Living in Taoyuan

Hi All,

I have been applying to schools in Northern Taiwan in the hopes of becoming an ESL Teacher. I was aiming for Taipei City or Taipei County (I have friends there), however I’ve found many job opportunities in Taoyuan County.

Can anyone who is familiar with Taoyuan County or anyone who lives there, let me know what life is like there in comparison to Taipei City? How far it is from Taipei? How easy is it to get around via transit (I don’t plan to use a scooter)?

My friends are relatively new to Taiwan as well, so they aren’t familiar with Taoyuan.

I would prefer somewhere more urbanized, and I don’t want to commit to anything I may dislike, especially for a year.

Thx in advance :sunglasses:

I have a bunch of friends living in Taoyuan and all they complain about is how gross it is. Nothing much to do etc. You take the train to get to Taipei…but, most of them have lived there forever…so there must be something there keeping them from moving to Taipei. Hmmmm…

Taoyuan County has been Taiwan’s fastest growing county for almost a decade now. That’s why there are many families there and thus more English teaching jobs.

Taoyuan is heavily working class and the rapid development there has come at a considerable cost to the quality of life. Chungli and Taoyuan are both absolute pits in my opinion. The Yangmei area is nice though as is the Longtan area.

There are far fewer foreign-oriented businesses than in Taipei City or even Taipei County. Public transportation is very poor. You are going to have to ride a scooter or drive there to get around. It’s cold and windy in the winter.

On the plus side, there are jobs and the cost of living is lower Taipei. I have a few friends out there who enjoy the nitty gritty hardcore Taiwanese/Hakka working class culture. The betel nut girls are of high quality.

In sum, it’s the real Taiwan.

you’re close to the airport if you need to do a runner.

Thanks for your replies!

Hmm…from the sounds of it, I don’t think Taoyuan is somewhere I’d enjoy.

Particularly the public transit part, since I don’t think I’d be getting a scooter (I’ve always relied on public transit in Toronto and have rarely driven here). I really want a location that is public transit friendly.

I don’t know how picky I can be at this point however, because many recruiters are telling me how difficult finding a teaching job in Taipei is at the moment. I don’t see many job postings for Taipei locations online.
Not sure if recruiters are trying to push more rural locations on me because I’m Asian? Many of them have continued to reiterate that because I’m not white I won’t find a job in Taipei easily and keep pushing Southern Taiwanese locations on me (which I am not interested in).

I was planning on going to Taipei and just hitting the streets, handing out resumes and interviewing at any Cram Schools I come across. My friends tell me that I shouldn’t have a hard time finding a job in Taipei, but I don’t know if they’re just being a little TOO optimistic? I’ve read more than enough posts to know that the ESL Job Market is tough right now…

I’ll be in Taiwan as of mid-April, and I realize that it’s the middle of a semester…but, I’m hoping to get lucky and find full-time work.

While there’s no MRT in Tao Yuan, public transport is not a problem. Bus lines generally run 4 or 5 buses per hour, and taxi rates are reasonable. There are plenty of department stores. If you need an ex-pat night life, Tao Yuan is not the place for you. Tao Yuan also lacks the art centers and museums found in Taipei. Whichever place you land, get help to locate an apartment that suits you. Rent is lower in TaoYuan, and maybe the overall slightly lower cost of living in TY would help you save money.

[quote=“apple81”].

I don’t know how picky I can be at this point however, because many recruiters are telling me how difficult finding a teaching job in Taipei is at the moment. I don’t see many job postings for Taipei locations online.

Not sure if recruiters are trying to push more rural locations on me because I’m Asian? Many of them have continued to reiterate that because I’m not white I won’t find a job in Taipei easily and keep pushing Southern Taiwanese locations on me (which I am not interested in).[/quote]

That may have some bearing, but to be honest, they always try and put newbs in Taoyuan, ChiaYi, and such.

It depends what you like. I don’t even like living outside of XinYi district. MRT and suburban peasants get on my nerves, priddy hills or no.

In Taipei, there is always going to be more competition for jobs.

I live in Taoyuan and have been here for 2 years now. Luckily, I’m on the Linkou border, just across the street from Taipei County, and therefore a quick bus ride to Taipei. There is nothing of any interest at all to see or do in Taoyuan. It’s a dump. God knows what sort of mental state any foreigner is in who tells you that Taoyuan is a splendid place to come and relocate to . It is NOT.

:roflmao:
I guess I lived in a different part of Taoyuan than you lot then (and did for over a year), as it’s not a pit, nor is it most of what you lot have described it as.
Sure, it’s not Taipei or Kaoshiung, but it’s a decent enough place and seems to be getting better.
Yes, there aren’t loads of night clubs or party places, but there are other things you can do there on a weekend.
If you’re into sports and outdoors stuff, it’s a decent place, there’s even a Go-Kart track there, although I never got around to trying it out, as they just finished it off as we moved back to Taipei. And no, we didn’t leave because we didn’t like it there, my girlfriend works in Taipei and the fuel prices went up like crazy at the time, so we decided to move.
Anyhow, there are plenty of good places to eat there and enough places to shop western things to survive if you can’t make the shift to live off the local stuff.
I think the best Singaporean restaurant in Taiwan is in Taoyuan, although can’t say I’ve seen a lot of other Singaporean restaurants on the island.
There’s also a fantastic fruit market there with a great selection and good prices.
Public swimming pools are also easy to get to and you could get a bicycle, as the place isn’t quite as crowded in terms of traffic as Taipei. There are also some nice parks there (at least in the area where I lived) and there’s a local IKEA (which was a boon for me).
I’m sure there are some nasty parts of the town too, but I didn’t go to those places.
For your reference, I was living in western Taoyuan City, not too far from the number 1 highway.
To get to Taipei you can either take the slow poke train from the main train station, or the high-speed rail, but that train station is out in the sticks, although there’s supposedly a shuttle bus that goes there, but it didn’t go past where I lived. You’re stuck with using bus otherwise, although most of the big supermarkets have free shuttle buses, which might come in handy and Taxi isn’t that expensive in Taiwan.
Some Canadian guy opened up a Pizza place there a little while ago (haven’t visited it, as it too happened around the time we left) and Debbie’s is a great little diner for weekend brunch.
Yes, it’s not Taipei and you’re going to want a mate or two that lets you use their sofa on the weekends if you want to party in Taipei, as that’s the biggest downer in Taoyuan. You’ll also want to head into Taipei from time to time to get some stuff you can’t get in Taoyuan.
Also, one good thing is that you can either get a bigger place for the same rent money, or a cheaper place compared to Taipei.
Ok, the part about the beetle nut girls is actually true…

Any place close to an HSR shuttle bus stop, anywhere in the 'wan, is OK. How can I say this without qualification? Trust me. HSR is your magic carpet.

Thank you for all your helpful comments! Now I’m definitely sure Taoyuan is not where I want to live LOL. I’d rather pay more for rent and be somewhere civilized (not a ‘dump’ lol) and fun.

Hopefully everything works out for me. I just picked up my 60 day visitor visa from the TECO office today. I’m excited!

If any of you know of Cram Schools in Taipei City/Taipei County hiring, let me know! I’m still looking :slight_smile:

Coming to a new country it’s not nice to insult where millions of people live by calling it a dump (at least until after you lived there!), when it provides jobs for a lot of people who can’t jobs in their home country. Taoyuan has lots of working families, people can be more genuine than stuck-up Taipei folks.
It may not be the best place in the world but it’s certainly better than lots of other places in your home country I’m sure. As other posters pointed out Taoyuan can be a heap of fun…too much fun for some folks if you know what I mean.
Taoyuan is a big area incorporating Taoyuan city, other cities and Taoyuan county, parts of which are really nice. Taoyuan’s weather is much better than Taipei’s in general, more wind, fresher air. No public transport and rougher in general than Taipei. Beside Taoyuan there is a city callen NanKan, many foreign English teachers live there, it is a newer area, nicer apts, huge modern mall (Tai Mall) lots of schools (fastest growing kid pop’n in Taiwan seemingly) easy to go in and out on the bus (less than 1 hour to Taipei).

I think the best bet for you is Taipei County, look for a job at the end of the MRT lines or just beyond the end…XinDian, Shenkeng, PanChiao, Tamshui, ShiZr, parts of NeiHu. The other way which may work for you is just calling into places and get lucky, stuff always comes up…

Taoyuan is often referred to as the armpit of Taiwan. :laughing:

I lived in Nankan for 2 years and it’s not that bad. There are some nice apartments there for the price of a shitty studio in Taipei. Also, the buses to and from Taipei are quick (30min.) and very frequent. I worked in Taipei for a bit while still living in Nankan and the commute is doable. If you live near the bus stop on the main road in Nankan you don’t need a scooter. A cab from Taipei costs about $700 so if you split it with your friends it’s cheap and you don’t have to sleep on someone’s couch after a night of partying.

Really, well I guess the petroleum factory on the outskirts of the industrial zones surrounding the suburban areas blows all the pollutants away. :unamused:

FYI I never called it a “dump”. I wrote that in reference to what another poster had said.

I’ve been living in Taoyuan for more than 18 months now. If I had my choice, I wouldn’t live here or Taipei. Taipei does have all the exciting big city things, though it’s ridiculously expensive. As has been pointed out, you’d be better living in Taipei County than Taipei City if you want to save more money. Anyway, I’d prefer to live on the east coast, but it’s work and my girlfriend’s studies that keep me here.

In terms of Taoyuan, much of what has been pointed out is true. It looks to me like it has expanded very rapidly (and there’s a fair bit of construction on the outskirts where I am). Thus, transportation has been poorly planned. Invariably, buses will quickly hit roads that are single lanes each way, where they will have to compete with all the other traffic, plus the general overflow of pedestrians from night markets and so on. I can, at times, walk three quarters of the way home from the train station (before the road widens) faster than a bus. Yes, it’s that bad. I am lucky in that I live close to where I work, and I cycle.

Getting too and from Taipei and having a late night does mean either a taxi ride (and 700NT would be a very cheap ride) or crashing on someone’s sofa. The train is not too slow to Taipei, but it’s getting to the train station that’s the hassle. Likewise, there’s a really good bus that goes to Taipei from Chuenr Road, but you have to get there first.

As has been mentioned, there’s not a lot of nightlife in Taoyuan City, at least not much that I like. Your best bet would be one of the two Thai Discos. There’s one fully-fledged club (Kila) in Taoyuan, but it blows more than clubs normally blow. There are plenty of bars, though most won’t be happening places, and those that are (Waikiki, Monster, etc.) typically have cover bands that play a mix of Chinese and Western songs (think Bon Jovi, GNR, Eagles, etc.). I’m yet to see anything original.

The eating is fine here, in the main. There are enough Western style dinners and pizzerias, as well as fast food outlets, though I don’t go to them. I go to the local Taiwanese places and they’re pretty standard, which is to say cheap and good (though many foreigners don’t like Taiwanese food). My main issue would be with the lack of other types of restaurants. There’s plenty of Thai and Japanese to be found, and there’s a big south-east Asian section behind the train station. However, there’s only one Indian place, and it’s expensive and not that great. As far as I can tell, there’s no Mexican or Middle Eastern.

I’m not a big shopper, but there’s the usual collection of tatty shit for sale everywhere. In fact, downtown Taoyuan kind of looks like it’s one big sale out of the back of someone’s car. There are also three department stores downtown, as well as the afore-mentioned Tai Mall (pretty poor as malls go) in Nankan. There’s a little cinema downtown, as well as one at Tai Mall. There’s a very cheap cinema in Zhongyuan (near Zhongli), though I don’t know how you’d get there by public transport. As has been mentioned, there’s an Ikea, and there are also a few very large supermarkets. There are two Carrefours in Taoyuan, and another in Neili, and I think one in Zhongli too. There’s also a Geant.

In terms of the countryside, there are places like Shimen Reservoir and some decent mountains, though you do have to get a fair way out of Taoyuan to anywhere beautiful (and Tigerhead Mountain doesn’t really count). The beaches are disgusting, which reminds me to mention the general pollution in Taoyuan. The river is pretty disgusting, although there are a fair number of parks here, and some of them are quite nice. Tigerhead Mountain isn’t too bad, and it’s not too far away, though the views aren’t great.

Recreationally, I don’t know what people do around here (especially without wheels). I spend my weekends on the east coast surfing usually, and feel quite depressed upon my Sunday night return to Taoyuan. Need I say more?

I really don’t think Taoyuan is a great place to live, though it’s much cheaper than Taipei. I have a pretty large living room, kitchen, laundry, balcony, and two bedrooms (one is very big) with a bathroom each. I pay 9,000NT/month, plus 1,200/NT/month for security, etc. My friends in Taipei are paying probably 50% more (at least) for dog boxes. If you go out to eat, your standard meal will be probably 10% cheaper (at least). So, money is the appeal for Taoyuan, plus the availability of jobs. They’re plentiful here.

I live in Jhongli Taoyuan county and it’s probably a shithole, that’s what others here are saying. No idea if that is true, it’s dark when I come home, I park the car, walk the dogs (OK, there is everywhere garbage but the dogs love that) and then go to sleep.

People on the street stop their cars next to me, scroll down the window and utter some atakki takki toga adoah tokka tik tok stuff to me**** which I basically ignore. It’s much worse when they sing it (Karaoke).

No idea if we have nightlife, I guess fiddling with the Hakka culture would be fun in the atakki takki adoah tonga tokka way and getting an empty bottle on the skull would surely make me sleep better… :ponder: :ohreally:

[only kidding, it’s great here, mythical paradise, dream come true, garden of Eden]

**** strangely the cars are always white.

On this forum, everywhere is often referred to as the armpit of Taiwan. Foreigners in Tianmu sneer at Neihu, Neihu looks down on Shilin, Xinyi sneers at Wanfang, Wanfang says ‘At least we’re not Muzha’, Muzha says ‘Been to Banaqiao?’, Banqiao says ‘Xinzhuang, that is all’. And so it goes on.

It’s almost certain that if anyone posts a thread asking if location X is a good place to live, someone will come along and say it’s ‘the armpit of Taiwan’. It doesn’t matter where. It’s all ‘armpit’, according to the collective wisdom of Forumosa.

On this forum, everywhere is often referred to as the armpit of Taiwan. Foreigners in Tianmu sneer at Neihu, Neihu looks down on Shilin, Xinyi sneers at Wanfang, Wanfang says ‘At least we’re not Muzha’, Muzha says ‘Been to Banaqiao?’, Banqiao says ‘Xinzhuang, that is all’. And so it goes on.

It’s almost certain that if anyone posts a thread asking if location X is a good place to live, someone will come along and say it’s ‘the armpit of Taiwan’. It doesn’t matter where. It’s all ‘armpit’, according to the collective wisdom of Forumosa.[/quote]

To an extent. I wouldn’t put anywhere I’ve been in Taiwan even remotely in the top one hundred such places I’ve been in the world. That is to say that no beach here would compare to one of an infinite number of beaches in Australia, for instance. I really like Toucheng (Ilan County), but I know what it is. That said, I wouldn’t even remotely call it the armpit of Taiwan. I could definitely rank some places here over others. I’m sure we could probably draw a fairly broad consensus too, rivalries aside. Few people here would rate Kending as the armpit of Taiwan, for instance, even if they have some local pride for where they live.

Taoyuan’s appeal really does lie in the fact that you can rack up some cash here. It’s not modern or cosmopolitan really. It lacks a laid back feel. It doesn’t have beautiful scenery. It’s about the cash.