20000 TWD to rent a studio in Taipei is enough?


Hello there,

I am considering relocating to Taiwan at the beginning of June from Bangkok. This place is awesome but visa is a pain, hence this decision.

I was in Taipei for one week already and I have a vague idea of the place, but I am wondering how much is it to rent a studio in Taipei City. Doesn’t need to be big, but comfy and in a good area not in the woods.

I’m asking since after spending some time googling around I found very diverging opinions. Some people say that this budget is enough to get a decent place in the central areas, while some others disagree.

Can someone living there enlighten me on the current situation?


Try some local websites to get a better idea, use Chrome with translation if needed.

Apartments 15~20K



It just depends what you want, what your standards are, etc. That’s why for some 20k is “enough” and for some, it’s not.

Basically the big split in Taipei housing is between modern elevator buildings and older walk-up “gongyu”. Elevator buildings are usually 10+ stories, the walk-up gongyu are more like 4-6.

For 20k you can actually get a decent multi-room apartment in a gongyu, but you might find it feels old, moldy, badly lit, etc, depending on what you’re used to.

In an elevator building, 20k will get you a very very small studio of high quality, or a slightly larger studio of lesser quality. Needless to say, location also has a big influence on price.

The last thing is you’ll either deal directly with the landlord, in which case there is no letting fee, or you’ll go through an agent, in which case you pay half a month as a letting fee and will be jerked around a lot, seen as a pot of gold if you’re a foreigner, and shown a bunch of shit places that the agent is dying to unload on someone for top dollar.


Awesome links. Thank you very much. As far as I understand it looks like there is a lot of very average places, some terrible, but there’s a few good deals to be had here and there. So it’s definitely not a hopeless situation as some people paint it to be. I’ll keep checking to see if something comes up.


Yes, I do agree on what you are saying. In my case, location and overall quality of the place are more important than how spacious the place is. I’m never home anyway. I’m definitely one of those “elevator building but small apartment” kind of renter.

And thanks a lot for the info on the letting fee (no such thing is Bangkok) and on how agents would try to unload the worst apartments first, even though that obviously makes sense.

Another question that comes to mind…

When I was in Taipei I had time to visit the main areas (Xinyi, Daan, Railway Station, Ximending) plus Beitou and Tamsui. Knowing that, are there any other places I should take into account? Even though I would ideally choose a place centrally located, I don’t mind to commute provided the apartment is in a good lively area.


It kinda depends what you want to be near. Are you working or studying here?


I am a freelancer so no need to be anywhere specific. In terms of location, the main areas I mentioned above (Xinyi, Daan, Railway Station) fit all my needs so I will probably end up looking around those places. I was just wondering if there’s some other area which is generally considered worth checking. Even outside Taipei City.

In terms of amenities, malls, coffee shops and anything art related are what I am looking for. I remember also there was a book shop called eslite that was awesome. So, that’s the kind of stuff I like or places I would frequent. Parks also.

I was wondering if there are other areas I might have missed that tick most of those boxes.


Note that if you are a freelancer you might end up with visa issues too, depending on whether your annual income is sufficient to sponsor yourself.


Last I checked on this forum, the government was perfectly fine with visa runs every three months in and out of the country. Contrary to Thailand that is literally cracking down on long term expats without a working or retirement visa. That’s obviously the main reason why Taiwan is high on the list for a possible relocation. That and the fact that I like the place.

I read posts of people suggesting this route (visa run every three months) as a very safe one, for people like me that are not employed nor studying in the country.

Isn’t the situation still like that?

To make it clear, I have been a freelancer for the past twenty years, but I recently decided to focus on arts so I have no intention on working whatsoever, for the next year. That’s also the reason why I am budgeting for accomodation.

I’d be grateful if you, or anyone, could please elucidate on the current visa situation in Taipei. Provided that anything changed.


Basically there are three main issues:

  1. To do any work in Taiwan, you would need a work permit for the specific job. To get this, you need to be sponsored by a company. (Could be your own locally registered company, but there are minimum revenue requirements.)

  2. Once you stay in Taiwan for more than 183 days a year, you become a tax resident and liable for Taiwan income tax. This is independent of whether you have a work permit or not.

  3. No visa, no ARC. Not having an ARC can potentially make your life more complicated. E.g. it would be difficult to get a local driving license without an ARC.

There are other people on this forum, who are more qualified to respond to this, so if anything here needs correction, please chime in.


if you don’t work, 3 month stay + visa run has no legal issue.

Without an ARC, you might not be able to open bank account here, cannot get national health insurance, might need extra deposit or guarantor for house rent.


Thanks for all the details. I knew only part of what this, but I am not surprised about the rest as well.

Being a long term tourists (at least when it comes to the visa) I am not expecting to take advantage of all the perks that you would get by legally working in the country. ARC being probably the most problematic.

Now that you mentioned that, I might have a read on what it means when it comes to living there without the ARC. I’m sure there must be something on this forum.


Thanks for clarifying. All of these things can certainly be annoying, but nothing that I can’t do without.

As long as the visa runs are hassles free, from an immigration standpoint, and I don’t get hassled every time I re-enter, I was thinking to use the first year of rent to get a good idea of the place, and then eventually commit or move on.

Those visa runs would also allow me to visit a part of Asia (Korea, Hong Kong, mainland China) that I have never visited before, so it seems like an ideal option for me.


Be aware that should you eventually decide to pursue your ARC, they will likely ask you how you supported yourself during your visa run years and ask you to explain why you weren’t filing/paying taxes during that time.


That’s a good point you bring up. In that case, simply saying that I was living on my savings, maybe providing bank account proof of my ATM transactions, wouldn’t that be enough?

Also because that would be the truth.


Perhaps, I’m not a tax person so I’m afraid I can’t say…I just know it happens and giving you a head’s up.


Actually, wasn’t there a guy who was given one of those new types of visas to develop an app? He applied like on a lark… and hit jackpot. We had discussed it before:


Eligibility (meet at least one criteria):

- Received venture capital investment or international fundraising of more than NT$ 2 million.
- Received approval to reside at a recognized innovation park or incubator in Taiwan.
- Obtained patent rights or professional skills certificate.
- Has been awarded in a leading startup or design competition, or has been involved in a foreigner entrepreneurship project in Taiwan.
- Has been or is currently located in a startup accelerator recognized by the Taiwanese government.
- The enterprise or the person in charge of the enterprise has been nominated or awarded in a film festival.
- Received innovation subsidy of at least NT$ 3 million from the central government or at least NT$ 1 million from the local government.
- Possesses other innovation capability specified or recommended by the Taiwanese government.
- Has established enterprise with innovation capability in Taiwan and acts as its legal representative, manager or director with an investment of at least NT$ 1 million.

This might be an interesting opportunity to consider while on the ground. Especially since they mention design competitions as a reason for eligibility. Even though at the present time it seems a bit out of reach. Thanks for bringing this up though.


You can easily get an ID number without a resident visa which can be used for the same purpose as an ARC (the ID number is in the same format) when handling any bureaucratic procedures such as opening bank accounts: http://jsphfrtz.com/no-taiwan-arc-no-problem/
Also, this advice is sage: http://jsphfrtz.com/no-taiwan-arc-no-problem/#comment-13899 Read the blog author’s other replies to comments on his blog posts. There are some really golden nuggets of advice and information in there.