Guide To Becoming a Taipei Digital Nomad

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Many expats consider Taiwan the best place to live.

If you’re considering digital nomading in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, you’ll need to know all you can about this country.

Keep reading, and you’ll learn how to become an expat or digital nomad in Taipei. This guide will cover basic information that you need to know about living in Taipei and where to find the best digital nomad spots.

Does Taiwan Offer a Digital Nomad Visa?

Taiwan doesn’t offer a digital nomad visa.

However, they do offer the Gold Card. This 4-1 visa will give you an open permit, access to a community of other gold card holders, taxed only on 50% of income above $109000, and you can stay in Taiwan for three years.

However, to get this card, you’ll have to meet strict requirements in the following fields:

  1. Finance
  2. Education
  3. Arts & Culture
  4. Economy
  5. Law
  6. Science and Technology
  7. National Defense
  8. Sports

What Visa Options Do I Have?

Other than the gold card, you could get an entrepreneur visa, marriage visa, or a 90-day visa exemption—depending on where you’re from. Unless you plan on getting married, your best bet for staying in Taiwan long-term is to enter on an entrepreneur visa.

Here’s a guide that gives you a good breakdown of obtaining this type of visa.

March 2022 immigration update: you still can’t enter Taiwan unless you’re a migrant worker from certain countries or already have an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC).

Essential Information About Living in Taipei

Before digital nomading (DNing) in Taipei, you’ll want to understand what you’re getting yourself into. That way, you can better prepare yourself and know whether this is the path you want to take.

Important Resources in Taipei

Phone numbers in Taipei that you should keep in mind:

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
106Directory assistance (English)
0800-011-765Taiwan Tourism Information Hotline (English)
Phone NumberService
This table shows a list of important phone numbers in Taipei.

Items that you’ll want to purchase in Taipei or software to download:

  • Integrated circuit (IC) card: EasyCard (recommended), iPass, or EasyCash
  • Taiwan receipt lottery mobile app: Colibri is decent
  • Go! Taipei Metro: information on every Taipei MRT station
  • Offline maps of Taiwan: will mitigate getting lost in the event of having poor data
  • Reusable water bottle: it’ll save you money
  • Translation mobile app

I have many other resources and guides on living or traveling to Taiwan in general. You should take a look at them while planning your stay.

Spoken Languages

Taiwanese and indigenous people speak Mandarin, English, Hakka, Taiwanese, and aboriginal languages throughout Taiwan. However, for the most part, people will speak Mandarin and English in Taipei.

However, if you travel more south, you’ll find more people who speak Taiwanese.

Don’t worry, though. If you’re in Taipei, it’s easy to navigate without knowing Mandarin Chinese. The city offers signage in various languages throughout most public transportation, at government offices, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

But if you go to a night market, you’ll encounter mixed results. Many vendors speak English and have English menus, while some don’t.

Taiwan’s Health Insurance and Healthcare

If you want to get health insurance in Taiwan, you’ll need an Alien Residency Card; otherwise, you must pay full price when receiving medical care. Fortunately, healthcare for the uninsured in Taiwan isn’t too expensive—depending on where you go.

For instance, a foreigner had to visit the ER for surgery, and he only paid $80. However, as I said, it depends on where you go. Most hospitals in Taipei will have English support, but you may want to bring a translator just in case.

When visiting a medical facility in Taiwan—whether hospital or clinic—you’ll enter, talk to the receptionist, grab a ticket with a number, and wait until the screen shows your number. Afterward, a doctor will call you into a room where you’ll talk about your symptoms, and they’ll determine the course of action.

Costs of Living in Taipei: Brief Breakdown

On average, you’ll pay between NT$12000–30000 for a one-bedroom apartment in Taipei. Also, expect to pay the following expenses in Taiwan’s capital city:

  • Electricity: NT$2.8–5 per kWh
  • MRT: NT$20–60 for a one-way ticket
  • Street food: NT$15–250 per dish
  • Meal at McDonald’s: NT$135
  • SIM card: NT$499–920 per month

Many apartments don’t charge separately for internet, gas, and water.

I dive into a further breakdown in the costs of living in Taiwan in my guide to residing in the island nation.

How To Get Around Taipei: Your Options

Taipei’s the most convenient city in Taiwan to get around. You’ll find the following affordable public transportation options available in Taipei:

  • Uber/taxi
  • Bus: double-decker busses, public busses, tour busses, and eventually self-driving busses
  • Bike rentals: there are over 199 YouBike bike rental stations throughout Taipei where you pay for every half-hour ridden
  • Metro Rapid Transit (MRT): a subway that has stations throughout Taipei and New Taipei cities
  • Car or motorbike: if you have an international driver’s permit and have the legal status to own a vehicle in Taiwan, you can skip public transportation
  • Walking: Taipei is Taiwan’s most walkable city—it has sidewalks everywhere and is safe

Staying Fit: Don’t Let Yourself Go

Sitting around all day isn’t going to help you stay healthy, so you’ll need to keep fit. Fortunately, Taipei’s an exercise paradise. You can walk around the city, hiking paths, or waterfronts for free options. Or, you could rent a YouBike and cruise along the riverside while taking in the lovely view.

However, if you decide to exercise outside, you’ll need to mind the air quality and temperature. Most of the time, the air quality isn’t excellent in Taipei. Moreover, it’s humid most of the time. Depending on the time of year, Taiwan will experience typhoons, heavy rains, and thunderstorms.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to a gym membership. You can register for some known fitness centers such as WorldGym, CrossFit, and Taipei sports and fitness center.

Where Will I Eat in Taipei? Your Best Options

Taipei has street food, convenience stores, restaurants, vending machines, and hypermarkets everywhere. However, you’ll mostly find Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Thai restaurants in Taipei.

You’ll also often find Vietnamese or Indonesian restaurants, depending on where you are.

Hispanic food’s rare.

You’ll find a lot of American fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King. But there’s no Dairy Queen, TacoBell, Carl’s Jr., or Sonics.

If you’re in the mood for desert, there are a lot of bakeries. Moreover, you’ll find American chains like Cold Stone and Baskin Robbins (rare). I recommend buying ice cream from Family Mart, though. It’s hard to find, but it’s fantastic.

Often, you can use Google Translate’s Camera feature and scan the menus to translate the menus. Because a good portion of establishments doesn’t have English menus. Afterward, you can show the staff and point at what you want.

If you’re buying food from a Taiwanese restaurant, you’ll want to pick up a menu and a marker once you enter. Afterward, you put a checkmark by what you want and hand it to the staff. Regarding payment, you’ll usually pay after you eat. However, some restaurants charge you beforehand.

Food for Specific Diets

Finally, food for people with specific diets or allergies. I’ve noticed that Taiwan doesn’t often experience people with food allergies, so they usually don’t accommodate it. 

It’s difficult to find restaurants that comply with the dietary rules in Judaism—for Kosher diets. However, I’ve heard that many convenience stores have Kosher-friendly snacks; otherwise, I recommend consulting with locals who have similar diets.

With Halal, you’ll find that many Indonesian restaurants serve Halal meals.

Vegans and vegetarians—you have a fair number of options. The best recommendation is to use an application like HappyCow to find vegan- and vegetarian-friendly businesses.

What’s Taipei’s Internet Like? You’ll Be Surprised

Taiwan’s average internet speed is 85.02 Mbps (download speed).

This makes Taiwan an ideal hub for digital nomads, gamers, and people who like to binge TV series.

Throughout my time here, I’ve never experienced issues—on my end—with Zoom or Skype calls. Moreover, I haven’t had problems gaming, except with games that don’t have servers in Asia. However, everyone’s experience may differ.

According to Freedom House, as for freedom of the internet in Taiwan, their internet freedom score is 80/100. There aren’t any obstacles to accessing the internet, they don’t have restrictions on websites, and they don’t violate your rights.

To find internet in Taipei, you have plenty of free and paid options that include:

  1. iTaiwan: register for this government-funded service with your passport for free WiFi throughout Taiwan
  2. Taipei Free: you don’t need to register, connect to the waypoint and accept their terms
  3. Convenience stores: I’ll dive more into these WiFi providers later
  4. Department stores: most offer free WiFi without having to register
  5. Cafes: almost every cafe offers free WiFi—you just need to get the password from the staff
  6. Mobile data: you can get 4G SIM cards at a reasonable rate; moreover, Taiwan does have 5G providers
  7. Hotels and hostels

However, if you’re connecting to public WiFi in Taipei, ensure you use a virtual private network (VPN) provider and have two-factor authentication enabled on all of your accounts. Also, if you can, avoid logging into financial services while you’re not at home.

Where Can You Work From in Taipei?

Since Taipei has free internet everywhere, shopping centers and convenience stores at every turn, and plenty of seating, you have thousands of potential workstations. Throughout this list, I’ll cover the most popular establishments where you can work in Taipei.

Coworking Spaces Throughout Taipei

Taiwan has a decent number of coworking spaces. Are they any good? I’ll let you be the judge. Here are the various coworking spaces in Taipei:

1. FutureWard

There are a couple of locations. First is FutureWard central. Its location isn’t ideal unless you’re around the Taipei MRT’s brown line. The other location is around Sun Yat-Sen memorial hall and close to Taipei 101, so it’s more convenient.

FutureWard facilities offer a lot of great amenities like:

  • Showers
  • Free snacks and coffee
  • Whiteboards
  • Kitchen
  • Business registration address
  • 24-hour access

FutureWard prices are a little high compared to other coworking spaces throughout Taipei, but they offer many amenities.

2. The Hive

It’s located around Ximending, an area in Taipei full of shops, food stands, and the Red House. The Red House is home to many gay bars and affordable drinks.

As for the coworking space, they offer a private office, dedicated desk, and hot desk. Moreover, you’ll have access to printers, community events, a cafe, and WiFi.

Regarding price, The Hive is significantly more affordable than FutureWard.

3. Keepworking

They have flexible and affordable plans with an air purifier, business registration, a shower room, and free coffee. Also, the location’s terrific. Keepworking is close to Zhongxiao Xinsheng station on Taipei Metro’s Orange Line, close to the Skytrend technology mall.

Out of all the choices that I’ve covered, Keepworking is my favorite out of the bunch regarding amenities and location.

4. Impact Hub

Their website seems to have a weird mix of English and Chinese rather than having separate translations. However, I was able to pull some information without translation.

They offer typical amenities (including showers), security, and 24-hour access at a reasonable price. Moreover, they offer company registration, which is excellent for you who are pursuing entrepreneur visas.

One of the Hundreds of Cafes

There are plenty of Starbucks in Taipei, along with Taiwan’s Louisa coffee chain. I like Louisa more because they offer more affordable coffee that tastes better. Moreover, Louisa provides a lot of seating in their cafes.

Both chains offer free WiFi, but with Louisa, you’ll need to search for a WiFi password sign. The same goes for when you decide to go to small coffee shops. Speaking of, these are usually more pricey. However, they tend to have more seating available.

Suppose you want to save a little money on your drinks while at cafes in Taiwan, register for their loyalty programs. Louisa has the Black Card, which you can use through LINE or Facebook messenger apps. Starbucks also has its membership program, which you can use in Taiwan, depending on what country you’re from.

Moreover, you can bring a water bottle and have the barista fill it to take a few cents off your order.

Convenience Stores

Most convenience store chains have seating available for customers to unwind and eat their food. However, if you want a workstation, you can always set up a laptop and work on projects while eating convenience store food, which tastes great.

As for WiFi availability, you can either sign up for the convenience store’s WiFi service. For instance, if you’re in 711, you will want to look for “Ibon WiFi.” If you’re at Family Mart, search for “Fami-WiFi.” It’s usually free to register for these WiFi services; however, some may require you to have a convenience store membership (rewards program).

Otherwise, you can use a mobile hotspot with your smartphone’s data or Taipei’s free WiFi.

In Nature

Once again, if you have cellular data, you could set up a mobile hotspot setup with your laptop or tablet, except in the mountains or by the beach. You’ll have no problem connecting to mobile data in the mountains because Taiwan has cell towers everywhere.

The only obstacles you may encounter in this workplace are poisonous snakes, giant hornets, or thieving monkeys. Oh, and the weather.

It’s not an ideal workplace for digital nomads; however, it’s an option.

Taiwan Digital Nomad and Expat Networking

Unless you’re an introvert, you’ll probably want to socialize. In addition to making Taiwanese friends, you can also meet with fellow digital nomads and expatriates throughout the city. Some mediums you can use to find events and new friends include:

  • Meetup.com: helps you find local events
  • Bars: places like the Brass Monkey typically have a lot of foreigners
  • Forumosa: Taiwan’s biggest forum
  • Coworking spaces
  • Business events: you can use Eventbrite to help you find local events
  • Facebook groups

Plenty More To Learn About Living in Taipei

Since democratizing, Taiwan has become somewhat of a paradise for digital nomads and expats. While they don’t specifically cater to digital nomads, you’ll have no problem living here However, if you can make money and find a way to get a visa.

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