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Home and Living


Housing:

As in any country, expect housing in the most popular areas to be expensive and difficult to find.  The most important thing to remember is that living by where you work is a significant consideration, because it will help you to avoid spending all of your extra time commuting.

ACI has several excellent resources to assist you with apartments and living arrangements in Taiwan.

See what an Average Apartment in Taiwan is like (pdf)
Look here for photos of various aspects of  Accommodations in Taiwan (jpg)

What to Expect:

Apartment Apartments are small by Western standards and very close together.s here are "real" apartments, as opposed to houses with lawns and gardens. In places like Taoyuan, Taichung or Kaohsiung, teachers usually pay about NT$4-9,000/month if they are sharing. The most expensive apartments are found in the ritzy areas of Taipei; some teachers spend as much as NT$35,000/month for a very modern apartment. The buildings often look very grey and old on the outside, but nice on the inside, as maintaining a pristine exterior in a tropical climate is difficult.

Furnishing:

Apartments are often unfurnished and almost never carpeted (tile is normal for floor surfaces, although hardwood is found in some places too). A telephone, refrigerator and air-conditioning are not uncommon, but don’t count on it. Negotiate with the landlord for these auxiliaries. Most kitchens are for Chinese style cooking and have a gas range top or portable hotplates. Ovens are extremely rare, though you can buy small portable ones for about NT$2,000-NT$3000. Generally, you will have to provide your own stereos, TVs, etc.


Bathrooms will be a lot smaller than you are used to, and may include a shower and toilet and sink in the same space without a bathtub or partition or curtain to divide them.

Toilets:

There are two varieties of toilet in Taiwan. Most apartments are now equipped with the Western-style "sit down" toilet, but you will also find a "squat" toilet. These Asian specialties take some time to get used to. Make sure your pants are not in the way and have your toilet paper ready. Do not to flush the TP down, as Taiwan custom calls for trashing the TP into a trash can instead.

Speaking of toilet paper, instead of rolls, TP for home use usually comes in plastic pre-cut packs of 10x10cm single-ply sheets.

Cleanliness:

All apartments must recycle, so you will need to separate your garbage. Each neighborhood has at least a couple of nights a week when the garbage truck will come (in Taipei and other big cities, the trucks come daily).

A note about laundry: you may be fortunate enough to have a washing machine (don’t expect a dryer though) inside the apartment. If not, there should be lots of coin laundry and cheap dry-cleaning services relatively close by.

Deposits and Contracts in Taiwan:

Housing deposit is usually two month's rent, paid upfront, plus the first month's rent. If you rent through an agent, you also need to pay half a month’s rent as a finder’s fee. Many buildings also have a security or maintenance fee, usually about NT$1,000. Check before you sign the lease if this is built into your rent or is a separate fee. Contracts are usually for one year.

Ping:

Floor space in Taiwan is measured in a unit called a ‘ping’, which is a term that originated from Japan referring to the area covered by two tatami mats. It’s about 36 square feet or 3.5 square meters (roughly the size of a double mattress).

Appliances:

The electric current in Taiwan is 110V, 60Hz. Air conditioners operate on 220/240V and 60Hz. Wall sockets are made for American two-pin flat plugs, usually without the ‘earth’ pin. Screw-base light bulbs are used.

If you are coming to Taiwan from Australia, Europe, New Zealand or other countries using 220/240V, 50Hz, not all of your appliances will be suitable for use in Taiwan. Appliances that will only operate on 50Hz will require a frequency converter to allow them to be used in Taiwan. These are expensive and not readily available. However, many small appliances can be connected to step-up voltage transformers available locally at a reasonable price.

Bedding:

Buying a bed base in Taiwan is relatively cheap, but many of the mattresses will be a lot harder than you are used to. You can pay extra for a softer spring mattress, or you can buy a soft layer to put over top of your mattress if you find it uncomfortable.

Paying Bills:

Although they can sometimes be included in your monthly rent, you will usually be expected to pay your own cable and utility bills. This can be done easily at most convenience stores, at post offices and at some ATMs. Usually bills will arrive in Chinese. Look at the back of the bill for an English call center number or web address to contact the company and you may be able to get it sent in English or even via email.

Pets:

If you do wish to bring you pet with you to Taiwan, the rules are many and varied. Please check the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine website for English instructions: www.baphiq.gov.tw/en/index.asp

Asian Consultants International