Considering a move to Taiwan? What is the real cost of living there? Andrew Bliss is an American living in Tainan, Taiwan. Here is his cost of living:
Cost of living in Tainan Taiwan: $1,500/month
My Cost of Living in Tainan Taiwan
You can live a comfortable Taiwanese existence spending about $1500/month.
If you are an English teacher, you can expect to make about $2,000/month, so will have enough for occasional travel or nights out.
If you are a professional making a Western salary, you can live a very pampered lifestyle. To put things in perspective, the average national wage is just over $1,000/month, while minimum wage is about $3.75/hour.
Here are my costs, broken down into five main categories:
Food Costs in Taiwan
Weekly food expense: $50. This could be cut in half, or more, by eating out. Restaurants are very cheap here, and people eat out (or take home) sometimes three meals a day.
Taiwan Rental Costs
Rent: I have a spacious two-bedroom with a gigantic patio across from a national park, which just happens to be situated by the harbor (beach is just a ten minute walk away). I pay about $400/month.
- Electricity: $40-$80/month in the summer; $20-$30/month in winter
- Water: $20/month
- Internet: ADSL for $20/month
- Phone: iPhone plan with internet: usually around $60/month
Health Costs in Taiwan
- Doctor’s appointment: $5 -$10
- Dental cleaning: $6
- Health insurance: Free
Entertainment in Taiwan
- Movies: $9
- Cable: $30/month
- Dining out: Noodle shop or night market: $5 to get stuffed; family spots: $5-$10; Western or Japanese: $10; Nice spots with a wine list: $30
Transportation Costs in Taiwan
- Gas: $1/liter
- Taxi: Starts at $2.50, which will take you about 1 kilometer before it starts going up.
- High Speed Rail to Taipei: Round trip: $75
What Costs More in Taiwan?
- Non-tropical fruits: $5 for six golden delicious apples, $3 for a half pint of blueberries
- Wine: About $2 per bottle more than prices in US
- Decent pet food: I bag of Go!: $30
- Vitamins and supplements
6 Things That Cost Less in Tainan, Taiwan
- Foot massage/massage: $20/hour
- Tea: About $1 for bubble milk tea, or iced green tea with fresh lemon
- Eating out
- Business Taxes: For business owners there is no tax if your business makes less than $4K/month. Once you make more than that, there is a flat 17% tax rate.
- Income taxes: For English teacher: 5%; for higher income brackets: 18%
- Gym membership: $25/month
Everything but Western goods!
Taiwan Expat Cost of Living: Commodities
Here’s a list of common commodities, with Taiwan pricing.
- a liter of regular gas: Just over $1
- a ten minute cab ride: $5
- bottle of local beer: $1 at the store/ $2.50 at a pub
- liter of milk: $2.50
- a movie with snacks (per person): $12
- dental cleaning: $6
- doctors appointment: $5-$10 (includes Chinese medicine!)
- price per kWh electricity: Depends on consumption as the rate rises with more use: $.70 ~ $1.75 per kWh. Averages around $.10 for homes.
- dozen eggs: $1.80
- average rent for a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment: $400
Bio: Andrew Bliss is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio USA and lives with his two dogs in Tainan, Taiwan. Tainan is the fourth largest city in Taiwan with just over a million people. In sections it is quite developed, while in others you can still see the Taiwan of generations ago when it was under Japanese rule. He has lived in Taiwan for eight years, after stints in China, Korea, and Japan. Originally teaching in universities, he has recently launched his own business, The Adventurous Mailbox, which introduces kids and schools to world cultures through adventure books and cultural gifts sent from abroad.