I’ve been offered 2 teaching positions, one in Zhunan and one in Chiayi. I’ve heard there both smaller towns and that doesn’t really bother me, I’m pretty excited about the surrounding natural areas. I’ve also heard both are alright with a couple restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.
Has anyone been to both? Just based on the areas which would should I chose?
Zhunan has a nice (by Taiwan standards) wild beach with no lifeguards and surf rentals, but is much more “backwater” than Chiayi, which has some really nice locations, and is close to Alishan. Nightlife in Chiayi is better. You’ll need to go to Hsinchu from Zhunan for shopping and cinemas (3 stations by train), but Hsinchu is not really a place for tourism and nightlife itself. For Chiayi there might be more options. Personally, I think Chiayi is better in everything except “no beach”, which is not a problem from November to April, and probably traffic.
I wouldn’t really call them similar. And it also depends where in Chiayi. The city, city outskirts, the county, and the mountains area are all different from each other and will all have different lifestyles. Chiayi has done a lot in the last five to ten years to improve the quality of life in city and county. Can actually be quite pretty and interesting.
Zhunan also has differences but not as much. Smaller.
Zhunan now has its own huge shopping mall, plus a huge movie theater. So you wouldn’t need to go all the way to Hsinchu for those things anymore.
With the new tech companies moving into Zhunan, the area has plenty of Western, Italian restaurants as well. Most of them are chains though.