internships in Taipei

Life in Taipei

Share this article on :
interning in Taipei

Taiwan is sometimes considered as one of the best and underrated living abroad experiences in Southeast Asia. 23.5 million inhabitants make this small island (roughly the size of Switzerland) one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

expat life in TaipeiBesides being a charming island, Taiwan is also famous for being very welcome to foreigners. The results of the latest InterNations Expat Insider survey put Taiwan at the top for quality of life for expats. Expats living in Taiwan point out that it’s very easy to feel here at home. The expat community is very active – there are many events organized on a weekly base where you can find friends, acquire new or continue your hobbies, network, even start a language exchange.  

It is an amazing country whose beauty lies in the combination of various influences of different cultures – Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and American. This curious fusion has made the capital of the beautiful island – Taipei (pronounced in Mandarin as Taibei) –– a wonderful city to live in and visit.

With the population of 2.7 million, Taipei is a relatively young city – 300 years old. It is a modern city with a countless amount of historical attractions, marvelous museums, fascinating shopping streets, charming night markets, and fantastic nightlife.

At first, Taipei may seem disorganized and a little bit messy, but look again carefully. Buildings are wisely protected from natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. Public transport is efficient and clean and allow you to get easily from any part of the city to another one. There are beautiful public parks and river parks everywhere. The entire country is wireless. You can even get a free umbrella on a rainy day!

 

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

national palace TaiepeiWhen you’ve just started your Taipei adventure, you might feel confused. How can all those people actually fit one city? How can they eat soup for breakfast? And why are so many scooters anywhere you glance?

Things you are not used to may overwhelm you at first, however, after some time, all of them (or almost all of them) start to make sense to you – after having a daily portion of beef soup for breakfast, you ride your own scooter and feel yourself as a part of this fascinating city. 

People

Locals are so welcoming that at the beginning it might even scare you. If you are lost, you’ll be walked to the destination and might be even invited to a dinner afterwards. If you lose your stuff, don’t worry – Taiwanese won’t only keep it, they will take the initiative to return it to you.

Taiwanese are so nice that they simply cannot say no. That’s why if your Taiwanese friend responds to the invitation to go out later “Eh… Maybe?”, it most certainly means “No”.

Besides locals, there are lots of expats living in Taipei. As a result, lots of foreign bars, clubs, various activity groups where you can meet people from around the world. That’s why if at first you feel like you need some same-minded people to get used to the Taiwanese lifestyle, it won’t be a problem to find people to hang out with. However, for those whose main purpose is to learn Chinese, it might be more challenging because of so many English speakers around.

 

Climate and environment

life in taipeiMost of Taiwan has a wonderful climate the whole year. The annual average temperature is 22 °C with the lowest temperature ranging from 12 °C to 17 °C. It means that you can leave your winter jacket behind, however, we recommend you bring an umbrella – the average amount of rainfall is 2.500 mm per year. Most of it comes in the form of typhoons, which mostly happen in the period between July and September.

Taiwan is located at the junction of two tectonic plates, which makes it one of the most tectonically active regions in the world. Perceivable earthquakes annually reach more than 1.000 (and over 18.000 are not perceivable). That’s why many buildings are built in a way to be able to withstand earthquakes as well as typhoon winds.

Thinking of polluted Chinese cities, Taipei is highly committed to environmentalism and any other Asian city of the same size doesn’t even come close. Surprisingly, it seems impossible to find a trash bin on the streets of Taipei. Most likely you’ll have to carry your trash to the nearest subway station or even to your home… Although it seems very unpractical, it somehow works and the streets of the city remain clean. 

 

Transport

The public transport system in Taipei is one of the best in the world. It is fast, efficient and – what’s also important – very clean. It’s very easy and straightforward to navigate.

Talking about transport in Taiwan, it’s impossible not notice that everyone (literally everyone) rides a scooter. And it seems like there are no traffic rules at all. So, watch out when crossing the road. And if you decided to get your own scooter, practice first in the countryside or on small islands.

 

Food

night market taipeiTaiwan is a true food paradise. There are literally thousands of restaurants and food stands where you can either try local dishes, stay in a bubble of familiar Western food, or enjoy both. For a very cheap price, you’ll try the best snacks and meals. Even though Taiwanese cuisine exhibits many similarities with ethnic Chinese and Japanese food, it has its own features which it has developed throughout past years. There are some meals, snacks, and drinks in Taiwan which should be in your must-try list.

When you speak about Taiwanese food, lufou fan – or simply braised pork rice – immediately comes to mind. It’s the dish Taiwanese cannot imagine their life without.

You cannot miss out beef noodles dish – niu rou mian –  in Taiwan, at least because this has its own festival where Taiwanese chefs compete and innovate in order to claim the “beef noodle king” title. 

Seafood, as probably expected from the island, plays a lot into the local cooking. That’s why the next must-try is Taiwanese oyster omelet – oh-ah-jen. Besides cooked with egg, oysters can be found in any possible way of preparation (for example, another popular one is oyster vermicellioa mi soa).

Bubble teazhen zhu nai cha – was invented in Taiwan and today you can find many variations of this drink around the country. The most popular places (both claim they invented zhen zhu nai cha) are Chun Shui Tang teahouse and Hanlin Tea room.

Next Taiwanese must-try is milkfish. Despite the weird name which doesn’t make any sense at first, this dish is so popular on the island that it has its own museum and its own festival.  

The next addictive Taiwanese snack is an iron egg (tie dan) – chewy little eggs, dyed black because of soy sauce.

One of the most famous Taiwanese pastry is pineapple cakefeng li su. It is also one of the best food souvenirs you can bring from Taiwan.

Last but not least what we’ve included in the list of must-try dishes while in Taiwan is stinky tofuchou doufu. You will easily recognize it by its strong odor.

In spite of this variety of meals and snacks, when you just arrived, it might seem challenging and confusing to order food. Menus are mostly in Chinese only and guests are asked to pay prior getting food. But just think about it. First, you know from the very beginning how much stuff you’re ordering costs. Second, you don’t have to wait for a check afterwards. Isn’t it convenient?

 

Budget

After discussing Taiwanese delicacies, you might wonder how much you should be ready to spend? In Taipei, you can get a simple breakfast for as much as 2-4$. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you 150 NT$ (5$).

In terms of accommodation, for 1 bedroom apartment outside the city center, you’ll pay around 10.000 NT$ (which is approximately 330$), whereas for the same 1 bedroom apartment located in downtown, you’ll pay almost double of price.

Transportation in Taiwan is quite cheap. You can acquire one-way subway ticket or a monthly pass for 20,00 NT$ (which is an equivalent of 0.67$) and 1.500 NT$ (approximately 50$) respectively. Taxi will cost you 70 NT$ (which is less than 2.5$).

 

Sightseeing in Taipei

Taipei is home to numerous marvelous sights, and among those the highlights are Elephant Mountain, Taipei 101, National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Longshan Temple, Muzha.

 

Trips

If you’re looking for a place to get out of the busy capital, Taiwan has a very convenient location for travelling all over Asia. However, there is no need to go that far. The island, despite its size, is home to numerous stunning spots, which you simply cannot miss.

East Coast

The majority of the population lives on the west coast whereas the east coast mostly remains uninhabited and wild. In some of places on the east you can let yourself forget about the crowds of Taipei and enjoy the beauty of Taiwanese landscapes.

Taroko National Park (Tailuge Guogia Gongyuan) is Taiwan’s top tourist destination. The park covers 1200 sq km and 90% of it is mountainous with 27 peaks over 3000 m. In the park, you can find almost all the bio-geographical zones of Taiwan.  

Mukumugi (Mugumuyu) is a lagoon with crystal clear water. It is located 30 kilometers north from Hualien city.    

Qingshui cliffs – the cliffs rise from the Pacific Ocean up to over 800 meters above the sea level.

East Rift Valley – this land flanked by mountains is very flat and therefore perfect for cycling.

Kenting National Park

Kenting (or Kending in Chinese) is a national park located on the Hengchun Peninsula on the south of the island. Both locals and tourists love it for its white-sand beaches, caves, coral reefs, and mountains. You can also find great seafood here.

The Mysterious Outlying Islands

Not many people know that Taiwan consists of more than one island. Green Island (Ludao) and Orchid Island (Lanyu) are definitely worth visiting! The oldest villages of the islands are Kinmen and Matsu and there you can dive into Taiwanese history. And Penghu on the west cost you can enjoy sunbathing and windsurfing. 

Hiking

hiking in TaipeiIf you are into hiking, Taiwan certainly is the best place in East Asia for you! Two thirds of the island are covered by the mountains. Experienced hikers dare to tackle two highest mountains in Taiwan – Jade mountain Yushan (3.952 m) and Snow mountain Xueshan (3.886 m). Beginners can start with Hehuanshan (3.422 m) within Taroko National Park. 

 

Share this article on:

Related news

Ready for an internship in Asia?

Our goal is to find the perfect internship match for you.

Discover our destinations

Do you want to be represented on InternAsia?

Join InternAsia now to show your program and destination to people looking for internships

Join InternAsia