My Thoughts About Taiwan After 1.5 Years


So I want to bitch why I’m leaving Taiwan.

Ideally, you may also get some perspective before you decide to move here.

Long story short, I’ve been here for 1.5 years. I have not worked a single day in Taiwan so I have enjoyed it mostly as a tourist.

The problem with Taiwan is that it is boring. Like really boring. The fact that this island was isolated can be seen with ease in how most people live and deal with you.

Sure, people are kind, I must give that to them but after a while, you just end up frustrated at their lack of “getting it”. You go to a doctor and you feel like the doctor doesn’t give a fuck about you and then you have to play “whack a mole” until you find a good one.

Or you make friends here and you realize that most people in Taiwan love their comfort zone and what’s considered normal in other parts of the world, here is extraordinary. And things like this.

In the first three - six months, everything is awesome.

Wow, 7 / 11 and you can buy this. Wow, you can go hiking. Wow, high speed train to Taipei and back. Wow, wow, wow.

It’s like watching a tv show that starts very strong and you want to binge watch it because it feels awesome. But after 10 - 20 episodes, you realize that it is not going anywhere and even if it is more of the same, there’s little substance to it.

From time to time, I find something that makes me feel amazing here, like this girl that gave me a ride for 20 kilometers on her scooter after I’ve got lost. And if every day would be like this, I’d learn Mandarin and move here.

But most days feel almost depressing because there is so much shallowness in everything around. The entire Asian idea of having face bothers me the most as nobody does anything because they’re afraid of failing and looking stupid.

So I don’t think it’s a good place to be long term. Sure, for the price you’re paying here, you’re getting a first world country treatment. The infrastructure is great and everything works. You know you are safe and this is one of those countries in which you can forget your backpack in the park and nobody will steal it.

I’ve actually forgotten things and I’ve recovered them safely.

But it lacks heart, it lacks soul. This is something that the Philippines and Thailand has a lot more. Sure, the Philippines are a shit hole for most part but at least, something happens there. Taiwan is like Korea, people who are forced by society to act in a certain way and which are afraid to do anything outside of their script.

I understand that all of this is very subjective. I came to Taiwan after I ran out of money for traveling around the world. I’ve found it a great country for focusing on my next move and for getting my life back on track.

But … to be honest, looking back, I feel like my last 1.5 years in Taiwan were a waste of time. I can’t say I have any great memories here or that I’ve made any great friends. I can’t say anything touched my heart. I’ve even met about 40 people, one at a time, through a language exchange site and I always felt alone in this country.

Is this bitching?

I guess so. I’m happy that I’m leaving this place. But it’s also something I wish someone told me before I came here. When I first came to Taiwan, everyone said only good things about it and how Taiwan is the best place in Asia to be.

And I’ve kept expecting that to happen. I’ve tried the food, I tried the dating scene, I’ve tried traveling and hiking (to be honest, hiking here is amazing, better than anywhere else in the world). I’ve went to local libraries and went to bars and to Internet Cafes.

And here I am, asking myself why the hell I haven’t moved to Thailand instead. It feels like Taiwan, living in Taiwan is a marriage with a spouse for which you don’t feel anything.

You don’t have any reason to argue or to hate her but you don’t have any reason to love her either. It’s just the land of “not bad enough, not good enough either” and this is before you add all the frustrations and the “fuck, I hate this way of dealing with people so much” that comes when you try to get something done here in Taiwan.

I think that if I actually had to work here, as get a teaching job or whatever job, I’d dislike it even more. At least I had nobody telling me what to do.

I guess that’s all. I admit it - it’s just bitching, I just want to meet other people who feel like me :slight_smile:



Such as?


Good bye and good luck.


Are you sure Taiwan is to blame?


You do realize the country of Taiwan, it’s not like Westworld, it wasn’t created just to offer you a deep and meaningful experience.

The Philippines and Thailand will give you more “bang” for your buck, sure. That’s because those two countries actually are set up as tourist destinations.


I was going to type my typical rambling reply but I’ll keep it short. I agree with a lot of your complaints here

However I’ve been here quite a bit longer and have come to realize, to use a cliché
Its not you its me …

We have a different personality style that doesn’t suit Taiwan so much or we had expectations of it that didn’t match the reality and that’s why everything grates on us. And that’s OK, that’s just a personality culture clash.
There are likely hundreds of posts on this site where people came here, hated it in the first week, and pulled a runner the week after. So it’s not only you.
The best thing to do is move on to a place that fits you more.

Now as to why I’m still here? No idea


I get where you’re coming from. Im ABC speak Taiwanese fluently and I felt the same after a few yrs here.


I am here for the fast and cheap internet :grin:


@ The Bear - no, it is not, but it’s also overrated as fuck. That was my entire point. When I came here, I expected the world and I’ve soon realized that once the magic wears off, there’s not much reason for joy here.

@ EE - Yes, I agree it is a personality thing.

Yes, I agree that for some people, Taiwan is amazing as it is a quiet place that fits their personality. I still find that way too many people came here, slept with some cute Asian girl and then considered this country heaven on Earth, when it is far from it.

It’s like the most over rated country I’ve ever been to in my life. This doesn’t make it bad but I think it’s time people recognize it for what it is, not for what they want to see in it. The irony is that for a long time, I praised this country for how good it is, simply because saying otherwise, would have made me contradict myself.


many people living here may recognize taiwan for what it is. Most of tourists may not stay here for 1.5 years.


If you hear fairy tale stories about a country then you should question it and not book a flight.

Your thoughts could be applied to any country. In the beginning everything is new and interesting. After a while the reality sets in.

I’ve lived in lots of countries around the world and same applies to anywhere. Each place has up and downsides and gets boring after a while.

Taiwan has nothing that would be a deal breaker (unless commies invade)


Oh ok, you are just in phase 2 of the “getting used to live in another culture” process. No worries, after you move to another country it will start over again.

Phase 1: Yay!
Phase 2: Oh this is the worst
Phase 3: Working it out and finding happiness within yourself instead of it being dependent on the outside world.
Phase 4: Good now


It’s a conservative Asian culture, the people here work very hard, put in long hours at work, and put family above everything. What did you expect?


wookin pa nub…


Anyone who moves somewhere and can’t speak the language shouldn’t go in expecting very much, especially when you don’t even have a reason for being there. One and a half years with no goal is too much.


dunno if you’re bitching about taiwan or your life.
can’t really imagine how someone could go by 1.5 years without having worked a single day.
anyway, maybe find a purpose in your life so that you stop wasting it.


Seems to me buddy could have avoided “wasting” a year and a half of life by just looking on here and seeing the dozens of identical whine-orials by other tourists…


This sounds like your main problem. I came to Taiwan with no expectations or preconceived notions, and I still find it a good place to live decades later.

If you feel like you’ve completely wasted 1.5 years here, the fault is clearly your own. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to stay. Nice Tourism Bureau tie-in, by the way. Anyway, you’re probably still young and there are nearly 200 countries out there for you to try on for size. Good luck finding one that suits you better.


Pro life tips:

  • Keep yourself busy doing something you like. Even better if it pays your bills.
  • Try to learn new things
  • Don’t focus on negative experiences. Shit happens.
  • Have people around you who really care about you


Great point. Maybe being a tourist for 1.5 years is guaranteed to make you unhappy? :thinking: