Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Living in Taipei

Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan, the high-tech city with active nightlife and fabulous restaurants, modern hotels and churches. It is internationally known for its traditional Taiwanese and neo-Chinese cuisine.

You might probably plan to move in Taipei…how much money do I have to spend going to Taipei, how much will I spent in a day if I’m staying there, can I save even a little for me??? These might be the questions that linger in your mind.

No matter where you are, if you live your life simple, you’ll be able to save money for your future…you don’t have to eat in a fine restaurant or rent an expensive room which is not so worthwhile. Well, if you do, your money will disappear in just one click like a magic.

Chinese skills are your strongest weapon in going to Taipei, your experience counts but Chinese speaking skills are still essential.

Companies would hire you if you are as fluent as the locals in speaking Chinese. Without which it would be hard for you to find a job in Taipei. And most of it all you must possess a working permit with you. And the best way to protect your self with a work permit is working in a big company.

Salary depends on what type of job you have. If you’re a business manager in a consumer goods company and at least have a 5 years experience, you’ll have a salary of NT$30,000 to NT$35,000. English teachers working for eight hours can get around NT$80,000 or NT$500 per hour of teaching English.

In Taipei, room rent rate depends on where you live. The closer you are in the downtown the more expensive it is. You can get a room without your own bathroom for as low as NT$4,000 to NT$6,000 per month, and you just have to share bathroom with the other roommates, this kind of room is called ya fang. While room with your own bathroom called tao fang, will cost at least NT$8,000 to NT$12,000. These prices are just for a room, excluding the kitchen and the living room, but some places have, some don’t.

While for your meals, an average meal cost NT$100, there are restaurants that serve NT$500 for a single meal and others would charge you NT$1,000 for a piece of steak. The cost of your meal is apt to you, whether you’ll eat in an expensive restaurant and spend much for a better dining or just eat simply and pay less and save money.

Transportation costs on the other hand, are reasonable. Buses cost NT$15 a ride for regular fare, NT$12 for a student, while in MRT, the cost would depend on your destination, from NT$20 to NT$50, taxis start at NT$70 and jumps NT$5. Because fare gets expensive fast, you can buy a scooter or even just a bicycle if you can.

If want to relax after a long week of work, entertainment would probably guzzles up most of your money. A show in an ordinary theater costs NT$300 excluding your popcorn and regular coke and this cost NT$160 a set. Nightlife is more expensive, clubs rate from NT$300 to NT$1,000. Some of them gives one free drink others are consumable. While on the other hand, KTV is more expensive, is cost NT$500 for just a few hours and it can easily hop on to NT$1,000 or so if you stay longer.

Other expenses like cell phone calls cost NT$10 per minute, NT$2.50 to NT$5 per text message. English books cost NT$300 above. Movie/DVD rentals cost NT$80 overnight.

And if you want to study Mandarin, the tuition fee at Shida costs NT$18,000 for three months, excluding books which cost around NT$300++ each. Classes are merely two hours a day for five days a week and better go to all your classes lest you lose your student visa!
Taipei is just like any other places, you can live here as expensive or cheap as you make. You can spend as much as you are willing to spend and you can save as much as you want.

This article was first published in on January 28, 2006.

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