Taiwan offers a range of accommodation to suit most expats and renting is a fairly easy process, particularly if you or a friend speak Mandarin! Taiwan offers a range of environments from relaxed rural life to high-paced city living.
Floor space in Taiwan is measured by the ping (phêng), where 1 ping = 3.3m2. Expect to pay around NT$1,000 (US$34) per ping in Taipei, and less in other cities.
Taiwan's capital and largest city is found on the northern tip of the island. As the capital, it naturally attracts a large expat population. With many English schools and multinational companies, jobs for foreigners are reasonably easy to find. Homesick expats can easily find international cuisine and a variety of services catering to foreigners.
People are often worried about air pollution in Taipei. While air quality can at times be poor, Taipei isn’t as badly affected as many other Asian cities.
Taipei’s climate is subtropical. It ranges from very hot, humid summers to short, mild and foggy winters. Taipei is affected by the Pacific monsoon season, which runs from June until October.
You will find rental costs in Taipei much more expensive than other cities in Taiwan. For expats who are happy to flatshare there are many options. Of course the price in Taipei varies depending on the area you choose. For a room in a three-bedroom flat expect to pay around NT$10,000 (US$337) a month.
A loft apartment in a fashionable area can cost upwards of NT$20,000 (US$674) a month. For a three-bedroom apartment in the centre of Taipei, prices range from NT$50,000 to NT$80,000 (US$1,685-2,696). Prices become cheaper the further from the city centre you are.
Taiwan’s second largest city, Kaohsiung, is a large seaport located on the southwestern coast of the island. Its main employment opportunities are found in light and heavy industries, particularly refining, shipbuilding and manufacturing.
Kaohsiung’s climate is classed as tropical, with temperatures averaging 25ºC (77ºF) throughout the year. It is also one of Taiwan’s sunniest regions.
Rental prices in Kaohsiung are significantly lower than in Taipei. An unfurnished, 3 bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost around NT$7,000-10,000 (US$236-337) a month.
Taiwan’s third largest city, Taichung is still popular with expats (especially missionaries), but may offer a more authentic Taiwanese experience than Taipei and Kaohsiung. Taichung is located in west-central Taiwan and as a result is rarely affected by typhoons. The average yearly temperature is 23ºC (73.4ºF) with a high level of humidity, and it is known as the ‘California of Taiwan’.
Rental prices are slightly higher than in Kaohsiung, but less than in Taipei. Expect to pay between NT$800-950 per ping.
This city lies on the east coast of Taiwan facing the Pacific ocean. Due to its location, it doesn’t suffer from air pollution blown over from China as much as cities on the west coast.
Hualien is one of Taiwan’s smaller cities. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside and mountains, so for a slower pace of life and outdoor activities this could be a good choice. The weather is hot and humid, with a typhoon season from May/June to September/October.
As Hualien is a smaller, less popular city, rentals are naturally cheaper than elsewhere in Taiwan. Be aware that jobs can be harder to come by in smaller cities such as this, and you will encounter fewer people who can speak English.