Complete Taipei living expenses for a year? (Apartment, insurance, food, transport, phone+data etc.)

I may be going to Taipei for a year to study on a scholarship that will provide me with up to 24,000 USD for all expenses. The university I will be at (National Taiwan Normal University Mandarin Training Center) will cost about $9,500, so the rest of the money I can use for all other living expenses. Also, I want to maximize the usefulness of the scholarship, so it would be good if cost estimate used all 24k I am allotted. All that out of the way, can anyone give me a cost estimate for living fairly well in Taipei (not terrible apartment, eating out at least cheap food almost every day etc.) that will cover basically all expenses I’ll encounter (rent, food, insurance, phone and data, subway/transport costs, etc.). Thanks!

{[(24000 - 9500) * 30] / 12 } = ~36250NTD per month.
You can rent something far at “new Taipei city” for around 10K NTD monthly. With 26K left in your pocket, you can live without that much problem but definitely with restrictions for entertainment. If you can read/speak some Chinese, it will help you find better bargains and prices, but live as a foreigner here, considering you need time for adaptation and discover the place, well… tight budget I would say. Possible yes, but you will need to hold tight your expenses.


I’m sure they could find something cheaper than 10k/mo, which would make it easier. If you’re fine with having a small room with a bed in a shared apartment/house, you could cut that down to maybe… 6k? 7k? NTD per month for rent. Check Facebook groups and ask the university for any tips/connections on other students looking for places to live.
Honestly, I’d just ask the school for someone to talk to about a lot of this, if I were you. They might have resources to help you and at minimum will know things potentially accessible to you like dormitories, cafeterias, student ID discounts, etc.
I think generally if you find a cheap place to live and always be mindful of how much you’re spending you’ll be fine.

Ok I’ll ask the school about. I actually thought that I might have several thousand left over from the 24K. I’m basically just trying to make a budget that is realistic but maximizes the funding allocated to me.

I don’t really know if 10k ntd is a lot for Taipei, but I’ll assume that will get me a decent apartment? I’m also concerned about food expenses because I have no idea what those are like. I can cook a bit I guess, but I’m trying to maximize my budget allocation so I’m trying to figure out what food costs would be if I was eating out most of the time (like cheap shitty food). Idk if it’s the same in Taiwan, but I spent a few years in China (so yeah I speak pretty good Chinese) and I basically ate every meal at kinda shitty 15-20 rmb (2.5-3.5 dollar) restaurants. Idk if the same kind of low-tier, non-Western fast food exists in Taiwan (although I assume it does).

10K NTD is nothing in Taipei when we talk about rent, a decent place for living in a convenient area is not less than 20K~25KNTD. That is a reason most of the Taiwanese people in their 30s are still living with their parents because they cannot afford it.

Those food options exist in Taiwan for sure and I think with better quality. Well, food would not be a problem here, this is the land of food, the locals are thinking about food 24H per day.

I actually went to Taiwan on that scholarship when I first went out there and, I must say, I had a pretty rough time. If I could do it again, I’d go to a language centre outside of Taipei, where the living costs are much lower, because you get the same amount of money from the scholarship regardless of where you go. Also, all of my classmates were getting financial assistance from their parents, which was salt on the wound because they would go to nightclubs and expensive restaurants all the time and I could never join them.

This was a few years back, so things might have gotten worse, but I lived in three different 10K rooms in Taipei City during that time. The first was actually pretty good for the most part, and it was in Muzha in the outskirts of Taipei City (before you get to “New Taipei City” territory). But the catch was that I had to share a bathroom with numerous other people, which eventually pissed me off enough to search for somewhere else.

The second was also in Muzha and had its own bathroom, but it was tiny and very mouldy. That level of mould would be illegal in the UK, but I think any room in Taipei City with its own bathroom is going to be like that. I had to leave for my health.

The third room was bang in the centre of Taipei City, but you had to walk up 6 or 7 floors (a real challenge in the summer) and it was very small, but had good ventilation (a hugely important consideration for the budget-conscious scholarship student in Taipei). Everybody told me it was a very good deal, so I doubt you’ll see something like that.

All three rooms I lived in for that budget didn’t have a kitchen. But you really have to cook your own meals if you’re going to live off that kind of budget. I became quite good at using a rice cooker to cook meals, but looking back I think I was quite crazy and wouldn’t do that again.

Over all, I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. Go to a nice area like Hualien instead.


I would consider going outside of Taipei, but the thing is I really want to do an internship while I’m in Taiwan and I’m assuming there’s a lot more opportunities in Taipei than anywhere else. I don’t mind living on the outskirts or something as long as I’m near a metro station and my commute isn’t more than like 40 minutes. Also, when I was living in China I also had a pretty limited budget but I made a lot of money tutoring English for a few hours a week (like $35 an hour). I also knew a lot of other Westerners who did the same thing. Is this kind of thing common/possible in Taiwan? And do you know if it pays well?

Search is your friend .

Right. But suburbs are not particularly difficult to get to Taipei’s city centre, but offer drastically lower prices.

Places with easy access to Taipei with lower prices are the districts of New Taipei usually adjacent to Taipei Proper.
Places including, but not limited to Danshui (Zhuwei, Hongshulin and Danshui Stations)
Tucheng (Haishan, Tucheng, Yongning and Dingpu)
Luzhou, Xinzhuang and Sanchong(Stations after Taipei Bridge)

good luck :upside_down_face:


You made my day :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

26K is more than enough unless he wants to party every single night. 20K is definitely enough for a comfortable life imo. I would spend the rest on rent.

I don’t know where you party, seems cheap, share it with me please :slight_smile:

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Just to provide the other side of the coin from @alankaz’s story…

I also first lived in Taiwan on this scholarship for a year (2011-2012) and also struggled to make ends meet in Taipei. I also did not receive any financial assistance from family but I did have a little bit of savings (~$2000) from working during college and so I was able to partake in enough of the fun that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything my friends were doing.

I like the rest of Taiwan but I am totally in love with Taipei and personally would do it the exact same way again if I could, even with how tight money is in Taipei on the scholarship. If you can figure out any way to bring an extra US$2000-$3000 for your year in Taiwan (or make it along the way w/ online work or whatever), then it’s just awesome being in Taipei. I’m a total Taipei fanboy though so I’m biased.

NTNU was great for me, now that I’m a workin’ man I look back and wish I could give my 2011 self the extra money for ICLP tuition, I really think it is worth it, but when you don’t have the resources then NTNU is very very good bang for the buck. Of course they aren’t gonna teach you how to speak, don’t go in there expecting that, you need to learn to speak on the streets and with friends, but NTNU will drill a hell of a lot of reading/writing/other shit into your head in a very short time.

That sounds enough for a year and not particularly tight.

How do you feel about one on one classes at NTNU? I already have pretty good Chinese actually cuz I spent a few years in the mainland, so I’m thinking paying the extra money for the individual classes will be worth it (don’t want to be stuck reciting basic stuff that I already know). I also expect most of my learning will happen outside of the classroom though, I’m planning on getting an internship somewhere but I have no idea how to find one in Taiwan (can’t find too many I’m interested in online).

Thanks for the answer. So, assuming I eat out quite often but at cheap/basic places would you be able to give me an estimate of what my monthly or daily food cost would likely be? Thanks.

Around 100 NTD (80 to 120 depending on your portions) for cheap Chinese food. Not necessarily bad just cheap.