Chung Li? Taoyuan? What about them?

I’ve got a great job offer at a school in Chung Li. Has anyone here lived or visited Chung Li before? What about Taoyuan? Is that any more liveable? What is there to do in those two places?

I live south of Zhongli, in a small town called Yangmei. Zhongli looks ok to me. A normal Taiwanese town without too many foreigners. Somehave described it as a polluted hell hole, but what the heck? That description fits the most of the island. There are bars and I know for a fact that you’ll find some other English teachers. Taoyuan is bigger, more foreigners, acouple of decent malls, a Tesco (Yes, I know Zhongli will have one soon too) and some nice areras if you leave town and go explore in your spare time. Taoyuan has that advantage that it’s closer to Taipei, but the transport difference is only a few minutes by train. You can live in Taoyuan and work in Zhongli. You can also buy a scooter (or a car - a wreck is cheap) and find something better than the usual dumps younger English teacher usually end up in in the outskirts of either town.

From what my GF tells me, Chungli is nice. Nice pubs, discos, malls, shopping, nearby train station, close to Taipei, 45 minutes by train. Good food, quiet streets. Not a hell hole at all, but a really nice place to live. There are three big colleges there, too, a Sogo, everything that Taipei has but without the hassle of living in an urban jungle. If you got an offer to work in Chungli, by all means go there. There are many Hakka people there, too, with Hakka music and culture, I heard. And nearby Yangmei is also a Hakka stronghold, with great Hakkanese restaurants. You chose the right place, mate, or maybe it chose you! Do it!

Oh, and fatslob, there are also many foreigners living and working there, lots of Yanks, Kiwis, Brits, etc, and legions of Philipinos, Indonesians and Thai workers in the nearby factories. On Sundays, near the train station, Chunglie is Little Manila, Little Jakarta and Little Bangkok all mixed together. So … in other words, lots of tasty ethnic food there, too, at the little bodegas run by the Third World slave laborers.

Yes, the great thing about Zhongli is that it’s close to Yangmei, a pleasant little town, I call home.

The Sogo in Zhongli is ok, but if you expect a big selection of cheeses and other western foods in the supermarket, like in Taipei, then you are in for a dissapointment. Housing should be much cheaper than Taipei. In Yangmei, I pay NT$7k for a relatively new, licely decorated 30 ping flat. NT$7k would get you a rancid-smelling shoebox in TPE. I have plans to move into more expensive.That would be NT$15k for a 50 ping semi-detached house in a gated community in the hilly outskirts of Yangmei.

Both Zhongli and Taoyuan would appear to have mountains nearby, so hiking opportunities exist too.

I have lived in both Jungli and Taoyuan and do not recommend either unless you really love your job and have a great apartment to go back to every night.

Sorry Holger but Jungli is a hell hole, and it is pure nonsense to think you will escape the urban jungle feeling of Taipei. Jungli is far more crowded in the downtown areas, the streets are more narrow, more croweded with people and cars, and so the strench of garbage and car exhaust cannot dissipate.

The air in Jungli smells, and I kid you not, like glue fumes. Unless there is a strong breeze blowing or it is early morning you’d better be a big fan of bonding.

That said, the Central University has nice grounds, there is a fabulous tea house nearby that is raised on stilts over a pond and there are many cool pubs, coffee shops and the like. But as I said, there is also more garbage, noise and pollution than in Taipei (which for you oldtimers is leaps and bounds better than it was even 5 years ago).

My memories of Jungli will always return to the block long, 15 foot high piles of garbage that were there my first summer. No joke, the city could not dispose of it’s garbage (all the landfills were full) and so people were just leaving it on the side of the road. Eventually the roads became blocked with these monstrous heaps. I remember outside the I think it was Burger King near the railway station, a pile of garbage 10 feet high and 30 feet wide. Inside people sat and ate their burgers with little thought to the unsanitary condition of it all.

However, Jungli actually is better in some ways than Taoyuan in the quality of night life and other entertainments. Taoyuan though is marginally cleaner, and if you live out by the Mitsukoshi (sic) near Tigerhead mountain, you can have relatively clean air on good days. But watch out for the CPC factory nearby.

In Taoyuan you can rent a nice apartment in one of those new gated communities that have swimming pools, exercise rooms, libraries, tennis courts and so on right in the community grounds. My wife and I own one and we usually rent to foreigners. Our last two tenants, despite havign all these ammenities couldn’t bear living in Taoyuan for too long. (The last tenant wanted to leave after six months but he met a local girl and stayed for here sake.) He came to visit us in Mucha once and was astounded by all the greenery here. They are moving here in Sepetember when they return from their honeymoon.

As for mountians being nearby yes, in Taoyuan you have Tiger head, which actually has some nice pavilions and ponds to sit by, and a circuit trail that’s long enough for an hour and a half hike. But it does tend to get tedious after a while hiking the exact same route. As far as I know, Jungli has no nearby mountains unless you count the mountains in Sanshia, or Yingge, or Dashi, Shimen dam, or out near Chiang Kai-Shek’s tomb. But then you’re looking at at least an hour ride on a scooter through hellish traffic.

So, there you have it. I wouldn’t move back for all the oolong in Mucha.

Oh, I was in Jungli a few months ago and noticed they had added a few postcard sized parks and tree lined a few main roads. Didn’t help much.

i live in taoyuan, and it’s improving ever so slowly, more cool tescos’s, malls…i live here because my girlfriend lives here…as my work is in taipei…but taoyuan/jongli have their merits, the weather here is much cooler and it doesn’t piss acid rain on you like in taipei…plus you get a breeze in the summer

on the other side, you can’t walk on the streets, the taxi drivers and their betel nut buddies plus teenagers are annoying fuckers, you have to put up with a lot of thousand mile stares and hellos from every direction…maybe some people think that’s taiwanese friendly culture…but usually those guys don’t live here…or live in hualien or something…this place ain’t hualien…more like brooklyn…

the nightlife is shit, especially in taoyuan, except for one or two quiet bars, no choice of international restaurants…but there are good nightmarkets if u are partial to the “xiao chi”

it’s a place for english teachers as you can earn good money and live cheaply…

that stuff about hakka culture made me laugh, taoyuan and jungli are so naff looking because the people here wouldn’t spend a penny on cleaning up the outside of their buildings, of course it doesn’t help that all the tax money taiwanese pay goes to taipei and kaoshiung…i have yet to figure out what the beauty of hakka culture is…

i’ve lived in muzha too, it’s greener there, but if you are used to taiwan i couldn’t see much difference between the two places…

that’s my twopence worth, my advice is don’t come to jungli or taoyuan unless you are a real home person and don’t mind sticking out a mile…you can always hang out in your apartment all day…and save a fortune…the hakka way…

roq, I wish more cities in Taiwan were as nice as Brooklyn.

[quote=“roq”]i live in taoyuan … more cool tescos’s, malls…
the nightlife is shit, it’s a place for english teachers as you can earn good money and live cheaply…and save a fortune…the hakka way…[/quote]

So what’s your beef against Hakka people? And from the content of your post I gather that you’re just another plastic English teacher. Do you actually get paid to tell kids that the plural term for Tesco supermarkets is “Tescos’s”
And people ask why the standard of English in Taiwan is so poor … sad, really sad.

You should try a visit to the village of Sheng xing, about 5 km from Sanyi. That should give you a more rounded glimpse of what Hakka culture is all about.

It has its good and bad points, just like any other.


yeh, i second monkey’s note: what you got against Hakka culture? You seem to have swallowed the negative stereotypes whole, without using your criticial intelligence. Hakka people are some of the most intelligent, refined people on this island. Where in the world did you get your racist ideas from? Do some research and get to meet some real Hakka people. Their culture is equal to yours… I hope you get to find out someday. yes to monkey and sandman, they are right on! roq, ashame of yourself!

well maybe i was a little harsh with my choice of words about the hakka, it’s just that i have happen to live in a hakka area, and know quite a lot of hakka people (including my landlords family), they are very parsimonious, to the extent that they live in pure cement apartments…no carpets, paint, whatever…

it’s okay what one does in your own home…but when you take that lifestyle to the extreme (and again maybe this is not just a hakka thing but taiwanese society in general), in the modern urban era it ends up being a very selfish society. The streets become a mess of squalid sidewalks, dirty rusting signage, illegaly parked cars…as a foreigner looking from the outside i don’t see any positive external points to the hakka culture when adapted to a modern city’s architecture and layout.

i have asked the locals here why taoyuan and jungli are such large eyesores, and many have pointed to the attributes of the hakka culture as being one of the main reasons…

…i am sure that hakka culture in a small village can be something to be treasured…but that can be said about any culture in a remote or isolated environment…why should i feel ashamed when i point out the truth as i see it? and be called a racist at that? i don’t buy the notion of political correctness for it’s own sake…just because i live here as a foreigner, doesn’t mean i cannot describe the cultures of the people that live here as i see it, on the proviso that one has good grounds for doing so.

If you live in taoyuan and jungli, maybe you would understand better what i am talking about…i have yet to hear from anyone else that actually lives here, or a hakka for that matter…and get back to the subject of this forum…so peace and harmony to all men, taiwanese, foreigner, brooklynites and hakka!

I live in Yangmei. Yes, it’s an eyesore, but so are most inhabited areas of this island.

Living in concrete holes is not a hakka speciality. I have seen Taiwanese (min-nans) doing that as well. My inlaws are hakka. When they grew up, having enough to eat was a luxury. They try to save their money as bitter experience has taught them that nothing can be taken for granted. That said, they do have pictures on their walls and they would appear to try to make their home look and feel homely.

My own rented flat is very nice and well decorated. the landlord would appear to have spent a tidy sum on it.

I do stick out down here, as there aren’t that many foreigners in Yangmei. (As a matter of fact, I don’t know any) But it isn’t too bad. People here normally don’t bother me. All in all yangmei is a relatively nice place to live. 25 minutes by car takes you to the sea, 30 minutes takes you to the mountains, Taipei is less than an hour away. I don’t complain. This place could be much worse.

Roq, read my post a little more carefully. I have lived in both Jungli and Taoyuan.

like i said Mucha Man “have yet to hear from anyone that actually lives here”

looks like i’m not the one who needs to read carefully around here…

I live nearby. 8 KM from Zhongli to Yangmei.

While those places change, they don’t change much over a year or 2. I would take all the advice i could get.

I don’t live in Chungli, but I do spend weekends there quite often. Chungli in particular and Taoyuan County in general have very poor infrastructures, but I don’t think it has much to do with Hakka culture.

Taoyuan County is the fastest growing region in Taiwan because of its proximity to CKS airport and the high tech industry but public investment in things like parks, sidewalks, proper zoning and the like never kept pace with the frantic rush to develop as quickly as possible. This has been exacerbated by the insane way the central government allocates discretionary public funds–almost half to Taipei City and Kaohsiung City and the rest to the other 20 odd counties and municipalities. Another problem has been a succession of corrupt (Liu Bangyou) or incompetent (Annette Lu) County Commissioners. Remember Annette’s plan to turn Taoyuan in a “Golden Seashore Tourist Paradise”?

A third problem in Taoyuan has been the total triumph of the car culture. This has meant enormous investment in huge roads that slice through old market towns and a corresponding decline in quality of public transport. Many parts of Taoyuan now remind me of exburbs in the US, where you can walk for hours without seeing another person on foot. If you did decide to live in Chungli, I think owning a car would be a priority.

Roq, I swear there was a “have” in your original sentence. :smiley:

Anyway, I lived in Taoyuan for 2 and a half years, worked there 4 days a week until 6 months ago, and own a small apartment there so I know what I’m taking about. That said, I did have a good time at a friend’s wedding last weekend in Taoyuan. But I still wouldn’t move back.

As for your comment about Mucha being a bit greener but you wouldn’t notice if you’ve lived in Taiwan for a while, I find that statement incomprehensible. It’s like saying, sure Shu Chi is more beautiful than Annette Lu, but once you’ve been around women a bit you wouldn’t notice. :shock:

Last point: there used be (and still could be) a great Hakka restaurant near the stadium. Literally the best gungbaojiding I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot). It was in a cool old wooden building and had old Chinese movie posters on the walls. Sometimes there was a traditional band would play Chinese stringed instruments.

I know a guy who lives in Chungli. He seems perfectly content.

Depends on a lot of things. With the two major universities, plenty of college age people. One advantage is a ton of great priced food places in the neighborhood.

About it being a hell hole. That is just Taiwan. You either like it or you don’t.

I like it.