My Thoughts About Taiwan After 1.5 Years


This is what confuses me. Taiwan is vastly overrated by whom?! OK, if you do all your research though the Taiwan tourist bureau, but places like forumosa or reddit certainly don’t present Taiwan as a land of rainbows and unicorns. I enjoy living here, sure, but the only people I’ve met who speak of Taiwan so glowingly have usually just arrived in the country.

I do love how this post comes a day after this one from someone thinking of moving here:

Anyway, good luck with wherever you go next.


Looks like it’s time for a visit to Greeneland:

“I can’t say what made me fall in love with Taiwan - that a woman’s voice can drug you; that everything is so intense. The colors, the taste, even the rain. Nothing like the filthy rain in London. They say whatever you’re looking for, you will find here. They say you come to Taiwan and you understand a lot in a few minutes, but the rest has got to be lived. The smell: that’s the first thing that hits you, promising everything in exchange for your soul. And the heat. Your shirt is straightaway a rag. You can hardly remember your name, or what you came to escape from. But at night, there’s a breeze. The river is beautiful. You could be forgiven for thinking there was no war; that the gunshots were fireworks; that only pleasure matters. A pipe of opium, or the touch of a girl who might tell you she loves you. And then, something happens, as you knew it would. And nothing can ever be the same again.”


Is that quote from Felix or Graham?


Graham. The Quiet American.


You’re still in culture shock. Stay here for another ten years and tells us what you think then.


Yes. A lot.

But you’re allowed.

So why didn’t you let that become your thing? Did you hike every mountain in Taiwan?
Did that lead you to do hikes in nearby countries? Did you join a hiking club?

Taiwan IS boring and life is/can be easy, very easy if you do it right. It’s limited to a certain extent, but if you find one thing, hiking, scuba diving, biking, it can be extremely rewarding.

As for not finding good friends in 1.5 years…Taiwan is a transient place for expats. I stayed for 18 years and I lost a lot of good friends simply due to the fact that they bloody left. I’m watching a NZ friend of mine on FB oil a hundred year old door in his flat in Barcelona. Met him ten years in.

Good luck in the next chapter. Give it more time. :man_dancing:



His account got hacked…maybe.


I dunno if its really bitching entirely. I’ve lived here for a bit longer than you have, and feel somewhat similar.


I found that once I spoke Mandarin well, a lot of the “character” type complaints of the OP were untrue. And really, life is what you make it, wherever you are … But if a place isn’t working for you after a year and a half - then leave definitely.


California is my second home but it took years before I began to actually like it.

Something like ten years. I do speak English too but perhaps being able to speak Spanish would help


I shared most of your sentiment when I “fled” the country 18 years ago…it’s been 2 weeks now since my return, and I’ll be spending the next couple of years in Taipei, if not longer. I have my doubts, but things are good so far.

Having spent most of my adulthood in Berlin, the first thing that hit me after coming home was how familiar and friendly everyone is. The air is as bad as I remembered it, but the food even better. I love it that Taiwan has become more progressive – generally speaking – over the years, even though the economy seems to be in pretty bad shape. Sadly, most of my friends have left the island, and what you said about not having any close friends after living here for 1.5 years is getting me worried about my prospects of making new ones. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never see any of my favorite bands in Taiwan, and most of the people will not even have heard of them. Funky is gone, Roxy Vibe is gone, replaced by something flashier and more fake. Recreational drugs, after Christianity, seem to be the latest craze. And what’s with all the women being chopped up?

Anyways these are just some random impressions of my first 2 weeks back in Taiwan, but enough of the rambling. Like you, I also believed Taiwan lacked heart and soul when I left. But I’m coming back a different person: older, more experienced, and less cynical. Except for the humidity, I’m enjoying being home again. Let me get back to you in 1.5 years on whether I’ve found Taiwan’s heart and soul. You take care and good luck.


There’s barely any pollution over the last 2 weeks.


I think a place is often what you make it as well as factors beyond your control.

Making friends doesn’t just happen…you have to mingle and be active in approaching people.

And setting up things to do.

Friends are made , they don’t just happen.

They seem to in school but not so much in the real world .

First you have to find people with like interests.

It’s not easy , as we get older most become less adventurous and they become ensconced in their little circle of work and (little) play.

Most of us have many people we know but few friends.


And here’s where I stopped reading.


working and vacationing in a certain place are two different shoes. as a tourist i like taiwan very much, it’s cheap, convenient and reliable. but working here is another story, laobans are still cheap but very incovenient and unreliable.

i guess, OP’s problem was the duration of stay and the lack of activities. from my own experience, doing nothing or feeling like just wasting time in some place just drags you down. it makes the whole place around you and yourself included unbearable. move on, but don’t just move on to somewhere where you think life’s more exciting(such as thailand or the philippines, as you mentioned). if you want to strike roots somewhere, you need to learn the language and be interested in their culture otherwise every place you go will end up just like taiwan.

imo going back to my home has always been an eye opener for me. gave me an appreciation for both places.


Yeah the OP never even worked here!
Now that would have been a shock.

Don’t disagree with some of his points though, it’s fairly rare you meet somebody with a lot of individual p-zazz in Taiwan being such a conformist society. East Asia in general is like that.

Also people don’t celebrate enough here …Summer is just another work season.


summer is THE work season for many folks in thailand or philippines if you’ll pardon the pun. and yes, some of his points may hold some truth but they are not specific to taiwan. i’m not going to russia and spend a 1.5 year there without even trying to learn a bit of russian. and then wonder why i didn’t make any friends.


Agree 100% with that, it’s quite hard to make friends if you aren’t working with locals actually. Even if you are working it can be hard. There’s quite a culture gap never Mind the language.


celebrate what?

maybe because there’s no such thing as summer vacation for grown-ups?

making friends becomes more difficult as we get older is quite a common thing.

I guess Taiwan is just following the footsteps of western countries, being ultra-progressive and liberated.