Moving to Taiwan Start-Up Expenses

Moving to Taipei, Taiwan Expenses can be a lot, but you can do it! Hiking photo from Elephant mountain by Fernando Palma
(Featured photo by Fernando Palma)

Planning on moving to Taiwan? Be sure to bring enough to cover your start-up expenses! Since it may be two to three months before you get your first paycheck, it’s ideal to bring enough money.

I came to Taiwan with around $2,000 and it wasn’t enough as I didn’t get my first paycheck until my third month here (and not the second as I had hoped).

While I was very fortunate to have family help me (and a credit card), that’s not everyone’s situation and it’s best to be prepared.

After reading many posts about moving expenses to Taiwan I figured I’d share my personal expenses to give others an idea of what it actually costs to get set-up in Taiwan as an English teacher. 

Below I outline my expenses moving to Taiwan from December 11, 2019  (the day I landed) to March 10th (the day of my first paycheck), so you can be realistic as you plan! 


Essential expenses for moving to Taiwan

(Expenses are for 3 months worth of living and totals are in U.S. dollars)


When I came to Taiwan I stayed in a hostel for the first week before finding a short-term rental. While you probably need to put down 2 months deposit for a rental, it will be cheaper than a hostel in the long-run.

Plus an apartment is more comfortable than a hostel!

  • One-week hostel expenses: $150
  • Sharehouse Apartment (2 months deposit + 3 months rent): $1,100 

Total: $1,250 

I paid for an unusually cheap apartment where I shared a bedroom. If you want to have your own room, you should expect to spend another $100 a month.

Realistic 3-months housing total: $1,550-$1,700 

A park by my Taipei Apartment.
The gorgeous park near my Taipei apartment.


This budget should be quite easy to stick with once you know the food scene. On average I spent $10 (300 NT) a day on food.

Food Total: $900

Health Insurance:

I use SafetyWing Insurance as my travel insurance as it’s excellent for digital nomads and backpackers with no return ticket. World Nomads is another great insurer but is more expensive.

With SafetyWing I pay $40 a month.

Health Insurance Total: $120


This expense depends on how often you travel in the city or to other cities, but I spent around $40 a month traveling around Taipei. You’ll also have to pay to get into the city from the airport which is around $5. 

Transportation Total: $125

If you are thinking you’ll be traveling to different cities or back and forth from Taipei, I suggest budgeting an extra $100.


Chungwha Telecom is my phone provider and I paid $33 a month for unlimted data in my first three months. Until you are on a contract this is what you can expect.

Cell Phone Total: $99

Health check: 

When you move to Taiwan to teach English, it’s necessary to obtain a health check before your employer can apply for your work permit. The expense may change depending on the hospital, but here’s what I spent.

This list on is useful for finding a nearby health check hospital in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Health Check total: $47

Total for three months of the essentials: $2,496

The above expenses are what you can definitely expect in your first three months moving to Taiwan. I would suggest an additional $200-$300 if you want to live in more expensive housing or travel more. 

If you happen to get paid in your second month then you might be safe with around $2,000 but I would only suggest this IF you have a job secured before you come and you’re excellent at sticking to a budget. 


Other expenses to consider moving to Taiwan:


I enjoyed myself when I first got to move to Taiwan and the few weeks before I moved to Kinmen Island (a place with no clubs, eccentric shopping districts, or much to do in general). 

I can’t be certain of how much I spent, but I would estimate $200 went towards alcohol, taxis, games, and expensive meals over three months.

Total Funsies: $200

In Taipei with Rilakkuma
Partying with Rilakkuma in Taipei!

Home expenses:

While your apartment in Taiwan will probably have a bed and furniture, you might need other items like bedding, a heater, a lamp, and organizers. It depends on what’s already there, but I did buy quite a few things.

I would not go overboard until you secure your work permit in Taiwan in case you must return home for any reason.  

Total Home: $150


If you’ve brought enough clothes with you, you’re gold! But I failed to realize how cold it would be when I got here.

I needed a few new hoodies, a hat, gloves, and puffy coat. I also purchased some new clothes before coming to Kinmen because there’s nowhere decent to buy teaching clothes.

Total on Clothes: $150

Visa-Exempt Run:

U.S. Citizens, if you don’t expect to get your ARC within your first 90 days in Taiwan you’ll have to make a trip out of the country to reset your 90 days.

I took the cheapest flight out of the country I could to Thailand and stayed for two days. 

Visa-Exempt Run Total: $200

A park in Bangkok I strolled through on my trip to Thailand, it cost $200 worth of my moving to Taiwan expenses.
Beautiful Bangkok at 6 AM

Extra Expenses Total: $700

Feel free to adjust these expenses to your needs and lifestyle, these are just expenses to consider when moving to Taiwan.

Total move to Taiwan expenses: $3,196

While I often read $2,000 was the minimum amount to bring to move Taiwan to teach English, it’s best to be safe and bring 3 months’ worth especially if you’ll be finding a job when you get here.

DON’T FORGET to include any bills back home and flight costs!

Lastly,  I’ll mention some expenses that you may have to cover before your first paycheck. Luckily for me, my employer took hese expenses out of my paycheck.

In the case you must pay before you get a paycheck, here’s the last expense to possibly expect. These are rough estimates for U.S. citizens, so do your own research for exact numbers. 

Work Permit: $17

Visa for U.S. citizens: $200

ARC (for one year): $33 

Total: $250 

And that’s it!

All of my expenses from moving to Taiwan (not including Work Permit/Visa/ARC/flights/bills):  $3,196

Feel free to edit these expenses to adjust to your situation and spending habits. I’m just here for reference!

These expenses represent three months of living without a paycheck and include some fun and a (necessary) trip out of the country. 

It’s a tough decision to move your life abroad and even tougher when you don’t know how much money to bring or when you’ll get your first paycheck in your hands.  That’s why I made this list!

To anyone planning on moving to Taiwan, I hope I’ve been able to help your journey abroad!

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about moving to Taiwan. 

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