The cost of living in Taiwan varies depending on the area expats choose to live, as well as their lifestyle. Most foreign nationals relocate to Taipei, although rural living and the south of Taiwan are much less expensive. The 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Taipei at 28 out of 227 cities, making it more expensive than Paris and Milan, 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.


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. That said, clean, spacious apartments with three or four bedrooms are easy to find. 

Buildings tend to suffer under the humid climate, and cheaper accommodation is therefore 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.


Cost of transport in Taiwan

Taipei has fantastic public transport that is affordable and reliable. The vast majority of both locals and expats in Taiwan 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 tax, 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 schooling 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 health insurance 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 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.

There are many restaurants tucked away in side alleys that sell local food, which is often a fairly healthy and cheap option. 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, so alcohol is expensive. Spirits are the most affordable, followed by beer and wine.


Cost of living in Taiwan chart 

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

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NT 20,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NT 13,000

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NT 45,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NT 31,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

NT 100

Milk (1 litre)

NT 95.60

Rice (1kg)

NT 93.16

Loaf of white bread

NT 60.44

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NT 270.21

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NT 130

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NT 150

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NT 32.20

Cappuccino

NT 97

Local beer (500ml)

NT 65

Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

NT 1,200

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

NT 5.07

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable average per month)

NT 800

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

NT 2,700

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

NT 25

Bus/train fare in the city centre

NT 25

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

NT 31.14

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