Have you read Part 1 yet?

Living in Taiwan is cheaper than any other first world country I’m aware of, but just how cheap? Most of the literature I have read on the subject is either so vague (“depends on your individual habits”) or so specific (“A cup of coffee costs between 2 NT and 150 NT”) as to be useless. My goal is to give you a practical answer to: “How much does it cost to live in Taiwan?”.

Lets get the big question out of the way first; how much does it cost to live here? The simple answer:  30,000 per month, give or take. In Taichung City, spending 30k a month, you can live in a studio apartment, go out on weekends and eat at nice restaurants a few times a week. If you don’t go out on the weekends, you can cut 5,000 NT or more off your expenditure. If you forgo eating out and fresh brewed coffee in favor of Expat Super Chow (oatmeal)  and instant coffee, you can deduct another 5k. Add 10% or 25% if living in Hsinchu or Taipei respectively. Salaries are proportionately higher in these cities too. I’ve met locals who get by on 20k a month but it’s tough compared to what you’re probably accustomed to.

If that is too general for you, then I’ll share what a typical month looks like for me. In the month of July, for instance, I spent 35,785 NT. 8,039 on food, 610 of which was for coffee. I spent 2,160 on alcohol, 1,740 on dates, 1,690 on hobbies, 3,500 on Jiujitsu tuition, 950 on electricity, 3,130 on an overdue traffic citation and 9,850 to buy a secondhand scooter when the old one died.Obviously, replacing the scooter isn’t a regular expense. I could, of course, get by on far less by going out less, forgoing Jiujitsu and following traffic laws (fuck that). Between this personal example and the broad outline given in the last paragraph, you can likely extrapolate and figure out what your own lifestyle is likely to cost here.

What about getting settled in? During your first month, you are going to spend an additional: 10-20k for a scooter,  8-20k on the security deposit for your apartment, 10k at most on miscelaneous items to make your apartment inhabitable and perhaps 3k in taxi fare as you search for: apartments, jobs, hospitals, etc. Remember, add 10% for Hsinchu and 25% for Taipei compared to Taichung. If you are coming to Taichung with a job waiting and your return ticket already paid for, I’d reccomend bringing 60K for your first two months living expenses and an additional 50k for the afformentioned expenses.

Hopefully this was useful and practcal for trying to figure out what your own lifestyle is likely to cost in Taiwan. In part three, I’ll discuss how to not get laid out on the canvas by culture shock and the culture differences that are likely to cause conflict between you and the locals.

-Rocky

Thethailandlife  has done an excellent job of describing the same thing for The Land of Smiles. Go ahead and check him out.

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