Q: What is it like in Taiwan?


#1

HI! First post at this forum!! This site is very useful, given me much insight on Taiwan.

I’m a Australian-born-Chinese student, currently studying in Melbourne, Australia. I’m planning to go to Taiwan next year to study Mandarin for a few months. I was just wondering what you guys think of Taiwan. I visited HK recently, found the pollution unpleasant - may be i’m just use to the clean, fresh air Melbourne provides.
I’m very nervous about going to Taiwan, I dont know any Mandarin (but speak fluent Cantonese). So how did you guys cope with moving to Taiwan? If you had the choice, would you move to Taiwan again?
Lastly, any tips?

Thankx


#2

My motivation for moving to Taipei wasn’t to learn Chinese (but I see that it is agood place to learn Mandarin). For work, I think it is dissapointing. And the quality of life in Taipei is very poor (it is an expensive city to live in, and little to keep you busy outside of the office). In my opinion, HK is an infinitely more liveable city, and Taipei has about the same level of pollution. I’d definitely suggest looking at the place first, before you decide.

If I had the time again, I’d have gone to Shanghai. It is 1000% more interesting than Taipei, and at least people have heard of it. There’s a reason why 400,000 Taiwanese are working in Shanghai.

Just my views, but although I like the Taiwanese a lot, I’m not intending to set up camp permanently in Taiwan!

Good luck with your decision & study!


#3

i just moved here a little over a month ago to study mandarin at ntnu. i had been here many times before, so it wasn’t exactly like i was new to it. if you can’t handle the pollution, i’m not sure how you’d like living here. unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of air pollution. every once in a while you catch a whiff of a strong sewer smell. and the streets and buildings will not be anywhere as nice and clean as the stuff you’re used to seeing in oz.

cost of living here is cheap, imo. besides drinks at bars and clubs(which for some reason are usually insanely priced) food and drink are cheaper than the us. i find rent to be cheaper than any big city in the us and i’m going to assume it’s much cheaper than rent in hk, though the falling real estate prices might have made the market there better.

i find taipei to be a fun city. unlike nfi, i think there’s a ton of stuff to do here.

if you enjoy chinese food, you’ll love taiwan. food is everywhere and cheap. i’m putting together a website about taipei street food. when i get done with it, i’ll post the address to this board.

it’ll be difficult to get around at first because most locals don’t speak english that well, but you should know enough chinese after a few weeks to be able to get around and stuff.


#4
quote:
Originally posted by NFI: My motivation for moving to Taipei wasn't to learn Chinese (but I see that it is agood place to learn Mandarin). For work, I think it is dissapointing. And the quality of life in Taipei is very poor (it is an expensive city to live in, and little to keep you busy outside of the office). In my opinion, HK is an infinitely more liveable city, and Taipei has about the same level of pollution. I'd definitely suggest looking at the place first, before you decide.

If I had the time again, I’d have gone to Shanghai. It is 1000% more interesting than Taipei, and at least people have heard of it. There’s a reason why 400,000 Taiwanese are working in Shanghai.


I disapprove of NFI’s view HK is a more livable city to live in comparing with Taipei. My experience visiting to Hong Kong gave me an impression HK is quite a boring place except the Ocean Park. Someone else may feel like going shopping there a lot, but truly, there is rarely interesting places and quite a small place, only Taipei city, our capital of Taiwan, is much bigger than HK, no less to say the great Taipei (including Taipei county) and the whole Taiwan, and therefore, here has more interesting things to do.

Yes, NFI is correct that lots of people work and invest in Mainland China instead of Taiwan now, but that’s because of the cheaper labour cost. If you are sure the pay for your work is reasonable compared to what foreigners get (including Taiwan), you could choose to go there first.

Taiwan is an excellent place to study Mandarin, and people here are very friendly as well. You will not regret of studying here.

Jennifer Chen in Taipei


#5

Before Asiaweek magazine went defunct last year, they had an annual feature which surveyed Asia’s Best Cities. In 1999, Taipei was ranked #2, and in 2000 they ranked #4. Although the information is old, I think it’s still somewhat helpful. Notice that Taipei’s pollution stats are better than Hong Kong’s.


#6
quote[quote]mobiles per 1,000: 522[/quote] This seems factually incorrect, even two years ago...
quote[quote] unemployment rate % 2.8[/quote] Not anymore.
quote:
education spending per cap /$ 1,085 Rank: 1
But this seems dead on.

#7

Hi ausborn:

I personally prefer Taipei compared to HK, if you know fluent Cantonese, it’ll be easier to learn Mandarin, because a lot of words sound similar

About the pollution, I also come from a clean country, but that’s not a big deal, you’ll get used to it, the people are nice and there’s a lot of place to go, if you’ll study full-time

The transportation is also very convenient, you can take the bus or MRT if you are in Taipei

HK is too crowded, it’ll cause you a big headache when you’re not used to see so many people around that’s why I prefer 1000 times Taipei compared to HK

If you are a tech fan, there’s a lot of cheap stuff you can buy, specially those “made in Taiwan”

I heard the Internet access is pretty bad in Australia, but here you can fly at high speed

Cheers,


#8

ausborn, listen mate, you CAN’T buy VB here. So buy a couple of slabs at the airport and I’ll fix you up when we get here. Oh yeah, I wan’t some Aussie rules matches on DVD (must suppoet zone 3). Drop an email when you get here, and I’ll have a beer with ya. Go Hawks.


#9

Thankx for all the replies, I’ve gotten a little more confident in going to Taiwan. It’s nice to read different types of opinions…NFI, you scared me a little with your reply, but I value your suggestion. Thankx.
Flipper, looking forward to your website…I love Taiwanese food (sorta a reason why I want to go to Taiwan ). It wont do any good for my diet tho.
Jennifer88, I didnt find Ocean Park to be much fun…but i did like the cable car ride!
Chichodude, which country do you come from? the internet access over here isnt that bad, but it could be a lot better! HK was a little too crowded for my liking, so its good to hear that Taiwan isnt the same.
Amos, you sound like the typical aussie guy. Loves his beer and footy!! I’m not a big fan of both (sorry). But its great to hear from an aussie.

Thankx again…you guys have been very helpful


#10

I love Taiwanese food

The best Taiwanese food is found outside of Taiwan, me thinks. Unless you like smelly tofu and the like …

Well, Taipei is a bit of a mess, crowded, polluted and expensive - but managable. Else I wouldn’t be here anymore.
Sure, there are better places but in the end it all depends what you want or expect and how you can adapt yourself.


#11
quote:
Originally posted by Rascal: [b]I love Taiwanese food [/b]

The best Taiwanese food is found outside of Taiwan, me thinks. Unless you like smelly tofu and the like …


Well, people in Taipeh really seem to suffer…
Get out of Taipei and move southwards, things taste much better there…


#12
quote:
Originally posted by Rascal: [b]I love Taiwanese food [/b]

The best Taiwanese food is found outside of Taiwan, me thinks. Unless you like smelly tofu and the like …


Where outside Taiwan? You mean like Taiwanese food in Poland?


#13

Taipei is a great place to visit on a sunny weekend, but don’t assume it’s the only choice for language learning or the best food. The language center at Cheng-Kong University in Tainan is excellent. The rent here is half that of Taipei and (knock on wood) we haven’t had the drought that has plagued Taipei these recent months. The sports facilities are numerous and the weather is almost always better in the south.
Taipei offers a fun night life, but the days are sweet in the south.


#14

Where outside Taiwan? You mean like Taiwanese food in Poland?

Malaysia. Used to go to a Taiwanese restaurant in KL once in a while and the food was great, IMHO Chinese food there in general tastes much better than most food I have tried here in Taipei (haven’t been out of town much yet).
Though some places are ok but they are more up-scale.

Well, maybe my taste buds are at fault, but I am not too impressed with Taiwanese food even though everybody (especially the Taiwanese) keep on telling it’s the best …


#15
quote:
Originally posted by ausborn: I'm very nervous about going to Taiwan, I dont know any Mandarin (but speak fluent Cantonese). So how did you guys cope with moving to Taiwan? If you had the choice, would you move to Taiwan again?

I lived in HK for a year and spent 5 months in Taipei. Both experience were great. However, I’d say Taiwan comes out ahead despite it being a bit less advance and less multiculture than HK.

The decisive thing is the people. Taiwanese are more friendly compare with people in Hong Kong. Nothing against HK people, I have many HK friends.

Don’t expect Taipei to be anything near Melbourne as far as the beauty, cleanliness. Otherwise, you’d become a jaded and bitter old women like…well, you know who.


#16

Taipei is amazing! I first came to Taiwan about 6 years ago. I stayed for a couple of years then did tours of Thailand and Japan. 2 years ago I decided to come back to Taipei, which brings me to my point, I love it here! I have my complaints of course but far less than I had living in Bangkok or Japan… Btw, I’m Ausborn too but not of Chinese lineage.