Living the Dream in Tainan: A Digital Nomad’s Travel Guide to Taiwan

Living the Dream in Tainan: A Digital Nomad’s Travel Guide to Taiwan

In my early 20’s, after exploring Europe and South America, I felt drawn to Asia – at that time, English schools paid recruiters to seduce foreigners to small town schools overseas. I’d always planned on going to Japan, but somehow ended up in Taiwan instead. At the start of the first Sars pandemic, I was sleeping on the floor of a young couple and their toddler, forced to perform teaching demos at schools in tiny towns I had no interest of working for, without any teaching experience other than a hasty TESOL certificate I got in Barcelona.

But despite the rocky start, I’m still mostly here twenty years later. Taiwan seems to have that affect on people. It’s not as vibrant and exotic as Bali or Thailand, but that keeps away the droves of Instagram influencers and hustlers. There is very little tourism, which means no scams and price gouging, very little safety concerns, and people are genuinely honest and friendly in a way that isn’t quite true of Korea or Japan.

So while it’s never really been high on the digital nomad circuit, it’s slowly earning some appreciation for people who just need a decent, relatively cheap place to live with good food and fast internet.

It’s not stunningly beautiful, the architecture is a mess, but it has a quirky and creative charm. It gets a bit lonely, because it doesn’t have that “digital nomad community” offered by some other places; but that also means relationships can be longer and deeper, since people often stay longer than they expected to.

PS – my family visited recently and I took a ton of photos; I meant to share out exact travel plan so you can see all the places we went, but I’m super lazy so instead I roughly organized a ton of content and am dumping it here with not nearly enough editing – apologies for that but I’m writing a novel and my brain is fried.

Also, the thousands of pictures I took don’t really capture the magic, so I got some help. The pictures included below do nail the vibe and feeling of Taiwan, but aren’t accurate of specific places.

Living the Dream in Taiwan: A Digital Nomad’s Paradise

This little island packs a massive punch, buzzing with the energy of tech-savvy cities, whispering forests, and traditions dating back eons. If you’re itching for a nomadic adventure, Taiwan’s saying, “Come on over!” Here, the Wi-Fi’s strong and the bubble tea never ends. Let’s unwrap the essentials of nomad life in Taiwan, where convenience stores are your pantries and night markets, your feast.

Dive Into the Heart of Taiwan: Culture and Etiquette 101

Before zipping up your backpack, let’s chat about the vibe here. It’s not as stiff and formal as Japan, people are friendly and easy-going. But doing be a dick, and don’t expect the same kind of respectful service you might expect in fancy tourist traps. You’ll have to survive on your own, but *everybody* will be quick to assist or help out if you need it.

We don’t really take shoes off inside, though that will depend on the house. We don’t really bow, but be polite. Taiwan is kind of a mashup between Asian cultures and Western ideology. People are typically shy and stay in groups; young people hardly go out at all, but there are pockets of activity.

Dive headfirst into the local way of life: munch on a traditional Taiwanese breakfast, try speaking Mandarin, or join a local festivity. Showing you’re making an effort? Priceless.

Your Wallet Will Thank You: The Scoop on Costs
Taiwan is that rare gem where tech meets affordability. Craving a delicious meal? A few bucks and you’re all set. Eyeing a cozy corner in Taipei or Kaohsiung for your base? Surprisingly doable. And the cherry on top: getting around won’t drain your wallet, thanks to the top-notch, wallet-friendly public transport. Explore to your heart’s content, economically.

Visa Lowdown: Your Key to Island Life
Most wanderers kick things off with a visitor visa, stretching up to a sweet 180 days with a bit of paperwork magic. The Gold Card visa is the golden nugget for skilled nomads: think work permit, health perks, and some tax advantages for up to three years. It’s a bit of a maze, so hit up the official Taiwan Gold Card portal to get the inside scoop.

Your Epic 8-Day Taiwanese Travel Plan

I’d recommend looking around a bit before you set up base in one city. It’s easy to get around with the high speed rail, from Taipei to Kaohsiung, but exploring the East coast is trickier. Here are some things you should see:

  • Days 1-2: Taipei: Kickstart in the capital. Gawk at the Taipei 101, lose yourself in the night markets (Shilin and Raohe are legends), and seek peace at the Taipei Confucius Temple. I prefer Shimending which is the fun trendy area, to the commercial mails around Taipei 101, but there are some good clubs there.
  • Day 3: Jiufen and Shifen: These spots in the North East coast are pure magic. Light up the sky with a lantern in Shifen and tea-gaze in Jiufen. It’s packed and crowded but truly the prettiest place in Taiwan.
  • Days 4-5: Sun Moon Lake: Taiwan’s largest lake beckons. Cycle its perimeter, soak in temple vibes, and hop on a boat tour. There’s an aboriginal theme park with carnival rides and gondalas up the mountain from the lake; you can also take boats across the lake or bicycle around it on electric bikes that are easy to rent.
  • Day 6: Taichung: Catch the creative pulse in Taichung. Rainbow Village and the National Taichung Theater are musts. (Or skip it, Taichung is a big city, with a decent clubbing culture but not my favorite).
  • Days 7-8: Tainan: Wrap up in Tainan, steeped in history. Chihkan Tower and Fort Zeelandia await, with street food galore. Look me up if you’re in town and we can get coffee, unless you’re a weirdo 🙂

I have friends who live in Chiayi, which is a pretty cool town closer to the mountains; a bit further is the Alishan national park area, which is great for forest hikes, and probably worth a visit. To get to Kenting, you need to catch a bus or taxi from Kaohsiung… it’s alright when you’re desperate for beach vibes but honestly, there are far better options for that in Thailand or Vietnam.

Top 3 cities for digital nomads

  • Taipei: A digital dream. Swift internet, cozy cafes, and buzzing coworking spaces. The nightlife and eats? Unmatched.
  • Kaohsiung: Harbor views, artsy lanes, and a relaxed pace. It’s the chill cousin, with a welcoming nomad vibe.
  • Tainan: Mixing work with a dash of history? Tainan’s your jam. It’s quieter, sure, but dripping with charm, history, and legendary snacks.

Why Taiwan Rocks for Nomads

Taiwan’s more than an experience; it’s a lifestyle. From the cultural depth and expat-friendly vibes to the perfect blend of work-play life, it’s a hotspot for nomads. Affordable living, open visa doors, and cities brimming with life make Taiwan a no-brainer for globe-trotters.

So, what’s the hold-up? Time to set your “I’m exploring Taiwan” auto-reply. This island is ready to be more than just a pit stop—it’s ready to be your new home office, with a side of adventure. Taiwan’s calling, and it’s time to answer.

Real talk – I’m testing out some “writing styles” so if it seems like I’m having a stroke or switching personalities, that’s why. Taiwan is really great, truly. I get the appeal, I’m still here after all. But if you’re just starting out as a digital nomad, you might want to check other digital nomad hotspots. The world is big. I love Lisbon, Prague, Bali, Vietnam – I’ve been everywhere.

Travel is fun, but if you need a place to live… Taiwan is a comfortable choice.

Ready for more info? Keep reading.

Taiwan for digital nomads

Nestled in the heart of East Asia, Taiwan emerges as a beacon for digital nomads, blending ancient traditions with futuristic innovation. This island, with its sprawling cities, lush mountains, and pulsating technology, offers an unparalleled destination for those seeking to marry work with wanderlust. As a digital nomad’s paradise, Taiwan is not just a place to explore but a vibrant canvas on which to create, connect, and live.

Why Taiwan for Digital Nomads

Connectivity: Internet Speed and Reliability

Taiwan ranks among the top in the world for internet speed and reliability, a crucial factor for digital nomads whose work relies on being online. With widespread access to high-speed Wi-Fi in cafes, co-working spaces, and public areas, staying connected is seamless. The government’s commitment to digital infrastructure means even remote areas enjoy reliable internet, ensuring that work doesn’t have to stop for those looking to explore beyond the urban centers.

Affordable Living with High Quality of Life

Taiwan offers an attractive cost of living without compromising on the quality of life. Rent in cities like Taipei compares favorably to other major cities around the world, with options to fit various budgets. Street food, public transportation, and entertainment are remarkably affordable, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle. The blend of modern amenities and traditional markets means you can live conveniently while enjoying the local culture.

Safety and Healthcare Services

Safety is a significant draw for digital nomads considering Taiwan. It ranks as one of the safest countries globally, with low crime rates and a high degree of public safety. Healthcare services in Taiwan are among the best in the world, with a national health insurance system that covers residents and expats. The accessibility of high-quality healthcare at an affordable cost provides peace of mind for nomads far from their home countries.

Friendly and Inclusive Expat Community

Taiwan’s welcoming nature is epitomized by its friendly and inclusive expat community. Newcomers often find it easy to integrate, thanks to the warm hospitality of the Taiwanese people and a well-established network of expats. Language exchanges, cultural events, and meetups are commonplace, offering opportunities to connect with both locals and fellow nomads. This sense of community, combined with Taiwan’s cultural and natural riches, makes it a compelling destination for digital nomads seeking a base in Asia.

Taiwan’s appeal lies in its dynamic dichotomy: here, neon lights and centuries-old temples coexist in harmony. Its cities, like Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Tainan, pulse with life, offering a kaleidoscope of experiences from bustling night markets serving delectable street food to serene parks where one can meditate amidst the urban sprawl.

Yet, the true magic of Taiwan unfolds beyond the city limits, in its natural landscapes. The island is a treasure trove of biodiversity, boasting dramatic mountain ranges, hot springs, and serene beaches—all within a day’s travel. This geographic diversity ensures that adventure is never far away, providing an endless backdrop for exploration and inspiration.

Culturally, Taiwan is a rich blend of influences, reflecting the heritage of indigenous peoples, historical Chinese dynasties, and Japanese colonization, all of which have left an indelible mark on its customs, cuisine, and arts. This cultural melange has fostered a society that’s both deeply traditional and remarkably progressive, offering a glimpse into the past while embracing the future. For the digital nomad, Taiwan’s culture provides a unique lens through which to experience and understand Asia, offering deep dives into history through its museums, temples, and festivals.

Technology is the lifeline of the modern digital nomad, and Taiwan excels in this arena. As a global leader in tech innovation, particularly in semiconductor manufacturing, the island is a hub for digital creativity and entrepreneurship. Its cities are well-equipped with high-speed internet and a plethora of coworking spaces, ensuring that whether you’re developing the next big app or writing your latest blog post, you’re well-supported. Moreover, the government’s progressive stance on digital infrastructure and the startup ecosystem makes Taiwan not just a place to visit, but potentially a place to grow and invest in your digital ventures.

The allure of affordable living costs, safety, and the warm, welcoming nature of its people further elevates Taiwan as an ideal destination for digital nomads. Here, you can sip on the world-renowned bubble tea as you work from a beachside café or brainstorm your next project over a plate of xiao long bao in a city high-rise. The ease of living and the warmth of local hospitality ensure that your creative energies remain focused on your passions, making Taiwan not just a stopover but a destination where you can truly thrive.

In essence, Taiwan offers more than just a temporary haven for the wandering digital nomad; it presents an opportunity to immerse in a culture that celebrates both tradition and innovation. With its vibrant cities, breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and cutting-edge technology, Taiwan stands out as a prime destination for digital nomads looking to enrich their lives and work in an environment that inspires creativity, fosters connections, and nurtures growth. Join us as we delve deeper into what makes Taiwan the ultimate haven for digital nomads in the sections to follow.

Brief History and Cultural Significance

Initially inhabited by Austronesian peoples, Taiwan became a melting pot of cultures through centuries of colonization and immigration. From Dutch and Spanish in the 17th century to Qing Dynasty rule and Japanese colonization in the 20th century, each era left indelible marks on Taiwan’s cultural legacy. Today, Taiwan is celebrated for its democratic values, technological advancements, and a deep-rooted respect for traditional practices and festivals. Its cultural significance is not just in historical landmarks but also in the thriving indigenous cultures, the fusion cuisine, and vibrant festivals that reflect a blend of its diverse historical influences.

Geographical Overview

Taiwan is characterized by its rugged mountains, rolling hills, and a coastline punctuated by spectacular cliffs. The central mountain range divides the island into distinct eastern and western parts, with the majority of the population residing in the western plains. Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan, is a beacon for adventurers, while the eastern coast offers breathtaking views and a more laid-back lifestyle. The island’s subtropical climate creates a lush landscape, with natural hot springs dotting the countryside, making it a haven for nature lovers.

Language and Basic Local Phrases for Daily Communication

Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan, and understanding a few basic phrases can enrich your experience and help in daily communication. Here are some to get you started:

  • Hello: 你好 (Nǐ hǎo)
  • Thank you: 謝謝 (Xièxiè)
  • Yes: 是 (Shì)
  • No: 不是 (Bù shì)
  • How much?: 多少錢? (Duōshǎo qián?)
  • Excuse me/Sorry: 對不起 (Duìbùqǐ)
  • Goodbye: 再見 (Zàijiàn)

Do they speak English here?

Kind of. The younger generations study it a bit, and it’s more common in big cities like Taipei. Recently I’ve gotten lazy and just speak English everywhere, but *sometimes* the person will run away and get someone else to help, even if you’re attempting to communicate in Mandarin.

But you’ll also have people just come up to you to speak English, and they might be weird or lonely, but probably aren’t scammers. Also, if you get lost or are ever stuck somewhere, there’s a very high chance that the bus driver or anybody else passing by will stop to give you a lift and help you out.

Though of course you should be careful, it can be tricky to plan out all the bus timetables and tickets, and get where you need to go. Transportation is actually pretty great, with luxury buses and the high-speed rail, but there are some places where, if things aren’t working or open like they should be, you could end up far from civilization (I hate the MRT/metro in Taipei, so I take Uber everywhere it’s available. In Tainan I have a scooter, like most people, but driving around the country on a scooter would be tricky, and even renting a car isn’t a great idea as traffic is unpredictable).

The point is, Taiwan may not be quite as easy and accessible for foreigners as some other countries, because it’s a bit more of a hassle to communicate, but that’s also part of it’s charm – I recommend signing up for language classes at one of the universities, which is also a good way to get a long term visa and potentially even some government stipends or scholarships (I did both my MA and PHD here, and it cost almost nothing).

Dating in Taiwan

This will depend on you, for the most part… but Taiwanese is more open and liberal than many other countries, especially in regards to lgbtq issues. Young people tend to stay in groups, but many people are interested in meeting foreigners, at least to practice English (or another language) and possibly seeking something more. There is a bit of an underground ‘red light district’ through special KTV’s and gentleman’s clubs, but it’s not that easy to access that side of the culture without some fluent Chinese or exceeding charm.

Start with the dating apps – though you *might* find if you get some matches, that the girl is actually offering a paid service – so be a bit skeptical and on your guard. Taiwan is safe, but don’t be stupid.

Preparing for Taiwan

The preparation phase is crucial to ensure a seamless experience blending work and exploration in this vibrant landscape.

Best Time to Visit or Move

Taiwan’s climate varies significantly from north to south, influenced by its subtropical to tropical climate. The best time to visit largely depends on your preference for weather conditions. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) present the most favorable weather conditions, with mild temperatures and lower humidity levels, ideal for exploring the bustling streets and serene countryside. The summer months (June to August) can be hot and humid, coupled with the possibility of typhoons, making it less ideal for those uncomfortable with high temperatures. Winter (December to February), while cooler, especially in the north, offers a unique charm with fewer tourists and vibrant festivals.

Visa Requirements and How to Navigate Them

Taiwan’s visa requirements for digital nomads are straightforward but require attention to detail. Most nationalities benefit from visa-exempt entry for stays up to 90 days, perfect for a preliminary visit. For longer stays, the Gold Card Visa emerges as an optimal choice for high-skilled professionals. This special visa blends a work permit, residence visa, and multiple-entry permit, valid for 1 to 3 years and renewable.

Applicants can apply directly through the Taiwan National Immigration Agency website, providing documentation of professional skills in select fields, including technology, arts, and science. The Gold Card Visa not only facilitates your stay but also accords privileges like tax benefits and access to national health insurance, positioning it as an invaluable asset for those seeking to immerse in Taiwan’s digital nomad life.

You can get an income based Gold Card if you make enough cash; or qualify for another kind, like cultural or academic. Otherwise, you may have to extend your 3 month landing visa or do visa runs to HongKong or similar every few months, which isn’t that bad.

Packing Essentials Tailored to Taiwan’s Climate and Cultural Norms

Embarking on your journey to Taiwan, it’s paramount to pack smartly, considering both the diverse climate and the cultural nuances of this island. Whether you’re wandering through the bustling streets of Taipei, exploring the serene landscapes of the East Coast, or delving into the rich cultural tapestry of Tainan, having the right items in your suitcase can make your stay both comfortable and respectful of local customs.

Climate Considerations

Taiwan’s climate is marked by its subtropical nature in the north and tropical in the south, with a distinct rainy season from May to October. This variability necessitates a versatile packing list:

  • Lightweight Clothing: For the majority of the year, Taiwan is warm. Pack light, breathable fabrics that can keep you cool and comfortable.
  • Rain Gear: An umbrella and a waterproof jacket are indispensable, given the frequent showers, especially if you’re visiting during the rainy season.
  • Warm Layers: If you’re planning to stay during the winter months or explore higher altitudes, include a few warm layers. Temperatures can dip, especially in the northern parts of the island.
  • Sun Protection: Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen are crucial year-round due to the strong UV rays.

Cultural Norms

Taiwan is relatively modern in its approach to dress codes, but respecting local customs, especially in traditional settings, is appreciated:

  • Modest Attire for Temples: When visiting temples or religious sites, opt for clothing that covers shoulders and knees. A scarf or shawl can be a versatile addition to your packing list for such occasions. *That said, I’ve seen people in shorts and flipflops, Taiwan is MUCH less sensitive that many other Asian countries in this respect.*
  • Smart Casual for Business: If your digital nomad journey includes professional meetings, smart casual attire is generally accepted. However, it’s wise to pack a formal outfit for unexpected formal invitations.
  • Footwear: Shoes that are easy to remove are a practical choice, as you’ll need to take them off when entering homes and some traditional establishments.

All my friends dress like slobs and wear sandals year round, but Taipei tends to be a bit more trendy and fashionable.

Tech and Gadgets

Given Taiwan’s status as a tech hub, you’ll find most technological necessities readily available. However, certain items should be part of your packing list:

  • Universal Power Adapter: Taiwan uses Type A and B sockets. A universal adapter ensures your devices stay charged.
  • Portable Wi-Fi or SIM Card: While Wi-Fi is widely available, having a portable Wi-Fi device or a local SIM card for your unlocked phone ensures you’re always connected. You can pick up a special sim card on arrival at the airport but that’s the ONLY place – if you miss that, you’ll have trouble finding a short-term sim card.
  • Waterproof Phone Case: For those adventurous days or unexpected downpours, a waterproof case can protect your lifeline to work and social media.

Miscellaneous Essentials

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated on the go, and contribute to environmental conservation.
  • Basic Mandarin Phrasebook or App: While many Taiwanese speak English, knowing basic Mandarin phrases enhances interactions and shows respect for the local culture.
  • Health and Hygiene Items: Include hand sanitizer, mosquito repellent (especially for rural areas), and any personal medications.

Whether you’re weaving through night markets, setting up your laptop in a beachside café, or networking in one of Taipei’s bustling coworking spaces, you’ll be prepared for every aspect of life in Taiwan.

Cost of Living in Taiwan: A Comprehensive Overview

Taiwan offers a compelling package for digital nomads, balancing affordability with a high standard of living. Understanding the breakdown of typical expenses is crucial for planning your stay.

  • Accommodation: The most significant variable cost, with prices ranging widely depending on location and type. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1000 per month for accommodation, with Taipei at the higher end of the spectrum due to its status as the capital and a major hub. Since Taiwan is not really touristy, it means the choices are slim and not that great – you might spend more here for a basic apartment. $1000 is a more reasonable estimate for something comfortable, and hotels or airbnbs can be overpriced.
  • Food: Taiwanese cuisine is not only delicious but also incredibly affordable. Street food meals can cost as little as $1-$3, while dining at mid-range restaurants might set you back by $10-$15 per meal.
  • Transportation: Public transport is both efficient and economical. A one-way ticket on local transport averages around $1, while those planning longer stays might consider the convenience and savings offered by monthly passes, priced at about $50.
  • Entertainment: Taiwan’s vibrant cultural scene, from night markets to temples and museums, offers plenty of free or low-cost entertainment options. Movie tickets and entrance fees to attractions are reasonably priced, ensuring you can enjoy your downtime without breaking the bank.

Accommodation in Taiwan: From Hostels to Apartments

Finding the right place to stay is pivotal for any digital nomad. Taiwan caters to a wide range of preferences and budgets.

  • Short-term Stays: Hostels are a popular and budget-friendly option for those looking to stay a few weeks to a month. Prices range from $30 to $90 per night, offering both dormitory-style and private rooms. Platforms like Hostelworld and are excellent resources.
  • Long-term Accommodation: For stays extending beyond a month, renting an apartment becomes more cost-effective. Websites such as offer extensive listings, though navigating them might require some basic Mandarin knowledge or the help of a local friend.
  • Local Practices and Tips: When searching for housing, be aware that many landlords require a deposit (usually two months’ rent) and prefer tenants who commit to longer lease terms. Expatriate forums and Facebook groups (e.g., “Taiwan Digital Nomads and Expats”) can be invaluable for finding leads and understanding local rental practices.

Best Cities in Taiwan

Taipei has more going on, but it’s more expensive. I lived there for 5 years and personally I don’t love it, it always feels like a hassle to go anywhere, everything is spread out.

Kaohsiung is spread out and flat, but not as frenetic and crowded, and they have a very cool artistic scene with markets around the wharf that’s worth checking out.

Tainan is much smaller and quieter. Only a couple pubs, not even any dance clubs anywhere, but a much smaller, cozier feel so you’ll probably make friends faster. The food is the *best* on the island and everything is quite a bit cheaper. There’s a bunch of eclectic, weird little brunch shops, and even a beach not far away, which can’t compare to a real beach town but is an option if you need to get your feet salty.

Also most of the island’s history is based here, so we have the oldest temples and buildings, though they aren’t massive and dramatic. Hualien is more someplace foreigners go to retire, slow and super quiet – cut off from the world. There is some good surfing on the east coast, and down south in Kenting is a party/beach town which can be fun occasionally.

Whether you’re drawn to the bustling streets of Taipei, the historical allure of Tainan, or the scenic beauty of Hualien, Taiwan offers a welcoming environment for digital nomads. I’ve had friends come here and be disappointed because it isn’t as “WOW” as some other countries, but it’ll grow on you if you give it a chance.

Introduction to Taiwanese Cuisine

Taiwanese cuisine is a harmonious blend of influences from various Chinese provinces, Japan, and indigenous cultures, creating a unique flavor profile that’s both familiar and intriguingly novel. Staple ingredients include rice, soy, and an array of seafood, punctuated with the vibrant flavors of garlic, ginger, and basil. One can’t discuss Taiwanese food without mentioning its street food culture, epitomized by the bustling night markets like Shilin (士林) and Raohe (饒河).

Must-Try Dishes

  • Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵, niúròu miàn): A rich broth laden with tender beef, noodles, and often bok choy, seasoned with star anise and soy sauce. It’s comfort in a bowl.
  • Bubble Tea (珍珠奶茶, zhēnzhū nǎichá): The global craze that originated from Taiwan, this sweet tea beverage mixed with milk and chewy tapioca pearls can be found in countless variations.
  • Gua Bao (割包, guà bāo): Often dubbed the Taiwanese hamburger, this snack features stewed pork belly sandwiched in a steamed bun with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and ground peanuts.
  • Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐, chòu dòufǔ): A polarizing dish known for its pungent aroma and delicious taste, typically served deep-fried with pickled cabbage.

Best Places to Eat on a Budget

The heart of Taiwan’s affordable dining scene lies in its night markets and local eateries, where you can indulge in a variety of dishes without straining your wallet.

  • Night Markets: No visit to Taiwan is complete without a stroll through its night markets. Shilin and Raohe are just the tip of the iceberg. Venture to Ningxia (寧夏) for a less touristy experience.
  • Bento Boxes (便當, biàndāng): Train stations and convenience stores offer a wide array of bento boxes featuring everything from pork chops to fried chicken, all at reasonable prices.
  • Local Eateries: Look for small, family-run establishments that serve set meals (套餐, tàocān) – a balanced offering of a main dish, rice, and several sides.

Navigating Dietary Restrictions in Taiwan

Taiwan is becoming increasingly accommodating of dietary restrictions, but navigating them requires some preparation and flexibility.

  • Vegetarian and Vegan: The traditional Buddhist influence means vegetarian food is widely available. Look for restaurants with the “素” (sù, vegetarian) sign. Veganism is less common but growing; HappyCow is a helpful resource for finding vegan eateries.
  • Gluten-Free: Gluten-free dining can be challenging due to the prevalence of soy sauce. Opt for rice-based dishes and be clear about your restrictions. Learning the phrase “我不能吃麵筋” (wǒ bùnéng chī miàn jīn, I can’t eat gluten) may help.
  • Allergies: Always communicate your allergies clearly. “我對…過敏” (wǒ duì… guòmǐn, I’m allergic to…) is a handy phrase to know. Consider carrying allergy cards in Chinese.
  • They use MSG in everything… I used to try to get them to take it out but I’ve learned to adjust.

Taiwanese cuisine, with its depth of flavor and variety, promises a delightful culinary adventure for digital nomads. Whether you’re navigating the myriad choices at a night market or enjoying the simplicity of a local eatery, the island’s food scene offers something to satisfy every palate. With a bit of research and openness to new experiences, you can dive deep into the flavors of Taiwan, even on a budget and with dietary restrictions. Happy eating!

A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Working Spaces and Networking

Whether you’re drafting a novel, coding an app, or consulting remotely, finding the right place to work and connect with like-minded professionals can transform your experience. This guide explores the best coworking spaces, cafés, and networking opportunities across Taiwan’s vibrant cities, ensuring you’re well-equipped to thrive in this dynamic environment.

Coworking Spaces: Your New Office Away from Home

Taiwan’s cities are dotted with coworking spaces that cater to the needs of digital nomads, offering not just a desk but a community. Here are top picks across major locales:

Taipei: The Heartbeat of Innovation

  • CLBC Taipei: Nestled in the bustling Xinyi District, CLBC offers an elegant workspace solution with stunning city views, private offices, and open desks, fostering a vibrant community of entrepreneurs and creatives.
  • Your Space: Known for its cozy ambiance and community-driven events, Your Space is more than a coworking area—it’s a place to share ideas and grow.

Kaohsiung: Southern Taiwan’s Creative Hub

  • ToMore: A stone’s throw away from the iconic Love River, ToMore combines affordability with a serene working environment, making it perfect for those seeking inspiration from the city’s artistic vibe.
  • Wahaha: This quirky-named space is beloved for its flexible seating options, engaging workshops, and a welcoming atmosphere that attracts a diverse group of freelancers and digital nomads.

Cafés with a Side of Wi-Fi

For those who prefer the informal setting of a café, Taiwan does not disappoint. The café culture here is imbued with a deep appreciation for coffee and work-life balance.

  • Rufous Coffee: In Taipei’s Da’an District, Rufous Coffee stands out not just for its expertly brewed coffee but for its quiet nooks ideal for concentration and creativity.
  • Cama Café: With multiple outlets across Taiwan, Cama Café is a favorite among remote workers for its reliable Wi-Fi, ample power outlets, and delicious coffee.

Building Your Tribe: Community and Networking

The essence of a fulfilling digital nomad experience lies in community. Taiwan’s welcoming spirit is reflected in its vibrant expat and digital nomad communities.

Meetups and Events

  • Digital Nomad Taiwan: Regular meetups in Taipei and other cities offer a platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and friendship building. From casual coffee meets to structured workshops, there’s something for everyone.
  • Startup Events: Taiwan’s startup scene is buzzing with events that welcome digital nomads. Keep an eye on platforms like Eventbrite and Meetup for the latest gatherings.

Online Forums and Groups

  • Forumosa: An expat forum that provides invaluable insights into living and working in Taiwan, from visa queries to event announcements.
  • Facebook Groups: Search for city-specific digital nomad and expat groups on Facebook. “Digital Nomads Taiwan” and “Expats in Taiwan” are good starting points.

The fusion of high-speed internet, a plethora of working environments, and a robust expat community makes Taiwan an ideal destination for digital nomads. From the innovative coworking spaces of Taipei to the laid-back cafés of Kaohsiung, there’s a spot for every working style and preference. More importantly, the opportunity to connect with fellow nomads and locals can enrich your stay, turning a workation into a truly immersive cultural experience.

So, as you navigate the journey of being a digital nomad in Taiwan, remember that beyond the workspaces and Wi-Fi speeds, it’s the connections you make and the community you build that will define your experience. Taiwan offers the backdrop; it’s up to you to paint your story.

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