So you work remotely and love to travel the world? We’ve got a destination for you that’s not always on everyone’s radar, but definitely should be! The small island nation of Taiwan. This beautiful country in the South China Sea might not be the first place you think of when deciding your next location in Asia. However, it’s packed with high-rising mountains, lush green rainforests, volcanic arcs, and bustling cities to top it all off. Who doesn’t want to visit that?! This post we’ll tell you a bit more about Taipei, which we’ll visit the entire month of March 2017 with our The Remote Trip community.
First, Taiwan is often mentioned as one of the hotspots for Digital Nomads and indeed the country has great potential to be a digital nomad hub in either one of it’s biggest cities: Taipei (North) and Kaohsiung (South). However, if you’re looking for the next Chiang Mai or Bali then think again. You won’t find thousands of remote workers here and the digital nomad scene has not been as developed yet, but certainly don’t let that hold you back! Be a pioneer and pave the way for other remote workers. Many people currently working out of Taiwan said they never planned on staying for a long time, but that they loved the country and its capital so much that they actually never left, or simply kept coming back. Sounds promising!
Getting to Taipei from either an Asian destination or from a different continent is incredibly easy! Taipei is one of the biggest connection hubs in Asia and therefore many flights will easily drop you off here. Flights from either the US or Europe are very reasonably priced if you book a bit in advance and if you’re not too picky on your dates. Taiwan has a quick Visa On Arrival for either 30 or 90 days, depending on your nationality. Once you’re here you can either take a taxi for around $30 into the city center, take a shuttle bus or use the bullet train. All clearly indicated at the airport.
Want to do a quick weekend trip from Taiwan? No problem, either. You’ll be in one of the nearby countries in no-time and it likely won’t even cost you much. Japan, The Philippines and China have never been more within reach!
Food, food, and more food
Try finding an article about Taipei that doesn’t mention food. That’s right, you can’t. How good must Taiwanese food be for everyone to rave about it?! Small eats are the deal in Taiwan. Lots of small eats. Prepare to change your food pattern from having three larger meals a day, to having 5 or 6 smaller snacks a day. This won’t be difficult anyways, since the food is just so delicious, you’ll won’t want to stop eating. Taipei has 20 streets completely dedicated to food and street stalls, so you can (quite literally) eat your heart out.
Try beef noodle soup, all types of bao, fried chicken, and stinky tofu (sounds worse than it is!), among many others.. The absolute top spot for dumplings is Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, a Taiwan-originated dumpling restaurant with a Michelin Star, which by now has branches in seven other countries all over the world. In the sweet corner we have shaved ice (with fruits and syrup), pineapple cake, and the famous ‘bubble’ tea. Related to food, did you know that one of Taiwan’s whiskey brands was awarded best in the world? It even beat Scottish whiskey. Go figure! Furthermore, Taipei’s coffee culture is rich and widespread, with many cafes dotting the city map. Nope, you won’t have to worry about enjoying food & drinks in Taiwan!
Taipei has a very enthusiastic startup/entrepreneur scene, and even though it’s not as big as the likes of of Silicon Valley, Berlin, or even Singapore, it’s still worth keeping an eye out on this innovative movement. Try to find entrepreneurs in one of its many coworking spaces (Impact Hub, Makerbar, or Hun, among others). Digital nomads who speak Mandarin definitely have an advantage over their foreign counterparts, but nevertheless this may change very fast in the future. Business is still mainly focused on the local market, but a fresh outside view from a laowai (foreigner) may be very welcome!
Internet is fast and spread out through the city. You can basically check your email from a local convenience store, update your presentation from the subway, or simply work from one of the many cafes around town. Starbucks, as always, is a good option, and they’ll even refill your water bottle throughout the day!
Taipei is a huge city, like many other Asian capitals, but still has that small city feel to it. It’s fairly easy to go around, mainly because it has a rocking subway system that is equally distributed throughout the city. The subway can also quickly take you into nature to go hiking (South end of the Red Line) or just to get away from the city noises.Taxis are abound and they are fairly cheap too, just make sure you know how to pronounce your destination right or have a local write it down for you. Lastly, the Youbikes are bikes you can rent that have pick-up/drop-off stations throughout the city. They are dirt-cheap (between $20-30 cents per 30 minutes) and it’s a great way to explore the sights while maneuvering the streets. Just make sure you watch out for the cars and buses around you.
The beating heart of Taipei is the Ximending area (or spelled Shi-men Ting), which is pretty central and easily reachable. Another great neighborhood that is a bit more upscale is the area around Zhongxiao Dunhua station. In terms of sightseeing, there are more than enough temples and sights in Taipei’s city center, but Lungshan Temple of Manka and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall definitely stand out as beauties.
Nevertheless, don’t stay in the city too long, as Taiwan has so much to offer in terms of nature. Go hiking in the dramatic mountains, there’s so many places where you can! You can go gorge trekking, white river rafting, mountain biking, visiting hot springs etc. You definitely won’t be disappointed by the views and the countryside. From Taipei you can also take a short trip to Jiufen, a lovely village about an hour away from the city. Again, you can eat delicious foods here and check out the beautiful Ruifang mountains.
So why visit Taiwan when working remotely? Because it is an unexpectedly exciting destination that’ll leave you wanting more.
The Remote Trip