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12 Tips for Foreigners Moving to Taipei

The National CKS Cultural Center

12 Tips for Foreigners Moving to Taipei

You’re planning an exciting adventure to move to Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, but you’re not exactly sure what to expect?

Here are 12 tips to help you be prepared from the moment you arrive:

 

Woman with an umbrella

1. Bring an umbrella and a pair of rain boots

It rains a lot in Taiwan. May, June and September are some of the wettest months with afternoon thunderstorms that’ll happen out of nowhere. Across the rest of the year, it can rain suddenly, it can rain then stop then rain again. Then there’s the typhoon season from June to October which can bring about some scary torrential rainfall.

Nothing’s worse than getting caught up in a downpour without the proper rain gear. Umbrellas are sold in every convenience store, but rain boots can be trickier to find. Many foreigners realize this a little too late by forgetting to bring a pair of rain boots from home.

You can also avoid the rainfall completely by using the accurate 7-day Taipei weather forecast.

 

Misty mountains

2. Pack for both hot and cold weather

You can feel the summer heat around May to October in Taipei which can reach above a blistering 30°C (86°F). Taiwan is humid, so you’ll also sweat from the moment you step outside as if you are in a sauna.

Taiwan may be a subtropical island, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s hot all year around! In the winter months, temperatures can plummet to around 10°C (50°F), yet, it will feel much colder than that. Winters are still wet, meaning the cold painfully penetrates deep inside your bones as you shiver. Most buildings are predominantly made of concrete as they’re designed to keep you cool in the summer with no insulation. However, this allows the chill to creep indoors, into every room.

To overcome the chill, use electric heaters for your apartment, and wrap up warm in many items of clothing. It’s also in these cold months that a dehumidifier is pretty essential. Most apartments may even include a dehumidifier to prevent the walls and windows getting mould. – You’ll be surprised how quick one can fill up with water, so be sure to use it!

 

Learn to speak Chinese

3. Learn to speak some basic Chinese

It’s true that you can get by in Taipei without speaking any Mandarin as many people can speak a decent level of English. But knowing some basic Chinese phrases could prove very helpful. There will be situations, such as being in a taxi or at a local store where it’s unlikely they can speak English when you’d need them to. Making an effort to learn Chinese in a predominantly Chinese speaking country can be very useful indeed.

The most recommendable way to begin learning Chinese is by using a language app on your smartphone. There are many ideal apps and sites that’ll give you a great start on the basic understandings of Chinese for when you arrive.

We recommend these 3 to start off with:

  1. ChineseSkill AppLearn Chinese / Mandarin language for free.
  2. Hello Chinese App – The best Chinese learning app for total beginners. (Also for free).
  3. Duoingo Site – This is a website version, but they’ve recently launched an app version.

 

Ximending District in Taipei, Taiwan

4. Taipei has (almost) everything you’ll need

Don’t worry about what to bring with you because Taipei has pretty much 99% of everything you’ll need or possibly want. Taiwan is a modernized and developed nation with an advanced infrastructure and healthcare system. Thanks to international trade, imported goods are readily available in Taipei’s many convenience stores, supermarkets and malls. This means foreigners have access to many products from their home countries.

There are a few things that can be tricky to get in Taipei which you should consider bringing with you:

  1. Deodorant – there’s a limited selection here.
  2. Makeup – in darker shades.
  3. Cheap painkillers – it’s much more expensive here.
  4. Larger sizes – especially in clothing and shoes.

 

The Linjiang Night Market in Taipei

5. Discover the street food at the night markets

Taiwan’s night markets are a true foodie paradise, and some of the most famous ones are in Taipei. Even the smallest stalls with no proper seating besides a couple of plastic chairs may serve a very delicious meal. For a cheap price, you’re able to try some great snacks, and discover that food is a deep passion to the Taiwanese.

 

Wenhu Line MRT

6. Make good use of public transport…

There really is little need to own a car in Taipei. Taxis can be helpful when you’re in a rush to get somewhere specific, and are probably a lot cheaper than back home. The best tip of all is to use the public transit for your daily commuting needs. It’s very modern, and most signs, if not all, include English.

It has a world-class reputation of being clean, safe, cheap and very reliable which also extends to all their transport modes. They run very frequent buses to each stop, and also facilitate a bike sharing system with bike parking stations scattered across the capital city. What makes their transport efficient is that all of these modes of transport can be accessed using the same prepaid transit card. It’s called the EasyCard, and it can easily be bought or credited at any station or convenience store.

 

Nanjing Sanmin MRT station

7. …but respect its rules and etiquette.

As a guest in Taiwan, it’s important to familiarize yourself with their rules and to respect the local etiquette.

The law enforcement in Taipei takes the transport rules very seriously, so everyone upholds them. This has helped build a safe and pleasant environment for all passengers when using the rail system.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t eat or drink inside the busses or the Metro system (the MRT). This keeps the public transit very clean. This rule is taken so seriously that you can even be fined for chewing on a mint.
  • Avoid sitting on the clearly marked priority seats. The Taiwanese culture highly respects the elderly and people with disabilities. You’ll often find that those seats are largely avoided, even when there’s no one eligible to use them. In any case, you should always give up your seat to someone who needs it more.
  • Unlike many other Asian countries, most passengers will be quiet in their conversations when using the public transit in Taipei. Be sure to be respectfully quiet, and ensure your devices are on silent. If possible, try to avoid having any telephone conversations, it’s considered rude here.

 

Cockroaches in Taiwan

8. Be wary of cockroaches

Sooner or later, you will inevitably encounter these little horrid creatures in the city. Cockroaches are a common pest in Taiwan, and they become more active in the summer as the temperature rises. They can grow to anything around 2 inches, and scurry across the pavements at a frightening speed. Stay vigilant so they don’t catch you off guard when one darts straight at your feet from nowhere!

 

Scooters in Taipei

9. Bring your driving licence with you

Although the public transit is the most ideal form of transportation, you’ll notice that many choose to ride scooters. Scooters are another popular and convenient way of getting anywhere around the city. If you decide to rent a scooter, you are able to with your home driving licence. Most scooter-renting places will accept your home licence as proof that you can ride one, even if you haven’t before!

 

Busy Taipei at night

10. Expect it to be loud at night

Taipei is one of those cities that never sleeps. As scooters are one of the most popular forms of transport in Taipei, expect the constant sound of zooming traffic. If your apartment is nearby a main road, it’s likely you’ll hear them passing by all day and night.

One way to avoid this noise pollution is to find an apartment that isn’t too near any busy areas in Taipei. Consider how close it is to the main roads on Google Maps when you begin searching for a place to live. Many light sleepers overcome this issue by using ear plugs to bed to drown out the bustling city traffic.

 

Connect to the large expat network

11. Connect to the large expat network

It’s easy to feel lonely when you’ve moved to a foreign country. But rest assured, there’s a large expat community in Taipei, and it’s growing! Taiwan is starting to get a global recognition as it currently holds a ranking as the 4th best place in the world to live as an expat by the InterNations Expat Insider’s report, (it was even ranked #1 last year!). – This recent positive attention brings an ever increasing number of foreigners to Taiwan as an emerging popular destination.

You can easily make many awesome friends from different backgrounds that’ll share mutual interests. They will be more than happy to offer their support, share activities and explore the island with you.

 

CKS Memorial Hall Arch

12. Anticipate staying longer than planned

There’s an overwhelming number of foreigners living in Taipei for over a decade. Many of them had initially planned to stay just a year or two. It’s easy to appreciate that Taipei offers a VERY comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. Most expats agree that their quality of life has improved a lot since arriving in Taipei.

Be precious with your time here from the moment you arrive. You’ll look back after 12 months, and agree that a year can EASILY feel like no more than 6 months. If and when you do leave Taiwan, it’s likely to be in at least some regret. Worry not, this beautiful island is always happy to have you back! As like so many expats have in the past, many have made a return a year or so later. It’s hard not to love the comfortable city life in Taipei!

Last updated: February 2018 – Taipei.Expats

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How to Find an Apartment in Taipei When You Don’t Speak Chinese

Finding an apartment in Taipei when you don't speak Chinese

How to Find an Apartment in Taipei When You Don’t Speak Chinese

Moving to Taiwan is an adventurous and exciting step towards a new life abroad, but it can be challenging when you’re looking for an apartment but don’t speak the local language.

If you’re an expat, and you don’t have any pre-arranged accommodation organised by yourself or employer in place before you arrive, then there are a few options available that will give you an immediate accommodation while searching for an apartment in Taipei.

Finding an apartment in Taipei with Airbnb

Booking with Airbnb is in Taiwan, and it’s a popular choice for those looking for short-term rentals while they stay in the country. Airbnb have many listings scattered all over Taipei, and of the time of writing this, prices can start from around $16 USD (NT$487) upwards per night.

Booking a hostel is another popular choice to book a hostel room for an extended period of time while searching for an apartment. Most hostels in Taipei, if not all, are foreigner friendly with English speaking staff at the reception. To get you started, here’s a few popular English hostel comparison sites that find the best current offers for Taipei: Booking.com, Hostel World.com and Asiayo.com.

Booking a Hotel: If Airbnb and Hostels are not your thing, many don’t, and prefer the comfortable and conventional hotel stay. Most hotels will range between 2 to 5 stars, with prices (depending on the grade of hotel of course) go from $13 USD (NT$382) upwards per night. To get you started, here’s a few popular English hotel comparison sites that find the best current offers for Taipei: Booking.com, Agoda.com and Ctrip.com.

Join the local Facebook groups

You can find many posted listings of available apartments to rent within the local Facebook groups for Taipei. The listings usually include the location, a description of the rent, the utilities, and photographs of the room(s). One of the most popular apartment rental groups in Taipei is the Taipei Taiwan Apartment Rentals group, which has frequently posted listing on a daily basis.

Apartment in Taipei with the Rentals Facebook group

The other recommended groups for apartment hunting in Taipei are:

These groups are pretty active and have more than 14,000 members with daily postings. As these groups are predominantly for foreigners, all their listed postings of available rooms and apartments are advertised in English. As these groups are active, it’s common to see listings get answered and snapped up all within the first hour of posting.

It is therefore strongly advisable to frequently check for posted updates within these groups as often as possible while you’re searching for an apartment. If you find a listing that you’re interested in, send a private message to arrange a viewing as soon as possible.

Search in the best websites

1. The Rent591 Website

The Rent 591 website is one of Taiwan’s most popular accommodation search sites, unfortunately however, it’s all in Chinese.

Translating Rent 591 Website

The best way around this language barrier is using the automatic translation feature in the Google Chrome browser. To enable this feature in Chrome, go to its settings (chrome://settings/), and scroll down to the ‘languages‘ heading. Switch on the button for ‘Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language you read‘ and restart Chrome. The translation should give you a reasonable idea of what you’re searching, as you apply filters and navigate through their endless listing results.

Finding an apartment in Taipei with rent591

Once you’ve found a listing that you’re interested in, you can go ahead and contact them by their phone number that should found in the sidebar or at the bottom of the listing page. It’s very likely that you’ll be contacting a landlord that doesn’t speak any English, so your messages should me written in Chinese. If you don’t have anyone around to help you, such as a local or a friend that can speak and write Chinese, then the next best method would be to try your chances with Google Translate.

It’s best to initiate a conversation by stating that you’re a foreigner, and that you would like to view their listing as soon as possible. To help you make a good start, we’ve translated that for you! You can simply copy and paste the following Chinese into your first message:

您好,我是外國人,我對您房屋出租的介紹很有興趣,希望能夠盡快和您預約時間參觀房子。

Please note: Appreciate that you may not get a response. Some landlords may feel apprehensive about dealing with foreign tenants due to the language barrier when collecting rent or the need to contact you for whatever reason. However, many foreigners are successful with Rent 591, so it’s always worth a try! Search for apartments in the Rent 591 listings at https://rent.591.com.tw/.

2. The TEALIT Website

TEALIT (teaching English and living in Taiwan) is a website that offers teaching resources, jobs and apartment listings for those who wish to teach and live in Taiwan. Their classified section is easily accessible from their front page which allows you to search for apartments and roommates. Search for apartments and roommates in the classifieds at http://www.tealit.com/.

3. The Taiwan Community of Foreigners

ESLDewey is another website that provides relevant resources for teaching, working, learning and living in Taiwan. They have a Taiwan community of Foreigners web page that offers some updated listings on properties to rent that might be worth looking through. Search for apartments at The Taiwan Community of Foreigners.

9Floor Space

9Floor Space is a foreign friendly company with English speaking staff that provides a shared accommodation in Taipei. They offer an alternative concept of accommodation by getting diverse communities of roommates together to live in one of their many shared co-housing apartments all across Taipei.

One of the best qualities of 9Floor Space, is that they offer short lease contracts from any length of stay between 1 month and upwards!

Finding an apartment in Taipei with 9floor Space

9Floor Space offers a selection of apartment types to choose from:

  1. Serenity apartments, housing about 4 to 5 reclusive roommates with no communal gatherings.
  2. Community Apartments, housing an average of 7 to 8 roommates with the occasional communal activities.
  3. 9Floor Black, a shared co-living apartment of 3 to 4 rooms.
  4. Cross-generation Apartments, where you’d simply share the property with the homeowner by renting one of their spare rooms, which in some cases, you get your own ensuite.

Each location of these apartments are labelled by their apartment type and rent price by a shaded color code. You are also able to see a floor plan of each location when you selecting an apartment from the list. 9Floor Space host frequent events for their residents to take part in which are also subsidised if you live in a 9floors property. Also, if you ever decide to start your own communal event of any kind, you can apply for some funding from them, and host an event at one of their properties!

Finding an apartment in Taipei with via the 9floor Space apartment listings

We got in touch with one of the tenants of 9Floor Space at one of the cross-generation apartments to share some of his experience with us,
“So we live in our house and the landlady will buy food for us to eat, there’s always fruit and vegetables in the fridge. She is a really caring older Taiwanese lady who often cooks food for us. Also, she never lets us clean up, and insists that we leave the dishes for her to get. We love living here, and I think the company has a great concept that could be really important as housing prices keep increasing and short term tenancies become rarer.”

If you are interested in any of these apartments, and wish to apply for a viewing, you’d need to complete their resident form by describing yourself and a few details about your life. After you’ve read and agreed to their terms of service, match the required move in date, and that they are happy you’d be a positive contribution to the community, you’d then be eligible for a viewing of any of their apartments.

Here is the 9Floor Space website.

Ensure you read their terms of service.

Using the Spacious app

Spacious is an app that allows you to search for properties in Taipei on a simple, user friendly interface in English. You can easily switch between map and list views, and easily select relevant filters to narrow down your desired search results. Once you’ve found the apartment you’ve been looking for, you can chat to local agents and landlords directly using our in-app chat function.

Finding an apartment in Taipei with the Spacious app screens

The Spacious app is based in Hong Kong, but they have started to expand their app coverage to show listings in Taipei as their developers are currently working hard to encourage more Taipei real estate agencies to post listings on their site. However, this is still a developing feature of their app, so there aren’t very many Taipei listings.

Search and download the app called ‘Spacious千居 Rent & Buy Property‘ in the iTunes Store, or on Google Play.

Contact the Taipei estate agents

There are many real estate agents in Taipei that speak a decent level of English. The estate agents can be pretty helpful because they can provide you with a lot of information when searching for your ideal apartment in this foreign country.

But should you actually go through the estate agents to rent an apartment?

Many experienced Taipei expats that we surveyed said no. The most popular explanation was that most realtors in Taipei are out to get you into the most expensive place possible. For example, if you give them a strict upper limit of, say, NT$10,000, it’s likely that they’ll find places that are NT$13,000-NT$15,000, and try to get you to pay that by hinting that the difference isn’t all that much. It’s also important to remember that if you use an agent, you are required to pay them anything between 50% to 100% of a month’s rent to them for their services.

Since they can be fairly hard to find, we have provided a list below of the most recommended estate agents in Taipei:

Searching for rentals in Taipei?

With expat second-home owners all over the globe and a network of local and international real estate agents, Angloinfo Property brings you a unique collection of rentals and homes for rent in Taipei.

1. Angloinfo Property Taipei

Angloinfo Property brings you a unique collection of rentals and homes for rent in Taipei.

Contact (email): taipei@angloinfo.com

Service charge: Between 50% – 100% of first month’s rent

2. City & Urban International

City & Urban International is a renowned, award winning and rapidly expanding property consultancy, establishing a strong presence in some of the world’s most exotic and sought-after locations, covering all aspects of rental in overseas property.

Contact (tel): +886 (0) 228363005

Service charge: Between 50% – 100% of first month’s rent

Finding an apartment in Taipei with by connecting to the large expat network

Make local friends

It’s easier to make friends in Taiwan than you might think. East Asian and Western foreigners alike often report that they have an easier time building and maintaining local friendships in Taiwan than in other countries.

A local friend can be a huge asset in your search for an apartment, so don’t be afraid to reach out as locals are typically very willing to help foreigners. It’s advisable to you ask your friend if it is possible to come with you to the apartment viewings in order to translate between you and the landlord in order for you to communicate exactly what you want from the tenancy agreement, as well as what’s to be expected.

Last updated: February 2018 – Taipei.Expats

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How To Use YouBike: Taipei’s Public Rental Bikes

Youbike Station in Da'an Park

How To Use YouBike: Taipei’s Public Rental Bikes

YouBike (also known as Ubike) is a large network of bicycle rental kiosks in Taipei offered by the Taipei City Department of Transportation in collaboration with the local manufacturer, Giant Bicycles.

With an increasing amount of bicycle parking stations located around the city, YouBike is an excellent and efficient way to get around the city. It offers a cheap and convenient service that is easy to register for and simple to use by anyone, even as a foreigner.

Here’s how you can start renting a YouBike to explore the city or one of Taipei’s many bicycle paths within minutes.

EasyCard for Taipei

Important – There are 2 things that are required to register for a YouBike:

  1. An EasyCard, as shown above,
  2. A local phone number that is able to receive SMS messages.

You can find both an EasyCard and a SIM card at most convenience stores, such as a 7-Eleven or a Family Mart store. They’re easy to get – just make sure you have both of them with you when you are registering for the YouBike service.

The YouBike Kiosk at Da'an Park

How to Register:

  1. Find a YouBike (Ubike) terminal like the one shown above. These bicycles are yellow/orange and must be parked in docking stations, unlike the other major bike share service oBike.
  2. On the kiosk screen, select English in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Select: JOIN YOUBIKE.
  4. Read and accept the privileges and notices on screen (more details on this will be shown below).
  5. Enter in your local phone number. (Ensure that you’re able to receive text messages, as you will be receiving a confirmation code via SMS.
  6. You should be instantly sent a confirmation code. Check your phone for the numerical authorization confirmation code, and input it on the kiosk screen.
  7. Choose a password for your account and enter it in twice for confirmation.
  8. Confirm the bike rental procedures (more details on this will be shown below).
  9. Select the registration mode. The simplest way is to press your EasyCard on against the sensor zone located below the screen for a few seconds.
  10. That’s it, congratulations! Your registration is complete and you should be able to rent a bike immediately.

Parked YouBikes

YouBike dock InformationHow to Use:

  1. Locate a docked YouBike that looks suitable (check the seat height, and inspect the condition of the bicycle such as the tires).
  2. Approach the docking station like the one shown above.
  3. Hold your registered EasyCard over the corresponding sensor zone until it beeps and the light flashes.
  4. Pull the unlocked bicycle straight back from the dock.
  5. Ride it to your next destination and find a docking station.
  6. Slide the bicycle into an empty dock. The light should change and you’ll hear a beeping sound.
  7. Hold your registered EasyCard over the corresponding sensor zone until the beeping stops and the bicycle is secured.

The Rental Charges:

  • NT$5 for the first 30 minutes
  • NT$10 per 30 minutes under 4 hours
  • NT$30 per 30 minutes between 4 and 8 hours
  • NT$40 per 30 minutes exceeding 8 hours

What You Need to Know – The Terms of Service:

  • After returning a YouBike, you cannot rent another bicycle from the same station within 15 minutes.
  • A lost YouBike must be reported to the police immediately. If the bike isn’t found within 3 months, the renter is liable for an operating loss of NT$9000.

The Ubike app screen examples

How to Find YouBike Stations:

The best way is to download a YouBike app on your phone. We recommend that you use the app called ‘Ubike’ by SDM Lab. it can be found by searching for ‘Ubike’ in the Apple Itunes Store or Google Play.

Unlike many of the YouBike apps, this one is in English, and it is quick and simple to use. The app works relative to your location as it displays all the nearby YouBike stations as map markers. The markers even show up with their individual status, indicating how many YouBikes are available at each station in real-time. You can simply tap any of these markers to see an exact amount of available bicycles that are currently docked at each station. Markers without any available YouBikes will show up with an ‘X’, along with the average waiting time for another bike to be available at that particular station.

Please note: You could also search “YouBike” on Google Maps. Some of the stations will pop up but the list may not be comprehensive.

So, why not consider biking next time!?

We strongly recommend using the YouBike service. Not only is it a healthy option, it’s simple to register, convenient and cheaper way to get around the city!

Last updated: February 2018 – Taipei.Expats

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5 Reasons Taiwan is the 4th Best Expat Destination in the World

Sun Moon Lake Taiwan

5 Reasons Taiwan is the 4th Best Expat Destination in the World

Often considered as “the hidden gem of Asia”, Taiwan has to be one of the most underrated destinations on earth. Visitors and expatriates can easily feel overwhelmed by the warm-hearted locals, rich traditions, magnificent sights and delicious food. Yet, despite its astounding qualities, it continues to slip under the radar for most travellers.

However, Taiwan is now starting to get its well deserved global recognition as it holds a ranking within the top five places for expatriates in this year’s Expat Insider’s 2017 report, published by InterNations. The InterNations Expat Insider Survey publishes a yearly ranking of the best places in the world to live as an expat, based on responses from over 14,000 participants in 191 countries.

In fact, their last year’s 2016 report awarded Taiwan with the top spot, scoring a top 10 ranking in every individual index measured, ranging from work-life balance to ease of settling in!

So, how does Taiwan continue to score so highly with expats each year, you ask? Well, there are 5 good reasons, check them out:

Taipei from Elephant Mountain at night

1. High Quality of Life

The 2017 Expat Insider’s report ranks Taiwan’s quality of life as the second best in the world! This is largely due to Taiwan having a lower cost of living compared to Western, and surrounding Asian countries. As expat salaries in Taiwan tend to be pretty high, they are able to live a comfortable lifestyle with relative ease. With this, expats also get the opportunity to save their earnings while seeing how far they can stretch their money.

Foreigners rate their job satisfaction and job security fairly high for Taiwan. They also report that they have an excellent work-life balance, which is largely thanks to to their well-off personal finances. Taiwan’s infrastructure is very modern and well developed. As like other developed Asian countries, Taiwan also sees a lower crime rate compared to most other places around the world, making it a very enjoyable and safe place to live.

Shifen WaterFall Taiwan

2. Breathtaking Sights

Taiwan flourishes in a natural green scenery. The island is blessed with tropical forests, misty mountains, enchanting waterfalls and picturesque landscapes that span far beyond the horizon. There are many bike paths that can be found going alongside the rich and sparkling coastlines with beaches and nearby hot springs to relax and rejuvenate in.

Taiwan has a diverse mix of modern and traditional sights that are a common throughout the island. You’ll see temples and shrines sticking on the mountain peaks, as well as palm trees surrounding bustling cities and public parks.

No matter where you go in Taiwan, there is always something breathtakingly beautiful to experience nearby.

Taipei MRT Wenhu Line

3. World-Class Public Transport

The transport infrastructure in Taiwan is world-class that earns a great reputation with expats and locals.

Their metro and bus systems are very modern with clearly labeled English signs. Not only is it clean, safe and reliable, it is also becoming increasingly convenient to use. Almost every bus stop now has screens with real-time updates on individual bus arrivals.

They also have a modern public bike-share system with seemingly limitless bike stations to rent from. What makes Taiwan’s transport super efficient is that all of these modes of transport (the metro, bikes and busses) can all be accessed using the same prepaid transit card, which can easily be bought or credited at any station or convenience store.

Taiwan’s public transport is the cheapest option to travel, with the average fare for a journey is between 50 cents and a Dollar (USD) for a single ride across Taipei.

Taiwanese delicious food

4. Amazing Food

The food in Taiwan is delicious. The island is on a never-ending quest for new tastes and flavors which means that there are always new dishes to try. Once you brave it outside your comfort zone to try the street food, you’d be glad that you did! Sure, You would be understandably sceptical when you first come to experience the street vendor’s food, but they truly do serve some of the tastiest dishes, steaming hot and full of flavour.

Then there are the night markets which you can find in every city in Taiwan. While the island is pretty lively during the day, it’s when the sun goes down that these markets come alive with grills, fryers, and blow torches that light up the streets. These renowned night markets do a fantastic job of showcasing their vibrant sources of local and international delicacies, so expect to visit again and again as there are far too many options to try every appealing dish in one trip!

Praying Taiwanese People

5. Friendly People

The Taiwanese are some of the most genuinely hospitable people you’ll ever meet in the world. They are very welcoming, friendly and helpful towards foreigners. They have a genuine honesty and kindness about them, making it easy and natural to make good friends.

The Taiwanese society is relatively tolerant and more open-minded compared to their neighbouring Asian countries. Even on the global stage, Taiwan has seen to become more progressive on issues of diversity as the nation recently elected a female president, and is currently leading the charge on LGBT rights in Asia. In Amnesty International’s annual report on human rights 2017/18, the organization had also praised Taiwan’s steps taken to legalize same-sex marriage.

One of the best perks of being an expat in Taiwan is that there are many close-knit support networks formed within the foreign communities. You can easily make expat friends with a range of hobbies and interests, who will be more than happy to share activities and explore this island with you.

Jiufen View

And there you have it! So how could you not fall in love with this beautiful island? With that said, we hope to see you in Taiwan!

 

Last updated: February 2018 – Taipei.Expats

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10 Best Dating Spots in Taipei

10 Best Date Spots in Taipei10 Best Dating Spots in Taipei

Got a tinder date in Taipei, Taiwan? Or anything romantic for that matter… OK, so it didn’t take me long to figure out that Taipei isn’t the most typically ‘romantic’ city; think quirky, fast-paced and yeah, concrete, rather than violins playing in the background. BUT don’t let that fool you; there are some AWESOME dates just waiting to happen here in these date spots in Taipei.

Picking a place to go is hard work though There are endless reviews of hundreds of cool cafes and bars, but which ones are great for dates? Don’t worry, I’ve prowled the pavements to compile the ultimate list of badass date spots in Taipei – from kitschy cafes to night markets. Every single one is rated by me as above 4/5 on my personal romance meter. Now all you need to do is get your Marvin Gaye on?

*A note on prices: 1 USD = 30.27 NTD at the time I’m writing this.

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Coffee? Screw that. Taipei is famous for quirky cafes – Go check these out.

1. Alice Is Coming

Yes she is. Sorry, I just had to. Ahem… Here’s their Tripadvisor
Vibe: Fall down a rabbit hole and be transported into the curious world of Wonderland. As far as themed cafes go, this is an awesome job. The fake rose trellis-lined staircase up to the café immediately transports you away from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside and the story-themed décor is top notch with lots of attention to detail, from the teacup table to the Alice in Wonderland songs playing in the background (some were a bit weird though).
Alice Is Coming

Food and Drink: Desserts and fancy milkshake teas. I stuffed my face with a cream tea and chocolate brownie waffle. Afternoon tea in a tea stand also look truly scrumptious.

Price: $$/$$$ – My waffle and tea cost 380 NTD

Romance Meter: 4.3/5. Great for a chilled and quirky afternoon/early evening date with a Disney fan.

Location: No. 111, Yanping S. Rd., Zhongzheng district, Taipei.

2. Wisteria Tea House

Here’s their Website

Sophisticated cultural Tea

Vibe: If you’re looking for refined date spots in Taipei, you’re in luck. Wisteria Teahouse is the epitome of a sophisticated cultural experience with its Japanese style, Wisteria vines and 1930’s décor. It’s also very quiet and peaceful, despite being busy – everyone speaks softly. Did I mention the tea? It’s exquisite and even a tea noob like me knows that. There’s stuff like ‘Cloud Mountain Jade‘ and ‘King of the Wild‘ alongside loads of other options.

Wisteria Teahouse

Mine arrived with a glass kettle on a tripod, a small teapot with tea leaves inside, a tiny cup and some other bits and bobs. The waiter gave me a demonstration of how it is prepared and my leaves lasted about 7 refills of the teapot. The whole procedure of preparing the tea was really relaxing.

Food and Drink: I had the Wistaria Hong Yin Puerh Tea. The menu highlights how tea leaves for each type of tea are selected and prepared extra-specially. Tasted good.

Price: $$/$$$ – 280 NTD for about 21 cups. So while it’s not cheap, you get what you pay for in terms of refills and quality.

Romance Meter: 4.3/5. People like me laugh a lot on dates, so I’d have to be careful not to be too loud. Other than that, the classy Japanese experience and relaxing atmosphere will never want to make you visit a Starbucks again.

Location: No. 1, Lane 16, Section 3, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei.

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3. Modern Toilet

Here’s their Website

Vibe: Weird, disgusting and maybe romantic in a twisted way. Out of all potential date spots in Taipei, this is probably the most famous. Everything is toilet themed, from the chocolate ice creams served in squat bowls to the toilet seats you can sit on. Everything you eat is shaped creatively like a turd. However, it tastes nice. Service is also super-fast and accommodating; the place is usually busy but staff make an effort to seat without bookings and ask whether you’re ready for the next course as soon as you’re done with one.

Modern Toilet

Food and drink: OK it wasn’t Michelin starred, but yummy enough and has all the crowd pleasers (spaghetti or burger, anyone?) I had sausage fest spaghetti with mango juice (served in a urinal!) and chocolate ice cream (that came free). I was happy with these.

Price: $$ – All of this was $290 – really impressive. I think it was fantastic value for money. Tea and chocolate ice cream is included in a lot of main courses (upgrade for other drinks) and the price is reasonable, considering that it’s so popular.

Romance Meter: 4.2/5. Not typically romantic, but funny and full of lots of conversation starters and talking points.

Location: 108, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Lane 50, Xining South Road, Taipei.

Or you could opt for the more ‘traditional romantic restaurant’. Check out these date spots in Taipei…

4. Xiang Se

Go. Like seriously. This is the most romantic place I found in Taipei and if you have one tinder date/other date/anniversary, make sure to go here. Here’s their Facebook

French Romance on SteroidsVibe: French romance on steroids. I went with the Tattooed Consultant. We sat outside and it was like a walking into a fairy-tale illustration with dim lights, a pebble-dash floor and delicate white chairs. The most picturesque of the date spots in Taipei. The service was really thoughtful with staff telling us in detail about the wine and suggesting food. I felt special to be there. Make sure to book it in advance.

Xiang Se

Food and drink: Delicious. Rich and you could taste the quality ingredients. We had pizza bread appetizers, beef gnocci, chicken breast and a salted caramel dessert and drank rosé. It was perfect.

Price: $$$$ – This is one for the special occasion. Our combined bill was around $4000 NTD but worth it.

Romance Meter: 4.8/5 – Must visit

Location: No. 1-2, Hukou Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei

Number for booking: +886 2 2358 1819

5. Tuga

Here’s their Tripadvisor

A Classy Taste of Portugal.

Vibe: A classy taste of Portugal. Tuga has an impressive wine collection on display and the menu is full of authentic Portuguese dishes. They have a collection of their delicacies available to buy in a little on-site shop. Service is fantastic and I liked the old-fashioned Portuguese music. They also have nice cutlery. This place inspired my travel bug to consider visiting Portugal.

Food and drink: Umm… Portuguese! I had a delicious chorizo and bean stew which was everything I wanted it to be; spicy, hearty and flavoursome. Try the wine – I didn’t, because I went in the afternoon (I’m not the biggest wino), but there was so much of it…

Tuga

Price: $$/$$$ it was around 750 NTD – but I was so full and satisfied.

Romance Meter: 4.4/5. The only thing I had a tiny issue with was that the AC was a bit too strong and I was a little cold by the end of dinner. But if I had told the staff I’m sure they would have turned it down.

Location: No. 12, Alley 11, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei.

6. Wulao (Zhongshan branch)

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Perfect for the Perfect Hotpot

Vibe: Perfect for the perfect hotpot. The atmosphere is formal but chilled out and each group has their own corner with a set of benches and a table for privacy. You can also help yourself to the towels, napkins and toothpicks provided in your private booth. I went there with The Kinky Brown Girl Hater and it went really well – cooking the hotpot itself is a great date activity, because it involves interaction and teamwork. Make sure to book this in advance.

Only thing I’d say is that the service was a bit weird; the receptionist told us to wait outside for ages even though we had reserved a table. Staff upstairs also kind of disappeared when we needed to ask for stuff. But they weren’t rude – just not as efficient as you’d expect for a place like this. This isn’t unusual for date spots in Taipei though – also happened in Bianco (see below).

Wulao

Food and drink: Very very delicious. The hotpot was more than big enough for two people and all the different types of meat, tofu and balls in it were perfect, as was the broth. We also had mango beer, which was yummy and a complimentary dessert shot of ice blended calamansi that was very refreshing and palette cleansing; this was a really nice touch.

Price: $$$-$$$$ We got excited and put loads of meats and fish in the hotpot so it came to 1900. For 2 people I’d expect it’s usually around 1700-2000 NTD. But then I took home half of what we left and it lasted me 3 breakfasts (yeah, I’m cheap too and what?)

Romance Meter: 4.2/5. Great for teamwork and conversation and the food is awesome.

Location: Zhongshan branch: No. 36-1, Section 2, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei.

Number for booking: +886 2 3322 5529

7. Bianco Taipei

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Lights and White Furniture

Vibe: Warm, nice dim lights and white furniture – perfect for an Italian. A little bit formal but not too stiff – perfect for a first date. Tables far enough apart for privacy. They got the ambiance spot on.Lots of people, so booking in advance is necessary – The Quantum Physicist did when we went on our date. Service was good, but we were pushed a little at the end to pay, because they were closing at 10pm and the kitchen closed at 9.30pm (our date was at 8.45pm). But overall, great.

Bianco Taipei

Food and drink: Excellent. I was really impressed with my Japanese risotto that had chicken and an egg; the rice was moist, chicken nicely done – it hit the spot. He had a veggie pasta thing that was OK for vegans to eat.

Price: $$-$$$ Risottos cost 420-450 NTD and other stuff is a bit cheaper.

Romance Meter: 4.4/10 – great first date spot in Taipei. Started an awesome conversation here that you can read all about soon.

Location: No. 19, Lane 112, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Da’an District, Taipei.

Number for booking: +886 2 2325 3655

Orrr be a bit crazy and spice things up at a Night Market

Any visit to Taipei is incomplete without trawling the night markets, tasting weird, wonderful and crazy-cheap food and getting caught up in the electric atmosphere. Why not put them in your list of date spots in Taipei? There’ll be a lot to talk about with your date.

8. Shilin Night Market

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Night Market

Vibe: The biggest and most famous night market there is in Taipei. Crazy exciting with food, colours and lights everywhere. This is a great place to walk around on a date – there’s no shortage of things to talk about here. Yeah, there are lots of crowds but it’s not overwhelming. Loads of food stands with weird and wonderful concoctions will ensure you aren’t stuck for something to eat.

Shilin Night Market

Food and drink: Anything. Burgers, sate, bubble tea, octopus, you name it. I was adventurous and had a BBQ-ed octopus skewer that looked nicely marinated.

Price: $ Cheap and cheerful. Small things are around 30 NTD and larger things (like my octopus skewer) are about 100 NTD

Romance Meter: 4.2/5. Awesome opportunity to walk and talk and eat all at the same time. Could go after visiting a restaurant as well just to walk around in, as that would set an exciting tone to the evening.

Location: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei.

9. Raohe Street Night Market

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Raohe Street Night Market

Vibe: Ultimate foodie heaven. Everything I walked past was delicious and it’s one of the oldest night markets in Taipei, so is a must-visit destination in itself. while Shilin is almost futuristic, this feels a bit more ‘traditional’ despite same level of excitement and crazy amount of games and stuff to do. Go with a date when you’re hungry and grab 5 or 6 different things. Then sit outside on one of the benches in the open space, as it gets crowded inside, especially near the entrance. Out of all the date spots in Taipei though, this has the best value for food.

Food and drink: Honestly, I had the best meal ever here. I had a famous pork bun, little fried seafood balls with spicy mayonnaise, mini custard egg tarts and a pudding bubble milk tea. My stomach rumbles from just thinking about it.

Price: $ So so cheap. I got six custard egg tarts for just 100 NTD

Romance Meter: 4.1/5 – OK, it is crowded I know. But take a date purely because of the food. And it’s a conversation starter I swear.

Location: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei.

10. Taipei Expo Park

Here’s their Website

hipster market

Vibe: Buzzing and electric! Taipei Expo Park is a hipster market, yummy looking restaurants, food stalls, live shows and kid-friendly attractions all-in-one. Out of all the date spots in Taipei, this has something for everyone. I went there at 8pm on a Saturday night and there were loads of families having fun, but then I heard an expat say “Maaan, I’ve never been here this early before, like I don’t know what to do; there are like families and sh*t here” – so I have a sneaking suspicion that it turns into a party place with all the fast food stalls later.

Taipei Expo Park

I settled at La Querida, a Spanish restaurant to watch a performance of a guy dancing with fire on the main stage, which was pretty cool. All the restaurants look great though; ‘Masala Art’ is Indian (win), ‘Brickworks’ is Lego themed but closes at 8pm and the pub ‘The Three Lions Inn’ is directly opposite the stage. Halfway through my meal, a magician came and asked if I wanted to see magic. I was alone and not in the mood so declined; but basically, there’s no shortage of entertainment here.

I actually dated a magician – read more about that here…

Food: I had some patatas bravas, which are spicy Spanish potatoes and a coke. It was yummy.

Price: $$ 330 NTD – so not too bad

Romance Meter: 4.3/5. The whole place has a great vibe, so the score is really for Taipei Expo Park as a whole.

Location: No.1, Yumen Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei.

Closing Thoughts On Date Spots In Taipei

Exciting, quirky and dynamic places

Yeah Taipei isn’t as cheap as Southeast Asia and yeah, it’s a bit of a concrete jungle, but it’s exciting, quirky and dynamic – that’s what makes it special. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for romance – You can read all about my tinder dates in Taipei very soon! Have fun and enjoy these date spots in Taipei responsibly… *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

Concrete Jungle

Zainab's Avatar

Written by Zainab Mohiuddin

Hey there! My name is Zainab, A.K.A. Tinderella Worldwide, seasoned dater of the world and I would love to connect with you. My vision is simple: I think that dating should be enjoyed as an adventure rather than heartbreak central or just a route to settling down.

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