Guide To Living in Taiwan (2022)

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When you live in a foreign country, it can be hard to get the hang of things. This is especially true when moving to Taiwan from another country.

While you can’t fully understand everything about a country before moving there, you can get a good grasp on what you’ll encounter.

Summary:

When preparing for living in Taiwan, you will first need to figure out how you will obtain a visa and earn money. From there, you will need to build your budget and social circle while searching for housing.

As you read through this guide, I’ll cover what everyone needs to know about living in Taiwan. Like what kind of lifestyle changes you’ll have to make and how much money you’ll need for rent and groceries each month.

Taiwan Entry Restrictions

As of September 8th, 2021, the government prohibits non-resident entry to Taiwan unless you have an ARC or are a migrant worker from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

If you’re an overseas student interested in studying in Taiwan and are pursuing the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, you may have a chance to enter Taiwan.

Quick Facts About Taiwan

Population23,572,052
CapitalTaipei City
Time zoneUTC+8
CurrencyNew Taiwan Dollar (NTD$)
GDP$668.50 billion
Life expectancy80.95 years
ClimateTropical
Natural disastersTyphoons and earthquakes
Area12,456 square miles or 32,260 sq km: this includes Taiwan’s outlying islands
This table presents basic information about Taiwan.

Challenges of Living in Taiwan

Taiwan is a developed country. However, that doesn’t mean there are still challenges you’ll have to endure.

For an in-depth guide on the pros and cons of living in Taiwan, I recommend reading a post I wrote. It’ll help you decide whether living in Taiwan is worth the effort.

Spoilers: it is.

Anyway, if you’re used to living in a country like the United States, you’ll encounter the following difficulties of living in Taiwan:

1. Not the Best Air Quality

I recommend investing in an air purifier.

You’ll want to pay attention to the air quality if you decide to exercise outdoors.

2. Earthquakes

Taiwan has a lot of them. To protect you and your family, you may want to consider searching for newer buildings as a home. Moreover, you’ll want to ensure you earthquake-proof your belongings.

3. Noise Pollution

Can be a bummer, depending on where you live. However, it’s a city.

4. You Have To Wait for the Trash and Recycle Trucks

Unless you rent an apartment that offers trash collection. However, this doesn’t apply to all towns and cities. Each city has different ways of collecting trash.

When waiting for the trash and recycling, you can converse with the locals. Then once the trucks are near, they’ll blast either Beethoven’s Für Elise or Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska’s A Maiden’s Prayer from their speakers.

5. If You Don’t Intend on Learning Mandarin

You could get away living here without knowing Mandarin Chinese. However, learning the local language would be in your best interest.

6. Accessibility for People With Wheelchairs

Due to a lack of sidewalks and ramps in many facilities, you may find it harder to access specific locations and facilities. However, it seems like Taiwan has been making more of its buildings accessible.

7. Difficulty Finding Your Favorite Food

If you love cottage cheese, Hispanic food, or kosher restaurants, for instance, you’ll have a difficult time finding these types of restaurants and foods.

8. Humidity

From July to September, you’ll be more likely to encounter typhoons.

9. Mandatory Conscription

If you’re 18–36, male, and receive Taiwanese citizenship, you must serve four months in the military. Even if you’re a foreigner.

Costs and Expenses When Living in Taiwan

The cost of living in Taiwan by category will differ depending on your situation.

If you live in a city like Taipei, the median apartment price is around $2500–4000 per month for a 40 sqm space plus utilities.

Moreover, in the city, you’ll find food to be more expensive.

Conversely, if you’re in the city, you could potentially pay less for public transportation.

Why?

Because if you’re in the countryside or a city without as many options, you’ll likely need a private vehicle. Moreover, if you’re in the city, everything is more convenient, so you can walk to more locations.

Taiwan Visas

Taiwan has a myriad of visa options available for foreigners. I covered them in a separate visa guide to keep this guide shorter.

The following are applicable visas on how to get a visa in Taiwan:

  • Gold Card: this route has strict options. However, if you can pass them, you can get a visa that’ll last you a while
  • Student Visa: a great path to take with this type of visa is to apply for a scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese
  • Marriage visa: it speaks for itself
  • Visa runs: continually flying in and out of the country to renew visa exemptions
  • Entrepreneur visa: you can either go with a start-up, branch office, or another type of business venture

Taiwan Alien Resident Certificate

An Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) is a Taiwanese resident card. It serves as your local ID in Taiwan.

You can get an ARC through work, marrying a Taiwanese citizen, becoming a student, or other government-approved means.

An ARC is not a tourist pass. It grants you the right to work, study or live in Taiwan for an extended period.

Keep in mind that the right to work doesn’t mean it includes a work permit. You have to apply for a work permit separately.

Also, ensure you carry this card everywhere you go. It’s a law. Also, you never know when cops may ask for your ID or passport for some reason.

To get an ARC card, you must first apply and verify your qualifications with the Bureau of Immigration. The bureau will then send back their decision within two weeks and let you know whether they accept your application or decline it (with an explanation).

If approved, go home with your new residency status.

With an alien residency card, you can do the following:

After attempting to apply for the Taiwan Digital Alien Resident Certificate, I found the process too complex and stressful for the perks you get.

However, it may still be a fun thing to explore.

Anyway, to apply for an ARC card, you must go to your nearest Taiwan Immigration Office.

Not Everyone Recognizes ARC Numbers

Even though you’ll have to pay taxes in Taiwan, and even though you have an ARC number, you won’t receive all benefits a Taiwanese citizen will receive like:

  • Some mobile providers
  • Access to certain bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Discounts that other citizens get
  • Here’s a list of where people’s ARC numbers were rejected

Keep in mind that these services can change their policies at any time. I recommend at least trying to use your Alien Resident Certificate number where you want to.

If you are refused, then search for an alternative.

Taiwan Alien Permanent Resident Certificate

The Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) grants foreign nationals long-term residence in Taiwan without renewal or approval if they violate any immigration laws.

If you have this card, you are required to maintain your presence at all times within Taiwan.

Failure to follow the government’s requirements may result in deportation.

With an APRC card in Taiwan, you can do the following:

  • Open work permit
  • Join the government pension plan
  • Ability to declare yourself unemployed and receive related welfare benefits

What Is the Best City in Taiwan To Live In?

Taiwan cities with the highest proportion of foreigners are Taoyuan City—5.5% of the population is foreigners—and Hsinchu City (6%).

Many other foreigners will choose to live in Taipei due to its ease of access to everything. However, Taipei’s expensive and not ideal if you want to save money for any reason. You can move to any district in New Taipei and still have easy access to anywhere in Taipei.

When living outside of Taipei, you won’t have as much English support. But that’s fine if you learn the language or have a Mandarin-speaking spouse.

When considering places to live, you’ll want to think of the living environment.

Taiwan’s East Coast, which has cities like Hualien and Yilan, will face larger earthquakes.

In southern cities like Tainan, you’ll experience more air pollution.

Hsinchu and Taoyuan areas are above several fault planes.

Taipei’s Yangmingshan is a volcano.

But—no matter what city you move to, you’ll have almost no issues with crime. Taipei, for instance, is the world’s third-safest city.

How To Find an Apartment While Living in Taiwan

Living in Taiwan agora garden apartment, Taipei, Taiwan
Agoda Tower apartment in Taipei City.

Finding an apartment in Taipei can be extremely daunting.

Landlords are notorious for being difficult to reach or sometimes flat-out refusing tenants who aren’t Taiwanese citizens.

But there’s no need to fret.

There are plenty of ways around this obstacle if you’re willing to put some work into it, and I have the lowdown on what they entail below.

Keep in mind that the cheapest options for renting a place are generally not available to expats in Taiwan. So if you’re on a student visa, it’s likely your only viable choice is living with other students or English teachers.

Each city in Taiwan has districts of varying levels of expensiveness and livability. So, consider what matters most to you before looking at any place.

You can find cheaper apartments without much difficulty if all you care about is location, but if safety, transportation cost (since many areas have limited access by public transit), noise level, and amenities are important factors for you, prepare to pay higher than average prices.

Landlords typically require potential tenants to visit their properties themselves—which means you’ll have to go through the trouble of booking your plane tickets and taking time off from work to see an apartment.

Most landlords in Taiwan speak limited English or only Mandarin, so make sure you brush up on your Mandarin skills before leaving for Taipei.

Apartment Sizes

It’s not uncommon for apartments to be small in Taiwan.

If you’ve ever walked through a Japanese home, living here is the same sort of deal, except without all of those inconvenient and complex rules.

For example, what order your shoes have to go on which shelf or something like that.

The only thing with this apartment situation is that it can sometimes make cooking difficult because there are limited kitchen cupboard spaces.

Still, if you’re careful, everything will work out just fine.

What to Consider for Housing in Taiwan

When looking at apartments, always check if they are furnished—you may want things like a kitchen table.

Also, ensure to inquire what utilities are included in addition to monthly rent. Some areas use electricity inefficiently, and costs can quickly add up when living without air conditioning all summer long.

Be sure that any place you’re considering renting has 24-hour hot water.

It is also essential to consider if the area you’re moving into has a sound transportation system and how close it will be to your workplace(s) or other places of interest for leisure.

As mentioned earlier, in Taiwan’s cities, you have to catch a trash truck on certain days of the week if you want to take out your trash.

Consider looking for an apartment with trash collecting services.

How Do You Find These Apartments?

If you don’t know Mandarin Chinese, you’ll have a harder time finding an apartment in Taiwan, so I recommend hiring a real estate agent.

You may not want to empty your bank account by outsourcing your apartment search, though. So, instead, you can use one of the following websites to help you find an apartment in Taiwan:

WebsiteWebsite description
591 RentalsThe website doesn’t have an English version, so unless you know how to read Chinese, you will need to translate each page or have a friend help you browse
TealitApartment listings, English teaching jobs, and Mandarin Chinese tutors—all in English
Facebook groupsRooms For Rent – Taipei, Looking for, Roommates or Apartments in Taipei and Taiwan, and Rental Apartments in Taiwan
My Room AbroadShort-term shared and studio listings (in English)
HousefunAnother all-Chinese apartment rental website
RentalTWA website where everything’s listed in English, but it appears you won’t find budget apartments there
CraigslistTaiwan does have Craigslist; however, be careful when meeting with buyers
WebsiteWebsite description
This table displays a list of websites to help you find an apartment in Taiwan

Public Transportation Options in Taiwan

If you’re living somewhere like Taipei, you’re better off taking public transportation.

It’s affordable and convenient.

Taipei’s Metro, for example, the most you’ll pay for a one-way ticket is NTD$65 ($2.26), and that’s if you travel across all of Taipei and New Taipei.

Anyway, Taiwan has plenty of public and private transportation options like:

  • Buses: inter-city and city buses
  • Mass rapid transit (MRT) and light rail transit (LRT)
  • Bicycle rentals: you’ll find YouBike rentals everywhere
  • Walking: many cities in Taiwan are walkable
  • Personal vehicles: motorbikes, cars, and trucks
  • Ferries: to transport among outlying islands
  • Trains
    • Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA): Taiwan’s slower trains
    • Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR): Taiwan’s high-speed trains
  • Rideshare and taxis: Taiwan has Uber, but they’re considered ‘taxis’ by law

If you decide that you want a car, you won’t find vehicles here that are cheaper than in the US. You’ll also need to consider costs like parking, insurance, etc along with the inconvenience factor.

Taiwan has many narrow roads, which make it difficult to navigate. Especially when you have motorbikes slipping past you at every opportunity.

Conversely, if you live in the countryside or a city that doesn’t have much public transportation, you’ll want to consider buying a vehicle.

If you love working on cars yourself, Taiwan does have scrap yards where you can salvage automotive parts. But you’ll need to look around and ask the locals.

These will be significantly harder to find if you’re in the city, so you’ll have to look to the outskirts or countryside.

I dive more into getting around Taiwan in this transportation guide.

Education

I sincerely apologize to any parents reading this guide seeking information on how to put their kids in Taiwan schools.

I don’t have any experience in this field, so I don’t want to risk misleading anyone.

I recommend asking folks on Forumosa (Taiwan expat forum) or Taiwan’s subreddit for more information.

In the field of educating your children, you can always speak to your local Taiwan Representative Office for more information.

Shopping While Living in Taiwan

Western countries like the US have hypermarkets everywhere—Walmart, Target, Kroger, and whatever else you can think of.

But does Taiwan offer one-stop shopping solutions?

Kind of.

Regarding hypermarkets, which are one-stop shopping destinations, Taiwan has France-based Carrefour along with Taiwan-based RT-Mart and A-Mart.

You’ll also find Costco, but these are a bit harder to get to; they’re usually located in the city outskirts, which means you’ll need a taxi to take home your bulk goods.

However, if you have a Costco membership from anywhere on Earth, you can also use it in Taiwan Costcos.

If you have a family and want to save money, I recommend signing up for a Costco membership. You’ll save money in the long run by buying in bulk.

Buying Items Online

Taiwan is slowly transitioning into selling more stuff online, which means that you can buy stuff on these websites:

WebsiteDescription
CostcoSaves money on cab fare and order stuff to your home. They also have English on their website.
MomoChinese-only website that sells products you’ll usually see in malls; like purses.
iHerbThe best way to buy supplements. At the moment, iHerb is dealing with customs, so their shipping is ridiculously high. Hopefully, it’ll return to providing decent shipping prices soon.
Shopee.twA Chinese-only shopping site that sells most things you’ll need.
RutenAn auction site.
Carrefour OnlineChinese only and allows you to order what you need.
PCHomeA site with few English products that operates similarly to Amazon
YahooYou can either buy stuff sold by or through Yahoo or use their bidding and auction functionality
This table shows every popular website you can use to buy stuff online in Taiwan.

You can only use Taiwanese bank cards or alternative payment services like LINE Pay or Apple Pay to buy stuff from websites in Taiwan. Depending on what site you use, you can ship stuff to convenience stores like 7-Eleven and choose the cash on delivery (COD) option.

Keep these tips in mind when shopping online in Taiwan:

  • Review ratings
  • Use the Google Translate Extension
  • You’ll need a Taiwan phone number
  • You will have to enter your ARC number
  • Many companies have no return policies

If you want to buy and sell second-hand stuff, you can do so through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist (sometimes), Instagram, and Facebook Groups.

Sometimes you’ll find second-hand stuff on shopee.

Grocery Shopping

You’ll find ways to buy groceries everywhere. If you want the biggest bargains, buy your meats and vegetables from traditional (wet) markets. You’ll find these everywhere.

Sometimes at traditional markets, you’ll find bulk grains and legumes. But you’ll also find random shops that’ll give you much better deals for these. So look around where you live for the best deals.

If you don’t want to shop at hypermarkets, Taiwan has plenty of supermarkets like:

  • PX Mart: one of Taiwan’s most popular supermarkets
  • Wellcome and Jasons: Carrefour owns both of these stores
  • Citysuper: you will mostly find these in shopping center basements
  • Simple Mart: you’ll find these in alleys

Most of these stores have memberships, which allow you to accumulate points that you can redeem for discounts.

You can also use cash, integrated circuit cards, LINE Pay, Apple and Google Pay, Taiwan Pay, and whatever else payment methods stores offer.

Taiwan Receipt Lottery

Businesses are required to provide receipts that have a couple letters followed by a set of eight numbers. And you’ll find one of two variations: the traditional receipt, which is longer and doesn’t have QR codes; and the modern ones, which doesn’t show your purchases but include two QR codes.

traditional and modern taiwan receipt
Traditional receipt (left) and modern receipt (right)

Every odd-numbered month around the 25th day the government will draw several numbers for a lottery, the Special Prize, Grand Prize, First Prize, and Sixth Prize.

If you match every digit for the Special Prize number, you’ll win NTD$10 million ($348500); whereas, consequent prizes include:

Prize TypeWinning AmountQualification
Grand PrizeNTD$2 million ($69700)Match all digits of the Grand Prize.
First PrizeNTD$200000 ($6900)Match all eight digits of First Prize.
Regular PrizeNTD$40000 ($1300)Match the last seven digits of First Prize.
Second PrizeNTD$10000 ($350)Match the last six digits of the First Prize.
Third PrizeNTD$4000 ($140)Match the last five digits of the First Prize.
Fourth PrizeNTD$1000 ($34)Match the last four digits of First Prize.
Fifth PrizeNTD$200 ($7)Match the last three digits of First Prize.
Sixth PrizeNTD$200Match any of three digits of additionally drawn.
This table shows the prizes, prize amounts, and qualifications for the Taiwan Uniform Invoice lottery.

You can either save your receipts or manually check them once the lottery drawing comes around. Or, you can download a receipt lottery mobile app that’ll do the work for you.

I use 發票存摺 (iOS / Android). Though it’s only in Chinese, it’s the best app I’ve found. You can scan traditional and modern receipts without any issues. I also love it because it allows me to manage all of my store memberships and check my EasyCard balance.

invoice app taiwan
Receipt lottery app

In any store that provides modern receipts, you can have the cashier scan a barcode that your app provides and it’ll automatically save your receipt. You can also generate barcodes for your various rewards programs and have cashiers scan those as well.

Having this is nice because you won’t have to carry around a bunch of thermal paper. You also don’t have to risk losing your receipts before the lottery.

Keep in mind that some shops can’t scan your digital receipt barcode. So if you show a clerk your receipt and they say something like “No,” then just accept the traditional receipt.

You can also connect it to your bank account. This means that if you won any of the prizes, the app would automatically transfer your winnings into your account.

Health Care When Living in Taiwan

As you likely know, Taiwan has an exceptional and affordable healthcare system.

You’ll find specialized clinics everywhere in Taiwan and they’ll almost always accept Taiwan’s national health insurance NHI.

How Much Are Premiums?

If you have an ARC, you must register for Taiwan’s national health insurance program within six months. Otherwise, you’ll face fines.

If you’re in Taiwan and not under an employer, you’ll need to pay NTD$869 ($30) per month. Otherwise, employers will pay for 70% of your insurance premium.

How To Pay for Taiwan Health Insurance

You’ll receive your insurance bill monthly and you can take it to any convenience store to pay it. Or, you can pay it directly from your bank account.

Instead of waiting for the mail, you can download the smartphone app and instantly find your health insurance bill there. You can then take the barcode that the app provides and pay for your bill at any convenience store.

However, verifying my identity to sign into this app was a nightmare that I wanted to end.

taiwan health insurance app login
The app is only in Chinese. These are the verification methods.

If you have a 4G (yes, it has to be 4G) cell plan, then you won’t have to worry much because you’ll just receive a text message.

If you’re cheap like me and went the other route, receiving a code VIA their website, it seems impossible to do it on a Mac. Because you need a card reader, and from my experience, card reading software didn’t work.

Anyway, to finally log into the website, I had to get my hands on a Windows laptop and download Internet Explorer (not Edge). Because it wouldn’t work on any other browser.

Copayments and Medications

Most copayments for an appointment are NTD$150 ($5). If you just need a blood test that your doctor orders, you’ll pay less. Your health insurance will also cover a lot of medications.

When visiting small clinics, you’ll always have to go to a different building to pick up your prescriptions. However, your doctor will tell you where to go.

What Is a Typical Appointment Like?

When visiting clinics or hospitals in Taiwan, you’ll find that it’s efficient:

  1. Schedule your appointment ahead of time: online or walk-in
  2. See the receptionist: fill out your personal information
  3. Grab a number: once your number appears on the LED monitor or screen, it’ll be your turn to see the doctor
  4. Talk to the doctor: you talk about your symptoms and they’ll inspect you
  5. Pick up any prescriptions: you’ll go to the pharmacy the doctor says and pick up your medication

English-speaking doctors are hit-or-miss. Sometimes small clinics in random places will have doctors who are fluent in English. While hospitals in Taipei may have doctors who don’t know any English.

I recommend bringing a friend or translator to prevent miscommunication regarding symptoms.

Brief History of Taiwan

Taiwan has had a long and complicated history.

For those of you who are not aware, The Republic of China (ROC), which is what most call Taiwan, is a self-governing small island country located in East Asia.

Formosa, its former name, was once an official province of Japan in 1895 during the Empire of Japan’s reign and after being under the Qing empire’s rule for centuries beforehand.

In 1945, it was handed to the National Government of the Republic of China as part of World War II reparations.

From there, the second phase of the Chinese Civil War ravaged the existing Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China.

Infighting between the Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) eventually caused the CCP to gain an upper hand due to the ROC suffering from Japan’s invasion of China during the Second World War.

After the Chinese Civil War, the Republic of China (Taiwan) separated from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.

At this time, Chiang Kai-shek retreated his Kuomintang (KMT) forces from the communist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and to the island of Taiwan.

From thereon, the country found itself under martial law.

In 1991 Taiwanese president Lee Teng Hui’s administration initiated democratic reforms that provided free speech and assembly space. He also lifted martial law and allowed more Taiwanese citizens to participate in the government.

You can learn more about Taiwan’s culture and history through the country’s streaming service, Taiwan+.

Taiwanese Culture

Lehua Night Market, Yonghe District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Lehua Night Market in Taipei city

Taiwan’s culture is closely related to China and Japan; however, the Taiwanese have adopted a culture-specific to them over the years.

Most people living in Taiwan have ancient Chinese heritage, but many Taiwanese are descendants of Japanese or aboriginal ancestry.

The food you can find here is primarily influenced by other countries as well. For example, bubble tea was initially made up of a mixture of black tapioca balls with barley mixed in the drink served cold after being shaken (in Taiwan, they’re called “pearls”).

Nowadays, it has become more popular worldwide and has been modified into what everyone knows today: large-sized pearls that pop inside your mouth while drinking your favorite flavor of milk tea.

Other traditional Taiwanese cuisine includes beef noodle soup, oyster omelet, and braised pork rice.

Taiwan is also home to many Japanese restaurants that often serve ramen or curry dishes, with some popular types of sushi being salmon roe and ika (squid).

Taiwan’s aboriginal people are a minority group in their own country, but they have greatly influenced Taiwanese food culture; for example, one dish called “Thousand Layer Cake” has roots in an Aboriginal tribe.

Today you can find it at various bakeries across Taiwan.

As you can tell, food is fundamental in Taiwan. However, it’s not the only part of their culture.

While exploring the country, you will find that they have different religious beliefs, superstitions, holidays, and other factors too much to fit into this guide.

Demographic Profile

Taiwan’s population is a mixture of various ethnic groups, with Han Chinese and aboriginal people comprising the majority (approximately 95% of Taiwan’s total population).

Han Chinese people from China primarily dominate the Taiwanese society, but they have been influenced heavily by Western culture.

Taiwan’s Indigenous Residents

Aboriginal peoples are those who inhabited the country before westerners had reached it. They make up less than six percent of Taiwan’s total inhabitants.

However, their traditional culture remains influential within Taiwanese society today.

The indigenous residents speak Austronesian languages and come from many tribes, including plains indigenous peoples like the Amis tribe or mountain natives such as Atayal or Paiwan tribe.

Most locals live in remote villages on fertile lowland land that has been carefully cultivated for centuries by generations past.

These ancient ties to tilling these lands have led modern-day Amis to be among the most vocal in demanding a halt to the construction of hydroelectric dams, which would flood their villages and ancestral lands.

There are also aboriginal tribes like Ami or Atayal living here for centuries before the arrival of settlers.

These groups maintain more traditional practices than those on Taiwan’s densely populated western coastal plains, where much of today’s industry occurs.

With such cultural diversity within this small island country, it should come as no surprise that there are four major languages: Hokkien (Min Nan), Hakka, Mandarin, and Aboriginal languages.

Taiwan’s Currency

ntd$1000
NTD$1000 ($34)

The currency unit here is New Taiwan Dollar (NTD), which equals 30 Japanese Yen, about USD 0.03 or EUR 0.02 per NTD$.

There are coins for NTD$100/NTD$500/$1000 per bill size and paper notes for NTD$200/$2000 bills.

On the front of every note, it says “The Central Bank of China,” while on the backside, it will have pictures depicting different aspects that make up Taiwan, such as traditional housing structures or famous tourist attractions.

Climate in Taiwan

The climate here in Taiwan isn’t too crazy.

Of course, it’s a tropical country, so some cooler ones follow hot days, but it’s easy to get used to this because you can find air conditioners just about anywhere.

Expat Tips for Living in Taiwan

You’ll find that living in Taipei has its pros and cons like any other big city out there.

Living in Taiwan will present many opportunities available to you if you are willing to put in the effort.

Learn the Language

As you might expect of a country that uses mostly Mandarin Chinese, many people in Taiwan don’t speak English.

There are some places where this isn’t an issue—businesses catering to foreigners and locals with degrees overseas—but using Google Translate is often necessary when interacting with anything other than these exceptions.

If you plan to stay here for any time or want to make Taiwanese friends, it’ll be essential to learn basic Mandarin.

Luckily there are plenty of free resources online available for learning how to read and speak the language.

Even if your schedule doesn’t allow much more than listening and watching videos while commuting, you should still be able to pick up some words and phrases.

Make Friends While Living in Taiwan

If you’re not interested in learning the language, there are still many ways to make friends with Taiwanese people.

Partaking in a hobby is always an excellent way to meet others who love it too.

For example, if you enjoy cycling, consider joining an online or offline bike club. This will introduce you to cyclists and other like-minded locals looking for someone new to do things with.

There are also often expats living in Taiwan on visiting work visas available through one of many teaching programs, which can be very helpful when trying to find social opportunities outside your immediate circle of friends (if any).

Taiwanese people are generally friendly and open to talking with waiguoren (外國人), foreigners in Mandarin Chinese.

Resources for Moving to Taiwan

To better prepare you for living in Taiwan, you’ll want to explore this list of tools and resources that may make your life easier.

1. Relocation services: to move your belongings, a couple of relocation services you can use in Taiwan are Santa Fe and People First.

2. Virtual Private Network (VPN): I recommend Surfshark VPN or creating a free VPN. Virtual private network software will help you access overseas content that may block Taiwanese IP addresses. Keep in mind that Taiwan doesn’t censor any internet content.

3. Get two bank accounts: if you’re a US citizen, I recommend having a Charles Schwab account. They reimburse ATM fees and make it easy to manage travel notifications. If you’re looking for more bank accounts for travelers, explore my guide.

4. Sign up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: otherwise known as STEP, will give the US government a way to contact you about civil unrest or natural disasters. The program also helps you stay in touch with your family during an emergency. You will need to give them personal information like your passport number; however, this website is safe.

5. American Institute of Taiwan (AIT): they’ll provide you with citizenship and passport services, but you’ll need to schedule an appointment at least weeks ahead of time.

In my Taiwan travel guide, I also list less-important resources that’ll help you during your time in Taiwan.

These tools include popular forums for expatriates in Taiwan, critical mobile apps, and other valuable tools.

List of Essential Phone Numbers in Taiwan

Phone NumberService
119Ambulance and fire
110Police
0800-024-111—press (2) for EnglishInternational Community Service Hotline (24 hours and toll-free)
165Anti-fraud
113Children and women protection hotline
133Domestic violence hotline
1925Suicide hotline
This table shows a list of important phone numbers in Taiwan.

FAQ: Living in Taiwan

Read through these common questions about living in Taiwan and hopefully, you’ll find what you need.

How To Call Taiwan From The USA?

To make a call to Taiwan from the USA, you will want to first dial the country’s access code, +886. Afterward, dial your desired phone number.

You can also consider calling people in Taiwan by using messenger apps like LINE.

Does Taiwan Have Amazon?

You can access Amazon.com in Taiwan and order stuff from the eCommerce giant. You can also receive free shipping on orders over $60.

Amazon doesn’t have warehouses in Taiwan. This means that it will take weeks to receive packages and that you can’t benefit from Amazon Prime.

Should I Live in Taiwan?

Either if you’re living in Taiwan for work purposes or just want to get out of your home country, you won’t have too difficult of a time moving to the island nation.

You’ll need to find a suitable visa for yourself and adjust to Taiwan’s culture. Otherwise, you’re bound to enjoy your new life in this unique country.

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