Is Taiwan A Good Place To Live As An Expat part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Everybody knows that Taiwan is a beautiful island. Many foreigners live here and enjoy life in this country. However, there are some things you should know before moving to Taiwan: the difficulties and problems that expats face while living in Taiwan.
Taiwan isn’t one of the cheapest destinations, but it’s not as expensive as Australia or the US. The Taiwanese currency is quite popular all over Asia, and you can easily exchange money in different countries. Nevertheless, Taipei is one of the most expensive cities to live in. Modest housing will cost around $1.000 or more per month; a meal at a restaurant will cost around $5.
If you still think that Taiwan is cheap, let me tell you one more thing: the Taiwanese are not used to tipping taxi drivers or waiters, so don’t expect a 20% tip for your services. Taiwan offers several visa options for foreigners who want to stay in the country longer than 30 days, but they are quite challenging to get.
You will either need a job or a valid visa from another country to apply for a resident permit in Taiwan. You can pack your bags and move to Taipei, but learn some Mandarin before you do it. Most Taiwanese people don’t speak English at all. In addition, not all landlords agree to rent their apartments to foreigners. And Taiwan is a multi-cultural country, so you can meet people from all over the world.
But, don’t expect to see too many expats if the employer doesn’t find it necessary to hire an English teacher or a customer service representative that speaks Chinese. Now, people wonder if this country is safe for expat to live in. Well, that’s why we’ve compiled this article. Read further to understand better!
Ultimate Guide to Living In Taiwan as an Expat
1. Learn Some Chinese First
Taiwan may be small, yet it’s one the most populous countries globally. To survive here, you will need to know at least some Mandarin or Taiwanese (the local dialect). The good thing is that Taiwanese people are usually friendly and patient with foreigners who try to speak their language.
Even if your Chinese language skills are abysmal, you can always answer with ‘DUI bu qi.’ This is Taiwanese for ‘I don’t understand, and it will baffle the Taiwanese person trying to help you. You can also use this trick in China or Singapore as well.
2. Watch Out For Scammers
Taiwan offers a variety of scams, and you need to know about them in order to protect yourself. There are good people here, but there are also bad ones who want your money or ID card. To avoid being scammed, try not to give out your passport when renting a place.
Also, if somebody offers you a ‘gift,’ then it’s not free. They will ask you to pay an administrative fee afterward, and it can go up to hundreds of dollars.
3. You Don’t Need a Car
Taiwan has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, which is why owning a car is not necessary here. There are buses, trains and even bicycles for rent. If driving is your thing, then it’s okay to buy a scooter in Taiwan but make sure you have an international driving license with you since Taiwanese law doesn’t acknowledge any other driver’s license apart from this one.
4. Renting or Buying?
Taiwan is known for its high real estate prices. It’s more affordable to rent a place here, but if you are looking for long-term investment, then buying might be good. Keep in mind that the purchase of every real estate property has to go through an agent who will charge you fees.
5. Bring Extra Cash with You
Taiwan is famous for its night markets, and there are plenty of them in the country. The food in these places is cheap, yet you might have trouble paying with a credit card since most vendors don’t accept it. It’s wise to come with extra cash on you because you will want to eat your way through Taiwan and pay for souvenirs as well.
6. Do Some Online Research on Taiwanese Culture
Taiwan has a very interesting culture, and it’s something that you should learn before coming here. Even if you do come from a country with its own unique culture, there will be things that are different in Taiwan.
Every place has its own set of rules and norms, and this is especially true when living in Asia. To get acquainted with Taiwanese life, read articles or watch videos about what to expect from life here. You can also talk to other expats already living in Taiwan for advice.
7. Avoid Using Taxis All the Time
Taiwan has a great public transport system consisting of trains and buses covering the entire country. It’s very affordable, and you can easily get from one end of Taiwan to the other using this method. Only use taxis if you are in a rush or feel unsafe when taking public transport. You can also take a taxi if it’s cheaper than the train but make sure to confirm the price with them beforehand.
8. Pack Light
Taiwan is only around 36,000 square kilometers, but it has a lot of mountains which can make traveling difficult. If you want to go hiking or camping, you should pack light. By using public transport, not bringing unnecessary items, and keeping your bag small or compact will help you move around the country with ease.
Why Consider Taiwan A Good Place To Live?
In many ways, Taiwan is a good place to live as an expat. The cost of living is low, and the country has a lot going for it. There are some significant reasons why Taiwan isn’t necessarily a paradise for expats, however. Here’s a look at both sides of the coin.
The first reason why Taiwan is a good place to live as an expat is that it’s easy for foreigners to get by without speaking Mandarin Chinese, the language that most Taiwanese people speak. This may not be the case in countries that are even more welcoming of expats than Taiwan.
However, it can certainly make life easier. There are English-speaking Taiwanese and plenty of foreigners who speak Mandarin, so even meeting people can be easy if you don’t make an effort to learn the language yourself between your 9 to 5.
The cost of living is another reason Taiwan is a good place to live as an expat. While it’s not free by any stretch of the imagination, it’s much cheaper to live in Taiwan than in other Asian countries like Japan or South Korea. Just because something costs less here doesn’t necessarily mean that quality of life is lower. You can be living simply without having to go without access to good healthcare and fresh food.
This high standard of living contributes to Taiwanese people being happier overall than in other parts of Asia. It’s a good place to live as an expat if you want to have access to the kinds of things that people in Western countries take for granted.
Of course, there are many reasons that Taiwan is not necessarily a paradise for expats either. The biggest issue with living in Taiwan is the weather. It’s subtropical here, so it gets really hot and humid during the summer.
In fact, many Taiwanese people leave the country during this time to escape the heat at their own expense. And this is because; they know that they’ll be forced to pay a premium for air conditioning in their homes and cars once they return from holidaying elsewhere.
The rainy season can be nice because it’s more comfortable, but Taiwan is prone to typhoons, and the island isn’t particularly well-equipped for dealing with them. If you’re someone who has a low tolerance for discomfort, then this may not be the place for you.
Another concern that many people have about living in Taiwan is that they don’t speak Mandarin Chinese. Even though it’s possible to get by without speaking the language, you might miss out on some opportunities as a result, along with making yourself seem unprofessional in front of your Taiwanese colleagues and superiors.
Ultimately, Taiwan is not necessarily a paradise or hell for expats. It all comes down to what you’re looking for. If you want to live somewhere with a low cost of living and where it’s easy for foreigners to get by without speaking the native language, then Taiwan may be good for you.
If you want good weather, to be comfortable, and don’t mind making an effort to adjust, then Taiwan might still be a nice place for you. However, if you’re not willing to put in the time or effort, then it’s probably best that you go somewhere else. The language barrier can be difficult enough for some people without throwing the weather and comfort into the mix.