be very far from a 24-hour Seven Eleven or Family Mart. Indeed, central Taipei even has a 24-hour bookstore. Shops and services generally stay open quite late. If you want to get a haircut or see a doctor at 9pm, Taiwan is your place.
Taiwan is generally regarded as a very safe and welcoming place and it has a very low crime rate for such an urbanized society.
Taiwanese people are known for their friendliness. Many foreign residents have a story about being lost in Taiwan and a kind-hearted local going above and beyond to help them find their destination.
Due to the mountainous terrain of much of Taiwan, it is no surprise that hiking is a popular pastime. There are hikes for all levels, most of them affording wonderful views.
Cycling has become an important leisure activity in Taiwan. There are hundreds of kilometers of bike paths along the rivers in the cities. There are even dedicated road signs for cyclists to take on the ultimate challenge, a ride around the entire island.
During the summer months, going to the beach is very popular with our teachers.
There is also a popular expat soccer league with games every Sunday.
The most popular sports among Taiwanese are baseball and basketball.
For the more adventurous, white-water rafting, river tracing and paragliding are all available.
Taiwan has four quite distinct seasons. The winter runs from December to February. This is the best time to visit the hot springs.
The spring is regarded as the plum rain season.
Summers are very hot and humid, and the perfect time to go to the beach. Typhoons are also a feature of this period.
Many people favor the fall when the weather is warm and there is little rain.
Places to Visit
There is a lot of excitement to be had in Taiwan’s cities, but perhaps the real joy is to be had in exploring the rest of the country.
There are a number of fantastic islands surrounding Taiwan which are great for a weekend away. There are Green Island and Orchid Island in the south east, Penghu to the west, and Kinmen and Matsu off the coast of China.
Perhaps the star of Taiwan’s tourist landscape is the spectacular Taroko Gorge which is located along the beautiful east coast.
One of the most popular areas in the mountains is the Alisha’s National Scenic Area. Alishan has great hikes, two-thousand-year-old trees and a view of Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan (3952m).
The most popular beach resort is Kenting. This is in the far south of the island and includes lovely beaches, a national park and a lively nightlife.
Taiwan’s largest body of water is Sun Moon Lake in the center of the island. Cycling and hiking are popular in the area and there is a well-known annual swimming race across the lake.
Travel in Asia
Living in Taiwan provides a good opportunity for travel within Asia. There are a lot of low-cost flight options. Teachers from our schools have traveled throughout Asia over the last few years.