How do you renovate a house in Taiwan? With lots and lots of money. Blog over.
Just kidding. It is much more complex than that, and you will have to put in a lot of time, effort, planning, and decision making on your part. In this post, I will share with you in detail my personal experience renovating an old apartment in Taiwan for your reference. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone considering buying an old house or doing renovations themselves as a foreigner in Taiwan.
Some would say Ecuador is the banana capital of the world, and that is probably right, but I’m sure Taiwan bananas are just as good. One of the great things about living in Taiwan is you can buy fresh bananas on the street almost everywhere, so if you are a banana connoisseur like myself you will not have worry about bananas going bad (I eat bananas single every day).
Before you read this blog, for a general overview of house buying in Taiwan, check out the buying a house in Taiwan FAQ article here.
You can also see our experience renting houses before we started considering buying in this blog.
Buying a house was easy, once I had enough money. Can I stop there?
Okay first let me explain I am a middle aged American married to a Taiwanese national. I have lived in Taiwan about eight years already.
I am done renting apartments in Taiwan. I hope. I just bought an apartment here, so I think it is finally time to chronicle my experiences here for all to enjoy. I hope that some new foreigner will learn something from these experiences and not make the same mistakes.
In total I have rented four apartments in Taiwan. During that process I learned a lot about what to watch out for when you are looking for an apartment, especially from landlords and “amenities” provided.
On the plane leaving Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport in 2014, I promised myself I would find a way to stay in Taiwan permanently. I had just finished a 90 day vacation on a visitor free visa, which included a round island trip, daily bike rides around Kaohsiung, and daily trips to the beach in Qijin. I was not going to let a 90 day visa stop me again from enjoying what still to me is the most beautiful Island in the world, and the most friendly place in the world to western foreigners.
Taiwan is a safe, inexpensive, and convenient place to give birth. Taiwan has a world class healthcare system, capable doctors, and top of the line medical facilities. If you are hesitant about whether or not you want to give birth in Taiwan, let me tell you now that there is nothing to worry about, and having a baby in Taiwan will be fine. I have created this brief guide here for you so that you can understand a little more about what it is like to give birth in Taiwan.
Forward: Please note that I am writing this blog and FAQ section from the perspective of an American father, married to a Taiwan National, covered by Taiwan's National Health Insurance. I have recently gone through the birth of two children in Taiwan, born in 2017 and 2020. One was born in a private local clinic and the other was born in a public city hospital.
This blog will begin with my experience, and at the end there is a frequently asked question (FAQ) section.
Renting an apartment in Taiwan can be confusing and frustrating. As a long term rental tenant and expat in Taiwan I have lived in over ten apartments and have dealt with all kinds of problems, from bad landlords to noise to bugs. I feel like my experience can help other expats searching for apartments in Taiwan, so I have created this guide and FAQ to help people avoid the mistakes that I have made in the past, and have a pleasant rental experience in Taiwan.
Banking in Taiwan as a foreigner can be a frustrating experience, especially with a language barrier and cultural gaps. Banking still is a major pain even for long time residents. However we have made this guide to help make banking in Taiwan a little easier, more efficient, and more beneficial especially for expats new to Taiwan.
Foreword: The following Q+A is based on personal experience and and is for reference only. this is not an exhaustive analysis of Taiwan's banking sector. Each bank has different policies, and the employees in the banks may not even know their own policies for foreigners.
Please note that this guide is written from the point of view of a heterosexual American marrying a Taiwanese National. For other types of marriages in Taiwan, check with the your home country's consulate or office in Taiwan.
Generally speaking, getting married in Taiwan is not that complicated. Typically, you should only require the following documents, and apply for marriage at the local house registration office:
Q: What documents do I need to get married in Taiwan?
A: Marriage in Taiwan required documents:
Marriage agreement (結婚書約) sample below:
Foreword: Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of questions. This is meant to only give a basic overview of Taiwan's daily life situation to those who have never been there.
What do Taiwanese people eat for breakfast?
So many things. Super traditional Taiwanese breakfast consists of some type of rice porridge and pork. But, soymilk and baked/steamed buns are also very popular. Also hamburgers, onion pancakes, sandwiches and a ton of other stuff. For more information, check out this blog, or just come to Taiwan and try some yourself!
What do Taiwanese people eat for lunch?
A typical lunch would be a Biandang orlunchbox, which includes a meat patty, rice, and vegetables. Noodles are also a popular lunch choice.
What do Taiwanese people eat for dinner?
Similar to lunch, locals eat biandang and noodles, but also hot pot and red bean soup during winter, along with western foods.
What are table manners in Taiwan?
I would say table manners are somewhat similar as America. If you follow American rules, you will not offend anyone; but be sure to not stick your chopsticks upright in your bowl as this is a symbol of death. Burping and other bodily noises such as slurping are somewhat as long as it is not overtly loud. Holding your rice bowl and using chopsticks is common practice.
What gestures are rude in Taiwan?/ What is impolite in Taiwan?
Showing the bottom of your feet.
Giving things with only one hand
Sticking chopsticks upright in a bowl
Giving someone a clock as a gift
Not looking someone in the eye
For more, check out this blog:
Is Fengshui important in Taiwan?
Yes. But it also depends of the person; many people are more superstitious than others, and some people don’t care. But in general it is an important principle.
Are Taiwanese people friendly?
Yes, they are some of the most friendly people in the world, especially to foreigners!
What is the hotline for foreigners in Taiwan?
Hotline for foreigners in Taiwan: 0800-024-111.
Is the water safe in Taiwan?
Filter or boil water in Taiwan, or buy bottled water. It is not safe to drink from the tap. Taipei has the cleanest water (meaning it requires the least filtration), while more rural areas are hit and miss.
How is the air quality in Taiwan?
Not very good, but better than mainland China. Taiwan has the worst pollution of the four Asian tigers. Taipei’s pollution is particularly bad because it lies in a basin, enclosed on all sides. Power plants and motorcycles give the most pollution. Pollution from China gives tons of pollution to Taiwan during winter. Due to this and lack of rain, winter has the worst air quality during the year.
Is Taiwan safe?
Yes, Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world according to Prescavve. This is due to low crime and high economic freedom and development.
Is Taiwan pet friendly?
Yes. On theTaipei MRT, “Animals brought into stations or trains should be keep in pet boxes, pet strollers, small cages, or small containers which do not exceed 55cm in length, 45cm in width, and 40cm in height (size limits for pet strollers refer to the pet cabin only, the frame and wheels are excluded).” This is probably good advice whenever you bring your pet into an indoor location.
Are there wild dogs in Taiwan?
Yes. Be careful going to rural places or exploring. If a dog starts chasing you, turn sideways and don’t run away. Pull out a backpack or umbrella and yell; the dog should back away. You may also consider bringing pepper spray if the above fails.
Is Taiwan a good place for cycling/biking?
Yes, Taiwan is a cycler’s paradise! Many people circle the island by bike as a life achievement. All police stations have bike pumps, and there are more than 10,000 convenience stores in Taiwan, making it easy to take a break and get a fresh meal along the way.
Is Taiwan a good place for hiking?
Yes, 2/3 of Taiwan is covered in mountains. There are hiking trails almost everywhere, but higher mountains require hiking permits. For more information, visit this blog.
Is Taiwan a good place for jogging?
Yes, but in the summer it can get hot, so you should drink plenty of water. Also in the winter air quality can get bad, so you might consider wearing a mask.
Are there gyms in Taiwan?
Are there swimming pools in Taiwan?
Is swimming allowed at Taiwan beaches?
Most public beaches will allow only allow this in a designated swimming area. There are usually signs that say no swimming for your safety, but usually swimmers will not give a fine. This is because most Taiwanese people cannot swim. At most a lifeguard will come and whistle blow you. Be careful to not swim too far into the ocean, due to rip tide.
Where can I go river tracing in Taiwan?
Everywhere there is a river! Taiwan is a river tracer’s paradise. The best river tracing is in the mountains up steep gorges. You will likely find less people on the east coast.
Are there churches in Taiwan?
Yes. Christians make up 4.5% of Taiwan’s population. For more information, check here:
What is the best way to get around Taiwan?
I personally think the best way to get around is by Scooter, but bicycle and public transport are also very good. Travelling by car is difficult because there are narrow streets, many scooters, and limited parking.
You have a few options:
For more information, please visit our travel/transportation FAQ.
Where can I buy groceries in Taiwan?
Carrefour, PX mart, Wellcome, Jason’s, and Costco should have all the groceries you need. There are also a few expat stores in Taipei, especially in the Tianmu area.
Where can I buy furniture in Taiwan?
Ikea. And tons of other places.
Where should I buy clothes in Taiwan?
Pretty much everywhere. Cheap clothes can be found at night markets, Net, Uniclo, and Carrefour. If you want more expensive brands, go to an outlet or mall.
Where should I buy electronics in Taiwan?
Online (PC Home and Shoppee), at a night market, at Carrefour, Cankun, or Guanghua Digital Plaza in Taipei.
Have any more questions about daily life in Taiwan? Please leave them in the comments below, and we might just add them to the list!
You can also search Facebook for foreigner groups in Taiwan and ask your questions there.
Please like, follow, and share to help everyone know that Taiwan is a friendly and inviting place for foreigners!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.