Living in Hsinchu

Hi

I’m currently living in Taipei and possibly have the opportunity to work in Hsinchu. So the question is what’s it like, ok to vague but here are some questions:

  1. Air quality compared to Taipei
  2. Coastal area - is it nice or a dump?
  3. Housing - can i live some where that isn’t a concrete box and roughly how much pcm for a 2 bed place
  4. whats the local transportation like, my gf doesn’t ride a scooter.
  5. 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.

Thanks

[quote=“StuartCa”]Hi

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:

  1. Air quality compared to Taipei
  2. Coastal area - is it nice or a dump?
  3. Housing - can I live some where that isn’t a concrete box and roughly how much pcm for a 2 bed place
  4. whats the local transportation like, my gf doesn’t ride a scooter.
  5. 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.

Thanks[/quote]

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).

I lived in Hsinchu for almost 2 years…I worked in the Science Park and lived in a community that is located right next to the Park called 三期…

  1. Air quality compared to Taipei
    I would say that Hsinchu is must more dusty than Taipei…I say this because the wind is much strong in Hsinchu, and the dust just seems to fly everywhere…in Taipei, it more or less just sits stagnant…in Hsinchu, you get it in your face and you find yourself coughing most of the time…I think the new constructions also contribute to the dust…

  2. Coastal area - is it nice or a dump?
    It is a dump…the only thing that looks half decent is Wind City and the new buildings in the Science Park…the rest of the place looks pretty much like Taipei County…

  3. Housing - can I live some where that isn’t a concrete box and roughly how much pcm for a 2 bed place
    Housing is pretty much standard Taiwanese concrete box…if you want to live close to the Science Park like where I lived, a 2 bedroom will most likely run in the 15,000NT range on average…the price of rent drops off as you move away from the Science Park…

  4. whats the local transportation like, my gf doesn’t ride a scooter.
    I did not have a scooter or any form of transportation in Hsinchu…what I basically did was walk to work in the morning…it was around a 5~8 minute walk from where I lived…if you want to take the bus into Hsinchu City from the Science Park, I would walk down to Guangfu Road and take the bus to the train station area…the bus ride took around 30~45 minutes on a day where it is not congested…when it is congested…expect 1+ hour rides…the bus system sucks in Hsinchu…you CANNOT compare the transportation system there with Taipei…they have a few buses running a few lines and that is pretty much it…the primary mode of transportation is still scooters/cars in Hsinchu…I only got by without any mode of transport simply by planning where I lived…also, working in the Park pretty much means no social life during the week…so I did not go out much in Hsinchu at all…my weekends were spent in Taipei so it did not matter that much either…

  5. expat life - I’m not worried about nightclubs or anything like that
    Dunno about this…I suggest you go to Taipei for fun…this is what everybody in Hsinchu does anyways…they work in Hsinchu, but life really happens in Taipei…

I really hated Hsinchu…it was kind of a depressing city…even the local Taiwanese hate the place…when I left my job, a lot of my other co-workers also left too…the profit sharing is getting worse in the Park so not many people want to stay in Hsinchu…they actually prefer just getting out of there and work in Taipei…at first, you think it is okay…but as time passes, you get to feel really depressed there…maybe it will be better for you since your girlfriend will be there to keep you company…

[quote]
I really hated Hsinchu (Xinzhu)…it was kind of a depressing city…even the local Taiwanese hate the place…when I left my job, a lot of my other co-workers also left too…the profit sharing is getting worse in the Park so not many people want to stay in Hsinchu (Xinzhu)…they actually prefer just getting out of there and work in Taipei…at first, you think it is okay…but as time passes, you get to feel really depressed there…maybe it will be better for you since your girlfriend will be there to keep you company…[/quote]

I come to defend it now!!

I like Hsinchu, and its about the same distance between Taipei and Taichung. So you can go to Taichung for the weekend, like every sane person would do that has intrest in saving money for food instead of being stuck in traffic jams or be annoyed by the MRT sounds of Taipei. There are enough places in Hsinchu to buy your own food (there are two big RT-Mart, JUSCO in Windance, and even some nice foreigner friendly food things in OrangeMart (thats inside the FE21 department store basement). Cooking your own food here is the only way to survive on the long term anyways. Don’t tell your Taiwanese friends that you do it though, as they believe cooking means making huo guo (thats boiling water with vegetables and overboiled meat). And who seriously wants to stick to all those silly small restaurants all the time with the obscure wall paintings, the dirty ventilators, the dirty lao ban and the obscure flower decoration? You also have two big Warner cinemas and the seaside is not so far. You can call it a dump (most of Taiwans coastal area is like that, especially on the west coast) but its just a few km away and you can rent a tandem-bike a the small seapark there. Actually most of Taiwan is a dump when I think about it…

Taking your bike along the coast is not a good idea since the wind sucks so much and the dutch people that came in the 15th century didn’t install any kind of anti-flooding (dike) system.

It doesn’t rain as often in Hsinchu as it does in Taipei but there is much more wind (which makes it less muggy in summer though).
Public transportation is a joke and costs 15 NT per ride. You will only want to stick to line 1 which drives you to all places you need. The bus drivers are the most nuts of their kind. If you like nuts bus drivers come to Hsinchu.

If you really need a decent restaurant, you can drive to Jhubei which I call Little-Taipei. Its around 2-3 km from Hsinchu, crowded and has lots of big restaurants (new development area). There are no frequent taxis running the street and it costs about 100-150 NT per ride if you find a free one. Taxi drivers tend to be either very nice or very very taiwanese. Hsinchu has millions of 7-11’s and FamilyMart so you won’t forget to pay your bills.

I went to Hsinchu once when I was in Taiwan. The locals seemed very friendly. I went to a few bars. I was by myself. I felt kind of out of place in the expat hang out, so I went to a smaller bar where there were a bunch of locals. There were a bunch who would talk it up with me and some ladies too. I went to another bar and the boys there took me to a KTV. Wow! Different than Hualian. I got really trashed. There were a lot more foreigners than I was used to and they seemed friendly enough. You’d probably have to be careful of the local food places a little. Don’t venture too far out. I did. Had pig ear noodles and there were some dead white wormy things in it.

Not too big, not too small. I think there would be lots of jobs there. Lots of hours. And very, very close to Taipei.

Ah yes! Another guy mentioned something about the rain…if you plan on doing any heavy walking in Hsinchu, remember to do it in a pair of shorts and sandals when it rains…the roads in Hsinchu (even in the Science Park)…are really bad…every time it rains, sections of the road would be either flooded or muddy…when it rained, I would still need to walk to work and I was totally soaked…oh yeah, and your umbrella won’t last you past one month…the wind just blows your umbrella everywhere…a Gore-Tex jacket won’t work either…the humidity in Taiwan makes wearing those things really uncomfortable…

Anyhow, as you can see from our various posts, each person has their own perspective of Hsinchu…I hated the place, but some others thought it was decent…

Indeed! Just like what Pluck-A-Duck said, you will figure out what it is like by yourself as soon as you get here. Don

does he deliver to science park?

He delivers everywhere in Hsin-Chu and pretty much anytime. And even if you only have one order, he will still deliver to your door. He’s just started this business a couple months ago and he’s already very popular now.

Here’s the menu:
Lasagna NT$240-1KG
Cottage Pie/Shepard’s Pie NT$200-1KG
Curry Chicken and mash potatoes NT$200-1KG
Pork chops and mash potatoes/french fries NT$200-1KG
Potato salad NT$170-1KG (NT$ 75-500G)
Spaghetti Bolognaise NT$200-1KG
Spaghetti with Bacon, mushrooms, onions and creamy cheese sauce NT$200-1KG

And I’d suggest that Lasagna and Pork chops are the best.

I think its much better to go on Taichung on the weekends if you live in Hsinchu (if you have to go anywhere), whats the point of going to crowded-rainy Taipei? Taichung has the biggest night market, the hottest chicks and the cheapest pubs. Also, its no problem to make friends in Hsinchu (there are 500.000 people in this city). And there are some nice country side areas around Hsinchu in easy reach if you want to escape the city. Hsinchu has only two pubs. But two big RT-Mart, tons of convinience stores and two big Warner cinemas. What more do you need during the week? For english teachers Taipei is probably the best since you will find things to do in your lazy afternoons, but in Hsinchu people usually work in the Science Park (all day and longer) and sleep early (in Hsinchu the city is almost dead after 23:00).

Hsinchu’s ok as long as they don’t singe you.