Housing in Taiwan

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Category: How to

Currently in: Taipei, Taiwan / GMT+8

This blog post is also available in Japanese.

 

Where do you usually stay when you travel to a different country? My choice is usually hotels, maybe hostels but now that I am staying for two to three months in one country and especially because I wanted to have the experiences living like locals, hotel was not really my option. Here I would like to introduce you two services I used to find places to stay in Taipei.

Before I came here I booked a place to stay only for the first 8 days, deciding to find a place to stay for the rest of my stay in Taiwan after I get here so I have a better idea of the best areas and average pricing, etc. And I’m glad I did so.

I found my first place through Airbnb. I love this service! I also just found out that they have a beta Japanese version available now. Probably many of you already know that this is a service where people can list their available rooms or the whole apartment / house for rent while they are away, and we the travelers can find the place to stay. I love the interface, so easy to use. Lots of photos and people’s voices, which would give you a really good idea of the place and communication with the host is smooth. This can be used as an alternative to hotels or for homestay experience, maybe like a dorm, all depends on the place and people. Because I wanted to be able to ask questions and learn about Taipei from the host I looked for a place with hosts.

The wonderful host I found, Sophie, was in my mother’s age and had a daughter living in New York. She had her guest bedroom with private bathroom for her guest, in which I stayed for a week. She was such a sweet host, responded to my emails very quickly and even came to pick me up at the airport! She had just started to use Airbnb and had two couples staying at the room before me. Because both of them were staying for only a couple of days and were just traveling, she told me that she, an early riser and early-to-bedder with a full-time job, did not see them very much. But because I wanted to talk I woke up early and had breakfast with her every morning before she goes to work, telling her about my new experiences I had the day before, which was really good for me. Although I do not live there anymore I feel like I have a mother in Taipei!

I think your experience will really depend on the place and the people but I could have been alone, not able to talk to anyone and receiving no advice if I didn’t stay there, so I’m really thankful I used Airbnb.

When I was in Japan I thought maybe I could just continue staying there if I liked Sophie’s place but that did not really work out as the room was already booked after my leave! Sophie was so kind and offered me the room after the next guest’s leave but I was ok. Taiwanese people are just surprisingly kind. I was telling people I meet that I needed to find a place to stay and many friends recommended websites that I can use to find apartments. One friend even offered me to stay at his place while he is away to a different country! Well, most of the websites are in Mandarin and my Mandarin is not really there yet to understand it all… but there was one website in English: Tealit.com. It’s like a Taiwan version of Craigslist.

Here I was able to find posts (mostly by Taiwanese people who speak English) about available rooms. Having best areas in my head I contacted about 5 of them and received 2 replies. One was not accepting short-term stay so I went to see the other one and decided to live there right away. In the place, we have Taiwanese couple, students from Uzbekistan and the U.S., and now me :) All really cool people and hearing Taiwanese couple speaking to each other in Mandarin definitely should help me improve my Mandarin!

I’m glad I found places this way. I love the people I live with, Sophie and my current roommates. Taiwan’s housing is quite reasonable however rooms available on Airbnb are quite expensive compared to others. For example, my current monthly rent is about the same as the average weekly rent on Airbnb! Finding an apartment just for yourself could also be a bit of hustle and expensive without one year contract. And the area I live now is quite convenient.

There are many things you wouldn’t know before you come to that place and housing is so important. I hope this helps you if you have a chance to live in Taiwan for a couple of months :)

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