Retirement in Taiwan

I suggest listing out your requirements so the mob on Forumosa can give you some suggestions.

For example, I retired in Hualien on the east coast. I like the area but would not recommend this to someone who likes nice restaurants and going to the movies to watch a new movie.

Have you ever been to Taiwan?

I heard down south is the best for retirement.

I heard joining a tribe in the mountains is fun.


Taipei has great public transport no car or scooter needed but weather is terrible most of the time. Most other places will need or want one of those.

The visa issue wouldn’t be a concern for you, but I try and cover all major points in this post:

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Living expenses are quite manageable.

does she have family still in Taiwan?
if yes, she may have an opinion.
otherwise, Kaohsiung or Tainan are big enough to enjoy metropolitan life and way way cheaper than Taipei.

My dream was to retire in a farm and make it a cat haven. Alas, the reality of old age is that you can barely take care of yourself, let alone of Others. So what you need to consider is the support group you require.

It would be better to live in the city, close to convenient public transportation -free if you are over 65- no driving required, close to amenities and more importantly, hospitals -thank God for Taiwan’s accessible care. There are lots of community centers and entertainment options for the retired, however, it would need you to start learning Chinese.

As stated, funds are not such a problem, banking and visas are, in that order. Opening an account is challenging, my condolences if you are from the U.S. Marriage gives you a visa as long as you are married so please plan for eventualities. You do not want to be deported at 80 because your wife went to heaven ahead of you.


Wow, I never thought about getting deported because of my wife passing away. I guess if that happens then I would need to leave every six months if I wanted to stay in Taiwan

I have been to Taiwan during December, but it has been 20 years.

Things important to me
Access to good medical care
Public transportation
Good weather
Restaurants/good food
Clean Air
Not too noisy
Places to walk/hike
Not too expensive (USD$3,000-4,000 monthly)

I think some items on the list could be contradictory. For example, a great public transportation system will be noisy.

I think Taipei offers the most, but is very hot and much more expensive than other cities

Taichung is cooler and the mountains protect it from typhoons. It is also an hour to the north and south of the island

I have heard that much of the pollution in Taichung is actually from China.

How bad is the pollution if I like to walk around the cities?

I have heard that all of Taiwan is very safe

Taipei has the best healthcare, but what about the other cities?

Good internet is important too. Does all cities have good internet speeds? Is it expensive?

most here are still using dial-up modems, CRT screens, and 2G Motorola flip-phones.
We make do.
This reply took nearly 15 minutes to upload.

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Ha! The internet speeds are sooo much better than North America (and cheaper) … It’s funny really.

reihua, your posts and questions suggest that you’re someone who hasn’t spent a great deal of time in TW, certainly not over the past 20 years.

I wouldn’t jump into TW without having spent at least three months wandering around the country discovering the answers to some of your questions for yourself.

Experience the healthcare, the food, the traffic, the environment and - most importantly - the Taiwanese culture for yourself. Then you’d be far better placed to make your decision, one which will affect you for the remainder of your life.

Some love TW. Some hate it. You need to form your own opinion, not give weight to the opinions of others however well-meaning they are.

Best of luck. I wish you a long and happy retirement wherever you choose to put down roots.


The metro is quiet - and frankly, Taipei has a world-class public transport system that puts most places to shame. Buses are loud but then again, so are the streets. Most cities in Taiwan are noisy, but you can find many places to live that are in the lanes and backstreets and they’re much quieter - depending on how ignorant your neighbors are. The biggest barrier to enjoying silence indoors is that houses in Taiwan aren’t built for sound insulation.

It’s just not true. Taichung’s pollution is mostly home-grown. There’s a massive coal-fired power plant down the road and the low rainfall in Taichung (outside of typhoons or the plum-rain season means the air never gets cleaned. Taichung is often swelteringly hot, just like the rest of Taiwan.

I think Taipei checks off most of the items on your list - even including accessible hiking (near 101 for example - you can get there by bus/metro and it’s within the city limits). It’s not hotter than the rest of the country though it is more likely to rain there than in say Taichung (carry an umbrella), and considering it’s a big city, the air is generally better than the other cities in Taiwan (not better than the east coast however).

Taipei’s expenses are primarily in rent. The other items aren’t significantly more expensive than other cities in Taiwan, and if you’re worrying about a bowl of crappy noodles costing 50c more than it does in Taichung, you’re worrying about the wrong things.

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oh boy…introducing him to this hornet’s nest

Eh please factor that at a certain age, getting on a plane is no longer viable.

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Uhm… You’ll certainly be ok with this budget anywhere here, even in Taipei.

If public transportation is a priority, then I feel Taipei is by far the best possibility.

I guess finding a place in the outskirts of Taipei would fit: somewhere near an mrt, but closer to the hills or Yangminshan. Neihu, shilin, tienmu, nangang come to mind. Depends a bit on how much you plan to use the mrt vs. hiking to the close by nature.

True, the weather is better (as in: less rain) more south, but then I feel it is not as hot here in the north as many other places.

The air quality in Taipei supposedly is not great, but I rarely felt uncomfortable. Maybe it’s better wherecinlice, a bit closer to the hills, and away from main streets?

Internet is awesome, worst case just use 4g. All cities should he fine.

After living in Taiwan on a marriage visa (jfrv) for 5 years (more than 183 days per year) one can get an aprc, which means death of spouse or divorce won’t affect your ability to stay here legally.


you should get APRC after 5 years of residency.

if your plan is to stay in Taiwan even if you might become alone before the 5 years, you can get a work based ARC as an English teacher until you get APRC if you have a degree, or can do naturalization after 3 years if you can renounce your original nationality.

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The OP is American and planning to retire, so most likely he won’t want to go this route, as renouncing his US citizenship will result in a loss of Social Security benefits.