A place to live for a small-city person?

I am strongly considering moving to Taiwan for a year or two after completing my masters degree this spring. I currently live in Gainesville, Florida, and actually love it here. I have a kitchen, bedroom, and a college campus to run a 5-10 K loop on whenever i feel the urge. There is also a 30 km bike trail for longer workouts. I feel a little bit of trepidation at the prospect of moving to a place like Tiapei, where these things don’t seem to be something to take for granted.

My question to the forum is: would I be better off in a place like Taichung? or maybe even Busan, Korea? Or do I have Taipei all wrong? is there open space/ parks where one can go outside to enjoy a little greenery and excersize? Or do I have Taichung all wrong? Is it just as big and noisy as Taipei?

Also, socially, for someone that does not speak Mandarin yet, is Taipei a clear better choice? With expats and other English speakers and such?

Thanks, anyone, for your help.

Taipei is a city of neighborhoods (and also surrounded by mountains) so many areas feel self-contained and more like small towns or cities.

Where I live in Bitan (technically New Taipei City) I am 50m from a riverpark with bicycle and walking paths that stretch 80km to the north (and altogether connect to hundreds of km of paths). There’s also a lovely forest on the other side with trails.

I am also 500m from the MRT.

You can also check out Beitou, Tienmu, Neihu, Muzha. If you want green, Taipei is by far your better city. Literally surrounded by mountains and trails that start from MRT stops. And the bike paths. They are delightful and can be ridden day or night.

This is where I live in Taipei:

So forest and mountains on one side, town on the other. No it isn’t usually that crowded.

Section of bike path:

I’m from Taichung (has been living here 6 years now) and I love the city. It truly is less busy than Taichung, many Taipei folks says it’s boring but I don’t think so. We do have nice parks, I especially like to go around Art Museum/ Nova/ Science Museum. There’s also Dakeng for weekend hikings.

Still, is 2 mln people small city for you? If you really want small, I say Hualian! Most beautiful place in Taiwan for me… Taroko Gorge and beautiful sea at the same place… but that is truly small, maybe even more of a town. They have some universities too.

No idea about Korea.

I lived in Tampa/St Pete area for about 7 years from 98~2008 and do get to Gainesville to watch Gator-Noles games once in a while.

Taipei and Taichung are wayyyyyyyyy bigger and much more crowded than any city in Northern Florida. Jacksonville is not even close. If you want a true small town feeling, head to remote part of Xindian or Longtan, Daxi in Taoyuan county. Longjing or places like Wuqi in Taichung might also be ok.

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for the fast and informative replies! Mucha Man, you are really selling me on Taipei, it looks like something i can get used to. Thank you so much for posting the photos. Mukashi, i am a boring person, so Taiching might suit me. ( I do not go out a drink / club on the weekends usually) And no, 2 million is not too much as long as the city is well planned, with parks, the longer the better. What I was picturing before I made this post was NYC without central park, yuck. Maxxis, I am not expecting to find Jacksonville, but maybe Boston, where one can go down to the river and run around a little to get away from all the concrete. Or better yet, the mountains outside Taipei!

As for not speaking Mandarin, will that be an issue where you all live? I will be coming alone, so ideally I guess I am picturing a expat community or friendly Taiwanese (of the fairer gender) that want to practice their English. And I am picturing this in Taipei and Taichung but not that many other places. Is that a valid assumption?

Thanks again!

It seems kind of odd to me to say you don’t know any Chinese or Korean but are thinking about picking up and moving to this part of the world. Is it for work? That will limit your choices of small towns as nor every small area has/needs an English teacher.

i can recommand Hsinchu and around in Hsinchu County…really nice and quiet place compared to the bigger cities

[quote=“TRP13”]I am strongly considering moving to Taiwan for a year or two after completing my masters degree this spring. I currently live in Gainesville, Florida, and actually love it here. I have a kitchen, bedroom, and a college campus to run a 5-10 K loop on whenever i feel the urge. There is also a 30 km bike trail for longer workouts. I feel a little bit of trepidation at the prospect of moving to a place like Tiapei, where these things don’t seem to be something to take for granted.

My question to the forum is: would I be better off in a place like Taichung? or maybe even Busan, Korea? Or do I have Taipei all wrong? is there open space/ parks where one can go outside to enjoy a little greenery and excersize? Or do I have Taichung all wrong? Is it just as big and noisy as Taipei?

Also, socially, for someone that does not speak Mandarin yet, is Taipei a clear better choice? With expats and other English speakers and such?

Thanks, anyone, for your help.[/quote]

Busan is bigger than Taipei

Btw, if you’re looking for a small city AND a decently sized expat community I’m afraid you’re out of luck. TW’s small cities are pretty dull and will be even morseo if you can’t communicate with anyone. I live in a sort of suburban township of around 150k people, speak Chinese, and often find myself bored.

Taichung fucking sucks. If u can find a decent job in Taipei do it. If not go to Korea or just stay at home ffs

[quote=“Mucha Man”]This is where I live in Taipei:

[/quote]
Which Boat is your House?Always fancied living on a Boat. He he .
Seriously,would love at least a Lake/River to look at from the House.

I lived in TAichung for almost a year in 1986 and it was simply MAGICAL !! It was awesome !

You do realize that was 27 years ago?

You do realize that was 27 years ago?[/quote]

so what are you saying exactly ? haha

That the town has gone to hell?

I think the best strategy for this type of situation is to spend a couple of weeks in the cities that you might want to live. I just didn’t mix with Taipei and I was there during the best time of year. The weather in the winter in fairly awful and the other 3 big cities have nice winters. You might not like Taiwan at all if you like smaller cities.

You do realize that was 27 years ago?[/quote]

so what are you saying exactly ? haha

That the town has gone to hell?[/quote]

That it hasn’t changed since then. Which isn’t a good thing. Of all the big cities in Taiwan, Taichung has seen the least improvements. They’ve thrown up a few hi-rise neighborhoods but otherwise it is lagging big time.

When I first came to Taiwan lots of expats would go to Taichung for a weekend for fun. No one does that anymore.

Also the air pollution is not good there. The city is surrounded by a grey haze. You have to go through it every time you pass Taichung on the freeway. It’s like entering Mordor.

Oh but it’s sunny there a lot of the time. :laughing:

Not much to disagree with except the reason why air pollution is more obvious there is simply because the tall buildings make it more obvious, much of the West coast down to Kaohsiung suffers from the same or worse air pollution at certain times of year.

The addition of the HSR station and the upgrade of the airport with more Asian routes has made commuting and travelling a lot easier I would say.

I don’t know. I drive the freeways a lot and you know when you are approaching Taichung as the sky becomes a diffuse grey. Nearly every time. It’s widespread and pervasive and damn eerie. I think it has to do with the bog coal thermal plant.

Maybe, it’s certainly possible.