Rent: Depending on your standards, DIY abilities, proximity of your apartment to the downtown area, etc. you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000NT/month to $55,000NT/month. I pay 15k, which gets me a rooftop apartment with a 12 ping bedroom, a 10 ping living room, a summer kitchen/bathroom (A little weird & took some getting used to), and a large patio space. I renovated at my own expense what was originally a pretty dumpy little place in exchange for a permanent rent freeze. The place looks pretty good now, I think. The location is a little bit outside of the downtown area, but not yet into Taipei County. I’m also very close to a MRT (subway) station.
By contrast, a very good friend of mine (who coincidentally is half French, half Singaporean)lives in a western-standard apartment on Anhe Road, which is a fantastic location in Taipei. Total size is about 30 pings, hardwood floors, western kitchen, etc. and he pays $55,000NT/month.
I don’t know about squash in Taipei at all.
Thanks to Taiwan’s recent WTO entry, as of July 1st of this year, big bikes will be legal to import, buy and ride. Until then, 150cc’s is all you can get. Hard to believe, but for city riding, it’s actually ok. I still feel like I’m riding a toy, though.
Taiwanese racism towards foreigners is less overt if you are a western foreigner, and even then it tends to be racism stemming from ignorance more than anything else. Towards others, particularly towards southeast Asians, the racism gets a little worse. Some people look down their noses at darker-skinned asians as being foreign labourer types. I imagine that you will pick social circles where this kind of thinking doesn’t exist. There are of course, a lot of enlightened, sophisticated locals here also - you just have to find them.
If I wanted to jump into a nice lifestyle in Taipei, I’d want to make over 90K a month minimum. If you don’t mind achieving that nice lifestyle over a longer period of time, you can do nicely with as little as 50k, as long as you’re watching your wallet. Add half that again if you’re supporting your gf here. These are rough estimates only. Some people need much more and others much less to have a happy life here.
Taipei is actually a pretty great place if you know how to “work” it. Welcome, and good luck!