So guys, I've heard that Republic of China is best China. Has someone here ever been there before?
I might go there for a few weeks for work. So how's life there like in genereal?
This Bernd has been there for three weeks (came back home last week). Taiwan is very well developed and has great public transportation compared to Germany. I love it really much, but I've met many Westerners (especially Germans) who didn't like it at all. It all depends on how much you're into Asia. Do you like food stands, smog and having a hard time with people not speaking English (sometimes not even Mandarin; at least not if they don't have to)?
If it's just for a couple of weeks i would say you might even make it with basic chinese (Hello, Thanks, How much is this?, Is this pork blood?). If you're in Taipei (what I'm assuming, as most companies are be doing their Taiwan business there) people should speak English more or less. If you're in Taichung, Kaohsiung or Tainan (uncommon, but still possible) people don't really speak English, but it's getting better as some Expats told me. Most shop assistants in tea shops and sit-in restaurants speak a bit English, and they often have English or pictured menus.
Life in general is great, as Taiwan is very small, but crowded. This means you can get anything everywhere, but still it's not that far if you're into some weekend hiking trips or just want to hang out at beaches. Life's relatively expensive compared to Germany, I will never understand how people can afford iPads with only 500€/month. Food is delicious, if you don't mind trying some new stuff. Most Germans though would never try local food like Stinky Tofu or sometimes not even eat on night markets.
I would say the most important thing is that you should definitely be not afraid of trying something new. As it's only for some weeks, you should definitely try it. If you really cannot get into the taiwanese lifestyle, you can still go to McDonald's/ steak houses and hide in your apartment.
Feel free to ask any questions, I don't know how to further convince you to take that no-brainer decision.
Wow, I haven't browsed this board for a week now, I wouldn't have expected any replies after nothing happened shortly after posting this thread.
I've been to Japan and Indochina so far, so I know about developed and quite underdeveloped Asia. I've heard that Taiwan is a good mixture of both of them.
I'll be in Taipei, I've heard that rents there are quite steep, but other costs supposedly are rather low. Do the Taiwanese really just earn 500€ a month?
Yes, sometimes even less. I have never figured out how they can afford their lifestyle, especially with the typical chinese focus on expensive products like iPhones and other brand-name products. Depending on your salary, it's still not that hard to survive. You can live from roughly 2€ per meal and eat at decent street stands. A portion of rice as a side dish is about 0.25€, so if you don't eat meat at every meal, you may get even lower by just having rice with vegetables.
Rents were okay in the south (comparable to German cities), but Taipei is a bit more expensive than the rest of Taiwan. The difference might be like Munich/Hamburg <-> Berlin in Germany.
I would consider the country quite well developed - you can get everything you need, the public transportation is better and more sophisticated than in Europe. What bugged me most was the bad water conduction (tap water not drinkable, you can't flush toilet paper and have to put it into a trash bin) and the more or less slow internet connections to non-taiwanese websites (the ISPs slow down connections abroad and the average bandwith is 13mbps, which is one of the lowest of all OECD countries). Putting the tissues into a trash bin rather than flushing might seem a bit odd, but you're getting used to it quite fast and the bins are cleaned very often (the best garbage trucks in the world and they come several times a day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRvgmLLlhp0). Most of the negative parts of Taiwan are not that much of an issue; the only thing that would prevent me from living there for a long time are the people (if you know Chinese people you might understand), but for the first 6 months or so you're going to love it anyway.
Now as I'm back for 2 weeks now, I really miss Taiwan.
>>You can live from roughly 2€ per meal
sounds like you can live for more than 6 weeks on an average european mmonthly wage!
what's the catch?
>> you can't flush toilet paper and have to put it into a trash bin
sounds like Greece to me. shouldn't be a problem in a well-ventilated bathroom.
>>the ISPs slow down connections abroad
why would they do that?
>>if you know Chinese people you might understand
No, I don't know Chinese. I can imagine that the constant spitting is disgusting, but what bugged you the most?
The problem with living costs is, that people just earn 500€/month, but food is more expensive than in Germany where you earn 3000€. If you're getting paid a "western" salary it's like a paradise. If you're paid like anyone else, it's nothing special, but as a Bernd your expenses aren't that high anyway.
Chinese people are hard to explain and you should make your own experiences and see if you like them. It's not the spitting (Taiwanese people don't spit that much compared to mainland Chinese), but sometimes these guys can be really strange.