Why you should move to Taiwan, now.

Evening walk along the river in New Taipei City. Skylights

Hello! If you’ve stumbled across my blog, welcome, I’m a 25 year old british girl who moved to Taiwan in March 2020 to teach English. (Yes, my lockdown year has been very different to everyone else!). As a result, I’m sharing my experiences living in Taiwan, we started with the ugly, and now, I’m sharing the best things about being an expat on this sweet, sweet-potato island.

Taiwan is great for the outdoors

Waterfall and mountains in New Taipei city, Xizhi.

A big reason why I chose to teach English in Taiwan was it’s breathtaking landscapes and glorious mountainous zones – you’re truly spoiled for choice here if you’re into hiking and cycling. I live a little out of the city and the waterfall picture above was taken no more than 20 minutes away from my apartment. How awesome is it to say I live here?

And if you’re a water babe, you’re never too far from the coast (perks of living on a small island with a great public transportation system!). So, heading to the beach for the weekend or finally trying surfing is more than doable.

The rent in Taiwan is cheap

Vegan expat in Taiwan, apartment tour in New Taipei city

Depending on where you’re from in the world, Taiwan can certainly give you more bang for your buck when renting an apartment. There’s a variety of options to suit your budget, if you’re just looking for a room and bed to crash each night, you won’t be spending more than £250 per month. Or, you can totally splash on a luxury apartment in the Xinyi area of Taipei city, if your budget allows.

In New Taipei City, I pay £400 for a modern furnished studio apartment including my water and electricity. You can see a full tour of the apartment and a breakdown of costs.

Eating out in Taiwan

Eating out is the way to fill your stomach in Taiwan, and granted, there is a lot of it. It’s cheaper to have meal at your local night market, where you won’t be spending any more than £5 for several, filling dishes, than it is to be grocery shopping and cooking after a long day at work. There are also many places to eat vegan in Taipei, and I’ve made a full list on my blog post should you ever wish to visit.

Missed the night market? No problem, head to a Family Mart or 7/11 and grab yourself a snack or packet of ramen at all hours of the night. Taiwan is known to be convenient for a reason.

Healthcare in Taiwan is cheap and amazing

Picture of Xizhi skyline in New Taipei city, Taiwan

Taiwan’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and wildly inexpensive, even without national health insurance. As it takes a few months before your NIH card arrives, I had to visit a doctors in two occasions – once when I had a pretty bad cold and one to gain a perscription for my chronic disease. Both visits were less then £20, and that included the consultation and a bundle of medication.

Because I now pay into National health insurance, I now actually pay less for my medication (including consultation) than the cost of a standard prescription back in the UK. So if it’s any assurance to those with similar chronic diseases wishing to move abroad for a little while, Taiwan might be one of the best places to do it.

Low tax in Taiwan

Alleys of Ximen in Taipei City

Now that I’ve officially worked 6 months in Taiwan, I’m now taxed at 4% instead of the 18% I’ve been on for the last few months. On top of that, I will be able to claim the previous months overpay in tax, so it has sort of been a private savings account! This will be a nice top up when I leave for the next country. It sure beats the tax system in the UK.

Taiwan is very safe for women

Like most girls in UK, I felt pretty unsafe to be out and about at night, especially alone. Its the same tale of scurrying home whilst carrying a key between my fingers.

It’s strange that in Taiwan, I’ve not felt the need to do any of that. I think its for various reasons. In general, crime rates are very low anyway, and Taipei pays perticular attention to womens safety on public transportation systems with female ‘safety zones’. Perhaps also that the drinking culture isn’t as strong as it back home, so I’m not worried a slobbery drunken man is going to make me feel uncomfortable on the way home. Additionally, the city seems to come alive in the evenings, with people shopping, eating and exercising late into the night.

There are so many more amazing reasons to travel or move to Taiwan, and it’s a shame Taiwan is still so undiscovered in the TEFL community. Have you visited Taiwan? Let me know what I’ve missed!

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9 Comments

  1. September 26, 2020 / 9:38 am

    That sounds wonderful, I’m surprised you don’t want to stay forever ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Notebook Adventurer
    September 20, 2020 / 9:02 am

    Super inspiring what you’re doing, especially during Covid. Very excited for all the adventures ahead of you :))

    • September 21, 2020 / 12:57 am

      That’s so sweet, thank you! I’m trying to figure out a safe place to migrate to next year. Any suggestions?

      • Notebook Adventurer
        September 21, 2020 / 9:53 am

        Hi Lea, I’m from the UK too, I came to Germany in August as there weren’t any covid restrictions – I ‘think’ that’s still the case – and also I admired the way Germany had been handling the pandemic compared to England. I’d wanted to return to Asia, but that was off the cards, so for me, Germany was the safest place I could think of. Also, I took the opportunity to register myself here so that I have a chance of retaining my pre-Brexit rights, which look like will end December 31st. Why do you want to leave Taiwan, if you don’t mind me asking? Cheers, Abraham

        • September 22, 2020 / 1:14 am

          Ah awesome, thanks so much for the recommendation! Iโ€™ll take a look into Germany. I love Taiwan and how theyโ€™ve dealt with COVID, I also love the low taxes and culture. Thereโ€™s really no complaints other than I want to return to a non-teaching role and Iโ€™ll struggle here without knowing Chinese. I also never planned to stay in any one country for more than a year, so if I can move on safely, I totally would!

          • Notebook Adventurer
            September 22, 2020 / 9:45 am

            I know what you mean about wanting to go back to a non-teaching role. I taught full-time in Hong Kong for around 5 years then began wanting to shift away. I began freelancing while still teaching in HK, which gradually built up to a point where I stopped teaching altogether. If you were to do something similar while still in Taiwan, you could potentially learn Chinese at the same time. But I also totally get it if you’d never planned to stay for more than a year in any one country, better to move on before you ‘lose your way’, so to speak ๐Ÿ™‚ If you want any info on Germany just let me know. It’s a pretty vegan friendly place (I’m living in Bonn) and also in a great position for getting to the rest of Europe too ๐Ÿ™‚

          • September 28, 2020 / 3:16 am

            That’s so useful, thank you so much for reaching out and giving me your suggestions! I’ll take a look more into Germany, I’ve only ever visited once and that was to Berlin during winter, so I don’t know too much about the country.

Penny for your thoughts

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