I’m currently living in Taipei and possibly have the opportunity to work in Hsinchu (Xinzhu). So the question is what’s it like, ok to vague but here are some questions:
- Air quality compared to Taipei
- Coastal area - is it nice or a dump?
- Housing - can I live some where that isn’t a concrete box and roughly how much pcm for a 2 bed place
- whats the local transportation like, my gf doesn’t ride a scooter.
- expat life - I’m not worried about nightclubs or anything like that
Ok I think that about covers it, although if you have any other information you’d like to offer feel free.
1.) Air quality is better (of course, I try and suck the air out of cars from somewhere other than Taipei when I’m there).
2.) Coastal area is a pit if you can access it by car, but take an off road bike down it and you can find some nice places.
3.) This is Taiwan, ALL houses are concrete boxes.
4.) There is a bus system, it works as well as any bus system does in small urban areas, often runs late, yada yada yada.
5.) There are: McDonalds, Burger Kinds, Subways, one so-so Indian restaurant, a very, very tiny Caves and one other bookstore (wait, TWO) where you can get decent English books, but never what you are looking for (which has led to some interesting reads for me).
Hsinchu has a fairly large foreigner population, a lot of people think (as I do) that its actually more expensive than Taipei because everyone figured that “All the foreigners in Science Park are rich.”
I actually like downtown Hsinchu a lot, nice walking park by the canal (complete with ducks, fish, and the occasional drunk foreigner passed out in the gutter…wait, that’s my brother-in-law, sorry). For 99% of things, you won’t need to go to Taipei (books, if you are a reader…there simply is ONLY one Page One), but I pick up clothes now and again at a couple of places that stock bigger sizes.
GREAT tailor in Hsinchu (email me if you end up there and need a suit or simply the best made silk shirts I’ve ever seen, I have some 10 years old that look as good as the day they were made)(NT$1600 or so each).
Passable consumer level photo processing there.
Hmmm. Trying to think, I haven’t BEEN there in about 4 months (lived there for 7 years, and its the nearest major metro area to me).
Sushi Express (my weakness). I’ve heard rumors of a decent Mexican restaurant, but can’t find the )#@# place.
Street food was killer in 1990, pretty much has gone to hell in a handbasket now (almost no BBQs, all deep fried…but we’s gots the BBQ variety in Chunan, he he he)…
Rents are actually right on par with Taipei, I believe…then again, down in Chunan, I’m paying NT$11,000 for a 900sq ft 3 bedroom (with amenities, so I don’t bitch)…and I was paying NT$10,000 for a 3 bedroom 1200sq ft. in Hsinchu IN 1994 so prices have gone up.
Oh GREAT seafood in the restaurants at Nanliao (nearest oceanfront town).