Taipei or Taichung?

This thread may be similar to “what’s your favorite place to live in Taiwan” except that your choice is restricted : Taipei or Taichung.

I’ll study chinese for 6 months, and it was clear that I have to go to Taipei (main city, big activity…). But recently I had several feedbacks that Taichung would be better for me. I’ve been told they have good language schools too (eg TLI), the city is nice, cheaper than Taipei, interesting night life…

So, if you guys with knowledge of both cities can give me your opinion, it would help me to decide if I stick to my original plan or if I’d better go south.



I live in Taichung, haven’t lived in Taipei but know people who do.

I get the impression that:
Taipei is more cosmopolitan; has more museums and fine art and a greater variety of live music.

Taichung is less polluted, has easier access to a larger countryside area, has a better climate and, very generally speaking (I don’t want to start a flame war here), people here are slightly friendlier. Oh, traffic here is also slightly better and idiot drivers a little more good-natured.

The TLI here is fine; if you want to go the university route I’ve heard good things about Jingyi (Providence) University although it’s a bit out of town.

Tunghai University is also great if you’re studying Chinese in Taichung, it’s outside the city center but it’s a beautiful campus

Interesting feedback, thanks!

Maybe you can tell me where are the good areas to live in : quiet area or convenient or fun…
I had a look on the net : rent prices are so much cheaper than Taipei. That’s a major advantage too!


well… the major advantages of being in Taichung are:

-cheaper rent
-better air
-(slightly)better traffic
-less cretins (both foreign and local)
-friendlier people
-practically no typhoon risk/inconvenience
-better weather (cooler and less rainy)
-less earthquakes (recently anyway :wink: )
-more trees

but most importantly people from Taichung tend to have lifestyles that extend past the “work monday-friday, go to the department store and visit the in-laws on the weekend” routine that Taipei folks typically follow… the ultra central location of Taichung means that a short bike ride will put you anywhere on the island basically, and a 20min drive and you’re in the mountains, on the beach, paragliding, hot springing, swimming in a waterfall, bridge jumping etc… all of which you ‘could’ do living in Taipei, but the hassle i guess puts a lot of people off doing these things that are dead easy in Taichung…

Taichung has it’s disadvantages too though.
-No MRT (one is planned to operative by 2007)
-less ‘cosmopolitan’ feel than Taipei
-less museums, resturaunts, nightlife
-a lot more taiwanese spoken than in Taipei (actually that’s kind of an advantage… you will never fully understand/appreciate Taiwan unless you learn how to speak Taiwanese)
-fewer jobs?

but there is no real objective answer to which is ‘better’… I’ve lived in both, and for me it’s Taichung… but each to his own and all that…

I live in Tai/chung…

Hmmm…Tai/chung (not @#*$&@ Taizhong) is in all aspects less developed than Taipei. It is much more provincial and gang-ridden, has fewer parks, museums and other cultural items, and very few good western restaurants. Western foods are not easy to find either. People may be friendlier, but there is a lot more crime, and a lot more of the curses of Taiwan, like gangsters and trash-burning.

Plus side is, like the other posters said, easy access to mountains and southern Taiwan. Ken/ting can be done in a long weekend trip, impossible from Taipei.

Rent is lower here, I live in a 5 BDR house for 10,000 a month, and we have a yard. Next to a scenic area too…local food is much cheaper. Taiwnese everywhere, little English, gives you a chance to practice Mandarin.

Here’s a pic of our house:

It all depends on what you want. I miss the MRT and the cultural life, but we have a big backyard and a big dog, which we couldn’t in Taipei.

As for places to live, there are several good ones. Around Fengchia University is a huge night market and lots of good eateries. Chung Hsing University too. The area around Nova computer and Sogo is filled with foreigners. The east side of the city is an industrial warehouse nightmare, avoid like plague. The south side, toward Wu Er, is equally nightmarish. I would like in Beitun or Hsitun on the north and west, or in Tanzi, where we live, or around the universities, or near Sogo/People’s park area. Southern Tai/chung (not @#*$&@ Taizhong, a city in the brutal authoritarian state of China), Wufeng and Tali, is small factories and warehouses. Ugh


And no one worries about the correctness of their English down there. :wink:

[quote=“Vorkosigan”]Plus side is, like the other posters said, easy access to mountains and southern Taiwan. Ken/ting can be done in a long weekend trip, impossible from Taipei.

Kenting is an easy trip from Taipei. Taidong, Green Island, Matsu are all more accessible by plane. If mountains is your thing, they are far more accessible from Taipei if you’re restricted to public transport and bicycles. If you have your own wheels though Taizhong is within striking distance of much more.

[quote=“Vorkosigan”]I live in Tai/chung…

Rent is lower here, I live in a 5 BDR house for 10,000 a month, and we have a yard. Next to a scenic area too…local food is much cheaper. Taiwnese everywhere, little English, gives you a chance to practice Mandarin.

Here’s a pic of our house:


Sweet looking backyard!!!
10,000/month for five rooms… aahhhhhhhh can probably sublet too.

Vorkosigan said;
“very few good western restaurants. Western foods are not easy to find either.”

What exactly are you looking for? I see loads of western restaurants, some of them pretty good. What western food do you want to get?

If you don’t bother gangsters, they generally won’t bother you. And street crime, especially that involving random attacks or muggings, is very much less than where I came from. Burglaries seem to be significantly fewer as well.

Hey Vorkosigan, we have it pretty good down here. Don’t go spoiling it by over-marketing the place :wink:

There are gangsters everywhere. Taichung just has a bolder variety. It used to be that the cockroaches ran under the refrigerator when the kitchen light was turned on. After the light got turned on enough times, but nothing happened, they weren’t scared of the light anymore… Our thugs are a bit more in your face, but at least you can tell who they are.

It would be nice if Taichung had a mayor.

Compared to what, Taipei? There are more western restaurants in one block of of Chung Hsiao East Road than in Tai/chung.

The ones in Tai/chung are really quite concentrated. If you spend a lot of time down by Sogo, you hardly notice that there aren’t any anywhere else in the city, and there seem to be a lot of them.

Not true at all. They can pop up in very unexpected and disturbing ways.

Yes, street crime is lower in some ways. But there is a lot more pickpocketing. My wife became the object of a pickpocket attempt just the other day. Very professional job, too. Burglaries are extremely common in Taiwan. Why do you think all the windows are barred?


20 min to the beach? Could you give me some details, please? My GF (she’s from Taichung) kept insisting that there are no beaches on the west coast (she doesn’t like swimming :slight_smile: ). Last time we were in Taiwan I proved she was wrong by simply driving to the coast, but it definitely took me more than 20 minutes to reach a location that looked kind of like a nice beach). Unfortunately, at that time it was winter and the strong wind blowing fine sand through the air was pretty annoying.



Vorkosigan wrote:

There are enough for me. If I want specific types of western food I go to that Sogo area. If I want steak, spaghetti, hamburgers or other Asian food such as Indian, Thai or Malaysian I’ll probably go elsewhere.

As regards supermarkets I’d like to see a greater variety of cured meats.

I obviously haven’t been here long enough to run into trouble. I’ve seen black cars with tinted windows and big, suited and sunglassed guys in nightclubs but little apart from that. What kind of ways do you mean? I imagine if you start your own business you’d want to keep your head down a bit.

You don’t know where I come from. It’s not LA, but it’s not great either. All the windows (and doors) are barred there as well. A lot of acquaintances had their mobile phones robbed from them. I was randomly attacked twice. A couple of times I was woken by people stealing cars in the street outside. One time we saw four guys just take a car in broad daylight. One of them had a baseball bat so we didn’t try to stop them. The police said they found the car later.

not true, there are many resturaunts that specialize in foreign food both western and eastern, all over Taichung… You’re right that the places owned, run and mostly frequented by foreigners are by and large concentrated around Sogo, but there are many foreigner free foreign food resturaunts all over Taichung…

well in 5 years in Taichung i’ve never had a gangster “pop up” on me, but I have had my car stolen, so i guess that is a kind of indirect “gangster pop up”… :?


Aaahh!.. now there are 2 bastardized Tong Yong Pin Yin “Taizhongs” for every Taichung aaahh!!.. it happened again… what is the meaning this?!..

It is TaiZhong - that’s why you guys keep getting the pronunciation wrong - Taichung my a$$.
Taipei ??? Yet another screw up - Taibei
Kenting ??? Yikes - Kending.

It really rattles my cage with all this crappy Chinese floating around because of the crappy pinyin system used here.


After reading your website I feel that you have had far too many bad experiences living in Taiwan. I can’t believe that you have resorted to mounting a Vid Cam in your car :shock: . Perhaps there is something wrong with the way you conduct yourself or you are just really unlucky?

A lot of what you say is true, esp about Tanzi being a pretty good place.

Nothing personal about the Taizhong thing - it IS better though.


Boss Hogg… you’re right,

Just a wind up because of the reaction to Taizhong :wink:

But my other comments pretty much stand, well in a light hearted kind of way.