Taipei, the crown jewel of Taiwan, is a wonderfully Chinese metropolis. A little off the beaten track, it is easy to slip under the radar and experience the everyday Taipei, a warm and inviting mix of Eastern cultures and of the ancient and modern.
Western visitors to Taiwan are few and far between, with the majority coming from China and Hong Kong. English, if spoken at all, is at best a third language.
With no mainstream backpacker culture and language challenges, finding a place to call home can be its own rewarding adventure
[Taipei 101 in the XinYi Neighborhood.]
Public transportation in Taipei is efficient, fast, and cheap, and each neighborhood has its own markets and highlights. There are almost no bad places to rent.
The most central neighborhoods are Song Shan, Xin Yi, and Da An, but anywhere near a subway station will be convenient. Prices are highest in these 3 neighborhoods and in the large Expat community of Tian Mu.
[Taipei districts from wikimedia.org.]
Many longer-term visitors come to Taipei to teach English, study Chinese, or as a business expat. As a result there are many options for room rentals near the main universities, and real estate agents that focus on expat housing.
The two largest universities, National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU or Shi Da) and National Taiwan University (NTU), are located around the Da An Neighborhood. NTNU is near Gu Ting MRT Station and NTU is located near Gong Guan MRT Station.
Generally speaking, without Chinese language skills rental prices are higher, but people are friendly and generous so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Prices below assume English is used for all communication.
For stays of up to a week or two, hotels, hostels, and AirBnB are the best options. Properties in all 3 categories have English speaking staff and hosts, and will help with everything from translation and transportation to dining and tourist activities
Hotels and Hostels: Agoda
Hostels charge $20-$35 per person per night, and properties on AirBnB start around $45 per night.
When we first came to Taipei we rented a small studio on AirBnB for a week and used that time to explore and find longer-term housing
For longer term stays, it is best to find accommodations once you have arrived. Housing quality varies tremendously, and standards are much different than in the west, so it is important to see a property first hand before committing.
On the low end, a friend of ours rented a private room near NTNU for 3 months. There were 6 other rooms in the same apartment, with a shared kitchen and bathroom. She described it as “awful”. Rent was 6800 TWD ($225) a month, plus electricity.
Shared rooms of a more enjoyable variety start around 12000 TWD ($400), and will often include utilities and wi-fi.
Shared housing options can be found at the following links:
In the mid range, we have rented two apartments in the last year. Our 1 bedroom apartment in the Song Shan neighborhood had a monthly rent of 31500 TWD ($1050) and our current 1 bedroom apartment in the Da An neighborhood rents for 42000 TWD ($1400) plus utilities. Both of these apartments are above average in terms of finishings.
[Our Dream Kitchen in the Da An Neighborhood.]
Larger apartments with 3 or more bedrooms can rent for upwards of $3000 a month.
Properties will be listed through real estate agents, on the two most popular rental web sites, or via a sign in a window. Real estate agents can be helpful with translation and sharing their knowledge of Taipei, but will charge ½ months rent for the service.
The following links are a good place to start:
The last 2 links are in Chinese, but the Chrome browser will do auto translation.
We found our first apartment via word of mouth and our current apartment via Housefun.
Hard-core adventurists can explore their favorite neighborhoods on foot and look for a For Rent sign.
No matter where you end up, Taipei is a fun and convenient place to call home. Happy hunting.
For more information about Taipei visit the Taipei travel guide.