East Asia is a fascinating place with rich culture, ancient civilizations, and global metropolises. It’s an extremely popular choice for people who want to move and pursue good business opportunities while also enjoying a more colorful, fun, and laid-back lifestyle.
With its members of China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan, East Asia is home to some of the world’s most prosperous economies. While this means that it’s a bit more expensive than Southeast Asia, it’s still relatively cheaper to live and play in than most places in the United States or Europe.
If you’re an aspiring expat looking for a new place to live, look no further than Taiwan. This island-nation is just slightly larger than Maryland, but it has been named expats’ favorite place to live for three years in a row by InterNations.
Taiwan consistently ranks higher than any other place for quality of life and friendliness. They have also been commended internationally for having excellent low-cost healthcare.
Living in Taiwan promises you a lot of perks. If you’re lucky enough to be moved to Taiwan by your company, you will enjoy free housing, education programs, and countless other benefits.
There are many natural wonders to explore in Taiwan. While the island may be small, you would be amazed at the variety of sights here. Every part of the country has a completely different look and feel. Taiwan boasts more than 100 mountain peaks higher than 3,000 meters, more than 100 hot springs, golden and black sand beaches, and 9 national parks. Taiwan’s landscape is unique and almost otherworldly.
The island-nation is surrounded by the one of the most dramatic coastlines in the world, with steep, majestic cliffs lining deep blue waters. Taiwan is blessed with beaches, forest parks, and mountain ranges that are calling to be explored.
Nature lovers won’t be disappointed with the number of outdoor adventures in Taiwan. One of the most accessible (and free!) activities you could choose is to visit Taroko National Park. This National Park covers almost 100,000 hectares and is just two hours away from Taipei by train. It has spectacular mountains and gorges to hike through and mountain rivers you can take a dip in.
For those who are even more adventurous, you could explore some of Taiwan’s majestic mountains. The Green Mountains extend over five mountain ranges throughout the island. The best way to explore is to rent a scooter to get around. Those who love hiking could also opt to climb up to Wuling Peak on Hehuan Mountain, at 3,275 meters above sea level. This peak is so high you can look down into a sea of clouds. Another excellent climb is Jade Mountain, the fourth-highest peak in Taiwan at 4,000 meters above sea level, where you can watch the most spectacular sunrise.
Visiting the coastlines of Taiwan will give you a completely different adventure. Yehliu Geopark on the northern coastline has lunar-like landscapes and rock formations. The southern tip of the island has several beaches such as Kenting, South Bay and Little Bali Bay where you can sunbathe, snorkel, and go diving.
Taking a boat to go island hopping on the nearby islands of Penghu will treat you to golden sand beaches, aboriginal villages made of coral, and even sea turtle sightings if you’re lucky! After all those active adventures, visit Beitou Hot Springs where you can take a relaxing dip for just $1.30.
For those who prefer city life, Taiwan is famous for its night markets with aromatic street food and funky finds. Shopping in Taiwan is excellent, thanks to friendly locals and a wide variety of items available at cheap prices.
The greatest pastime in Taiwan is eating and the city is an epicurean playground. Taiwanese are always on the go and love to eat healthy, fresh food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant at local markets, and international cuisine is available for every price range and diet.
From five-star restaurants to cheap street food, in Taiwan, your belly will always be full. The busy night markets are the best place to get the full gastronomic experience of Taiwan. Some must-try dishes include oyster omelets, beef noodle soup, stinky tofu, Taiwanese sausage, coffin bread, tian bu la (fish cake) pig’s blood cake, bubble tea and Taiwan beer.
Don’t leave Taiwan without trying their favorite staple food xiao long bao – soup dumplings which burst with flavor when you pop them into your mouth. You can get an entire basket of 10 – 12 pieces of xiao long bao for just $2. A full dinner from Taiwan’s night markets will cost you just $5.
Tea culture is also massive in Taiwan and there are several traditional tea houses where you can try fantastic tea while also soaking in a unique cultural experience. Some of the best tea houses to visit are Maokong Gondola, Jiufen or Jwu Jiu Tea house.
Expats can live very comfortably in Taiwan. The average annual salary in Taiwan is approximately $30,000 but many expats earn between $120,000 to $240,000 per year – and many of them have their housing paid for by their companies. This puts expats at the top of rich people’s lifestyles in Taiwan.
Even those who didn’t move to Taiwan via company relocation still enjoy a lifestyle that is more than comfortable. Living in Taiwan saves you some serious cash. The cost of living in Taiwan is, on average, 18.13% lower than in the United States. Rent in Taiwan is, on average, 65.40% lower than in the United States.
Housing is much cheaper than in other parts of the world, with expats reporting spending $720 to $1,000 per month for nice 2 to 3-bedroom apartments in the center of the city. Public transportation is also very affordable and reliable, with a Taipei Metro Ticket costing between $0.75 and $2.
The best perk of living in Taiwan is enjoying an excellent healthcare system at a fraction of the cost of countries like the US. A typical doctor’s visit in Taiwan costs $18 including medications already. One expat reported that her son fell from his skateboard and was rushed to the emergency room. His consultation, x-ray and stitches just cost $30, and he was out of the hospital in 3 hours.
Anne Marie Nolan, an American who moved to Taiwan, paid just $400 for the birth of her daughter in 2018 which covered a Cesarean section and a five-day hospital stay. In the US, the cost of having a baby is anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.
Taiwan is also an excellent jump-off point for travel to other Asian countries. Destinations such as Seoul, South Korea, Manila, Philippines and Okinawa, Japan are very short, cheap flights away. This opens up life in Taiwan to many, many more adventures. The island-nation of Taiwan wouldn’t be named expats’ favorite place in the world to live without good reason. The otherworldly landscapes, cheap food, rich culture and best-in-class healthcare put Taiwan at the top of our list too.
It’s time to Do Life Right!
What are you waiting for? We hope that this inspires the spirit of adventure in you. If you want to add some spice to your routine, say goodbye to the city and hello to the island, let’s go!
Don’t forget to pack appropriately. You won’t need those stuffy business suits or constricting dress shoes. A comfy and stylish pair of flip flops will do.
Check out our flip flop reviews and recommendations here on Flip Flop Daily to find your perfect pair to take along on your island adventures.