1. Night Markets
I guarantee you will not find a night market culture in Asia that comes close to the scale and variety as we have in Taipei. There are at least 5 well-known night markets, and many more low-key markets sprinkled around Taipei. These markets are usually one street in width, and blocks in length. Stalls sell delicious treats such as guo bao (Taiwanese hamburger) or fresh grilled chicken feet, clothing, jewelry, and even some carnival stalls with shrimp fishing! You could literally go night market hopping all around Taipei every night of the week and discover something new every time.
2. Hiking & Fishing
Whether you're hiking Elephant Mountain with gorgeous views of the city or Shrimp Fishing in the hills of Taipei - there is always a weekend activity for nature lovers. Taiwan is one of the greenest 1st World Countries on Earth with high-speed transportation that works around rainforests and mountains, rather then destroying them for convenience. Trees everywhere you look.
3. Extremely Low Crime Rate
According to the Crime Index by Country for 2016, Taiwan ranks at the 5th safest country in the world- right behind stringent countries such as Singapore and Japan. Citizens are not allowed to own guns, streets are safe to walk on at night and as a foreigner, you don’t have to worry about being targeted for theft. As a woman, I have never felt so safe abroad.
4. 7-Elevens in Taiwan are Magical
Aside from the usual beer and snack selection, you can pretty much live in a 7-11. These convenient stores act as a collection station for your glass bottles (and pay you for them). They have amazing fresh coffee and little umbrella tables outside for you to enjoy them. You can pay your bills or drop off your dry cleaning there. You can book train tickets and even concert tickets. You can recharge your phone balance, print your term paper, and even send packages to and from other 7-11s. And when you’re exhausted from your successful 7-11 day…they will call you a cab to take you home.
5. Free Wi-Fi City-Wide
Free! There’s no catch. Go into one of the many tourist booths located throughout the city with your passport, and in about 3 minutes you will be online. There are wifi hotspots on busses, in the metro stations, at the library…in the post office- you get the picture.
6. McDonald’s Delivers
Sunday morning when your head is still hurting from last night’s party, there is nothing better than having someone bring you a hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I don’t what this says about my lifestyle, but the Mcdelivery guys know me pretty well by now. Don’t judge me.
7. World’s Tallest Starbucks
Taipei 101 used to be the tallest building in the world, until the Burj Kalifa in Dubai basically cheated with that tall pointy thing they call a building. Anyways, the building is mostly just office space the way up to the 58th floor…but the 35h floor has something special. The tallest Starbucks in the world requires a reservation the day ahead, and a chaperone to go through security. Once you’re up there, you can see amazing views of the entire city while you sip your pretty standard Frappuccino. Still- fun to say I’ve been there.
8. The Receipt Lottery
Flat out- this is the most genius and generous way to keep track of every convenient store's accounting. The way it works is this - every receipt has a little lotto code on it. At the end of each month, winning numbers are announced. Winnings range from $200NT-$2 million NT (we won cash almost every month). You can collect these winnings at the post office - no matter if your a citizen or a foreign resident. The goal is to incentivize customers to ask for a receipt, and so the convenient stores must keep accurate measures. Touche, Taiwan.
Honestly, this just scratches the surface how enjoyable it is to live in Taiwan. They also have an amazing music scene, offer every kind of cuisine on the planet, are very friendly to foreigners, and keep immaculately clean streets. The president is female, Taiwan is gay-friendly, and the entire population is as open-minded as they come in terms of social progression. Go see for yourselves or reach out to me and I'll help you find a job!