Renting a traditional townhouse in Tainan

Hi there.

How does one go about looking for small townhouses to rent in Tainan? My wife and I are looking into renting a renovated traditional small house in Tainan, ideally in a quiet alley. There a bunch on Airbnb but those are for short term stays. And it’s difficult to find such kind of housing on 591.

We have been living in Taipei for the past 2 years but are now considering taking a job in Tainan.

Thank you all.

Like, a western style townhouse?

Do you have photo examples of what you are looking for?

Hi Marco, thanks.
I don’t have super strong feelings about any style in particular but perhaps I would be looking for traditional Taiwanese or Japanese-colonial time style. But any townhouse that has been nicely renovated could work. Here are some quick examples:

I was thinking that perhaps people living in Tainan would know of a rental agency or similar that would have this kind of buildings for rent.

Thank you.

Well. The ones you have shown me are really nice Japanese houses. These kinds of buildings, including the ugly Kuomintang ones of the 70s are called ‘Apartments’ or Gongyu 公寓 in Chinese.

They are definitely going to be expensive, as they are often in old city centres. On 591, you should select 整棟 if buying, and looking for 整棟 if renting, 591 doesn’t have this option for renters. Ask local real estate agents as well.

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you can message the host on airbnb and negotiate a long term stay. the word “line” isn’t blocked on the messaging feature.

Thanks. I thought of doing that. The “problem” of the houses on Airbnb is that since they are thought for short-term stays, the kitchen is usually too basic or they are heavily decorated. But I will definitely try to contact few hosts, that’s a good suggestion. Many examples of the “townhouses” on Airbnb can be found here:–Tainan-City–Taiwan/homes?tab_id=home_tab&refinement_paths%5B%5D=%2Fhomes&source=structured_search_input_header&search_type=filter_change&min_beds=2&min_bathrooms=1&property_type_id%5B%5D=2&property_type_id%5B%5D=11&property_type_id%5B%5D=36&property_type_id%5B%5D=38&place_id=ChIJK_I1UZN2bjQRnLZaGDT61Rw&room_types%5B%5D=Entire%20home%2Fapt

Thanks, I did find some houses by writing 公寓 on 591. Regarding the local real estate agents, do you happen to know any that would rent this kind of townhouses?

Unfortunately I live in Greater Taipei.

Just go to the major ones you see.

Century 21
Taiwan house
Pacific realtors


I live in 50 year old place in Kaoshuing, 3 floor home. Found it by riding scooter/bike/ walking the smaller alleys and looking for sale/rent signs until I found one I liked and with my price. There are message boards with rental notices (traditional ads for a traditional house)

Thanks. What kind of message boards? Where can I find them?

Can you speak/read Chinese?

When I was looking to rent a full house in Tainan, I just rode around on my scooter in the area I liked looking for “for rent” (出租) signs or banners on properties then got my friend to call to sort out a viewing for me.

I don’t speak Chinese but I could definitely do that. I was wondering, when you did that, was it easy to find different places by looking for signs? Were you able to find many options?

I almost bought a house in Tainan, I love Tainan so much, cool place to live, you will not regret.
One thing to consider is:

  1. Areas with flood, it happens once in a while, and it is bad.

What I would suggest is, you and your wife go to Tainan and visit any of these Agents you find on the street like (21 century), they will have a list of places to take you to take a look.

What I did last time was:

  1. What areas I would like to live?
  2. Visit those areas and looking for Agents (21 century and others).
  3. Visit the places to see if I like or not.

The rent is rather cheap if comparing with Taipei, I was looking for to buy so, I will give you an idea about price (Comparing with Taipei).
Taipei price = 30 million NTD
Tainan price = 10 million NTD

I saw two very nice traditional Japanese style places there and both were around 6 million NTD. I think based on these prices you can have an idea, rent is really cheap there if compare with Taipei.

Just keep in mind the air quality (or lack thereof) in Tainan - it’s regularly worse than most areas of Taipei -

Thanks for the thorough explanation. I did notice how much cheaper rents seem to be while browsing on 591. Could you comment on why you like Tainan so much? Have you lived in Taipei before? How would you compare the two cities? We actually like Taipei a lot, but this opportunity came up in Tainan, so we are considering it. We went to Tainan once but didn’t have much time to explore…

Thanks. Air quality is indeed a concern… Are people driving electric scooters in Tainan or is it very rare?

I live here in Taipei for 11 years already! I will try to make a list of things I like in Tainan.

  1. Cost of living, you get better things from less money. Better and big places to live as an example.
  2. Things are usually cheap, food, coffee and entertainment.
  3. People are more laid back, and I feel less rush in a daily basis.
  4. I feel Tainan more charming than Taipei, nice small alleys with their coffee shops and nice shops and restaurants.
  5. A lot of nature to explore in that area.
  6. The life there seems more calm than in any other big city in Taiwan.
  7. I feel not in a constant rush like I’ve in Taipei.
  8. You have a better weather, less rain and more sunny days.
  9. More local culture than in Taipei.
  10. People are nicer than here in the north.

I’m thinking to move to Taichung, although it is as big as Taipei city, I still feel less rush there and the days pass slower. Also, bigger places, and better life quality.

So, Tainan is fantastic, lots of things to explore there. I’m sure it has issues, and yes, Taipei is nice too, but nowadays I would prefer to live slower and with a better quality of life.

Hope it was helpful.

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There are electric scooters around, but you see fewer on the streets the further south you go in Taiwan. The batteries are available in many more places (gogoro) than even a year or so ago.
Tainan is not very centralised and has a bit of a lack of big supermarkets - but has a great blend of culture and traditional foods. You’d need your own transport, public transport is not great. All depends what type of environment you want to live.
It’s very hot in summer and air pollution is especially high in winter.

Very helpful! I totally see what you mean about wanting a slower life pace.

I won’t bother you more, but can you talk about your point #5: “A lot of nature to explore in that area.”? I like to go hiking and I’m curious about this.

By the way, I noticed in your nickname that you have Araújo in it. Portuguese?

I see.
Regarding the air pollution, any area/neighbourhood that would be healthier in that respect?