How much do things cost in Taiwan? This post will cover the basic expenses and cost of living in Taiwan. The cost of living there is pretty cheap and considering how much ESL teachers can make you can save quite a bit.
I lived in Taiwan between 2004-2006. I lived in Taichung which is the third largest city and Tainan which is the fourth largest city. The cost of living in Taipei would be more.
Rent - Cost of Housing
I first lived in Taichung. I can't remember the first place that I lived in, but I think it cost me about $3000NT (around $100) for a room in a shared apartment. I only lived there for a few months. After that I got a studio apartment that was pretty new for $6000NT. It was one big long shoe box shaped studio with a big window, a shower and a bathroom. There was no kitchen. That is quite common in Taiwan. Many studio apartments will not have a kitchen.
I had friends that lived in downtown Taichung and paid around $12,500NT ($400+) for a 3 bedroom apartment. That of course included a kitchen. I moved to Tainan for my second year. There I rented a room in an apartment for $3000NT a month. I had around 4 roommates.
Usually you have to pay one month of rent and a deposit when you move in.
Cost of Scooters
You can get a used scooter for maybe a few hundred dollars. It won't be very nice though. I'd expect to pay around $500 for a decent used scooter. I had a few scooters, but my main one cost me around $14,000NT. If you're in Taipei then you wouldn't need one as it has a good MRT system. Koahsiung also has an MRT, but last I knew it wasn't very extensive.
Gas for scooters is pretty cheap too.
You can check out sites like Tealit.com for used scooters.
Cost of Food
You can eat pretty cheap in Taiwan. On average I would pay $100-120NT per meal which is about $3.00. Then I was a vegetarian which would probably make it a bit cheaper. Buffet style restaurants can be pretty cheap. At some you could pay as little as $50-60NT. The food isn't always hot though in those kinds of restaurants. I got used it.
International food is going to be more expensive whether you eat in a restaurant or buy groceries.
I can't remember how much I would pay for groceries when I did cook. Most of the time I didn't cook and I ate out. In fact I did this for almost 2 years. I'd say that they are pretty similar to prices in Korea. So say around $60-70+ dollars a week.
You'll most likely have to take a visa run. I did this 5 or 6 times over a couple of years and 3 times when I first moved to Taiwan. Most people go to Hong Kong as that's the cheapest place usually. Trips to Hong Kong usually cost around $200 for a round trip.
You can find more information out about Taiwan in this guide to teaching English in Taiwan.
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