Cost of Living in Taiwan



Though the prices may be soaring in Taiwan, high wages can balance it out. Expats in this country along with those in Tokyo and Hong Kong have the greatest purchasing power in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Taiwan ranked 54th out of 119 countries in the 2015 Cost of Living survey conducted by the global research organisation Numbeo. When it comes to comparing with neighbouring Asian countries, consumer prices in Vietnam are 37.57% lower than in Taiwan. The general cost of living in Taiwan is high by Asian standards, but there is a significant amount of difference depending on which area you’ll choose to live. Taipei, the capital, is the most expensive city in this country, so those who need to stay on a budget should also consider rural living which is less pricey. 

Average Rental Costs 

Thanks to the construction growth in Taiwan, there are plenty of available housing options causing rent prices to decrease. Most expats in Taipei reside in apartments and condominiums near the city or houses in the suburbs, particularly in Tienmu in the north, where international schools are situated, and Sindian in the south. Washington Heights and Yangminghan are home to some expats as well but, considering its distance from the city, residents frown upon the potential traffic jams during their commute.

Apartment costs vary from one city to another. Similar to other countries, rent in the capital city, Taipei, can be costly. Below are some of the average monthly rentals cost that expats bound to Taiwan will encounter once they start house hunting: 

  • One bedroom apartment in Taipei – TWD 16,470 or USD 550
  • Three bedroom apartment in Taipei – TWD 41,200 or USD 1,300
  • One bedroom apartment in Taichung – TWD 9,700 or USD 300
  • Three bedroom apartment in Taichung – TWD 20,900 or USD 700
  • One bedroom apartment in Kaohsiung – TWD 9,500 or USD 300
  • Three bedroom apartment in Kaohsiung – TWD 18,100 or USD 600

Apartments often include air conditioning, broadband internet access and phone lines. Heaters are not provided but are essential during winters. In case utilities are not part of the rental cost, expats in Taiwan should budget at least TWD 1,800 or USD 60 per month to cover their heating, water and electricity. 

Cost of Food in Taiwan 

With the presence of 7-Eleven and other Western restaurants like TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut and fast-food chains like McDonald's and KFC throughout Taiwan, it is possible to have cravings for Western food satisfied any time of the day. Expats who love to dine out should prepare to spend TWD 200 (US$6.25) per day on food. Tipping is not customary in restaurants, but it is highly appreciated. The 10% service charge added to the bill is not actually a tip for the staff. 

  • A bowl of noodles or dumpling – TWD 40-50 or USD 1.25-1.56
  • Lunch box meal (rice, meat dish and two vegetable side dishes – TWD 50-70 or USD 1.56-2.19
  • Complete meal in a fine dining Chinese restaurant – TWD 500-1,200 or USD 15.65-37.50 

As with most countries abroad, imported goods are always pricier than the local produce. Expats in Taiwan can maximise their monthly food allowance by opting to buy products from the local outdoor markets where they can even haggle the prices. Below are some of the foods in Taiwan along with their most recent prices: 

  • One litre of milk – TWD 87.60 or USD 2.83
  • Loaf of fresh white bread – TWD 48.27 or USD 1.56
  • A dozen eggs – TWD 63.27 or USD 2.04
  • One kilo of white rice – TWD 93.87 or USD 3.03
  • One kilo of local cheese – TWD 620.79 or USD 20.04
  • One kilo of boneless chicken breasts – TWD 225.10 or USD 7.27
  • One kilo of apples – TWD 110.62 or USD 3.57
  • One kilo of oranges – TWD 65.13 or USD 2.10
  • One kilo of tomatoes – TWD 89.30 or USD 2.88
  • One kilo of potatoes – TWD 70.78 or USD 2.28
  • One kilo of onions – TWD 53.89 or USD 1.74 

Cost of Daily Transportation 

Taiwan has excellent public transport including buses, subways (only in Taipei) and taxis. Scooters are also common in Taiwan. It is cheaper and allows you to get around quicker. Make sure you have obtained an International Drivers License back home so you can get your license in Taiwan with no difficulty. 

  • Bus Fare – starts at TWD 15 or USD 0.47
  • Subway fare – TWD 20-80 or USD 0.63-2.50
  • Taxi flag down rate – TWD 80 or USD 2.58
  • Taxi per kilometre rate – TWD 20 or USD 0.65
  • One litre of gasoline – TWD 26.12 or USD 0.84
  • 50 cc scooter – TWD 10,000-20,000 or USD 300-600
  • 100 cc scooter – TWD 15,000-25,000 or USD 400-700
  • 125 cc scooter – TWD 20,000-30,000 or USD 600-900 


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