I am considering taking a position in Taiwan. Base for living is likely to be Taipei or Taichung. Would be me, my wife and our 2 year old daughter. Likely that it would only be me working too. The normal Monday to Friday kind of rota.
At this stage I am keen to hear opinions of what peoples thoughts are:
Where are the best areas to consider for living
Pros/Cons of others experiences
Opportunities to meet people
If I go for the position then it is likely to be for 2 years. So far I have only visited for 1 week and was too busy to really look around. Found Brass Monkey in Taipei, but have not ventured any further.
Any advice, help, comments would be greatly appreciated.
Depends a lot on your preferences. Taipei is pretty huge and crowded, Taichung is a bit more laid back but still fairly large. Cost of living in Taipei is higher. Taichung has the best weather of the whole island. Taipei has the most places to go and fool around. Seaside around Taichung is garbage, while Taipei has a few decent options not too far away.
If you cannot speak Chinese, try to spend time with locals and learn at least the basis. Two years isn’t a whole life, but being unable to communicate with the vast majority of people you meet is a fairly miserable experience, at least it was for me at the beginning.
As mentioned…many factors and preferences to work into your decision.
I moved to Taiwan 6 months ago, but perhaps the situation was different. I worked for a Taiwanese corporation for 10 years in LA, traveling to the island 5-6 times a year. Last year, they offered me a position to move on-site and lead our design department in Taichung. While Taipei is a REAL city, Taichung can still be fun and lively…with a nice connection to nature…but more relaxed in my opinion.
I also have a young child (18 months) who is enrolled in a Taichung daycare. So far, my wife and I are very happy with the Montessori school here. I visited/researched 4 other places in my travels before committing to one after moving.
For me, moving to Taiwan was not much of a shock since I’ve been traveling here for so long…I kind of knew what to expect. If you have only been here for 1 week, I’d suggest traveling back and researching some key “living” situations which would contribute to being content while living here.
Any questions shoot me a pm (I assume you can do that on here)
I think it’s worth considering if you’re coming on what I like to call, the golden expat package. Company pays for practically every part of your life from apartment, car, classes/education for spouse/child and flights back home. A portion of that package is worth it too, not everyone gets the golden package.
Aside from that, my fellow Forumosans have also touched up on familiarizing yourself with the Taipei/Taichung. Being here for two years is much much different than being here for a week.
There’s a larger expat community in Taipei, so your wife won’t have too many issues finding and getting to friends or play dates for the little one. Whereas Taichung has expats, but they could be very spread out around the city (that doesn’t have the greatest public transportation system).
Taichung will be a bit more relaxed and slow whereas Taipei is very much the opposite. So if you come from a more suburb town and prefer that, Taichung might be a better choice.
Air quality levels is something you want to take into consideration. Taichung normally gets bad air quality and it doesn’t rain much, so none of it really goes away. Taipei is better in the fact that it rains a lot, so pollution doesn’t hang around too long, but you’re stuck indoors trying to figure out what to do when it rains for 7 days straight.
Thanks for all the info some good points to consider further. I am confident I would love it and fit in well just want to be sure for the wife and my daughter more. They will be the ones based on their own more while I am at work !
If first time in Taiwan or Asia for the family and they don’t speak Chinese probably Taipei is a better option as it’s easier to get around and meet other people, more events happening if into urban lifestyle.
I lived in Taichung and enjoyed it too but we can all speak Chinese and my wife is from here so easier. I drove around, ifs best to drive a car there but you don’t need a car in Taipei . There are expats in Taichung too of course but quite small community compared to Taipei.
Climate is quite different, very sunny in Taichung but air pollution is worse as mentioned already.
Taichung kindergartens are much nicer for kids though as more space.
Thanks Brian some useful tips there for sure. If I decide to go for the position I would be able to spend a couple of weeks looking around anyhow before making a final commitment.
You might also have to be here on the ground to look for apartments after you make the decision. Make sure the wife is willing to make that multiple trips to and from home.
Also make sure that the company has someone in HR in charge of finding you an agent or has some places picked out for you. Finding an apartment on your own is borderline walking through the 9 rings of hell.