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Taiwan - it's a country that gets discussed ad nauseam on this here forum - third only after the Philippines and China. The classic "Winston Wu vs. Rock" debate. Winston says Taiwan is an oppressed hell hole full of toxic women and culture, no different than the United States. Rock says Taiwan is a well-balanced place where decent guys can score high quality gals and live a decent standard of life. So who's right? Let me foreshadow this trip report by saying I completely agree with either Winston or Rock. But who do you think I'll agree with? Well, read along and you'll soon find out!
(Note: All of the following pictures were taken by me using my Pentax K-01 camera.)
This was my first trip ever to Taiwan, and I spent the entire ten days and eleven nights in Taipei, the capital city of the island country. I've been in Asia almost six years now, and I finally drug my ass to Taiwan. Don't get me wrong - I badly wanted to go to Taipei, but the prices of plane tickets from where I live were never as attractive as other nearer destinations. One night I was randomly searching plane tickets to destinations around Asia from Bangkok, and I saw Tiger Air was having a promotion for buy one plane ticket get another for free. That was my sign - my sign that it was time to finally travel to Taiwan.
This trip to Taiwan was also my first time to use the apartment hosting website Airbnb.com, which allows people to rent out their homes hotel-style to customers. I stayed at two different districts while in Taipei - the first one was about a fifteen minute walk from MRT Wende station (in Neihu district). The second one was located on an alley in Tonghua street (in Da'an district). I'd say the first apartment was in more of a peaceful residential area, while the second was located in more of a business area with lots of stuff going on. While I certainly like a lot about both of the locations, I'd have to say I liked the first location better. I like to have peace and quiet, but still have access to plenty of amenities and only be a short MRT ride away from all the action in downtown. Both of my Airbnb experiences were positive, so I'll definitely be using the website on future travels.
The food in Taipei was quite nice. Taiwanese food is unsurprisingly very similar to mainland Chinese food. The only difference is Taiwanese food tends to do away with all the dodgy crap that goes into a typical mainland dish. For example, Taiwanese food uses nearly all the same ingredients as mainland food, however, the Taiwanese don't drown every dish in cooking oil, salt, MSG, and/or sugar. Portions are also almost perfect - not the child-size portions that are common in Thailand, nor the gigantic portions that are common in the United States and China. The serving size is usually just right - just enough to fill me up. I also found food prices to be very reasonable. I don't think I ever paid more than NT$150 (about US$5) for a single meal of Taiwanese food. And I almost always left every meal without a hint of guilt from eating shitty unhealthy food, and I always thought the food was tasty and satisfying. My absolute favorite food that's available practically anywhere in Taipei is the roasted sweet potato. They're cheap, healthy, filling, and convenient to eat on-the-go. An all-around perfect snack! It also felt like food is very "available" and convenient in Taipei. This is very similar to mainland China. I don't know how to explain it, but food just doesn't feel that convenient in Bangkok. Sure it's there, but it feels troublesome, lacking in variety, and too prone to double pricing. All in all, Taiwanese food wasn't spectacular like Indian, Mexican, or Italian cuisine, but it was certainly good enough to eat for at least one meal a day.
Another good way to judge how comfortable a city will be to live in is based on the city's availability of foreign cuisine. So how does Taipei fare? Honestly, I had a bit of trouble finding decent foreign restaurants serving authentic dishes. By far the best place I stumbled across was Hooters, which was pretty much 100% the same as its American counterpart. Sure, the food was pretty unhealthy, but it was fun to eat for a meal or two. It was also interesting checking out the ladies at the Taipei Hooters. I've never been to a Hooters in Asia, so I was wondering how "bosomy" the ladies would be at an Asian Hooters. Well, they weren't very "bosomy" at all, but in typical Asian fashion, they well made up for that by having fantastic legs, haha. Aside from just Hooters, the only other decent foreign cuisine I found in Taipei was a little Mexican restaurant called Macho Tacos. They have a Tuesday special where tacos are only NT$39 (assuming you also buy a drink for NT$60). The tacos were very authentic Mexican style, and the atmosphere of the restaurant was great. Definitely a recommended place for those craving Mexican while in Taipei. Unfortunately, other than Hooters and Macho Tacos, I didn't have much luck in my quest for decent foreign food. There was plenty of Thai restaurants to go around, but I've been living in Bangkok for the last three years, so Thai food is the last thing I want to eat. There were also quite a bit of Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants scattered all about, and the food served was quite authentic. But as for Western cuisine, I simply didn't know where else to go. My Google searches didn't yield much luck. But I admit I was a new visitor to Taipei, so I didn't exactly know where to look. Veterans like Rock could probably recommend a good place or two.
As for things to do in Taipei, I kept myself quite occupied. Unlike Singapore, I didn't feel boredom start to kick in until around the eight or ninth day of my trip. In Singapore, boredom kicked in around the fourth or fifth day. And of all the places I went, I barely even spent a dime. Similar to Vientiane, Laos, practically every tourist attraction I went in Taipei to was either free or cost next to nothing. Here's the top five things I did that I enjoyed the most.
1. Took a ride on the Maokong gondola in the southern part of the city. The hilly area used to be used primarily for growing tea, but it's been converted into a place for people to go and chill, relax, and enjoy the view. I spent about 2-3 hours riding the gondola and chilling out on top of the hill. My round-trip ticket only cost me NT$100 (about US$3). That's shockingly cheap!
2.Visited both the Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Halls. Hey I'm in Taiwan, and these two guys are two of the biggest historic figures of modern Taiwan. I enjoy learning about modern Asian history, so going to both of these places was worth a trip. Both places also both have an elaborate process of changing the guards who stand in front of the respective statues. This happens on the hour every hour. It's kind of neat, so check it out. Expects lots of mainlanders at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, but they're mostly absent from the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Gee, I wonder why? Oh, and both places were 100% free!
3. Took pictures and rode a bike around the big Taipei Bridge. This huge bridge connects Old Taipei with New Taipei, and pedestrians can walk and/or ride bicycles along the bridge. Pretty cool place for a peaceful afternoon of recreation. And of course it's free. Also make sure to walk around the streets surrounding the big bridge. I saw lots of ethnic Asian enclaves in the area.
4. Went and gawked at the Taipei 101 skyscraper. It's an icon of the city, and you can see it from practically anywhere in the city. This is the place to get your "I've been to Taipei" photo. This building used to be the tallest in the world, but it lost that title quite some time ago. Be warned that the entire area is swarmed with tourist Chinese mainlanders. You can also go up to the top of the building for NT$500 (about US$16), but I elected not too. Might be worth it once though.
5. Walked around the alleys of Tonghua Street. I did stay there for a week after all, so I guess I kind of had no choice. Nonetheless, the alleys are filled with little cheap restaurants, people selling produce and meat, churches, Chinese temples, a night market, hair salons, massage parlors, and so on. The alleys are like a grid, so you could spend an hour or two just checking out the local culture. I got tons and tons of good street photos in this area. And of course you don't need to pay to walk around the streets. The area is definitely worth checking out once if you're a newcomer to Taipei like me.
One thing I absolutely loved about Taipei was how easy it was to get around. This is in stark contrast to cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, and Ho Chi Minh City. Pedestrian and bicycle lanes are everywhere. Cars stop for you once you cross the street. Bicycles can be rented hourly at almost any MRT station for next to nothing. No matter where you are in the city, it feels like you're never more than a twenty minute walk from an MRT station. The city's layout is not too poorly designed nor mind-boggling. And last but not least, you can use just ONE card to travel along the MRT, rent bikes from the rental stations, or even pay for your goods at select convenience stores or vending machines. In Bangkok I have to carry four cards to do the exact same thing - a BTS card, an MRT card, a Pun Pun bicycle card, and a 7-Eleven convenience card. In Taipei one card can do all four of those things. Now that's what I call efficient! Are you listening, Bangkok?
Another awesome thing about Taipei was how comfortable it felt. Practically every convenience store had tables and chairs for customers to sit. At least half of them also had public restrooms. There are benches and places to sit all over the city. There's plenty of space to go around. You don't see homeless people/beggars anywhere and everywhere like in Bangkok, Manila, and Phnom Penh. Trees, greenery, and nature are all over and surrounding the city (similar to Singapore). The city certainly has noice as any city does, but it's mostly reasonable. None of the earth-shattering noises that constantly crush your eardrums like in Bangkok, Manila, and Chinese cities. The city is clean and largely litter-free (at least the parts I saw). The children are also mostly well-behaved, calm, and cute as a button, haha. I couldn't help but notice so many parents dress their kids in blue or pink - blue for boys and pink for girls of course. Are parents even allowed to do that in modern day America? Or would that be deemed gender insensitive, gender biasing, or some horse shit like that? Anyways, just like Singapore, Taipei is very very comfortable. I explored the city from corner to corner, and besides a few notable exceptions, the majority of the city felt very livable. I'd say less than 20% of Bangkok is livable, and maybe only 50% of Dalian is livable (the city I previously lived in).
Now let's get to the women, the part you've all been waiting for. As almost always, I was traveling with my Chinese girlfriend, so my interactions with the local gals was quite limited. But I still talked to plenty of them, saw hundreds of thousands of them, and got an overall first impression. While not too many women stared at me like sometimes happens in China, I definitely noticed a lot of women giving me that slightly prolonged "look of approval" - definitely reassuring for a man's ego. In a nutshell, Taiwanese women are probably the best I've ever seen in Asia. (Go ahead and crucify me now, Winston.) I'm a big big fan of ethnic Chinese women, so this came as no surprise, but let me explain why. Taiwanese women are essentially mainland Chinese women minus all the bullshit. They're ultra-feminine, mild and well-mannered, mostly well-educated, and carry themselves with class and grace. They got the elegance of mainland Chinese women, plus the interesting sophistication of Japanese women. They're basically what you'd get if you mixed a mainland Chinese girl with a Japanese girl. Sounds perfect to me! I also noticed very very few good-looking women had that arrogant bitch face I so often see in Bangkok, nor did many women (or people in general) have that sour face you can see practically everywhere in China. Regardless, I think mainland Chinese women are well-worth the trouble they can throw at you (as well as what they're mother country can throw at you), but if you don't wanna put up with all that, then I totally recommend Taiwanese chicks. I'm looking at you, Xiongmao. If I were ever a single dude again (though I'm confident I won't be), I know exactly where I'd go if pursuing a long-term relationship. I'm confident I have what it takes to crack the code of Taiwanese women. Simply put, Taiwanese women seem nearly perfect to me.
As for Taiwanese people in general, or at least the Taipeinese, they seemed pretty cool to me. They definitely left a largely positive in impression. Although I can speak conversational Mandarin, I noticed a lot of people in Taipei spoke passable English - this in stark contrast to Thailand and China. If people talked to me in English first, then I would continue the conversation in English. If Mandarin, then Mandarin. If I talked first, then I would always use Mandarin. And unlike China, where all these goofy middle-aged and older people seem to have trouble understanding a Caucasian speaking Mandarin, no matter their level of Mandarin, 99% of the people in Taipei fully understood everything I said to them. The 1% who didn't was some really old guy at a local betel nut shop. He didn't understand me at all, and I have no idea why. He fully understood my Heilongjiang Chinese girlfriend though. Other than that one time, I had zero trouble communicating. Just like the women, Taiwanese in general are basically like mainland Chinese minus all the bullshit. Taiwanese are basically what mainlanders would be if they were polite, well-educated, patient, and internationalized. Don't get me wrong, I often enjoy the wackiness that mainlanders tend to exhibit, but Taiwnese are infinitely more easy to deal with, at least on a day-to-day basis. None of the mega loud talking, spitting, obnoxious staring, or any of the other piss poor manners that plague mainland China. Good job, Taiwan.
Another cool thing about Taipei is since the overwhelming majority of people are middle-class, you don't see all these silly little "competitions" among the locals to see who can best prove they're from the upper class. None of the hyper-sensitivity to social class nonsense you see in so many developing Asian countries (e.g. driving BMWs, only buying luxury brands like Gucci or Prada, constantly looking down one's nose at those perceived to be below them, etc). For example, I saw countless attractive and classy women riding bicycles all over Taipei. Seeing a classy woman riding a bike in urban Bangkok or China? Not a chance in Hell! One goofy knack about the Taiwanese is their obsession with dogs. I won't go into details, but let's just say dogs are treatly like royalty in Taiwan. I admit I was only in Taipei for ten days, so I'm sure if I stayed in Taiwan longer, my frustrations with the locals would likely become more evident. But I have to admit, the Taiwanese left a very positive first impression on me. It's crazy how two peoples can be the same at their core (Chinese and Taiwanese), yet so different on all of their exterior superficial behavior.
Finally, let's talk about the general day-to-day cost of Taipei. I already mentioned above that food prices are very reasonable. NT$100 is definitely enough to get you a satisfying plate of clean and moderately healthily-cooked food. I also mentioned that tourist attractions are very cheap. So what else? Using the MRT was also extremely cheap - I never paid more than NT$25 for my ride, regardless of where I went in the city. That's roughly half of what I pay in Bangkok. However, using the subway in Beijing and Shanghai is only two yuan per trip for most rides. Bus rides in Taipei are NT$15. No matter where I went on the bus, it was still just NT$15. A shuttle bus to and from the airport cost me about NT$150 per way. I only took one taxi, which was at like 3 AM, and it cost me about NT$280. I probably went about 3-5 miles on that taxi ride. Riding on the city-provided rental bikes (YouBike) was free for the first half hour, then NT$10 for each subsequent half hour. After it's all said and done, getting around Taipei is very cheap, reasonable, and simple. There are plenty of options for modes of transport, and all of them are desirable. As for my Airbnb accommodations, I paid NT$567 per night (two guests) for the shared apartment in Neihu district, and then NT$780 (also two guests) for the private apartment in central Da'an district. When I was browsing hotels on Expedia and Agoda, I noticed decent two and three star hotels were asking for about NT$1500 - 2500 per night. So my Airbnb arrangements were definitely a good deal! All in all, considering how developed, clean, and modern Taipei, the cost of traveling was medium cheap. Roughly the same (if not cheaper) than you'd pay to travel to Bangkok, a much less developed and less comfortable city in comparison. Taipei also seemed a bit cheaper than both Beijing and Shanghai. As for local rent prices and average local salaries, I have no idea.
I think after reading this review, it's pretty clear who's side I'm on in the Winston Wu vs. Rock debate. But if I have to spell it out for you, I definitely agree with Rock. Taipei is comfortable, reasonable cost-wise, the local women are feminine, classy, and sophisticated, the local people are polite and reasonable towards foreigners, the city is modern, clean, and filled with nature, the food is decent and reasonably healthy, and getting around is simple and efficient. Yet on the downside (I have very few Complaints), the weather is mediocre - it rained non-stop three of the days I was there, but the other seven days were moderate and nice. Taipei is an island, so it's somewhat isolated from surrounding countries. It also seems like you'd get bored of seeing the country after a couple of years or so. Hotels are medium-high priced (for Asian standards). And finally, breaking into social circles could probably be time-consuming and somewhat confusing to a newcomer in Asia. Nonetheless, the pros far outweigh the cons, and I definitely know I'll be back in Taiwan in the future. Hell, I might even live there some day! I'll probably revisit Taipei again next time, but also spend a decent amount of time in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city/metropolis. In my almost six years of living and traveling in Asia - my current favorite places are: Dalian, China (like a second home to me), Penang Island in Malaysia, and Taipei. I just noticed all three of my favorite places are in the Sinosphere...interesting. Is Taipei worth the trip if you're in a surrounding Asia country? Definitely. Would I travel from across the world (such as from the United States) just to see Taipei? Yes. Taipei in a nutshell: Shanghai minus all the mess of mainland China. That's a pretty epic combo!
My previous trip reports:
P.S. - I'll be in mainland China from March 30 to April 26. I'll be stopping at Changsha, Chongqing, Leshan, Chengdu, and Kunming. I'll continue my previous trip report whenever the trip is finished. If anyone on this forum is located in any of these cities, get in contact with me so we can possibly meet up. Also, I'll be in Chicago, Little Rock (my hometown), and Memphis from May to July. Once again get in contact with me if you're in one of these cities and you want to meet up. I'll also make a trip report for my United States trip. After that it's back to China for one month (the Northeast), and then I'll be moving to South Korea. Bye Bye, Bangkok!
Thanks once again for an excellent trip report man, this is great. You're one of the best posters here. Also thanks for not posting on the 'elite' section, so we can weigh in.
Damn right haha. I travel thousands of miles for that alone.
Now you've just made my travelling more expensive, i'll definitelly have to go there now.
I think the only thing missing here is that you were really single so you could report on the actual approachability etc.
1)Too much of one thing defeats the purpose.
2)Everybody is full of it. What's your hypocrisy?
Taiwan is a great place--except for the people! I prefer the friendliness of mainland Chinese people over Taiwanese people. My White friend (who I visited in Taiwan) even agrees with me...that Taiwanese people are cold and reserved. Yes, they are well mannered, but they're a little too reserved for my tastes.
As for Taiwanese women...yes, they're beautiful--but they're also stuck-up and very picky! As a White male, you probably think Taiwanese girls are a step-up, but, me, being an Asian male, I can certainly sense a bit of entitlement among Taiwanese women. And, yes, Taiwanese women definitely seem to be a lot more 'White-washed' and brimming with self-loathing, than Chinese women (that's for sure!). That's what I noticed in Taiwan--that the girls seemed to really hate themselves for being Chinese/Asian.
When you visit for only a few days, you may think that Taiwanese women are great, but the more I stayed in Taiwan, I noticed the scabs coming up to the surface. I disagree with your opinion of Taiwanese girls, Everdred, but I still like you as a poster.
Still...Taiwan is a nice place, and a good place for those that went the Asian experience, without the messiness of China. But I prefer Chinese messiness over sterile Taiwan. Haha.
It's funny, Everdred: we have completely opposite views of China and Taiwan. Haha...Good post, Everdred! Maybe we can meet up one day in person...
Let's just agree to disagree, zboy1. No disrespect, but it seems like you almost always disagree with the Caucasian posters who have extensive experience in Asia. Regardless, we can still meet up some day if our paths ever cross. And thanks, droid! Your praise does not go unnoticed. It takes a lot of effort and self motivation to get these trip reports written, because I can't help but notice my trip reports barely even get noticed, but I do want to give back to the community I've been a member of for a while now. Anyways, here's a few more things I'd like to add about Taipei:
In the ten days I was in the city, I was surprised how few foreigners I saw. Sure, they're out there, especially in the city center and at tourist attractions, but their numbers are quite small. Very comparable to Beijing and Shanghai in this regard. And that's just how I like it, not so many foreigners around where you feel like they're spoiling your overseas experience (i.e. Bangkok), but not so little that you feel like an alien in your city (i.e. second and third tier Chinese cities). On a side note, a good chunk of the foreign males I saw were quite good-looking and had a touch of class - I'd say about 50% or so. And 80% of the foreign males I saw were speaking at least conversational level Mandarin. So be warned that you've got some decent competition (albeit small in numbers) as a foreigner wanting to date the local ladies. High quality local girls probably won't be too impressed if "foreign" is the only thing you've got to add to the relationship table. This is very unlike Bangkok, where the overwhelming majority of foreign males in the city are either gay, very average or ugly looking, very low class looking, and/or can't speak a lick of Thai. If you're a decent good-looking guy in Bangkok, your foreign competition is mostly weak.
Another thing discussed ad nauseam on this forum is how so many Caucasian males in Asia don't have good-looking local girlfriends. I guess this is true to an extent, but the majority of Caucasian males I see in Asia aren't that good-looking or high quality themselves, so I find that point a bit moot. An average Caucasian guy with an average Asian girl - whoopty doo, what's your point? At least it's not like the United States or other developed Western countries where you constantly see good-looking local guys with average/below average-looking local girls. In Taipei not only did I see a lot of good-looking Caucasian guys, but also their girlfriends were almost always just as good-looking as they were.
And as for the Taipei ladies, what I really liked about them is even though they're in a large city, they still wear a mostly humble look on their faces. I rarely saw that bitch face that is so common all across the Anglospehere and in large cities around the world. Sure, maybe a Taiwanese girl here or there wore the bitch face, but they were definitely the exception and not the norm. I also noticed most Taiwanese girls don't cake on so much make-up, unlike the girls in Thailand, Korea, and Japan. Make-up was mostly to supplement their face, not to form their face. A big plus. They also often speak Mandarin with sweet, soft, and polite voices (similar to Thai ladies, minus the Mandarin). This is very much unlike mainland China, where it's quite common to comes across really pretty girls with masculine, ghetto-sounding voices and harsh tones. However, on the downside it seemed like at least 50% of Taiwanese women between the ages of 16 and 35 wore those ridiculous colored contacts that are so popular with Asian girls. I really really wish this trend would go away. I hate looking at a girl's face who has reptilian eyes. What makes them think that's attractive? And also, many Taiwanese girls dye their hair unnatural colors. Once again, very common all across Asia, and I'm not a fan.
I think it's safe to say that Taiwan, or at least Taipei, is quite a developed place. And what I like about Taiwan is that it has all the niceties that developed countries provide (i.e. cleanliness, efficiency, a high comfort level, good transportation options, etc), but it also mostly lacks many of the bad things developed countries tend to have (i.e. a borderline police state, mega-entitled and unattractive women, a politically correct atmosphere, etc). If you don't want to deal with all the grievances of developing Asia, but you still want the nice things that Asia tends to provide for a single Western male, then Taiwan might just be for you. It strikes me as a very well-balanced country. I say this is an American guy who's lived in Asia almost six years non-stop, and who's traveled to ten different Asian countries, some multiple times, and never for business, rather always for leisure and experience. Still take everything I say with a grain of salt, because we all have different perspectives, experiences, likes/dislikes, and ideology. Just because I like Taiwan doesn't mean you automatically will too.
White males and Asian males definitely have different experiences in Asia; It's probably a fact. The one place in Asia where I can think that's not the case is in the Philippines, because the women there love different kinds of men equally. LOL.
As I mentioned, Taiwanese girls seem more 'Westernized' and as a result, treat White males differently than Asian men. I actually wasn't surprised by our differing viewpoints, just as Rock and Winston don't agree on Taiwan.
First, I'm sorry your reports here don't get more traction. HA postership is actually quite small now. But rest assured, your trip reports are very appreciated. They look professional, as if done by a paid travel writer including the photos of course.
I love Taiwan, I truly love that country. It's like my second home or maybe it's more like my first home. It's part of my blood cus it was my springboard to Happier Abroad lifestyle. Next to USA, I lived there longer than any other place. I dated more quality girls there including bulk of my serious relationships than any other country on planet. I also built up virtually all of my savings and assets through work and business there. I have a permanent Taiwan residency (equivalent of green card) and came close to renouncing US citizenship to become a Taiwan national. I stopped short of that cus my parents were against it.
So why am I now living in SE Asia? I guess I finally got bored in Taiwan. It's not nearly as easy to date there as it used to be and that could be cus I'm older and/or cus girls are just not as easy to attract for any westerner as back in the day lol. Anyway, life is more interesting if you experience multiple environments. After a few years in Philippines/SE Asia, I just may give Kenya, Madagascar, or Ghana a shot, maybe even Mongolia or Stans during northern hemisphere summers even, who knows.
Taiwan is an undiscovered treasure. Low cost of living, total safety, clean, easy to make decent living, high quality of life, and top tier girls in every way. It's been largely shut out of world by China even though its developed, has high quality educated middle class, and is one of the major forces behind global technology industry. It's one of few countries in the world with no USA extradition or tax treaties in place I believe. Many western guys can't take more than a few years there cus they start to feel alien somehow. But there are exceptions and I'm one of them. I feel totally comfortable there. It's just that I wanna experience more of the world and I wanna continue to have a dating life or even settle down. Taiwan is really at this stage in my life a been-there-done-that type a deal.
Your contrasts with China/Japan/Thailand/Malaysia etc. are pure gold. I recently told a friend on FB (Public Duende) that as a world traveler, when I look at countries, I compare them on a matrix. Most guys just travel to 2 or 3 place and compare everything to back home. Well your style is definitely like mine to a large extent. And you are much better at posting trip reports than I've ever been.
BTW, for the record, I've met Everdred in person in Bangkok twice, once alone and once with Falcon and Xiongmao. He's a very low key respectful soft spoken white guy with a decent look and around 30 give or take. He speaks good Mandarin too. I don't think he speaks Thai though.
Regarding Winston, remember too that he spends virtually all of his time in the countryside surrounding Chiayi City and takes trips to Taichung once in awhile. For me, Chiayi is a bizarre, hickish place, full of poker faced weird people, a world apart from Taipei. I don't like it there at all except that it has better weather than Taipei. People are rougher, speak Taiwanese (as opposed to Mandarin) a lot more, and politically are very pro green/Taiwan independence camp. Taipei City is very urban and white collar. If you go to New Taipei City, you get a bit of a taste of what southern Taiwan is like but still, it's night and day. I've never liked Chiayi. Tainan is probably better. And Kaoshiung is probably gonna be a lot better but still rougher and more local. Taipei City is the capital and by far the most international city. It's the safest place and centerpiece of Taiwan.
I've got a question for you though. Of all the places in the world, why are you going to S. Korea? I don't get it. If you wanna teach English, Taiwan would be much much better I think.
About mainland China and Chinese. Yea, so many there are uncouth. I think a lot of poor uneducated folk got rich overnight via property, etc. And there's the Cultural Revolution/Mao Ze Dong overhang still in place even to this day. The parents and grandparents of today's young generation suffered through all that crap. Anyway, mainlanders come down here to certain areas of Thailand like locusts. I visited Grand Palace in Bangkok last week and seriously, it was wall-to-wall mainlanders taking photos and selfies left right and center. Some Thai people here have related to me bad experiences with them like if you use the single person toilet right after them, you may walk into a mess on the floor (even with attractive young Chinese women) and they push and talk loud and cut in line, etc. Lad always said that Thais discriminate in favor of Asians and against non-Asians. Perhaps the influx if Mainlanders will change all that. They make ugly Americans look benign lol.
Thanks for this fantastic trip report and all the others. I had Monkro look at it and he said the following:
Excellent report from Everdred! I read the entire thing. I actually learned a couple new things from it.
I didn't learn anything new about Taiwanese women. I did learn a couple new things about how women in mainland China were in comparison to Taiwanese women, and how Taiwanese people compared to those in Mainland China. I also learned about how cheap the gondola is. I learned that a lot more mainland China tourists in Taiwan visit SYS memorial in comparison to CKS memorial (Note from Rock: Monkro should know why that is, I don't get it).
I learned how Taipei's public transportation and other conveniences compared to other Asian cities.
I never been to Japan, so he confirmed my suspicions about Taiwanese women having the sophistication of Japanese women.
His noted your passages: "Taiwanese women are essentially mainland Chinese women minus all the bullshit" and "They've got the elegance of mainland Chinese women, plus the interesting sophistication of Japanese women. They're basically what you'd get if you mix a mainlander Chinese girl with a Japanese girl"
Why don't you also share the impressions of your mainland gf about Taipei?
Of course Asian guys are gonna see Taiwan from a different perspective than white or black guys. It's kind of like the theory of relatively in Happier Abroad - the experience of a given country is very dependent on the perception of the one visiting plus the external biases people in that country may have towards individuals of various backgrounds. Things also vary a lot at an individual level. Even twin brothers may have dramatically different opinions of a given country.
I think a more accurate statement about Philippines is that guys from various backgrounds will probably find it relatively easy to meet and date girls. But, there are subsets - girls primarily into - Korean/NE Asians, PInoys, white guys, black guys, even Arab guys. I have yet to see a girl who's into Indian though Starchild seems to have killed it there. Also, many girls just don't care about race/background and will date any guy as long as he's younger and attractive or just any guy as long as he's nice with good attitude lol.
While I used to date a Taiwanese girl during college in America (we were both international students, she being from Taipei and me being from Singapore), I only visited Taipei twice and quite briefly each time during that period, so I won't claim to have an in-depth understanding of Taiwanese society.
However, if we can all agree that feminism is more prevalent in the anglo-sphere and that countries that are more exposed to the anglo-sphere tend to be the more developed countries, then the stats don't lie. Feminism is highly correlated with lower marriage rates, much higher average marriage ages, lower birth rates and higher divorce rates.
What are the countries with the lowest birth rates in the world? Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and Monaco have the lowest rates in the world. Low birth rates are also highly correlated with low marriage rates. No surprise that they are all developed countries.
While I don't have many concrete anecdotal experiences in Taiwan itself (although the Taiwanese girl I dated for 3 years back in college was great), the statistics certainly suggest that it is suffering from the same problems as other developed Asian countries which have been 'infected' by the anglo-sphere. China, on the other hand has a birth rate nearly 1.5 times that of Taiwan (refer to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2054rank.html) and is somewhere in the middle of the list.
We all have our own subjective anecdotal accounts, based on personal or other's experiences within a certain country, but oftentimes a person's experience in a given country is too transient, and based on interactions with too small a sample size of women to paint an accurate holistic picture of a country. Therefore sometimes the best thing to rely on is statistics that are good indicators of the levels to which a country has been affected by feminism. If low marriage rates and birth rates are a good indicator of societies suffering from feminism, then statistics certainly suggest that Taiwan, like other developed countries in Asia, is far worse off than China.
When you combine Western feminism with the extremely high population densities in Asia, resulting in a very high housing-cost-to-average-income ratio in developed Asian cities, and then you combine that with the materialism of women in Asian countries (which I believe is worse than that of Western women) which feminism has helped to unleash, it is not surprising that developed Asian countries are suffering from the lowest marriage and birth rates in the world.
Personally I still feel China is the place to be if you're interested in north-east Asian women but keen to avoid the perils of feminism and careerism that has plagued much of developed Asia. Of course, unfortunately the time window for this is gradually closing - China will likely be like the rest of them one day.
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Thanks Rock and any others who gave praise. It definitely encourages me to keep writing these trip reports, even when sometimes I really don't want to be bothered with 'em. It usually takes several hours to get the report written, proofread at least three times, the photos uploaded, and to adjust the format just right. We all need a little encouragement and positive reinforcement sometimes, haha.
Rock, the reason I'm moving to South Korea is mostly for two reasons - I'm actually interested in the country (and Northeast Asia in general), and the second reason is that I want to get some money saved. Taiwan does sound quite enticing, but I prefer to live in a non-Sinosphere country that doesn't speak Mandarin. Sure, Taiwan and mainland China are not the same, but they're still Chinese at their core. And I like to put myself in 100% new environments every few years or so. I'm totally aware of the pitfalls of living in South Korea as a Caucasian male, but they don't scare me away. And I really do need to get some savings in the bank to prepare more for the future, as I spent the last few years paying off my student loans. In the next decade (the 2020s), around the same time I hit my ten years in Asia mark, I'm hoping to live somewhere in Latin America - very possibly Mexico. I don't see myself living in South Korea any longer than two years, and after that I've got my cross-hairs locked on Japan.
As for my Chinese girlfriend's opinion on Taiwan - she was pretty much singing nothing but praise for the country the entire time we were there. She totally agreed that Taiwan is Chinese at it's core, but on the surface Taiwan is quite different from mainland China. One thing she kept going on and on about was how "cute" the way females speak Mandarin in Taiwan. She must have repeated this at least 100 times, haha. I noticed this as well, but I guess it's even more obvious to her as a native Mandarin speaker. She also kept talking about how pretty and fashionable Taiwanese girls are. She also strongly agreed with me that Taiwanese ladies tend to have a more humble expression on their faces than their Thai counterparts. And she also agreed that Taiwanese girls wear way less make-up than Thai girls. And finally, we both thought that the cost of living (Airbnb apartments, transportation, food, etc.) was superb considering how good quality the day-to-day environment of Taipei generally is. In Singapore one also gets a great day-to-day environment, but it comes with a pretty high price tag.
I want to remind everybody that I'm not pretending to be an expert on Taiwan or Taipei. I simply went there as a tourist for ten days, and everything written here is just my first impression. Living there could certainly morph said impression. However, I do like to think that I'm a highly observational person, and I have been around quite a bit of the Asia block, so hopefully my opinions and impressions are at least worth something. I encourage everyone out there reading this to travel, have their own experiences, and form their own impressions. Don't just come to conclusions through second-hand information. A week of traveling somewhere on your own two feet is worth way more than reading 100 books about a place. That kinda sounds like a Chinese proverb, haha. Anyways, I'm writing this from Changsha, which means in a week or so I'll update my China trip report. Thanks for reading, everyone.
I loved this report. It was really useful. I never would have considered Taiwan till I read this. I thought it was all factories and harbors with a lot of temples thrown in. It sounds like it would be a great place to live, if not to find Miss Right.
BTW I stole the photo of your shoes for my screensaver collection called "Travelin Man"
"Well actually, she's not REALLY my daughter. But she does like to call me Daddy... at certain moments..."
If you've lived a good part of your life in a given country, than experiences there are more than anecdotes of a visiting tourist. Years and years means hundreds and thousands of personal encounters under all kinds of situations and scenarios.
About feminism, I chatted w Monkro about this cus it's a pet interest of his. He said you need to make distinction between careerist feminism prevalent in NE Asia (including first tier China) and social/legal feminism prevalent in Anglo countries. The latter includes hostility towards men but the former does not.
Moreover, both he and I agree that Taiwanese women are generally not materialistic. There's plenty of materialistic women in Taiwan but we don't believe it's the norm. OTOH, it doesn't seem hard to find green card hunters of LV bag chasers on the mainland. Seriously, I encountered so much more obvious greed at the personal level in the months I spent in China (mostly second tier cities) than ever in Taiwan.
Winston is already seeing some of this I believe. Just ask yourself, why would a guy like Winston be in the game in China but not Taiwan. Both Winston and I have pointed out that Taiwan women, even the ones who are quite cute or even hot, tend to be very forgiving on looks as you frequently see them with unattractive dates, bfs or husbands who show no signs of being anymore than average economically. Well, IMO, Winston is more attractive in China to many of the gals there because he is a ticket to a more prosperous life. He can take them to Taiwan and/or USA. You don't think that's a big plus in his favor? Think again.
Taiwan, though changing, is still middle class centric. But PRC is a land of haves and have nots, rich vs. poor. And you probably know how abusive rich people in China can be towards the poor classes.
You guys often talk about how materialistic developed NE Asian women are. Well I don't know about S. Korea, SP, HK, or even Japan. But in Taiwan, just being rich is not gonna help you the way it does in China. Yes, girls in Taipei, just like other parts of developed NE Asia tend to be workaholics. That is an indication careerist feminism. And it makes courting and dating them a lot more challenging because you have to win them over from their work life enough that they give you a bit of dating or talking time. But working hard at a career does not mean one is necessarily materialistic. Perhaps many of these women are driven to be economically self reliant. Chinese people in general (and I suspect other NE Asians) like to own their own houses or apartments. But these days, a modest 3 bed/2 bath condo in the outskirts of a first tier city can cost like 20 to 30 years worth of an average family income. It didn't used to be like that. Likewise, raising kids is a lot more expensive relative to average wages than it used to be. So life in NE Asia is a lot tougher economically for average people.
Taiwan women tend to be responsible and do not wanna have kids they can't afford to raise with a good quality lifestyle. That doesn't mean luxury but rather good schooling, housing, social care, etc. The alternative would be to have babies you can't afford and end up with what Mguy calls surplus people (those who are an economic burden to society because they are not able or willing to do productive work). So it may very well be true many have given up on the traditional idea of family. But that doesn't mean they hate men and wanna bring them down the way so many of their Anglo counterparts seem to wanna do.
Consider a scenario. Some uneducated uncouth middle aged guy with a pot belly and balding head gets rich (say net worth of US$25 mn give or take) thanks to some great luck with family property or perhaps some long-shot investments that hit it big. I don'e believe such a guy will be able to pull hot college aged girls in Taiwan nearly as easily as he could in China. Seriously, I think most Taiwanese and many mainlanders realize this. His hit ratio in China is gonna be a lot higher than in Taiwan. The gold digger class in Taiwan is a much smaller percentage than in China cus as I said earlier, Taiwan is a lot more middle class than China. The culture in China seems to have become quite materialistic from the time SEZs opened up under Deng Xiaoping.
Admittedly, generalizing about China is even less accurate than generalizing about Taiwan cus it's a lot lot bigger and also much more culturally diverse. But, for the sake of this discussion, I'm talking about ethnic Chinese girls in say Taipei City vs. many of the first and second tier Chinese cities along the coast or even the mid-interior (as far as say Sichuan).
Bottom line is, pursuing women in Taipei means winning them over from their study and work life. Hard but doable for many guys with certain subset of girls at least. Once you win over Taiwan girl to be your gf, chances are very good, relative to many or most other countries, that you've got a high quality loyal partner who's a keeper. In China, just having a first world passport and/or a lot of apparent wealth means you're gonna be considered a catch right outta the box by a significant percentage of the young attractive local girls. But what happens with those girls once they get to TW/USA or gain control over a percentage of that wealth?
Great trip report. Very informative. But it sounds kind of biased and one sided. What is up with all the "clean, safe, modern" praises? You can go to Fremont, CA and you will see that it is "clean, safe, modern" too, but that doesn't make it a great place to live or date. lol
Also, when you say you agree with Rock, you are insinuating that you disagree with me. In what way do you disagree with me? I never said Taipei was not "clean, safe, and modern" did I? I said that the women are not approachable or friendly and that people are way too reserve to the extreme. And as you know, nothing in the extreme is any good. Nothing wrong with being a bit reserved, but 100 percent reserved is too much. Ask Zboy, he feels the same.
Taiwan would be better if it were at least 20 percent more open and relaxed and wild. Not saying that Taiwan should be like Latin America or Russia, which is too wild. Just saying that it should move closer to the middle, not to one extreme or the other. You get my drift? Too wild is not good, but too reserved is not good either. Extremes are never good.
Likewise, Latin America is too wild and should be a little more reserved. It seems every country is extreme in one way or another, rather than balanced in the middle.
Rock is not a neutral source regarding Taiwan. He admits that he is too biased.
Why don't you try cold approaching Taiwanese women by yourself, without a girl with you, and see how they respond? Then you will see that I'm right.
Ask yourself this: If I'm wrong, then why do 100 percent of locals in Taiwan admit that I'm right when I say that "Taiwanese girls are not open with strangers but are very closed to them"? Why does everyone in Taiwan admit that, and that cold approach doesn't work in Taiwan?
I'm in Shenzhen, China now. It is also clean, safe and modern. What does Taipei have that Shenzhen doesn't have? Already I see some advantages of Shenzhen over Taipei, which are:
1. Restaurant menus have WAY MORE selection of food, and are way thicker too. Taiwanese restaurant menus are smaller with less selection.
2. Restaurants and malls stay open later. In Taiwan, everything closes earlier, and malls close at 9pm.
3. There is a lot more to do and see in Shenzhen. More attractions. Even Hong Kong has more tourist attractions than Taipei does.
4. Cold approaching women is easier in Shenzhen. Ask Ethan_sg. I showed him pics of girls I cold approached. He agreed that this would NOT be possible in Taiwan or America.
5. I definitely know more women now in China than in Taiwan. They are easier to meet relatively speaking. Even though 9 out of 10 girls in Shenzhen do not like talking to strangers, still, I am able to get at least one phone number a day here if I put in the effort. I can't do that in Taiwan. Overall, I get more dates here than in Taiwan.
Also, on my birthday here in Shenzhen, I had friends to celebrate with, including Ethan_sg and a girl I know from QQ. In Taiwan, I have no one to celebrate my birthday with. No one cares about me and no one ever invites me out for fun in Taiwan. How do you explain that Everdred?
So what exactly am I wrong about? Can you be specific?
Your trip report sounds like a tourist brochure for Taiwan. lol
And also, how come Zboy1, Ethan_sg, Falcon, Bao3niang and other intellectual Asians agree with me about Taiwan in general?
Also, just today I met a young Chinese guy here in my hotel. He is a traveling businessman and we talked about a lot of things, including deep topics. He invited me to go swimming with him tomorrow morning. How come no one in Taiwan invites me anywhere? Can you explain that Everdred? Socializing seems to flow a lot more naturally in China.
Yet in spite of this, Chinese people consider America and Taiwan to be more open than in China. Yet if America is more open, then why is it much easier to make friends or meet girls in China than in America? And why do the Chinese living IN America NEVER say that "Americans are very open"? How come only the Chinese in China think that? Interesting questions.
Finally Everdred, Taipei is a modern commercial cosmopolitan city. You can't get to know Taiwan there. Go down south to the countryside and small cities to get to know the real Taiwan and its people. There, you will see many miserable grumpy angry faces.
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Actually, all the girls I met in Shenzhen, including at the AFA social, told me that they are not trying to move abroad and that they would be happy living in Shenzhen since it's clean, safe and modern. I don't know how honest they are, but that's what nearly all of them tell me. So I'm not sure my ability to get them a visa to USA or Taiwan is a factor like you think.
Also, what are your answers to my questions to Everdred above? I've asked you some of those questions for years, but like NASA (which stands for "never a straight answer") does with the moon landing hoax questions, you seem to dodge them or have no answer.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.
Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!
"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
Rock I think you're being harsh on both Winston and China by attributing Winston's already much improved social and dating life in China solely or primarily to the fact they see him as a ticket to a Green Card.
I'm Singaporean Chinese and as you probably know, Singapore actually has the highest GDP per capita in the whole of Asia. Despite this, I've dated tons of girls in China and not once have I actually met a girl who expressed an interest in moving with me to Singapore in future, or in obtaining a Singaporean PR. While I'm sure there is a small subset of girls who are this way - for instance ktv hostesses and other 'working girls', who tend to be especially greedy and conniving, they do not represent the norm at all.
Also, very few of the girls seem to crave for an LV or Prada bag. Most girls I see and meet are carrying very average bags and are hardly brand-conscious at all. While quite a few girls I dated would shop at H&M and Zara, which are very average middle class brands that are becoming increasingly affordable to white collared Chinese, a lot of them possess clothing from local brands, some of which you can even buy at stores where you need to bargain, and are hardly as brand conscious as you make them out to be. In fact when dating Chinese girls I'm often blown away by how down-to-earth so many of them appear to be compared to their counterparts in Singapore.
In Singapore, 95% of young women you would see in for example, Orchard Road, would be carrying luxury-brand handbags - owning an LV bag there is as common as owning an iPhone. In fact some now consider LV to be too common and not classy enough. Many girls I've dated in Singapore are extremely brand conscious and would not want to be seen in public without a luxury handbag. H&M and Zara are seem as relatively low-end clothing and many girls aspire to much more high-end brands where each item of clothing costs a few hundred US dollars or more.
Also, while Taiwan, like Singapore, suffers from low birth rates, it also suffers from lower marriage rates. Therefore the low birth rate is not simply a result of couples choosing not to have kids - many people in Taiwan, like Japan and Singapore, are failing to find the right partner at an advanced age. Make of this what you will, but the anti-feminist sentiment is that the reasons for this is that women are becoming excessively picky, hypergamous or some have lost interest in the opposite sex altogether, unless it's Tom Cruise or Takeshi Kaneshiro. A fundamental reason for why women have traditionally needed men is to offer protection and help provide a living - in the modern feminist world this role for men is becoming increasingly redundant. This problem is more serious in countries with a higher GDP per capita. At the moment Taiwan, and in particular Taipei, still boasts a much higher GDP per capita than tier 1 and 2 Chinese cities.
Winston has been in China for like what, merely 3 weeks to a month now, and he's already gone on more dates and made more friends that I think he ever did in Taiwan. There must be at least 30 new friends on his WeChat contact list now. Personally I feel the difference too, people are so much more open to making new friends here. Winston and I even exchange female contacts all the time on wechat and despite the fact the contacts that Winston sends me have never met or been introduced to me before, they are still interested in chatting, making friends and meeting up. Same for the contacts that I exchange with Winston. I could never imagine something like that happening in Singapore or the US as people would be like 'weird..why are you asking me to chat with someone I've never met before?"
As Winston pointed out, during his birthday we celebrated with quite a few people, most of them we were only meeting for the first time. But everyone was so friendly and open and I exchanged wechat contacts and phone numbers with nearly everyone who attended his birthday celebration. At the same time, I recall many social outings in Singapore where friends of friends never even talked to each other beyond an introduction. I could go on and on about how different the social scene is over here but I'll save that for future postings.
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Rock is correct when he mentioned personal observations change from person to person. That's just the way life is, I guess...No two people will have exactly the same experiences, so that's why I like when people post trip-reports--because it's such a fascinating thing to read people's accounts of places that I've been to, and can relate to (or not). So, HAer's please post more trip reports as often as possible!
Anyway, the bottom line is that Taiwanese women like foreign men and disparage Taiwanese/Chinese/Asian men. I definitely noticed the euro-centric, self-hating Asian female vibe that I normally get from Asian American women, from women in Taiwan. So, I can see why Rock and Everdred like Taiwan. (More power to them.)
I noticed that many Taiwanese women, moreso than Mainlander's, date White males, so I can see why they would enjoy Taiwan over China. I've even heard several Taiwanese girls dissing Taiwanese/Asian men in front of their White boyfriends--in English! Wow! I never experienced that kind of racism in China. For me, personally, Taiwanese women have the air of Asian American girls that I absolutely, detest.
Now, if it weren't for Taiwanese women, I would definitely live in Taiwan. Taiwan beats China in many ways, except the women, and the friendliness of Chinese people over Taiwanese people. Other than that, I would choose Taiwan. But since the country is not friendly towards Asian men, I prefer China over Taiwan.
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