Taitung Pros and Cons

Just spent a bit of time in Taitung and while It’s fresh in my mind I wanted to get some of my thoughts out there and hopefully see what others’ opinions are too.

This is from a very brief period, but overall I feel like given the laid back nature-filled environment, Taitung is truly a great place to be if you like Taiwan for Taiwanese things - meaning you don’t need or maybe even want a lot of Western things - while still living a relatively convenient life.

Here are the pros and cons I’ve found so far:


  • So close to so much of Taiwan’s natural beauty
  • In and of itself there is always a view of the mountain, and you are right by the ocean
  • Air is not polluted - you can breathe in deep and not worry
  • Really laid back feeling without the often accompanying “podunk” or “end of the road” sense (a tiny bit of the latter, spattered here and there)


  • Not a big city, so missing a lot of Western amenities, though it does have a McDonalds, Starbucks, and Carrefour/RT Mart
  • East coast means a lot more rain, though nowhere near as much it seems as North of it
  • The drivers are really absent minded and there are a lot of them
  • The jets that pass overhead are disruptive if indoors and disturbing if outside. It can be really terrible if they’re flying low (which they often are it seems)
  • Doesn’t seem to be a lot of Westerners there
  • There is a very clear sense of transience as many people passing through on their road trip - this does add to it’s character and so whether it’s a pro or con depends on how you see that, for me it’s not absolute but weighs more to the con side.

Agree? Disagree? Add to the list?

I’ll be going back there pretty soon, so I’d love to be able to have more lenses through which to look at it, as I really like the place, but we all know that long term realities are not always the same as first impressions.

Cons - been a few Earthquakes this past week.

I had 2 nights there a couple of years back, stayed in a small place out near the Train station. Military must have been on a few days off as I never heard an aircraft. I rented a bike and rode it around, gave myself a scare when I almost ran over a snake, but otherwise it seemed quite a laid back place. I did like the train trip down the valley from Haulien, and the trip down the coast before heading into the mountains.

Military airplanes usually practice in the early morning.
There are more foreigners now, especially in the Dulan/Donghe area on the coast just north of Taitung City. They just tend to be tucked away in little cafes and artsy shops. Clerk in 7-11 in Dulan tried to serve me in English, which never happened before.

though it does have a McDonalds

Hey, we’ve got two now, and a KFC! I tell ya, the place is getting overrun.

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The area is beautiful but if you like to go out to restaurants, socialize, etc., I think it would be a very boring place to live. Everything closed early and it was dead at night the times I visited.

It’s also (I believe) the poorest part of Taiwan, and that comes with a number of side effects, such as limited access to quality healthcare.


having short-term memory issues?

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That thread was almost 6 months ago. A lot could have changed in Taidong in that time. It’s a fast-paced city.


You’re right.
Ole Man Wang once had to park his scooter 10 meters away from his residence.
That was the talk of the neighborhood for weeks.


Like I said, damn place is getting too crowded.

The jets always seem to bother me when I’m there. But then, yeah, it rains a lot less than Hualien. I’d say wintering in the 'Dong or around there can’t be beat.

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Great place

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I visited it a long time ago, but I thought it was a pretty grim city. I remember staying at a run-down hotel with prostitutes hanging around outside, which is something I’d never seen in Taiwan before. If I was in any other country in the world, I would have felt unsafe.

The countryside around Taitung blew me away though. Of course, the countryside was the only reason I went there.

For me the fighter jets would be a plus
But I guess it can get old

I’m not sure how you came to this conclusion.

And “Western things?” What Western things did you not find here?

So, about the weather: Many times when I have checked the weather for that side of the island, I noticed on the CWB website that the both accumulated and predicted graphs show a lot of the rain stopping just north of it. Now I don’t check it every day, but this is been a trend, and also in that other thread of mine that somebody link to in this thread, other people have mentioned that as well.

As for western things, I was there on vacation so I wasn’t really looking. I know there is no Costco, for one, but it’s sort of a broad strokes observation, in a town with one Starbucks and now two McDonald’s, you can kind of expect that they’re going to be a lot of things missing in the sense of variability or western things that otherwise haven’t proliferated in Taiwan.

That’s why I said that if you like Taiwan for Taiwanese things, this would seem like a really good place as you get away from a lot of the foreigness and generally more built-up -I would call Westernized - feel and related amenities a lot of the west coast cities have.

Sounds like in terms of rain the people on the other thread might be talking more about Hualien/Yilan, not the whole East Coast. It’s pretty dry down here relatively speaking, though it does get rainier as you approach Hualien and/or the mountain valleys.

God forbid there should ever be a Costco here. The minute they start putting up a Costco the natural environment around Taitung City is well and truly doomed.

Taitung City has two Starbucks. And the two McDonald’s have been around forever, so I’m not sure about your use of “now” in the quote above. But in a general sense you’re right. No department stores here.

Interesting thread, I’ve considered moving to Taidong, probably just because I’m getting burnt out on life in the big city, Taipei.

A few concerns:

-jobs… doesn’t seem like one would be able to find much work out there, even as an English teacher. is the internet connection out there fast enough to be able to do online teaching?

-housing costs: I imagine it would be pretty cheap… could you get a really nice place for like 10K NTD?

-any good for single guys?

-scuba diving? anything good for this besides the islands? (Green Island/ Lanyu)

Jobs are few and far between for sure. Every expat I know who’s not working at Hess or in the FET program works at multiple places, some of which are pretty small.

Not sure what you mean by “really nice place.” If you’re talking about a place with a bathroom, windows, a door, sure.

There isn’t much of a bar/dating scene really. Guys get laid here if that’s what you’re after. I’ve been married too long to be any kind of an expert on that, but I do know a couple guys who use Tumblr or other apps.

Scuba diving? Is @CTaitung who I think he is? Maybe he can answer.

thanks for the reply. I’m a qualified teacher with an advanced degree… so I’d be able to work the FET program or even a university job. do you have any contact info for the people in the FET program?

No, not into scuba diving. Not even tried it once.
Did snorkeling in Palau once and at 小流球 with the turtles. More into cycling on the island.

Looks like I was wrong about who you are. I’ll keep guessing!

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