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Moving to Taipei

Expats moving to Taipei can look forward to a global city with a seamless blend of history and modernity. The pace is frenetic and change is constant. The metropolis hums with the activity of millions of people living, working and entertaining themselves – all of which happens under the shadow of Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers and the defining image of the Taiwanese capital.

Living in Taipei as an expat

Expats working in Taipei are positioned at the economic centre of Taiwan. The city has exhibited steady growth driven by high-tech industries, manufacturing and an expanding services sector.

Accommodation consists primarily of apartment living, which can be small, old-fashioned and free of all furnishings, including appliances. Fortunately, foreigners working in the city will have access to Taiwan's excellent and heavily subsidised public healthcare system.

Despite its large population being concentrated in a small area, getting around in Taipei is easy. Expats can navigate the city using the MRT subway system and an abundance of yellow cabs. Scooters outnumber cars on the road and provide a convenient, popular and thrilling mode of transport.

Taipei is at the heart of Taiwanese culture, and lifestyle in the city is characterised by its fantastic food. Taipei is a culinary wonderland, from the tasty fare at five-star hotels to xiaochi snacks served at street level. Its almost endless choices reflect the history of the city, combining the influences of indigenous tribes as well as Chinese and Japanese cuisine. As the capital, it is also the most Westernised city in Taiwan, making it a little easier for Western expats to find the things they miss from home.

Cost of living in Taipei

The cost of living in the city is generally relatively high by Taiwanese standards. Western goods are expensive, and accommodation can also be rather pricey. That said, living outside the city centre can decrease these costs.

While certain things are expensive in Taipei, public transport and local goods and produce are not among them. Eating out at local Taiwanese restaurants is also largely inexpensive.

Expat families and children in Taipei

The standard of education is excellent in Taiwan. There are several International schools in the city that tend to be favoured by expats over the local schools. That said, international schools are costly, and expats should consider this when negotiating their salary.

Parents looking to entertain their kids on the weekends will discover various family-friendly activities and attractions in the city. Whether looking for educational fun, such as at a science museum or the Taipei Zoo, or a thrilling day at a water or theme park, finding something to do with the kids is always possible regardless of the weather.

Climate in Taipei

Taipei has a subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Although the summer months are the wettest, it rains throughout the year. Typhoon season generally sets in from July and lasts until the end of September. While temperatures cool down dramatically during winter, they tend to stay above 50ºF (10ºC).

Although densely urban, Taipei is close enough to the natural beauty of the Taiwanese countryside and beaches, contributing to the attractions of a city that offers expats prosperity and a high quality of life.

Pros and cons of moving to Taipei

Taipei strikes a wonderful balance between the pros and cons of living in East Asia. It's less polluted, has fewer big boulevards than Beijing, and is friendlier than Hong Kong, cheaper and easier to assimilate into than Tokyo, and warmer than Seoul.

Many people who move to Taipei end up staying long-term. They cite the ease with which they made friends in Taiwan, its accessibility, the opportunities to learn Chinese, the variety of geography and outdoor activities, the laid-back culture and delicious food as critical reasons for this.

On the other hand, many new arrivals feel that Taipei seems more intense and dirtier than they are used to back home. It can be challenging to adjust to the weather, the traffic and some elements of business culture, but on the whole, most foreigners enjoy all the great things that Taipei has to offer. As such, most people leave Taipei – if they leave at all – with great memories, happy for the time they spent living in Taiwan.

Accommodation in Taipei

+ PRO: Accommodation in Taiwan is comparatively cheap

It's possible to get an apartment in downtown Taipei for about a third of the cost of those in major Western or Japanese cities. Expats stand a realistic chance of finding comparatively affordable accommodation that is centrally located and close to convenient transportation routes. If accommodation in Taipei does seem to be costly, the cheaper inner suburbs are convenient and often have easy MRT (subway) access.

+ PRO: Apartments in Taiwan are bigger than elsewhere in East Asia

Living spaces tend to be larger than in Japan – bedrooms are typically small, but living rooms will be on par with apartments in the West. Utilities, including air conditioning and wireless internet, are good and fairly easy to set up. Other luxuries, like an oven or clothes dryer, can be bought fairly cheaply, as most apartments don't come with these furnishings. 

- CON: Many apartments are older and don't have elevators

If accommodation isn't being arranged through a company, expats may find themselves looking at a lot of unregistered fifth-floor 'walkups' that don't have elevator access. Living on the top floor of an older building also leaves tenants vulnerable to roof leaks and, in the summer, exceedingly hot rooms. If these top-floor apartments' low prices and living conditions suit one's needs, tthey can be an option for expats to consider. Otherwise, it may be worth waiting until better accommodation becomes available. 

- CON: Apartments in Taipei tend to look 'cheap'

Apartments in Taipei are often painted in cheap white paint, and some landlords prohibit painting over. The flooring tends to be cheap tile, and the metal bars and textured glass windows are not aesthetically pleasing. 

Lifestyle in Taipei

+ PRO: Life in Taipei is characterised by convenience 

Unless moving to Taipei's outer suburbs, expats will likely have convenience stores, coffee shops, a wet market and cheap and delicious local restaurants.

Convenience stores are everywhere and operate differently from those in the West. In addition to selling groceries and other typical goods, they also offer services such as seating areas, printing centres and counters where residents can pay their utility bills.

+ PRO: Cafés and nightlife options abound

Whatever expats like – from quiet cafés, swanky see-and-be-seen lounges, neighbourhood bars, student dives, expat hangouts, pool halls or thumping nightclubs – Taipei has it all. There are also plenty of bistros and shopping streets. Taiwan's famous night markets usually stay open until about midnight, even on weekdays. They feature better shopping and eating than one might find in the most vibrant city centres elsewhere.

+ PRO: Accessible international food and English-language books

One can generally find a variety of cuisine options in Taipei. Indian, Thai, Mainland Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, German and French food are all popular, and many American chain restaurants have established themselves in Taipei.

There are some large bookstores offering English books, including travel guides, and a few used bookstores with fair selections.

+ PRO: Outdoor sports

Hiking, biking, river tracing, camping, paragliding, surfing and other outdoor sports are extremely popular in Taipei. Taiwan has scenic natural geography with a varied coastline, a few beaches, towering mountains, paddy-covered plains, rivers and high waterfalls, gorges and cliffs, and plenty of opportunities to get out into nature. It's far easier to get out of the city than in most major Western cities. Northern Taipei has hills and mountains, and some hikes can be done within the city limits.

- CON: Wet weather

It rains a lot in Taipei. From late November to early April, one can expect only a few sunny days. Autumn (mid-September to mid-November) is beautiful, often clear and bright, and punctuated by the occasional late-season typhoon. Winter is an almost constant procession of grey clouds that cover the sky.

Spring is hot, humid and interspersed with frequent, sudden downpours and thunderstorms known as 'plum rains'. Summer is also humid and hot, with typhoons and thunderstorms on many afternoons – and then the cycle repeats. Many expats take holidays in mid-winter just to escape the incessant grey weather.

- CON: Pollution

Although it's noticeably less polluted than China and far cleaner than it was even 10 or 20 years ago, Taipei is not known for its crisp, clean air. Occasionally, the dust of a sandstorm or a gust of pollution from China blows down to Taiwan, causing smog in the air. 

Getting around in Taipei

+ PRO: Public transport in Taipei is great

Taipei has some of the best public transport in the world – a clean, safe and reliable MRT system and a comprehensive bus system. This means that, while many foreigners choose to buy scooters and get around as locals often do, it's far from necessary. Those living in Taipei will never need a car or scooter.

- CON: Heavy traffic in Taipei

Many foreigners are put off by the Taiwanese road culture, which can entail speeding, disregarding traffic laws and congested roads. There are limited sidewalks, and where they do exist, they can be uneven and difficult to navigate. Traffic signs tend to be in English, but intersections can be hectic and confusing. Scooter accidents are common, and some expats complain about the noise levels near major thoroughfares.

- CON: Public transport is limited outside Taipei

Outside Taipei, expats will need a car or scooter – buses are less frequent, and only Kaohsiung in the south has another MRT system. It can be challenging to get around the rest of Taiwan without a car. Although trains and buses go to most destinations, it can be hard to get to the countryside from the bus or train station.

Travelling outside Taipei

+ PRO: Lots of countryside to explore

Just outside of Taipei is an impressive collection of mountains with winding roads and breathtaking views. Head straight south, and one will hit the cultural heartland of Taiwan, with towns and cities such as Sanxia, Daxi, Beipu, Sanyi, Lugang, Tainan, Meinong and Donggang preserving elements of traditional Taiwanese arts and lifestyle. There are also many fantastic national parks that display unique geographical features. As such, there's much to do outside of Taipei.

+ PRO: Proximity to great holiday destinations 

From Taiwan, it's cheap and easy to take short trips to Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and most of Southeast Asia. India is even within affordable reach. Guam and Palau are popular vacation spots with locals and foreigners alike. With the advent of direct flights between China and Taiwan, visiting China is also easier than ever (even though getting a visa may not be). 

- CON: Lack of direct flights from Taiwan

For all destinations outside this corner of Asia, one generally needs to catch connecting flights. Direct flights to major cities such as New York and London exist, but they are expensive and usually involve a transfer in Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Education and schools in Taipei

+ PRO: Taipei has excellent private schools

Taiwan has a developed world school system which is competitive and holds students to high standards. Although there aren't many of them, the international schools are excellent. They provide a Western-style education in Taipei.

- CON: Taiwanese teaching style and cram schools

Students get an overwhelming amount of homework, and learning tends to be rote learning rather than based on critical thinking. Many parents will say that these local schools are fantastic – they help children learn more, review and understand more, and help them score highly on Taiwan's necessary placement tests. That said, most Westerners feel that the amount of time Taiwanese students spend in class just to compete at the most basic level is too much.

Healthcare in Taipei

+PRO: Taiwan's National Health Insurance 

Public healthcare in Taiwan is excellent, heavily subsidised and accessible. If working or studying here, one is eligible for it.

Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) doesn't cover checkups but makes treatment, medication, dental and vision care and hospitalisation affordable. If an expat passes the health check required to get a long-term visa in Taiwan and receives an Alien Resident Card, they will be covered by Taiwanese public healthcare.

- CON: National Health Insurance in Taiwan is concerned with survival and treatment and not quality of life

Often the most comfortable, easiest treatments are not covered (or not covered initially) because they improve quality of life but not survival rates. 

If one is sick and needs a specific medication, there are regulations as to what can be prescribed first – and what can be given after that if the first drug doesn't work. Doctors are not always free to prescribe the medication they feel will be most effective.

Working in Taipei

Expats working in Taipei will find themselves at the centre of the Taiwanese economy. The city prides itself as a global leader in electronics and industrial manufacturing. The country's improved trade relationships and proximity to China have also led to more business opportunities in Taipei.

Foreigners need a work permit for Taiwan to take up employment legally, a process that the local employer must start.

Job market in Taipei

There are many employment opportunities for foreigners in Taipei. That said, aside from company transfers, opportunities for expats in Taiwan are concentrated in a few industries, such as IT, English teaching, translation, international trade and journalism. There are many English-language publications, so qualified expats may find work with a newspaper, magazine or other publishers. Long-term residents often start their own businesses, including bars, bakeries and restaurants.

If an expat has the right qualifications, however, they can usually find a job opportunity in their field. It's common to meet foreigners working in tech companies, accounting firms, banks, finance companies, pharmaceutical firms and more.

Finding a job in Taipei

Most foreigners with senior positions in Taipei have been transferred to the city by their companies back home. Finding a senior position can also be challenging, as most companies try to hire locally.

Expats searching for jobs in Taipei should look for listings on online job portals and through local publications. As there are many multinational companies in Taipei, jobseekers should also visit company-specific websites to see if any positions have been posted. Otherwise, expats should approach recruitment agencies that represent companies in Taiwan.

Useful links

  • 104 Job Bank: One of the most popular job search websites in Taiwan, offers job listings in various fields.
  • 518 Job Bank: Another commonly used job portal in Taiwan with numerous listings.
  • LinkedIn: An international platform where many companies post job vacancies. It's also a great tool for networking.
  • Tealit: A useful resource for English teaching jobs and other work opportunities for foreigners in Taiwan.

Work culture in Taipei

One major complaint by expats and locals alike is that the 8am to 5pm workday in Taipei actually consists of longer hours than initially advertised. Expats may be asked to work on weekends and might get emails or phone calls from work as late as 10pm. It isn't uncommon for employers to expect their employees to finish projects or conduct research in their personal time. This doesn't apply to all Taiwanese companies, and many multinational companies have more familiar expectations of their employees.

Teachers and other hourly-wage workers may find themselves with more unpaid work than they think is fair. While it's uncommon for locals to protest these incursions into personal time, if they are polite, expats can establish boundaries regarding what they are willing to do and when they are willing to do it.

Business culture in Taiwan, following Confucian principles, sees maintaining a sense of harmony by carefully controlling one's interpersonal relationships as paramount. According to this line of thought, the most critical aspects of business culture in Taiwan are 'face' and guanxi (relationships).

Creating and sustaining relationships are integral to doing business in Taiwan. Expats should take note of the practices that support this concept, like gift-giving, and avoid rushing business dealings to allow for relationships to develop.

'Face' is a complicated concept relating to a person's dignity, prestige and reputation. Giving face, saving face and avoiding losing face is crucial in business in Taiwan. Therefore, expats should avoid doing or saying anything that will embarrass or bring shame to the company. Causing a collective group to 'lose face' negatively impacts business relations in Taiwan.

Cost of Living in Taipei

Although the cost of living is much lower in rural and southern Taiwan, most new arrivals settle in Taipei. A comparatively expensive city, the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Taipei at 57th out of 227 other popular expat cities. This is still far below other regional hubs such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing or Singapore though.

In general, if earning an expat salary, one can enjoy a higher standard of living than back home, even if the actual wage is lower before adjusting for purchasing power. That said, many foreigners soon discover that they can generally afford more with less money. Even as a local hire, new arrivals will probably be paid a 'foreigner salary' rather than a local one, especially if bilingual, and certainly if speaking English or another foreign language is considered a necessary skill for the position.

That said, Taipei has as much of a consumer culture as many large Western or Asian cities, and expat families will need to decide how much of their monthly income they are prepared to spend to maintain the lifestyle they were living in their home countries. Western clothing and foodstuffs are generally pricier than local options.

Cost of accommodation in Taipei

Although higher than elsewhere in Taiwan, housing in Taipei is generally affordable, as renting and living centrally is not as expensive as it might be in Western cities.

On the other hand, buying property in Taipei is prohibitively expensive, as real estate costs are similar to those in more expensive countries.

Cost of transport in Taipei

Getting around in Taipei is easy and affordable, thanks to the city's extensive and reliable public transport network. Most expats find owning a car an unnecessary expense and choose to travel on the MRT or the city's buses.

Thrifty expats can purchase a smart card to access both the MRT and buses, and this will also provide discounts. Taxis are also available; although they are comparatively pricier than public transport, they are still affordable by global standards.

Cost of groceries and goods in Taipei

One downside of cooking at home is that it can cost as much as eating out, especially if cooking Western food. This can be frustrating for those who prefer cooking their food or like to have total control of ingredients and the cooking process.

Goods tend to be cheaper in Taiwan than they are in the US or UK. With all the street stalls selling accessories and the affordability of decor and furniture, items tend to be cheaper than in other countries.

While many goods in Taipei are cheap, they are often poorly made. This is especially true when it comes to textiles and some electronics brands. Sheets, pillows, blankets, towels and curtains tend to be of inferior quality, and many are made of synthetic, even plastic-like fabrics. Despite the abundance of inexpensive goods, imported luxury brands are costly due to high import duties.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Taipei

Expats will be astonished by the depth and breadth of the options for eating out in Taipei. These range from food stalls making cheap, tasty and quick meals or snacks to restaurants offering sit-down dinners of several courses.

Western alcohol can cost more in Taipei than in Western European or North American countries, but going out in Taipei is still affordable. Even Taipei's fanciest bars are reasonable, and most local and expat-friendly places also have wallet-friendly prices.

Cost of education in Taipei

Expats may be surprised by the lack of English language schools in Taipei, since the city is home to a sizeable English-speaking community. Expat parents who want their children to learn in English will have to budget for the high fees associated with international schools or send their children to one of Taipei's highly religious English schools. Those with young children have the option of enrolling their children in Taipei's highly regarded schools at a fraction of the cost of international schools.

Cost of healthcare in Taipei

Taipei offers a solid healthcare system that is both affordable and efficient. The city's healthcare operates under Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, providing residents access to various medical services. Expats living in Taipei for more than six months must enrol in the NHI programme, with premiums according to their income. Services such as general consultations, prescribed medications, and hospitalisation are covered under this insurance, though some co-payments may be required at the point of use.

Expats may choose to use private healthcare facilities for more comfort and quicker service, higher-end facilities, less waiting time and the advantage of English-speaking staff. However, private healthcare can be costlier, and not all services may be covered under the NHI, requiring either out-of-pocket payments or a private health insurance plan.

Cost of living in Taiwan chart 

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Taipei in July 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NTD 47,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NTD 35,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NTD 19,100

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

NTD 13,500

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

NTD 125

Milk (1 litre)

NTD 95

Rice (1kg)

NTD 100

Loaf of white bread

NTD 64

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NTD 131

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NTD 128

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

NTD 1,200

Big Mac meal

NTD 149

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NTD 33


NTD 102

Bottle of beer (local)

NTD 49


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NTD 5.13

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NTD 770

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

NTD 2,300


Taxi rate/km

NTD 25

City-centre public transport fare

NTD 25

Gasoline (per litre)

NTD 31

Accommodation in Taipei

Depending on an expat's reasons for relocating, accommodation in Taipei can differ dramatically. Senior businesspeople moving with their families will want different housing than expats looking to teach English in the city for a few years.

Housing in Taipei is also expensive. Although there are efforts to bring prices down, they are expected to stay high for the foreseeable future.

The most expensive accommodation in Taipei is located in the areas closest to the city centre, and prices decrease as one moves to the periphery. To save on rent, some expats opt to share an apartment.

Areas and suburbs in Taipei

Taipei comprises 12 administrative districts, each with its own distinct character. The Da'an and Xinyi districts, known for their skyscrapers, shopping, and entertainment venues, are among the priciest. Da'an is home to many high-end apartments, while Xinyi, as the financial district, hosts several international corporations and luxury hotels.

Taipei's Zhongshan and Songshan districts are also popular, featuring a mix of modern buildings and traditional homes. Both districts are known for their food scenes and night markets, offering a taste of authentic Taiwanese life.

On the more affordable end of the spectrum, outer districts like Beitou and Shilin offer less crowded living conditions. They are closer to natural attractions like hot springs and national parks. However, expats here may have to commute longer to the city centre.

See our dedicated Areas and Suburbs in Taipei page for more information.

Types of accommodation in Taipei

Regardless of wealth, most real-estate in the city is found in the form of secure apartment blocks that have stair access to upper floors. Elevators are scarce except in the most luxurious complexes.

The Taiwanese measure floor space in a unit of measurement called ping, where one ping is equivalent to 3.3 square metres. Expats will find that by Western standards, apartments in Taiwan are tiny and close together with little outdoor space.

Note that Taiwanese kitchens seldom have stove and oven units. The same goes for dishwashers. A typical kitchen consists of a refrigerator, gas stove and microwave.

    Finding accommodation in Taipei

    In many cases, employers will assist in finding accommodation or include free accommodation as part of an employment package. If this is the case, expats should investigate the arrangement. Aside from apartments in Taipei being smaller than Western apartments, accepting a higher salary instead of an accommodation allowance may not always be the best decision.

    For young expats moving to Taipei to teach English, it's possible to find flatshares quite easily through expat social media groups. This saves money and can create an opportunity to make meaningful social connections.

    It may be wise for new arrivals to spend some time in temporary accommodation while exploring the city. This allows expats to get a feel for the options available and to visit potential apartments before settling on a lease.

    Expats who don't speak Mandarin and don't have a friend or colleague to help them should consider enlisting an English-speaking estate agent to support their accommodation search. Most real-estate agencies charge one month's rent for their services. Expats can also search for housing through online property portals, some of which list properties in English.

    Renting accommodation in Taipei

    Making an application

    When applying to rent accommodation in Taipei, expats will usually be asked to provide some documentation. Typically, this includes proof of employment or income, their passports and a Taiwanese contact person. There may be a form to complete, where one needs to provide some basic details about themselves.

    In some cases, the landlord may want to meet the potential tenant before accepting the application. This is a good opportunity to discuss any queries or concerns and to ensure that both parties are on the same page when it comes to the rental agreement.

    Leases, costs and fees

    Leases in Taipei usually run for one year, although shorter-term leases are available. It's important to read through the lease carefully and ask for clarification on any points that aren't clear. Leases will typically be written in Mandarin, so having a trusted person translate the lease is advisable for non-Mandarin speakers.

    Upon signing a lease, tenants are generally required to pay a deposit, usually equivalent to two months' rent. In addition, the first month's rent is usually payable upfront. On top of these costs, there may be a management fee to consider, which covers the upkeep of communal areas and security services.

    For those who wish to terminate their lease early, it's worth checking the contract to understand the implications. Some landlords may charge a penalty fee for early termination.

    See Accommodation in Taiwan for more on the rental process.

    Utilities in Taipei

    Expats can rest assured that electricity, water and gas will almost certainly be hooked up and ready to use before moving in. Utilities are affordable in Taiwan, and tenants will start paying from the first moment they use them. In Taipei, utility bills don't come every month but every two to three months, depending on the utility company. They can be paid at any 7-Eleven convenience store, open 24 hours a day, at the bank, post office or through their landlord.

    Gas and electric

    The Taiwan Power Company provides electricity to all of Taipei. As for gas, it can be either piped (city gas) or delivered in cylinders (bottled gas), depending on the property. One provider is Taipei Gas. Using electricity for heating and cooking is common in Taipei due to its convenience and relatively low cost.

    Bills are usually based on meter readings and can be paid via the same methods as general utilities. Newcomers who want to transfer the electricity contract to their name can submit a completed application form and proof of payment for the previous bill to Taiwan Power Company. 


    Water in Taipei is supplied by the Taipei Water Department and is safe to drink directly from the tap. Expats who need to start or stop service can visit their nearest Taipei Water Department office or call their customer service lines. Bills are issued every two months and can be paid at convenience stores, post offices, or through automatic bank transfers.

      Bins and recycling

      By law, refuse must be separated according to different recyclable materials, e.g. plastic, glass, paper and cans. Some apartment blocks have a communal area where refuse can be left at any time and is collected by refuse trucks. If one does not have such an area, however, residents must personally take out refuse when the trucks come around and throw rubbish bags into the truck themselves. These yellow trucks usually play a jingle that makes it easy to identify. They service different neighbourhoods on specific days and times.

      The yellow rubbish trucks are typically followed by white trucks, which collect recyclable waste. Taiwan's waste collection system has not only significantly reduced pollution, as residents are forced to hand-deliver their rubbish to the trucks, but also fostered a strong sense of community in Taipei. 

      Useful links

      Areas and suburbs in Taipei

      The best places to live in Taipei

      Taipei is a compact city, meaning that just about any area can be convenient to live in, but it's also densely populated. This can make commuting slower than one might expect.

      Each area and suburb of Taipei has unique qualities and there are plenty of options for expats looking for accommodation.

      Family-friendly areas in Taipei

      Quiet and family-friendly areas in Taipei

      These areas, while diverse in character, are particularly suited to families due to their less frenetic pace and more suburban feel.


      The Tamsui area is located at the northern terminal station of the Tamsui MRT line. The area is quiet, with a small-town feel, and is close to some beautiful beaches. There's much for expats to enjoy in Tamsui, residents can travel to the mouth of the Tamsui River and enjoy a day out of the city, take in Tamsui's old street for unique gifts and food, or hop on a bus out to Fisherman's Wharf to enjoy the catch of the day. They can also check out Hong Mao Fort on the way back – a beautifully maintained historical site from the days of Portuguese settlers.

      The downside to Tamsui is that there are fewer amenities, and it's at the end of the Red Line, making for a longer commute into Taipei for work. However, expats should be prepared for crowds during the summer months.


      Primarily a family residential area, Da'an also appeals to singles and students due to its proximity to various universities and commercial hubs. Expats often prefer Da’an for its easy access to workplaces and its family-oriented atmosphere.

      Da’an hosts a plethora of diverse restaurants, relaxed cafés and interactive parks. Among these is the popular Da'an Forest Park, one of the city's largest green spaces. Close by are the Jade and Flower markets, which are open on weekends, as well as the Zhongxiao Dunhua and Fuxing shopping areas.

      Although Da'an offers a plethora of amenities, it is known for high housing costs due to its popularity. It also has a dense population, and the availability of public transport can be somewhat limited.


      Largely residential, Dazhi District provides a convenient respite from the city's bustle. Residents can enjoy Dazhi's riverside park areas, complete with paved bike paths that stretch across the city.

      Neihu is home to a thriving community of multinational companies, high-rise luxury apartments and green spaces that entice and encourage family living without the commute. It hosts some of Taipei's largest stores such as Costco, Carrefour and RT-Mart, and expats can enjoy world-class shopping at Miramar Entertainment Park, where kids can take a ride on a huge Ferris wheel.


      Songshan is a popular choice among expat families seeking a quieter neighbourhood without sacrificing convenience. Located just north of Zhongxiao Road, Songshan offers an array of restaurants, local parks, and older apartments. It tends to be one of the pricier areas but is a great place to raise a family in a convenient location. Each small neighbourhood-within-a-neighbourhood is designed to meet all of a family's needs. The area is well connected via the Songshan Airport and Songshan train station, and there is lots to see and do.

      Young, upbeat areas in Taipei


      These areas, brimming with nightlife and urban culture, are typically favoured by young expats.


      These are Taipei's official student areas, dominated by an eclectic mix of foreigners and locals. This makes for a colourful melting pot of food, fashion and culture. Shida (National Taiwan Normal University) is Taipei's liberal arts campus. A short distance away is Taipei's premier university, Taida (National Taiwan University). The large population of students make this an affordable and interesting place from which to enjoy Taipei.


      The glass and steel heart of Taipei, Xinyi is young and modern. The district has all the trappings of a modern city. Many of the best restaurants, nightclubs and designer-shopping opportunities are available here. Whether looking to have a beer, dance the night away in a nightclub, shop for the latest styles, or take in a movie at Warner Village, Xinyi District has it all.

      Healthcare in Taipei

      The healthcare system in Taipei is well regarded, both in the public and private sectors. Medical facilities are modern and well equipped, and most doctors speak English, though their proficiency differs. 

      As part of government efforts to improve national infrastructure and offer civic services, the Taiwanese Universal Health Insurance (NHI) programme was created and made available to residents in 1995. Expats living in Taiwan for six months or more or those who hold an Alien Resident Card (ARC) are required to join the NHI.

      With the NHI, expats using one of Taiwan's excellent public health facilities can access heavily subsidised medical care. Although public hospitals are world-class, many inpatient services that are standard in the West may not be provided at Taiwanese public facilities, and patients seeking treatment may experience long waiting times.

      Many expats therefore also utilise Taiwan's high-quality private care to avoid long waiting times, receive better patient care and access a wider choice of treatment options. Private healthcare in Taiwan is expensive, so those planning to make use of this sector should explore their private health insurance options.

      Pharmacies are widely available across Taipei, with many doctors having pharmacies attached to their rooms. Read Healthcare in Taiwan for more on the national healthcare system.

      Below are some of the most highly regarded hospitals in Taipei.

      Hospitals in Taipei

      Mackay Memorial Hospital

      Address: 92, Section 2, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District

      National Taiwan University Hospital

      Address: 1 Changde Street, Zhongzheng District

      Taipei Veterans General Hospital

      Address: 201, Section 2, Shipai Road, Beitou District

      Taiwan Adventist Hospital

      Address: 424, Section 2, Bade Road, Songshan District

      Education and Schools in Taipei

      Expats may find the lack of English-speaking schools in Taipei surprising. Although they do exist, most of these are either highly religious or one of several expensive international schools.

      On the other hand, those open to raising Mandarin-speaking children have many excellent options to choose from, as Taiwanese schools meet high global standards. That said, Western children should be prepared for a more pressured school experience than they may be used to.

      Parents should also consider commute times when choosing a school. Traffic in Taipei is highly congested, and travelling can take a long time. On the plus side, public transport in Taipei is fantastic and makes it easier for children to make their own way to school.

      Both local and international schools in Taipei begin the school year in August or September. The year consists of two semesters; the first semester ends with a break for Chinese New Year, and the second ends with a break for the summer holidays.

      Public schools in Taipei

      Education in Taiwan falls under the Ministry of Education, and the system regularly produces students with some of the world's best mathematics and science scores.

      On the downside, Taiwanese schools are often criticised for placing too much emphasis on rote learning and not enough on creativity and critical thinking. Students have long days, often attending private 'cram schools' between 4pm and 9pm to improve their English before returning home to do their homework.

      When it comes to public schooling, Taiwan is a good choice for expats wanting to move to a place where their children can learn in a Chinese-speaking environment while receiving a high standard of education.

      International schools in Taipei

      Although there are surprisingly few options to choose from, international schools are usually the preferred option for foreigners in Taiwan. As such, space is often limited, and waiting lists can be extensive. Expats should therefore apply well in advance to ensure a place for their child at their preferred school.

      International schools in Taiwan are prohibited by law from accepting Taiwanese students who do not hold a second passport. As a result, international schools are attended mainly by expat children. These schools are usually expensive, and those moving to Taiwan as part of a corporate relocation should factor school fees into any salary negotiations.

      Read more about International Schools in Taipei.

      Special-needs education in Taipei

      The Taiwan government has a system of inclusion in place for the education of children with disabilities. Most disabled children are educated in mainstream schools with extra assistance in classes unless their disabilities are too severe. If this is the case, they are either taught in separate classes in a mainstream school or attend a special school.

      Education at special schools and in special needs classes at mainstream schools focuses on providing students with professional skills. Students are also encouraged, through free tuition, to take vocational subjects at senior high level.

      Not all schools have the resources to accept disabled children, and expat parents should therefore do some research into this before applying. That said, some international schools in the city have both the facilities and trained teachers to assist all children with their educational needs.

      Useful links

      Tutors in Taipei

      Tutoring is quite a big industry in Taiwan, especially when it comes to learning languages. After their regular school day, many of the local children attend cram schools, a form of tutoring, but there is also a large industry for private and online tutors. Expat children may benefit from private lessons with a Mandarin tutor, while many Taiwanese children have English tutors.

      Tutors are helpful for language classes and help children get up to speed and adjust to their new school curriculum or with particular problem subjects. Sites such as Apprentus and Tutoroo have listings for available tutors in Taiwan. They are good places for expat parents to start searching for a private tutor for their child.

      Useful links

      • Apprentus – Online tutoring platform.
      • Tutoroo – Connects private language tutors with students.

      International Schools in Taipei

      Due to the high pressures placed on children in public schools in Taipei, most expat parents prefer enrolling their children in international schools. There are surprisingly few international schooling options to choose from in Taipei, however. As such, space is often limited and waiting lists can be extensive. Expats should apply well in advance to ensure a place for their child at their preferred school.

      Below are our recommendations for international schools in Taipei.

      International schools in Taipei

      Acton Academy Taipei

      Acton Academy Taipei, part of a global network of pioneering educational institutions, reimagines schooling for Grade 1–9 students, aiming to empower them to chart their own path to success. The academy fosters an environment of exploration, encouraging students to uncover their unique Hero's Journey through a blend of self-paced core subjects, real-world projects and character development. Acton Academy Taipei focuses on producing independent, lifelong learners who respect freedoms, cherish the arts, solve complex problems and find their calling to change the world.

      Gender: Co-educational
      Curriculum: American
      Ages: 6 to 13

      Dominican International School

      The Dominican International School, based in Taipei, is a private, English-medium Catholic institution under the governance of the Dominican Sisters. Established in 1957, the school offers a comprehensive education via a modified American curriculum and enjoys full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The school is deeply committed to providing high-quality, God-centred education that fosters critical thinking skills.

      Gender: Co-educational
      Curriculum: American (Catholic)
      Ages: 4 to 18

      Morrison Academy Taipei

      Established in 1961, Morrison Academy Taipei is an international Christian school in Taipei with additional campuses in Taichung and Kaohsiung. Offering a Biblically-integrated American-based curriculum for expatriate children from K–12, the school is known for its supportive community and exceptional commitment to preparing students for higher education. Accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, it provides a nurturing environment to encourage learning, critical thinking and personal growth among students from diverse national backgrounds.

      Gender: Co-educational
      Curriculum: American (including Advanced Placement)
      Ages: 5 to 18

      Taipei Adventist American School

      Nestled among the serene beauty of Yang Ming Shan, Taipei Adventist American School (TAAS) offers holistic, American-style education in an intimate, nurturing setting. Renowned for its focus on individual development, the school encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning, fostering independence and a love for learning within a framework of Christian morals and values. Besides standard instruction, TAAS offers English as an Additional Language (EAL) classes, as well as learning support for students with mild to moderate educational needs, ensuring a comprehensive, inclusive education for all its students.

      Gender: Co-educational
      Curriculum: American (Adventist)
      Age: 6 to 14

      Taipei American School

      Taipei American School, founded in 1949, offers a globally-informed, American-based education to K–12 students. Rooted in Eastern and Western traditions, TAS is recognised as a bridge to some of the world's top colleges, instilling in its students a rich culture of excellence, creative arts and a passion for STEAM subjects. Nestled in the northern suburb of Tianmu, the campus fosters an environment of integrity, ethical decision-making, leadership and resilience, preparing students to become thoughtful, engaged citizens of the world.

      Gender: Co-educational
      Curriculum: American (including Advanced Placement) and International Baccalaureate
      Ages: 4 to 18

      Taipei European School

      Taipei European School offers a unique, multicultural learning experience with French, German and English sections, each providing their national curricula for students aged three to 18. The school is dedicated to fostering a community of lifelong learners embodying respect, responsibility, creativity, participation and perseverance. With accreditations from multiple international and national organisations, including the Council of International Schools (CIS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the International Baccalaureate (IB), it also prides itself on its recent confirmation as an Eco School.

      Gender: Co-educational
      Curriculum: British (English National Curriculum and Cambridge IGCSE), International Baccalaureate, German and French
      Ages: 3 to 18

      Lifestyle in Taipei

      Initially, expats may find their lifestyle in Taipei is full of ups and downs, with the city an eclectic blend of the traditional and the modern. The cityscape comprises sleek skyscrapers and historic temples, busy streets and tranquil parks. Like any major global city, Taipei grapples with urban issues such as congestion and pollution, but it is continually making strides in environmental initiatives.

      As a crossroad between East and West, Taipei is a city rich with cultural nuances. Despite their interest in Western pop culture, locals may have different social norms. For example, alcohol consumption is often limited to bars or nightclubs, loud public behaviour is generally frowned upon, and voicing complaints directly can be seen as socially inappropriate.

      With time, expats adapt to the rhythm of the city, discovering a multitude of things to see and do in Taipei. This enables them to better shape their lifestyle in Taiwan's vibrant capital. 

      The city offers an abundance of parks, nature reserves, and rolling hills at its fringes. Further afield, untouched beaches and rural landscapes beckon for weekend adventures. A rich and diverse food culture tantalises the palate, while shopping in Taipei, whether at major malls or night markets, promises a unique experience.

      Shopping in Taipei

      Shopping in Taipei will delight discerning bargain hunters. The historical districts in central and west Taipei have many small stores lining the bustling, narrow streets, especially around the main station. Eastern Taipei has more open spaces and features shopping malls and large department stores. Several of these can also be found in the cosmopolitan Xinyi District, which is home to Taipei 101.

      Nearly all the high-end designer labels are found in shopping malls, which include the American-style Breeze Center and Dayeh Takashimaya. Most shops open mid-morning at about 10am and close at 9pm. The Eslite Mall in Dunhua South Road is open 24 hours a day.

      The Jade and Flower markets on Jianguo South Road are open during the day on weekends. The Jade Market, one of the biggest in Asia, offers good deals on gems. 

      Technophile expats will be in their element at the Guang Hua Digital Plaza. Affordable, top-of-the-range electronics such as laptops and cameras are sold in stores and stalls throughout the building's six storeys, and tech giants often unveil new products at the plaza.

      Night markets 

      Visiting a night market is a quintessential Taiwanese experience and a popular leisure activity. Held outdoors, the endless food stalls, game arcades and trinket peddlers create a carnival atmosphere. While they aren't known for especially good quality, bargains are easy to find. 

      Night markets are more than a shopping destination. They are an entire cultural experience that reveals much of the city's hidden and traditional character. As the sun sets, thousands of stalls open to sell everything from pets to DIY tools and paper fans.

      Markets run from 6pm to around 10.30pm. While some markets operate in the streets, others make use of covered open areas. The most popular markets are Shilin Night Market, which has been open since 1899, and the Raohe Street Night Market.

      Nightlife in Taipei

      While public drinking isn't as common in Taiwan as in some Western cultures, Taipei's nightlife caters to various tastes. Expats will find a broad range of bars, nightclubs, karaoke venues and traditional tea houses spread across the city.

      Karaoke isn't just a source of entertainment in Taipei but is a way of life. Casually referred to as KTV, it's popular for birthday celebrations, staff functions and weekend entertainment. Entire buildings are dedicated to karaoke, with multiple floors of rooms that can be rented by the hour. Food and beer are usually sold on the premises, and many establishments are open 24 hours a day.

      Another popular pastime in Taipei is tea drinking. Taiwan produces spectacular teas, most notably the fragrant Oolong tea and the richer Tieguanyin tea, both popular exports. There are dozens of tea houses in Taipei where expats can experience the local take on tea culture.

      Eating out in Taipei

      Taiwanese cuisine can be an exciting adventure for expats. Local specialities like stinky tofu and Century Eggs offer a unique taste experience. For those less adventurous, Taiwanese cuisine also boasts a wide range of more familiar dishes such as fried rice, noodles, steamed buns with meat fillings, and dumplings.

      Street food in Taipei is a culinary delight. Inexpensive and tasty, offerings include Taiwanese-style omelettes with various fillings, perfect for a quick breakfast. For larger meals, take-outs from street stalls or neighbourhood shops provide a cheap alternative, with many locals regularly enjoying these fast food options. Night markets are excellent venues for sampling snacks like calamari and skewered squid.

      For those who crave the comforts of Western food, Taipei hosts a variety of supermarkets, such as Jason's, Carrefour and Costco, that stock these items. Global chains like Starbucks and McDonald's are common, and Italian restaurants are also easily found throughout the city.

      Meeting people and making friends in Taipei

      Making connections in a new city can sometimes be daunting, particularly if you've moved halfway across the world. Fortunately, Taipei is home to various groups and clubs that can make the transition easier and can help expats establish friendships and integrate into local communities.

      Community Services Center Taipei

      The Community Services Center is a non-profit organisation that provides a supportive environment for the international community in Taipei. It offers counselling, cross-cultural training, educational classes and social activities, providing a magnificent opportunity to meet people and make friends.

      Toastmasters clubs in Taipei

      Joining a local Toastmasters club can be a great way to meet people from diverse backgrounds. Toastmasters is a worldwide organisation aimed at improving communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. There are several English-speaking clubs in Taipei, making it an excellent networking opportunity for expats.

      American Club Taipei (ACC)

      The American Club Taipei stands as a beacon of camaraderie and leisure for the international community in Taipei. Established in 1968, ACC has become a 'Home Away from Home' for expats and visitors alike. With a commitment to providing top-notch products, services and activities in premier facilities, members find not only a taste of home but also a place where people with shared interests come together. From sports and entertainment to exquisite dining experiences, ACC promises to craft memories that will stand the test of time, always aiming to surpass expectations.

      Red Room Taipei

      The Red Room is a non-profit organisation encouraging creative and artistic expression in Taipei's local and international communities. It hosts regular events, including open mics, art shows, and music performances, providing a wonderful environment for creatives and those who appreciate the arts to connect.

      Sport and fitness in Taipei

      Expats looking to maintain a level of fitness in Taiwan needn't worry – there's no shortage of gyms and sports centres in Taipei where they can exercise or join classes.

      Fitness centres in Taipei are either private gyms run as independent facilities or as part of large fitness franchises or public government sports centres. There are also gyms and fitness centres associated with many large hotels and universities. The American Club Taipei has a fitness centre, courts for racquet sports and swimming facilities, and offers various classes taught by English-speaking instructors.

      Public community sports centres are generally much cheaper than private gyms and do not require patrons to sign contracts. Private gyms, on the other hand, will expect patrons to sign annual or monthly agreements and sometimes commit to paying exorbitant fees. For expats looking for a gym with an English-speaking instructor in Taipei, it may be best to head for the larger national chains.

      Yoga and Tai Chi groups are common, whether run through fitness centres, by independent instructors or through dedicated franchises such as True Yoga.

      Schools and universities usually open their sports fields to the public on weekends, although some may charge a nominal fee for using some facilities, like the swimming pool or indoor gym.

      Parks in Taipei

      Taipei's parks are popular with locals and expats alike for jogging, cycling or walking. The city’s riverside parks have extensive cycling tracks, while community parks often have fitness classes or sport-specific tennis, basketball or skating facilities.

      Da'an Forest Park

      This popular park in central Taipei (Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District) is a favourite with joggers and has an open-air stage which often features music concerts.

      Youth Park

      The large Youth Park in Shuiyuan Road, Wanhua District, has lots of facilities for different sports, such as basketball courts, tennis courts, a driving range, a swimming pool and a skating rink.

      228 Peace Memorial Park

      228 Peace Memorial Park is both a historical site and recreational park, housing a number of historical buildings. It's a famous landmark and tourist attraction on Ketagalan Boulevard in the Zhongzheng District. 

      Gyms in Taipei

      There are many gyms throughout Taipei, some of which belong to established multinational franchises, while other smaller local gyms also exist. 

      Gyms in Taipei often host fitness, yoga and martial arts classes.

      Public sports centres in Taipei

      For those looking to join a sports class in Taipei, there are public sports centres throughout the city which offer both indoor training facilities and classes in everything from martial arts to shooting.

      Basketball and baseball are the most popular sports in Taiwan. Some other popular sports in Taipei include tennis, badminton, volleyball, rock climbing, swimming, soccer, surfing, yoga, tai chi and kung fu. The classes offered will depend on the sports centre.

      Cycling in Taipei

      Cycling is an excellent way to get around the city itself, although, as with Taipei's ubiquitous scooters, it can be dangerous in rush-hour traffic and at busy intersections. The best places to cycle are along designated bicycle paths and outside of the city. Taiwan has gone to great lengths to connect the whole island by bike trails with the result that people can cycle almost anywhere along rivers, near beaches, and on country trails. There are some guided cycling tours as well.

      The Dan Shui Riverside Cycling Path (also for joggers) is a popular, well-maintained cycling path in Taipei that starts at the Tam Sui MRT station and progresses through mangrove swamplands.

      Weekend breaks in Taipei

      Taiwan's northeast coast is packed with cosy places to stay, dramatic ocean-side vistas and unique activities. Each town has something different to offer and a chance to soak up some local culture while trying out delicious food.

      Taiwan is a compact island with first-rate transportation. Whether choosing to travel by bus, train, air or high-speed rail, expats can access the best that the island has to offer without much effort and in a short amount of time.

      Villages close to Taipei


      Pingxi is a rural district in New Taipei City and is less than an hour's journey from the centre of Taipei by train. It is home to the annual Sky Lantern Festival, which occurs just after Chinese New Year for about two weeks. During this celebration, thousands of paper lanterns float into the night sky. In the evenings each weekend, this sleepy town transforms into a thriving night market with one-of-a-kind handmade crafts.


      Located outside Wanli, Yehliu offers plenty of photo opportunities for photography enthusiasts. Curious geologic formations known as hoodoos can be viewed at Yehliu Geopark. Several of the formations have been given poetic names such as 'Fairy's Shoe', 'The Queen's Head' and 'The Bee Hive'.

      The easiest means of getting there is to rent a car or to hire a taxi in the vicinity. Some trains and buses travel between Taipei and the Yehliu Geopark each day. 


      Taiwan's famous 'cat village' is home to hundreds of stray tabbies, calicos and many others. Felines of all shapes, sizes and colours can walk on roofs, play in alleys, or nap on warm paving stones. Houtong has become a weekend destination for cat lovers and couples looking for a fun day trip just outside the capital. Expats can get to Houtong from Taipei via train, bus or taxi. 


      This mountainside hamlet is home to a traditional street market and is a favourite weekend excursion for expats and locals alike. The journey is most straightforward via train or bus and takes just over an hour. 

      Local delicacies and fresh seafood are sold from a low row of shops in the town, and hand-worked leather goods, original artwork, and countless other treasures are just waiting to be scooped up by savvy shoppers. Of course, Jiufen is most renowned as a tea-drinking destination, and myriad teahouses are spread around the town's hills overlooking the Pacific.

      Beaches and seaside getaways

      Fulong Beach

      About an hour away by train, Fulong has a great selection of small guest houses and hotels and is everything one could want in a day or weekend trip. Recently, Fulong has become a popular getaway for holiday-goers trying to beat the heat during the summer months, so expats should plan to leave early on a hot day because it can be crowded.

      Tou Cheng Beach

      A relaxed surf atmosphere permeates this sleepy beach town, Tou Cheng is a place to surf, swim and generally relax. At night, the town usually hosts beach parties, attracting a young crowd. If looking for a lively beach atmosphere, expats in Tou Cheng can expect to make some new friends with locals and expats alike. From Taipei, Tou Cheng is just a one-and-a-half to two-hour journey by train or bus. 

      Baishawan Beach

      Baishawan is a well-developed family beach with a boardwalk, restaurants and other modern conventions that is well worth the two-hour train journey. During July and August, the beach can be a little crowded, so expats should be prepared. Year-round swimming is allowed, and the water is still warm enough to be comfortable in late October.

      Kids and Family in Taipei

      Parents looking for things to do with kids in Taipei can enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions that are sure to keep their children entertained.

      Science museums, the Taipei Zoo, several theme and water parks, and various children's holiday programmes mean that no matter what the weather may be, there's always something for the kids to do.

      Activities for kids in Taipei

      Taipei Zoo

      No child can help but be entranced by the giant pandas at the Taipei Zoo. The zoo is the largest in Asia and is often praised for its modern, humane practices and educational displays about conservation and the environment. The zoo also has a Rescue Center that rescues, protects and rehabilitates confiscated animals and endangered species.

      Taipei Astronomical Museum

      The Taipei Astronomical Museum opened in 1997 and is a must-see for those interested in learning more about the mysteries of the universe. It consists of four floors of interactive exhibits, displays and observatories. There is an IMAX theatre, a 3D theatre and amusement rides, and the museum is well worth a visit for adults and children alike.

      National Taiwan Science Education Center

      Children with an interest in technology will be fascinated by a visit to the National Taiwan Science Education Center. It boasts a high-tech museum that features a children's playground and discovery centre. Here, kids can engage in various activities, like playing with Lego and drawing on specially designed walls. The complex has a 3D theatre with an ever-changing programme of exhibits and presentations. The Center aims to promote the teaching of applied science throughout the country, and a visit here will therefore consist of educational fun for all ages.

      Miniatures Museum of Taipei

      The first of its kind in Asia, this museum of miniatures features over 200 delicate dollhouses and cutaway scenes of houses from around the world. Founded in 1997, the museum is a great way to see and learn about local and foreign monuments and buildings.

      See and Do in Taipei

      New arrivals can get a taste of the culture of Taipei through visits to its museums, night markets, ancient temples and skyscrapers. With entertainment options rivalling other major Asian centres such as Hong Kong or Tokyo, expats in the city will easily find much to see and do in Taipei.

      Popular attractions in Taipei

      Taipei 101

      Taipei 101 was the world's tallest building until 2009. Although it has been superseded, it remains the glorious centre of Taipei's financial district. Resembling a pagoda, the skyscraper towers above the city skyline at 1,671 feet (509m) and is the city's chief landmark attraction. Visitors can take a trip up in its super-fast elevators and enjoy astounding views from the observation deck. The many shops and restaurants in Taipei 101 make it a popular weekend destination for locals and expats alike.

      Lungshan Temple

      Taipei has kept its ancient traditions alive as it thrusts towards the future. One of the city's most famous temples is Lungshan, dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. Built in 1738 to serve as a place of worship for Chinese settlers, its various incarnations have survived earthquakes, fires and American bombing during WWII. The architecture is a fine example of traditional temple styling.

      National Palace Museum

      As an antidote to the modernity that often overwhelms new arrivals, the National Palace Museum, with its vast collection of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artwork, is a must-visit. The museum houses most of the treasures relocated to Taiwan from Beijing's Forbidden City during the Chinese Civil War when Chiang Kai-shek moved the Republic of China's government to Taipei. Famous exhibits include the Jade Cabbage and a celebrated example of the Qingming Scroll.

      Shilin Night Market

      As Taipei's biggest and most exciting night market, the Shilin Night Market is a must-see. More than a shopping destination, it is a cultural experience that reveals much of the city's character. Thousands of stalls and stores sell an immense range of food and goods, and there is much fun to be had playing carnival-style games amidst the passing crowds.

      Taipei Zoo

      Taipei Zoo is a zoological garden famous for its panda family, among other unique local and international species. The animals are kept in zones resembling their natural habitats, such as the Asian Tropical Rainforest section, Desert Area and even African Savannah. The zoo covers 165 hectares, includes an extensive indoor space, and is consistently highly rated for its humane and advanced scientific practices.

      The zoo also features a Rescue Center for the rehabilitation of confiscated and stray wildlife, and it actively participates in the protection of several endangered species. As part of its conservation efforts, the zoo educates the public about the importance of protecting the natural environment.

      What's On in Taipei

      Whether passing through or living in the city, there are plenty of annual events in Taipei to keep expats entertained. From celebrations of Taiwanese traditions to showcases of local artistic talent and global fairs, foreign residents in the city have numerous opportunities to engage with local culture.

      Below are some of the most popular yearly events in Taipei for expats to enjoy.

      Annual events in Taipei

      Lantern Festivals (February/March)

      Taiwan is famous for its romantic lantern festivals, held all over the island on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year. Expect entertaining events on the ground, elaborate fireworks displays and thousands of sky lanterns – lightweight paper lanterns lit from the inside and released into the air, creating a beautiful spectacle as they rise and drift away.

      This event, with its roots in ancient traditions, brings together locals and expats to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Attendance is generally open and does not require advance tickets. For more information, check out the official Taiwan Lantern Festival website.

      Hakka Tung Blossom Festival (April/May)

      A series of spring-related events take place across the island to celebrate spring's onset and the Tung trees' blossoming. Take in the riot of vibrant colours of blooming flowers and fresh, floral scents of spring while biking, hiking or taking a train through popular spots in the countryside.

      The festival is a significant part of Hakka culture, with the blossoming of Tung trees symbolising the onset of a prosperous season. Most events are free, and attendees can check the official Hakka website for details.

      Taipei Arts Festival (September/October)

      The Taipei Arts Festival is Taiwan's most significant arts and culture gathering, showcasing a wide variety of local talent. The event includes theatre performances, traditional dances, art exhibitions, music concerts and more, all held across various venues in the city. The festival offers a vibrant panorama of the city's cultural richness and provides a platform for both local and international artists.

      For more information on the events and tickets, visit the official Taipei Arts Festival website.

      Taipei International Travel Fair (October/November)

      The Taipei International Travel Fair is a grand celebration of Taiwan's travel industry and a platform for global industry exchanges. With more than 60 countries participating, the event invites the world to Taiwan. The fair allows attendees to experience a variety of cultural displays and performances, offering a glimpse into the diverse traditions and customs from around the globe.

      To participate, expats can purchase tickets online or at the venue, subject to availability. For more information, visit the official Taipei International Travel Fair website.

      Taiwan Cycling Festival (October/November)

      This cycling festival features a round-island race and several shorter cycling events that see many international names in cycling descend on the island. The Taiwan Cycling Festival is more than just a series of races; it's a celebration of the spirit of cycling, camaraderie and the beautiful landscapes of Taiwan.

      Expats wishing to participate in the races may need to register in advance. Please visit the Taiwan Cycling Festival official website for more information.

      Golden Horse Film Festival (November/December)

      The most important event of its kind in Taiwan, the festival and awards ceremony showcases the latest in Chinese-language cinema. It is considered one of the leading film festivals in Asia and presents a unique opportunity to discover the richness of Chinese-language films.

      Tickets for screenings and the awards ceremony typically need to be purchased in advance. Check out the Golden Horse Film Festival website for more information and the full schedule.

      Getting Around in Taipei

      The city's advanced public transport system makes getting around in Taipei easy. Even frequent day trips out of the city are feasible with high-speed trains.

      Maps in English are easy to come by but, due to a lack of consistency in adapting Mandarin words into the Latin alphabet (pinyin), maps and road signs often display different spellings of the same roads or areas. For instance, one might encounter variations like 'Zhongxiao' spelled as 'Chung Hsiao' or 'Jhongsiao'. Familiarising oneself with common street and place names can help alleviate the confusion that might arise from this inconsistency.

      Given the abundance of public transport options in Taipei, and the heavily congested streets, most expats find that driving a car is an unnecessary expense.

      With an EasyCard, expats can pay for bus, railway and MRT tickets. They can also pay for YouBike rentals, parking and convenience store purchases. Expats can purchase an EasyCard at most MRT stations, convenience stores like 7-Eleven and FamilyMart. They can top up their cards at the same locations, via an ATM or online through the app, and they can even use their phone as a Mobile EasyCard.

      From public transport to taxis, bicycles and navigating the city on foot, this guide covers the various modes of transportation in Taipei, providing practical advice and insights for newcomers to the city.

      Check out the EasyCard website for more information.

      Public transport in Taipei

      MRT (Mass Rapid Transport)

      An efficient subway system in Taipei takes commuters all over the city, with trains running from 6am to midnight. All stations and trains have English signs. Stops are announced in four languages, including English. Even those who don't speak Mandarin can find their way around easily. Stations have ticket booths, vending machines and a smart card system for frequent travellers.

      During peak hours, which are generally from 7.30 to 9am and 5 to 7pm on weekdays, the MRT can get quite crowded. The average waiting time for trains is about two to four minutes during peak hours and up to seven minutes during off-peak hours. Unlike some other Asian cities, Taipei's MRT does not have women-only cars.

      See the Taipei Metro for more.


      New arrivals may find that buses can be difficult to navigate at first because most drivers don’t speak English and destinations on the city outskirts may only be written in Mandarin. That said, once expats get the hang of it, the bus system can be incredibly useful.

      Bus fares are charged according to fare zones – passing through some zones will incur a higher cost than travelling within one zone. Ticket payment is either by smart card or in cash. If paying with cash, exact change must be used. For those unfamiliar with Mandarin, navigation apps like Google Maps can provide bus routes and estimated arrival times, significantly simplifying the process.

      Read more about the Taipei City Bus.

      Taxis in Taipei

      Taxis are plenty and are the most flexible way to get around in Taipei. They are considerably pricier than public transport, but affordable by global standards. Taxis charge higher rates at night, and tipping is not expected.

      A taxi can either be ordered by calling a designated taxi company number or by using the taxi company's app. Licensed taxis in Taipei are yellow and display a lighted taxi sign on top. They are metered, and expats should ensure that the driver turns on the meter at the start of their ride to avoid being overcharged.

      Alternatively, ride-hailing applications such as Uber and FindTaxi operate in Taipei. Many expats prefer using these applications as they afford more control over routes and service prices while mitigating language barrier issues.

      Useful links

      Driving in Taipei

      Considering Taiwan's stressful driving culture and the city's excellent and affordable public transport network, most foreigners do not drive in Taipei. This is also because parking spaces are rare in the city, while rented spaces can be exorbitant.

      For those interested in driving, it's important to note that Taiwan follows right-hand driving. The local traffic rules closely follow international standards, but the high density of scooters can take some getting used to. Turning right on red is prohibited unless a sign indicates otherwise.

      Expats looking to explore the rest of Taiwan by road tend to rent cars to do so. See Transport and Driving in Taiwan for detailed information on securing a driving licence as an expat here.

      Useful links

      Bicycles and scooters in Taipei

      Owning a scooter in Taipei is cheaper and more practical than owning a car, but expats should consider the high incidence of scooter accidents in the city.

      Bicycles are a common sight in Taipei, although not as popular as motorised transport. The city is devoted to improving the cycling culture in Taipei and this can be seen in an increase in cycling infrastructure such as dedicated bicycle lanes and bicycle sharing initiatives.

      Expats can hire a bicycle from kiosks through the public bicycle-sharing service YouBike, which is run by Taipei City. Smart cards or smartphone apps can be used to hire bicycles, and, expats will find that cycling is probably the quickest, healthiest and least expensive way to move around.

      For those who plan to rent a scooter, most rental shops require an International Driver's Permit with a motorcycle endorsement. Taiwan's law mandates helmet use for all scooter riders, so riders should ensure they are provided with one when they rent their scooter.

      Useful links

      Walking in Taipei

      Taipei is an extremely safe city to walk around on foot, especially during the day. That said, foreigners should beware of pickpockets in crowded streets and markets, and of the occasional drive-by bag snatch in the city.

      Taipei is fairly walkable, with wide sidewalks in most areas. Areas such as Xinyi and Da'an are particularly pedestrian-friendly with many walking paths and parks. On the other hand, the older areas of the city may have narrower or obstructed sidewalks.