The article surprisingly forgot to mention Yongkang Street, you know, the coolest street in Asia and the fourth-coolest in the whole wide world.
Some people do of course, I guess including a fair number of Americans and countries without their own decent healthcare systems. Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. are also popular medical/dental tourism destinations in the region. I doubt Taiwan is up there with those (maybe with Chinese tourists, pre-COVID?), but it wouldn’t be the worst place to come either. Though I agree it probably doesn’t belong in a bucket-list-type article.
Reads pretty much like a sponsored article or one that was written without own research, or perhaps an automatically written piece. Who the hell knows what AI + bots are up to these days… I’d chalk it up as rubbish.
All those things are for like short term holiday people. And the cost is getting more expensive. Only thing that hasn’t gone up is public transport.
For long term residents how many are sick of going to the market just to have some crusty old scooter blowing blue smoke pushing you out of the way?
As for the people the great ones are worth bottling. Then there’s those others. Not much can be done for them.
I feel the food quality has dropped over the last 10 years. I’ve been a regular from street food to 5 star restaurants. The absolute standouts are all gone. From all levels. Don’t get me wrong. There’s kids that are giving it a go but they just don’t have the same passion/experience/skill that those elderly provided.
Shopping is meh. Most things are overpriced. Any luxury goods are way overpriced. Prices for tech goods are generally more expensive because of government taxes.
If anything the east coast is underrated. But even that has had its problems. Yilan, Kenting, and Hualien have all suffered because of rapid development and corruption of local government by traditional families.
Inclusiveness. Yeah if you’re Japanese I suppose. Or maybe South Korean K-pop types.
Medical costs are only seen as cheap when compared to the US. Even with that there’s plenty of evidence and anecdotes about not getting your teeth fixed in Taiwan unless you’re part of the National health system.
The one thing that isn’t mentioned is safety. Even with the highly publicized incidents Taiwan does remain an incredibly safe destination. I’ve only been targeted a few times by pickpockets. And that never ended well for them. Usually crushed into a door on the MRT or their wrist grabbed and twisted close to snapping. But 4 or 5 times over 20 years is still nothing short of remarkable.
Only thing I disagree with is this. I think routine medical costs (without NHI) here are pretty cheap. Maybe 10-20% more expensive than, say, Thailand (which is itself unusually cheap for the region), but still cheap compared to a great many places besides the US for just showing up somewhere expecting reasonable-quality (and usually English-speaking) medical treatment.
I agree that more complex dentistry can get quite expensive here though, and perhaps surgery too.
There are posts too numerous to mention, mine included, about needing to find a good dentist in Taiwan. The only commonly referenced place to go is NTU hospital for proper dentistry work. I’ve had the displeasure of bad dentists in Taiwan. I ended up pulling out my own tooth after having paid good money to a dentist not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. And to get a screw and crown put in would be the same cost as many other places that could be visited.
Yeah, I already said that more complicated dentistry (root canals etc.) can indeed be expensive. I think I made it quite clear in my post what medical costs I was mainly referring to, and those definitely aren’t only cheap compared to the U.S.
Haven’t had much of an issue with dentists here myself, for what it’s worth - the ones I visited were decent and reasonably priced (with and without NHI). Except if I’d wanted the more complex root canal repair costing NT$20-30k with a low chance of success, which I didn’t, and I preferred to get the tooth pulled for that price.
The ‘friendly, funny, open’ locals? Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic people here, but it’s difficult to find locals that look beyond your foreignness and treat you as an individual. Island mentality and all that. Most people are too reserved to make meaningful relationships with.
The food? It’s funny how every local informs me that Taiwanese food is the best in the world, or asks if it’s the reason why I visited, yet I’ve never met an expat that believes so. Even the ‘Taiwan Number 1’ types won’t go there. The only people that rave about it are tedious "OMG THIS GEE PAI IS AMAZING’ sycophantic YouTubers. Would only rank the Philippines as worse in Asia. Boiled, unseasoned, wet food can fuck off.
The shopping? Try buying anything that’s not knock-off nightmarket crap or plastic junk from Shoppee. Even electronic goods made by Taiwanese companies are, by and large, more expensive in Taiwan.
The nightlife? Hope you like the same small list of mid-2000s pop in every single KTV due to market monopoly. Clubs and bars are so overpriced that most locals don’t bother. Irritating, generic EDM is rife. Locals won’t mingle with expats.
Tbh the author should have just listed 10 natural places in Taiwan, as they are the real reason to visit.
Seeing how the so-called expats react to a poorly-written article about Taiwan by reducing the country’s culture down to nothing, why would locals want to mingle with expats? To listen to your complaints about local food and shopping?
There is fantastic food here and great products to buy from many artists and artisans. There are countless television programs, online sites, travel books and magazines that promote and highlight the best food and specialty shopping on the island. The problem is that many of these things are difficult to find or are inaccessible if you don’t speak Mandarin/Taiwanese and read Chinese. And, as any place, you have to sift through a lot of dross to find the good stuff.
It’s similar to the accommodation problem. There are plenty of interesting places to stay that are value for money but they do not accept credit cards and require a deposit in advance in NT dollars by bank transfer. And their websites or FB pages are only in Chinese. That means tourists (and some foreigners living here) are out of luck and locked out of some of the great places to stay.
Taiwan needs to up their international travel game.