Expats moving to Taipei can look forward to a global city that presents a seamless blend of history and modernity. The pace is frenetic and change is constant. The metropolis hums with the activity of millions of people living, working and entertaining themselves – all of which happens under the shadow of Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers and the defining image of the Taiwanese capital.
Living in Taipei as an expat
Expats working in Taipei are positioned at the economic centre of Taiwan. The city has exhibited a steady growth which is driven by high-tech industries, manufacturing and an expanding services sector.
Accommodation consists mostly of apartment living, which can be small, old fashioned and come free of all furnishings, including appliances. Fortunately, foreigners working in the city will have access to Taiwan's excellent and heavily subsidised public healthcare system.
Despite its large population being concentrated in a small area, getting around in Taipei is easy. Expats will be able to navigate the city using the MRT subway system and an abundance of yellow cabs. Scooters outnumber cars on the road and provide a convenient, popular and thrilling mode of transport.
Taipei is at the heart of Taiwanese culture, and lifestyle in the city is characterised by its fantastic food. From tasty fare at five-star hotels to xiaochi snacks served at street level, Taipei is a culinary wonderland. Its almost endless choices reflect the history of the city, combining the influences of indigenous tribes as well as Chinese and Japanese cuisine. As the capital, it is also the most Westernised city in Taiwan, making it a little easier for Western expats to find the things they miss from home.
Cost of living in Taipei
The cost of living in the city is generally quite high by Taiwanese standards. Western goods are expensive and accommodation can also be rather pricey. That said, living outside of the city centre can decrease these costs.
While certain things are expensive in Taipei, public transport and local goods and produce are not among them. Eating out at local Taiwanese restaurants is also extremely cheap.
Expat families and children
The standard of education is excellent in Taiwan. There are a number of International schools in the city that tend to be favoured by expats over the local schools. That said, international schools are extremely expensive and expats should take this into consideration when negotiating their salary.
Parents looking to entertain their kids on the weekends will discover a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions in the city. Whether looking for educational fun, such as at a science museum or the Taipei Zoo, or a thrilling day at a water or theme park, it's always possible to find something to do with the kids no matter the weather.
Climate in Taipei
Taipei has a subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. It rains throughout the year, although the summer months are the wettest. Typhoon season generally sets in from July and lasts right through to the end of September. Although temperatures cool down dramatically during the winter months, they tend to stay above 50ºF (10ºC).
Although it is densely urban, Taipei is close enough to the natural beauty of the Taiwanese countryside and beaches, contributing to the attractions of a city that offers expats prosperity and a high quality of life.
►For more about life in the city, see Pros and Cons of Moving to Taipei
"I loved the hospitable people. I loved how easy it was to get around by public transportation. I loved the street food, how cheap it was, and how it was available anywhere, at all times... I loved that nature, hot springs, a dormant volcano, and beaches could easily be enjoyed as day trips from Taipei." Read more of Nick's thoughts on living in Taipei.
"I think that as a foreigner in Taipei, I make a very comfortable living and have a wonderful quality of life. As with anywhere in the world, especially in cities with such a high population density as Taipei, there are frustrations and difficulties, but I find that these are generally outweighed by the positives. I really love the variety and accessibility of food and shopping we enjoy in the city, and the public transport system is the most convenient and efficient I’ve found anywhere. There is always something new and interesting to do, whether you like outdoor stuff in nature, cultural excursions or parties. Taipei has a great mix." Read more about Neil's expat experiences in Taipei.
Are you an expat living in Taipei?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Taipei. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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