The cost of living in Taiwan varies depending on an expat's lifestyle and the area theey choose to live in. Most foreign nationals relocate to Taipei, although rural living and the south of Taiwan are much less expensive. The 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Taipei at 57th out of 227 cities, making it more expensive than Rome and Oslo, but cheaper than London and Hong Kong.

While Taipei may inspire the highest cost of living in Taiwan, it is still significantly cheaper than regional competitors like Beijing, Seoul, Singapore and Hong Kong. That said, life in Taiwan is based on consumerism and expats living in Taipei, in particular, will have to battle the constant onslaught of trends, merchandise and entertainment if they wish to save money.

One silver lining is the overall tax burden in Taiwan being lower than in many Western countries, potentially offsetting some of these costs. Additionally, the cost of electronics in Taiwan is quite low due to Taiwan's prominent role in electronics manufacturing.


Cost of accommodation in Taiwan

Housing in Taipei is expensive, and most accommodation is small and only has basic amenities. Affordable studio apartments will most likely be lacking a kitchen. Buildings tend to suffer under the humid climate, and cheaper accommodation is often plagued by mould and mildew.

Utilities are affordable, although electricity bills increase significantly during the hot summer months, when it is all but impossible to live without air conditioning. Stoves and geysers are usually gas powered, which helps minimise costs. Initially, the most exorbitant household cost will seem to be the rubbish bags, which are sold at a premium to encourage recycling. Internet access in Taiwan is both affordable and extremely reliable.


Cost of transport in Taiwan

Taipei has fantastic public transport. The vast majority of both locals and expats in the city make use of public transport, as it's possible to get anywhere at any time without a car.

Owning a car is a significant expense as the monthly costs include not only the car repayments but also fuel, insurance, maintenance and extremely expensive parking fees.

Many locals (and some brave foreigners) have small motorcycles which are a cheap and convenient, if somewhat dangerous, way to get around. Those without motorcycles usually have bicycles, which are easy to ride on Taipei’s flat streets.


Cost of food and clothing in Taiwan

The cost of food and clothing in Taiwan varies hugely, and it's up to the individual how much they want to spend, but it's fair to say that the quality of clothing is determined by price. As such, quality clothing tends to be limited to big name brands and is therefore expensive. Many expats prefer buying clothes when they visit their home countries or shopping online.

Night markets have cheap food and clothes, but the clothes are often made from poor-quality, synthetic fabrics. Day markets sell large amounts of affordable fresh vegetables, and fruit is also readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Taiwan does not have much of a drinking culture, and alcohol is expensive. Spirits are the most affordable, followed by beer and wine.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Taiwan

The cost of entertainment and eating out in Taiwan can fluctuate based on preferences. For those who relish local Taiwanese food, the numerous night markets and street food stalls across Taipei offer an abundance of low-cost and delicious options. Traditional Taiwanese meals are not only sumptuous but also very economical, making eating out an affordable pastime.

On the other hand, Western dining and high-end restaurants are more expensive, reflecting prices akin to those in European cities. As for entertainment, there is a variety of options ranging from budget to high-end. Cinemas, karaoke bars, and cultural events such as operas and concerts are all popular, but prices can vary significantly. Outdoor activities, like hiking or visiting the numerous free parks and temples around the city, provide cost-effective entertainment alternatives.


Cost of education in Taiwan

There are world-class English education schools in Taipei, but expats should be prepared to pay high fees. International school fees are typically pricey and additional expenses such as textbooks, uniforms and bus service are not always included.


Cost of healthcare in Taiwan

The healthcare system in Taiwan is extremely advanced and low cost. In Taiwan, employers are legally required to subsidise the health insurance of their employees. Foreign employees will be placed on the National Health Insurance and receive the same benefits as Taiwanese locals. In this system, a small stipend is paid for access to Western doctors, Chinese doctors, hospitalisation, dentistry, prescription medicine and more.


Cost of living in Taiwan chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Taipei in July 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NTD 47,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NTD 35,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NTD 19,100

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NTD 13,500

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

NTD 125

Milk (1 litre)

NTD 95

Rice (1kg)

NTD 100

Loaf of white bread

NTD 64

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NTD 131

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NTD 128

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

NTD 1,200

Big Mac Meal

NTD 149

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NTD 33

Cappuccino

NTD 102

Bottle of beer (local)

NTD 49

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NTD 5.13

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NTD 770

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

NTD 2,300

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

NTD 25

City-centre public transport fare

NTD 25

Gasoline (per litre)

NTD 31

Expat Health Insurance

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