I was wondering, because I am moving to taiwan in less than 2 months (going to mainland china in 8 days, then taiwan in late august)…what is the cost of living in taiwan? bars, clubs, food, etc…I am from los angeles which is pretty damn expensive if you actually want to live anywhere near the city (a studio in the ghetto is like a grand US a month), is taipei comparable? I already have my housing set up, but was wondering about general costs of socializing, eating, etc (I am studying, not working)
I am asking this because I realize cost of living indexes, (the ones you find online) are complete bullshit…they dont take into account “off limit zones”, aka LA on average might be cheap compared to tokyo or somewhere, but the vast majority of cheap places are in such bad neighborhoods (gang territory, hardcore drugdealing, etc) that most foreigners or people in their right mind would never live there…I want a realistic idea of how much dough I am going to have to shell out in taipei
Hopefully you like Chinese food. If you do, youll be fine. People in taiwan usually eat out most of the time. It is actually more expensive to cook things yourself than to eat out. If refuse to eat authentic chinese food, then you are in trouble. I usually spend AT MOST 200 NT on food a day, which is about 6 dollars US. If you eat at western restaurants like Fridays or western pubs, expend to spend 200 NT AT LEAST for one meal. As for finding a place to live, expect to spend more than the average citizen because us westerners are not used to the small, cramped rooms the Taiwanese are used too. I spend about 8000 NT (240 dollars) a month on a single room with a bathroom, and that is considered luxury living for a single person in Taiwan. You may probably find cheaper if you want roommates. So, in actuallity rent is cheaper than the US, especially from the LA area. Bars are about the same as in the US, but for taiwan it is considered expensive. The average citizen makes about 16,000 dollars a year, so if I were you I would bring as much US dollars as possible to live like what you are used too. I basically accepted the fact that my style of living has to change to fit the Taiwan salary budget, but if you are teaching you will probably make for money than me. I am basically working for the experience, not the money. Good luck, and take your time getting aquainted with Taiwan. Its a whole nother world.
Have a look at this page on my website: Living Costs in Taiwan
It will give you an idea about what some things cost, although I don’t know that you would be prepare a detailed budget from it. It is very easy to burn up a lot of money very quickly in Taipei if you are not careful with your money. Taking lots of taxis, coffee every day at Starbucks, a few beers at a bar every night and you can easily go through a thousand NT$'s a day.
If you are a bit more careful NT$300-400 a day should be adequate for food (NT$200 suggested by thechu17 is about right) and bus/MRT fares and other small expenses like a newspaper, internet, etc. Rents vary but you should be able to find something quite comfortable for less than NT$10k.
I think you should be able to get by on somewhere between NT$20k-30k per month. At the lower end of the limit you would have to be pretty careful with your money, but for NT$30k you wouldn’t have to worry too much as long as you weren’t too extravagant. Of course if you spend too much time in bars drinking beer or have an expensive hobby you could spend a lot more.
Also remember you will have some set up costs when you arrive. In particular most landlords ask for two months rent as a security deposit.
Don’t forget the practically-necessary cell phone…those can set you back some on the monthly bill. Then there’s Internet access…
Cigarettes are 88p a packet. Petrol is 33p a litre. Beer is a shocking
Other than going out I would spend almost no money in Taiwan. Excluding drinking or going out to western style pubs/bars, you can easily live for less than 30k NT a month. If I only partied at home I could live for 30k NT a month. As for cooking, the above posters are right. You can eat out for cheaper and better food than you can cook at home, unless you are craving something Western or that you cook particularly well (better than local Western restaurants).