Which is the best city in Taiwan?

Which city should I move to if my primary objectives are: (1) Enjoying the nightlife; (2) Meeting girls; (3) Living fairly monastically; (4) Making friends; (5) proximity to decent beach.

  • Taipei
  • Kaoshiung
  • Keelung
  • Taichung
  • Tainan
  • HSin-Chu

0 voters

I will be coming to Taiwan in the new year - just after Chinese new year - and am looking for advice on which city to move to.

I have heard Taipei, compared to other cities in the country, is quite expensive in terms of renting a place. I’ve also been told it is quite grimey, very polluted and better when just visiting.

Can someone give me their personal thoughts on Kaoshiung, Keelung, Taichung and Hsin-Shu? Of course I have visited touristic websites, but they mostly give me what I would consider to be a candy-coated version of what’s there. Are these towns industrial cess pits? I am aware of population statistics and location, but I was hoping to hear a more nuanced perspective from someone who has actually lived in any of these places.

My two biggest factors to consider are:
(1) Nightlife - are there loads of expats; is it cheap enough.
(2) Cost of living - of course I would prefer to pay 4000-6000 NT a month for a place, rather than the 10,000 or so in Taipei.

Lastly, I am Canadian and for some reason I’ve noticed that proportionally, Candians seem to be in abundance in Taiwan (wheras Brits clearly run the show in HK). Apart from Canadians and Americans, I’m wondering if there is much in the way of multi-culturalism in Taiwan amongst expats. Do you meet many South Africans, Brits, Kiwis, etc…?

As a French speaker, I was also wondering if there are many French people teaching/living on the island.

I thank anyone in advance who provides me with a thorough reply.

All the best!

If nightlife is on the top of your list then Taipei is the place for you.

If money is more important, then Kaohsiung is the place. The cost of living in Kaohsiung is much lower than in Taipei. You can get a furnished three story house in a nice area for about $13,000NT per month.

Lots of teaching hours to be had in Kaohsiung. There are some good schools to work for in Kaohsiung but make sure you research the schools before you sign. The language schools in Kaohsiung are the best on the island and so if you are serious about teaching then come here. If you want to learn how to be a good kindy teacher then you need to go to Taichung as the best kindys are there. Choosing which school you want to work for is the most important decision you will make here.

The nightlife in Kaohsiung is pretty slow. If you enjoy late night dancing and brawling, there is DNA. If you enjoy watching your fellow foreigners hork all over themselves because they took too much advantage of the $400NT all you can drink special, then Honky-Tonk is where you want to be. Depravity in all its’ glory; it makes any frat party look like Sunday school.

Fengshan city (right next to Kaohsiung) has the hottest women in Taiwan. I don’t know why, maybe there is some secret “Hotty Society” based there or something. I’m afraid to drive there as I get too easily distracted by all the sights.

One of the best places to go is a place called the Lighthouse. Very, very nice (It is also run by a 10th level half-orc monk :laughing: ) Good atmosphere and good drinks. I go to Mama Mia’s every Wed. night to partake in their 2 for 1 Super long Island special (never have more than four…well, six if you don’t need to work the next day :smiley: )

Hope this helps.

If all you are looking for is expats, wy don’t you stay home? JEEZ!

“My two biggest factors to consider are:
(1) Nightlife - are there loads of expats…”

Jilong (Keelung) is not very pleasant. It has most of the disadvantages of Taipei with none of the advantages.

Hsinchu would probably be best for the monastic life.

As DB said, Taipei probably has the best nightlife. I hear Taichung is pretty good too though. Taipei certainly has the most expats as well.

Taipei is the New York City of Taiwan. There are far more universities, libraries, parks, art galleries, bars, and foreigners than anywhere else in Taiwan. The cost of living is higher, but you can do things like teach adults or get a day job there that may be more difficult than in other parts of Taiwan. More people speak English, and, perhaps best of all, no one really cares that much if you are a foreigner in Taipei. Oh, and it also has a great subway system.

That said, Taipei is very urban and has some of the worst weather on the island. If you are not from a big city, you may find Taipei a bit overwhelming at first.

As I’ve harped on in a previous thread, Taichung is the place I’d recommend. Good nightlife, excellent food (I’d even suggest much of it is better than Taipei), cheaper cost of living, generally higher pay (for teaching . . and relative to Taipei) quick access to the the mountainous hinterland for your periodic green fix, friendly foreign scene, cool Chinese scene, and better weather.

Drawbacks: You’ll need to scoot and its bloody dangerous (they started obeying red lights down there yet?), air’s quite filthy even relativie to Taipei, beaches aren’t much chop, you’re basically swimming in the great cistern of China.

HG

(2) Meeting girls; (3) Living fairly monastically;
I would think that unless you are female these criteria would be mutually exclusive.

I don’t think there are any decent beaches in Taiwan. Maybe on an island or in the extreme south.

My favorite city is ChiaYi. It’s not too big, not too small, inexpensive, and friendly. Seems to have more than its share of pretty girls. Very fashion conscious.

Yet another constructive comment from Winter that helps promote healthy discussion.

They don’t have expats at home. If they’re home they’re not expats. JEEZE!

I’d like to live just outside Taidong but finding work would be a bugger, so until the dinosaurs at CNA realize that a phone line and computer are all they need to keep my bad-tempered, strident, unharmonious arse out of their hair, I guess I’ll be staying in sunny Bitan.

Durin, I heard that the water in Kaohsiung is finally potable. Have you noticed much difference this week? God, I used to hate even showering when I went to Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung is probably your best bet, as the nightlife is second only to Taipei’s but the cost of living is cheap. The only problem is the pollution, the worst in Taiwan. If that bugs you, look into Pingtung - only 40 minutes east of Kaohsiung. It’s refreshing clean and easy on the eyes compared to the other cities in western Taiwan; like Chiayi, it’s kind of small, though (but Kaohsiung is close by). From what I’ve heard Taichung is too nice, so nice of a place that it’s become overstocked with foreigners so much that it’s much harder to find a decent job there than in any other city in Taiwan.

If you’re looking for the “real” Taiwan, then Tainan is the obvious choice - lots of history and traditional culture here. However, it has the disadvantages you’d expect of a traditional, conservative city, as well - nightlife ain’t exactly hoppin’ and the girls tend to be pretty shy.

Thanks for all the responses, it was very helpful.

As for that guy who advised me stay at home just because I had a desire to meet expats, thanks for your smugness. Personally I don’t see a problem with being curious about meeting someone who speaks English as a first language.

The all you can drink places sound itneresting although I can tell how they would be easily abused.

Lastly, I was wondering how simple it is to come into Taiwan on a one way ticket. I have no desire to buy a return as I probably won’t be coming back to Toronto anytime soon and would rather not waste the extra 500$ or so. Will they harrass me much at the airport or demand I buy an onward ticket?

Thanks again to all wo replied/reply.

[quote=“selfimposedexile”]
Lastly, I was wondering how simple it is to come into Taiwan on a one way ticket. I have no desire to buy a return as I probably won’t be coming back to Toronto anytime soon and would rather not waste the extra 500$ or so. Will they harrass me much at the airport or demand I buy an onward ticket? [quote]

no, they will not harrass you at the airport for not having an return ticket because it is NONE of their business when you want to head back / go to whereever & whenever. But remember it is cheaper to get a wrong trip ticket for sure. Airplane tickets are awefully expensive for some reasons.

As for where to stay, I would say Taipei. Beside, there is a small beach in Taipei County (JiLong) so you can have the best of 2 worlds. If you are going to be teaching English in Taipei, you would make enough for a living. There are lots of teachers here so they would know better than moi.

Mucha Man, I haven’t really noticed any difference.

Chiayi is fashion conscience? I live in Chiayi and I was sure that it was the city the ugly clothes came to die!!! You are telling me that the other cities here are worse???

Hey people, I’m thinking of coming to Taiwan to teach, probably with one of the big chain schools like Hess or Kojen. I know, they pay sh*t wages but I can’t see myself hitting the ground running in Taiwan without that kind of structure and help. Anyway, point is I want to hear what people think in comparing let’s say Taipei, Kaoshiung, and Taichung for a new teacher. Is the cost of living significantly cheaper in Kaoshiung than Taipei still? If you work for Hess or Kojen in one of these cities or have worked in more than one of them for those companies I’d love to hear your input.

To qualify, I’m coming to Taiwan for the experience but it’s important to me to make some $$$. I know it won’t be much at a chain school but I don’t plan on doing a whole lot of partying or shopping(we’ll see how that resolution goes :wink:)

Also, I’m of mixed race heritage, most people think I’m latino. Don’t know if that makes a difference as far as where in Taiwan I ought to be.

Help is much appreciated!! [/b]

[quote=“jamurai77”]Hey people, I’m thinking of coming to Taiwan to teach, probably with one of the big chain schools like Hess or Kojen. I know, they pay sh*t wages but I can’t see myself hitting the ground running in Taiwan without that kind of structure and help. Anyway, point is I want to hear what people think in comparing let’s say Taipei, Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong), and Taichung for a new teacher. Is the cost of living significantly cheaper in Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong) than Taipei still? If you work for Hess or Kojen in one of these cities or have worked in more than one of them for those companies I’d love to hear your input.

To qualify, I’m coming to Taiwan for the experience but it’s important to me to make some $$$. I know it won’t be much at a chain school but I don’t plan on doing a whole lot of partying or shopping(we’ll see how that resolution goes :wink:)

Also, I’m of mixed race heritage, most people think I’m latino. Don’t know if that makes a difference as far as where in Taiwan I ought to be.

Help is much appreciated!! [/b][/quote]
Hi and welcome to Forumosa.

I merged your post in with this older thread on the same topic. There’s some good discussion here. You could also check out these threads:
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=56351
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=58573

In the Taipei area it’s possible to rent a small “taofang” for around NT$5000 if you set your sights on places in Taipei County like Banqiao or Zhonghe (accessible by MRT). You can even find such bargains within Taipei City if you look hard enough. The apartments will be small and older.

Beaches: Baishawan and Fulong beaches, among others, are quite accessible from Taipei.

Expats: Most live in Taipei.

Nightlife: Best in Taipei.

Girls: Well, they’re everywhere, aren’t they? (And that’s a good thing!)

Monastic lifestyle: How you mix that with “girls” and “nightlife” is beyond me, but if you mean a simple, uncluttered life, then a tiny taofang in the County might be just the right choice!

[quote=“Chris”]In the Taipei area it’s possible to rent a small “taofang” for around NT$5000 if you set your sights on places in Taipei County like Banqiao or Zhonghe (accessible by MRT). You can even find such bargains within Taipei City if you look hard enough. The apartments will be small and older.

Beaches: Baishawan and Fulong beaches, among others, are quite accessible from Taipei.

Expats: Most live in Taipei.

Nightlife: Best in Taipei.

Girls: Well, they’re everywhere, aren’t they? (And that’s a good thing!)

Monastic lifestyle: How you mix that with “girls” and “nightlife” is beyond me, but if you mean a simple, uncluttered life, then a tiny taofang in the County might be just the right choice![/quote]Thanks for posting these tips, Chris. Sorry for any confusion: the original post, mentioning the “monastic lifestyle” and the nightlife, is from way back. I thought I’d merge the question from “jamurai77” in with this thread as it’s on the same topic.

Just by going from the title of this thread, you answered your own question really. You cant have what Taipei offers and not be in Taipei sorry. I wouldnt recommend Taipei but it looks like thats what you want.