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 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.

Post 23 of 30 posts in 30 days


#7 Ian 2013-08-04 00:25
@Kriss I don't know about the web developer job. If you are working for a Taiwanese company I would think you would need to know Chinese. If you can find freelancing jobs then that's great. You could find work on or That would give you the ultimate freedom.
#6 Ian 2013-08-04 00:19
@Kriss Look on I bought them in Taiwan new, yet they will cost you more. If you mail them there you have to pay a tax which can be pretty pricey in TW. I lived in other places (Korea and China) and brought them with me in cases. Yeah they are heavy, but some airlines will let you check two bags for free that would include your turntables. Others will charge for excess weight. Check with the airline for it's baggage restrictions on weight.
#5 Kriss 2013-08-03 17:18
By the way what do you think about jobs in web development in Taiwan?Which is better to work as a web developer or to teach English?
#4 Kriss 2013-08-03 17:16
Can you someone post web sites, where you can look to rent a room or studio apartment in Taichung? By the way Ian you have a good musical "taste" Do you buy the turntables from Taiwan or you bring them from USA?
I think to sale my turnables in my country, when I come to Taiwan, because they are so heavy...
#3 Ian 2013-07-11 03:00
@Andy I'd just say figure out which one you value more: the big city life or some really nice beaches. If you value the beaches more then go to the east coast. If it's the city then you might do alright in Taipei or Koahsiung and take weekend trips, but you'd be spending quite a bit of time commuting. Keep in touch especially if you go to the east coast.
#2 Ian 2013-07-10 19:38
@Andy It depends on how big of a city you want to live in. The nice beaches are on the east coast and in Kenting, but the cities aren't that big. Hualian would be the biggest. Taitung is really nice but smaller. Ilan is pretty nice too. Taipei is not too far from some decent beaches near Ilan and Koahsiung is a few hours from Kenting. The west coast is not the place for beaches. You could save up some money and scout it out before you settle down.
#1 Andy 2013-07-10 08:56
Hey bud, this info is super helpful. I'm thinking of teaching English out there around Oct. 2013 and have been doing a little research on where I may want to live. I'm looking for nice beaches with mix of city life. Any recommendations on places to live and good English teaching organizations?

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