Safe to Apartment hunt alone?


Two quick questions: Is it safe for a young(ish) woman to be apartment hunting alone in the ShiDa area? Or would I be better off looking for an apartment somewhere else? (I saw someone mention something about Ximen?) I do speak the language but I read simplified not traditional.

Also, how much should I expect to pay? (Don’t require much besides a bed, bath and AC unit. Kitchen would be nice but I’m flexible about it.)

I’m on a scholarship but I’m only been allotted ~18000NTD for ten weeks worth of rent.

Thank you!

NT$1800 That’s 60 US. That will pay your rent for 3 days at the cheapest hovel you can find.

I would bring a friend. Taiwan is not dangerousm but a bit of care is good, especially as you are new here.

In one word: NO

First of all, there is the language and culture issue. When we first got here -and we were 3 girls- we were conned twice into renting shitty places under terrible conditions. It was highway robery but we “wanted to be independent” ie. don’t ask for help.

The other thing, my dear, has to do with personal safety. Yes, this is a very safe place, but there are awful types around. It has happened before, and being a foreigner woman puts you in a disadvantage -ask somebody to tell you the story of the series of rapes in campus against foreign women almost a decade ago.

In a few words, there is no need for you to put your personal integrity -at worst- or your patience -at least- at risk. Ask for local help. Ask for someone savvy -those young students live sheltered lives, they will be conned easily and when someone locks the door after you, it is already too late.

Look for an amah, hopefully someone who can bargain and fight for you. At least, go to Tsui Mama, look for apartments on that list.

Taofans or studios go from 8 to 15 to 20 thousand. A shared room should be around 6 to 8 to … depending on the conditions. DO look for one with A/C… and an independent meter, hopefully.

Yes, this is a tremendously safe place, but apartment hunting puts you in a very vulnerable situation. We do not want you to start your experience in Taiwan with a misstep. As one of my friends says: it is not the “iwai” (accident) we fear, it is the “wan i” (one in a 10 thousand occurrence).

NT$1,800 or NT$18,000? Even a shared room in the Shida area will probably cost you more than NT$5,000 per month.
Hell, even a bunk bed in a dormitory will cost FAR more than NT$180 per week!

10 weeks’ rent in even a cockroach-infested shithole with no a/c will cost you around NT$10,000 at the very least.

When I looked for a room in the early 90’s, I was shown one really creepy place. It had this dark, gothic feel with old wooden panels, dark green carpets, and the landlord was very suspect to say the least. Would make the perfect setting for the horror movie “Renting a Room in Hell”.

Don’t go alone when looking for a flat.

to echo others, at the very least, having someone with you allows you not to be outnumbered/ganged up on, pressured to do the wrong thing. hell, you can even play good cop/bad cop.

Sorry - Typo.

Yes I meant $18,000

Well that’s good news, as that other price could have implied your daily ablutions, or secret film thereof, was supplementing the low rental.


Oh, that sounds doable, about 8 thousand per month for a newish shared room with A/C.

May I suggest the International House, too? (if there is still space available). It is a bit farther from Shida, but it offers its own bus service, door-to-door to the language center.

Your lungs will appreciate the fresh air, unless you want to spend the afternoons studying in Daan park, as we did all those years ago.

You should take someone with you – not really because of any danger to your person but because of very real danger to your wallet. A lot of people around keen to rip off young FOBs.

[quote=“Icon”]Oh, that sounds doable, about 8 thousand per month for a newish shared room with A/C.

May I suggest the International House, too? (if there is still space available). It is a bit farther from Shi-Da, but it offers its own bus service, door-to-door to the language center.

Your lungs will appreciate the fresh air, unless you want to spend the afternoons studying in Da’an park, as we did all those years ago.[/quote]

Well I’ve made a reservation for World Scholar House for when I first get there; it seemed more accessible. The only thing I’ve heard about International House is that they randomly go into your room and take stuff which, where come from, is theft and I’d rather not be stolen from.

I’d rather avoid a hostel if possible just because I have issues with sharing bathrooms.

Additionally, what is the procedure when renting/subletting. Is there a contract? Do you pay upfront?

I know of at least one Shida student who was raped by a landlord when she went to look at an apartment. It was many years ago, but it is still not a good idea.

Now, that’s weird. Who are “they”? Fellow students? Staff? A separate room should do the trick.

Bus 254 should get you straight to Shida from the World Scholar House Hostel.

Oof, maybe I’m really naive but I always dealt with everything myself/alone. I always had fab landlords in Taiwan.

It’s probably safer than most other places, but they will try and charge extra, especially if you are new. It’s normal to negotiate a bit.

The question is, are you willing to risk the 1 in 10 000 incident to not live your life with a chaperone? I certainly am.

[quote=“Icon”]Now, that’s weird. Who are “they”? Fellow students? Staff? A separate room should do the trick.

Bus 254 should get you straight to Shi-Da from the World Scholar House Hostel.[/quote]

Staff. I know it’s bad to make a decision based on one or two anecdotes but I found it really off putting.

Thank you for the bus information - Do you know which MRT stop is closest to World Scholar House by any chance?

Please don’t take this the wrong way but I find your statement offensive.

A woman who chooses to be careful with her own safety should hardly be accused of an inability to be independent - especially when she’s going half way across the world to a country she’s never been in. Women are raped, murdered, enslaved, traded, and victimized every day (so are men) - ignoring that fact is nothing if not stupid. Yes, there is a point at which paranoia becomes a trap but to dismiss all safety precautions is to be willfully ignorant.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve always been fine on your own - it reassures me and makes me feel a lot better about living in Taipei. However, I don’t think that gives you the right to pass judgment on me for asking.

I live in New York and have no qualms about apartment hunting around here by myself even though others might call me crazy because hey, it’s New York - but I’m ok doing that because I am familiar with the area and the language and can read the signs which tell me whether a situation is ok or not. In a different culture and context - I might miss those signs.

When I was in Boston, I knew it was ok to go look for apartments in Cambridge or by Symphony on my own and less ok to go to Roxburry or certain parts of Jamaica Plains without taking a friend along - I asked what I did because I wanted to know which category ShiDa/Da’an fell into.

So yeah, I choose to ask questions to ensure my safety because I’d rather not get raped/murdered/victimized - I don’t that warrants you implying that I’m either a child or a sheep.

Thank you for the heads up on the IH. I will follow up on this -it is the first time I hear about it- as is the officially recommended one to FOB students.

The closest MRT would be Chungshiao Hsingsheng, 20 minutes walking, but it belongs to the blue line. meaning you would need to go to Taipei Main Station, transfer to the green line, get off at Kuting or Taipower Building, and still walk 10 minutes to school. Meaning bus, or bike, even at rush hour, would be faster. Don’t worry, the buses have an LED display with the name of each stop it makes.

Don’t take it so bad on Buttercup. As we said before, this is a very safe place, you will enjoy going out at all hours in the night and feeling safe. However, there are always some creps who prey on foreigners, especially FOBs.

Yes, there have been incidents of the evil sort when apartment hunting. We agree that it could happen in most places, but most Taiwanese people treat foreigners especially kindly and it can be so easy, in such a crowded place, to avoid nasty surprises.

Nevertheless, aside from the personal safety issue concerning the specific question about Shida area, or the “foreigner guetto”, as my friends call it, there are all kinds of landlords. We commend your independence, but as a new arrival, we offered some friendly advice -to be taken or not, as it is the choice of an adult, independent woman- to go with someone who knows the terrain, a friend, an acquaintance, someone recommended by someone, hopefully local, who will add an extra layer of safety just by being there, but most importantly, will be an extra pair of eyes and an advocate on your behalf. Or as you said, to spot those signs that you, as unfamiliar with the environment, might miss.

By the way, my aunts never allowed me go to NY alone… even when I was 22. But then Latino families are far more conservative (their roof, their rules). Sigh

Hi strawberry_kit. Sorry if you felt like I was getting at you, either for your question or for your choices. Good luck!

On that budget I believe it’s likely to be a shared bathroom.

I just spend two days walking the streets of our lovely Taipei, looking for a taofan (studio) for my Taiwanese friend.

We particularly focused on the Shida area -closer to her workplace-, and I have to tell you, I was wrong about the budget. There is no taofan under 10 thousand. The good ones start at 13 to 15 thousand.

We searched Yahoo Kimo, Kijiji, Tsuei Mama, Taiwan homes, etc… We looked from Dinzhow Street up to Yongkang Street.

I thought conditions had improved a little. The cuchitriles (bum shacks) we saw for 10 thousand left me speechless. Prices have gone up significantly. I couldn’t even find my old landlord. She divided her own house and rented it out for 2 stores and a parking space! And they still have the underground rooms…

I would definetively go for the shared apartment. First of all, for budget reasons, second of all because of the time you will spend here. Most landlords want one year contracts -special discount on two years.

The only remotely livable and conveniently placed were close to Kuting station, but will be available until August -AFAIK.

Off topic: By the way, there was a nice 3 bedroom in Taishun street, if anyone is interested.

Slightly off topic, but to confirm: yes, people do apparently come into the rooms at International House of Taipei (near Qizhan/Xindian - not the “Howard International House”) between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

As far as I can tell, the most they do is open the blinds/windows & turn off the AC (which is good for conservation, but annoying considering every cabinet & fabric was rather mildewy upon arrival). They don’t take out the trash, nor make the beds, but maybe they sweep or something. Nothing missing so far, and that’s in a room w/some rather expensive computer & camera equipment stashed here and there. Staff, by all appearances thus far, are very friendly & helpful.