Moving to Taiwan

Relocating to Taiwan
Updated 2023-05-20 20:00

Moving is a hassle in any country, but moving within the same city in Taiwan can be a little easier. When moving within the same city, it's generally best to have an overlap in the time to move between apartments to avoid having to find and pay movers. Here's an overview of the relocation procedure, whether you're moving to Taiwan from overseas or relocating within the country.

Shipping your belongings to Taiwan via sea freight

If you are moving to Taiwan, and wish to take with you many large items, including furniture and appliances, or even vehicles, the most common method is to rent a shipping container and have all those possessions shipped via sea freight. There are international relocation companies that specialize in doing this sort of thing for expatriates, and some large firms will handle this for their expatriate employees. However, if you are doing this on your own, the best bet is to contact a logistics company for a price quote. Most sea freight companies charge a flat rate for renting a shipping container, so it is only worth the cost if you have enough things to move to fill the container up.

Read the fine print

When relocating from overseas to Taiwan, whether by air or by sea, ensure that you know exactly what is covered in the quote you receive from any moving company before signing the agreement. For example, some quotes may cover packing, moving, unpacking, and even furniture assembly, if necessary. Other agreements may cover only a portion of that. Know what is covered and what isn't.

Arranging for storage

There may be a gap between the arrival of your possessions in Taiwan and your arrival, whether alone or with your family. If this is the case, you will have to put your belongings into a storage unit in Taiwan to be held until your arrival. Again, this falls under checking your agreement with the moving company. Your contract may cover door-to-door delivery, including from the storage facility to your new home. Or, you may have to arrange the moving of your things from the storage facility to your new accommodations separately, using a local moving company or one of those which focuses its efforts on expatriate moves. When it comes to finding a storage facility, shop around for the best quote, and try to secure one which will provide you with an agreement printed in English. Please note, however, that in Taiwan's legal system, contracts written in Mandarin Chinese supersede those written in any other language, English included. So, if there are any disparities between the agreement written in English and that written in Chinese, the Chinese-language contract will take precedence.

It may go without saying, but it bears repeating nonetheless: always take out insurance against theft and/or damage to your possessions, which may be incurred during the moving process. Insurance is often required when doing business with any company specializing in international moves.

Moving houses in Taiwan

Moving companies aren't common around Taiwan, as most people move their belongings independently. However, there are some local companies that you can hire if you have a lot of belongings that you can't move on your own.

The best bet is to ask friends or neighbors about moving companies. They may refer you to some locals who have one of the ever-present blue trucks that are used for construction or shipping operations. These are likely the cheapest and most efficient options, but they may not be as reliable as a registered moving company.

If you choose to use a local blue truck, be sure to negotiate the price ahead of time and take down as much information as possible to document the move. You can request the person you speak with to text you the final price so that there are no issues or confusion after the move.

A registered moving company will be more reliable and will likely have storage facilities in case you need them to hold your belongings until you can move into a new home.

There are also a handful of companies that specialize in moving expatriates and foreign professionals. Most such companies are based in the capital, Taipei City, and can be found by browsing through online forums or with a simple Google search. These companies offer their services in English, and many offer packing services and materials as well. Moving companies catering to the foreign professional community are generally more expensive than the local moving companies, but their standards and practices regarding safeguards against damaging property and possessions are usually held to higher international standards.

Dealing with furniture in Taiwan

As foreigners are allowed to purchase property in Taiwan, some long-term expats may own an apartment. In this case, you can purchase furniture that will be delivered to your door.

As for removing furniture from your apartment, there are usually locals who collect unwanted household items. These people don't usually speak much English, so communication may be a problem. You can usually find these people hanging around during trash collection times. They often take recyclables from residents to return for the deposit. You may ask them if they want certain items that you no longer need.

As an alternative, the Department of Environmental Protection also offers a service wherein unwanted larger household items, such as appliances and furniture, can be left out on the street and picked up by city removal trucks. Pick-ups must be arranged at least one day in advance by calling the Department of Environmental Protection. The usual procedure is to take one's unwanted items down to the street the night before pick-up and leave them in an out-of-the-way place that does not impede foot or vehicle traffic, with a sign left on the items indicating they are to be removed by the city.

When making arrangements, you are required to annotate exactly what is to be picked up. This is to discourage the act of others piggybacking on the pickup and simply adding their own items to the streetside pile. It may be that, during the night, some items may be scavenged by collectors ahead of the early-morning arrival of the removal trucks. Making these arrangements, more often than not, requires a certain level of proficiency in spoken Mandarin Chinese.

Choosing your neighborhood in Taiwan

Most foreigners in Taiwan tend to live in and around the capital city of Taipei or in the surrounding districts of New Taipei City. Foreign populations in other major cities in Taiwan, such as Taichung and Kaohsiung, are comparatively low. So, for our purposes, let's focus on Taipei.

In Taipei City, Tienmu is known as the expatriate enclave, as this is home to the Taipei American School, Taipei European School, and the Taipei Japanese School—all international schools focused on the education of expat children. Tienmu, and Yangming Mountain in particular, were also once home to the contingent of American military personnel present in Taiwan when the U.S. had normalized relations with Taiwan, so the foreign presence in this district runs deep.

As such, there are still many businesses and eateries in this part of the city which cater to those from overseas, with many offering services in English. The nearby Shilin neighborhood is also home to The Center, a kind of one-stop-shop for community resources for foreign residents in Taipei, offering everything from group Mandarin classes to English-language counseling/therapy sessions. This is also the place to go for recommendations on any businesses that cater to the expatriate population in Taipei City.

Generally speaking, East Taipei tends to be more expensive than the western side of the city, with districts such as Xinyi and Da'an amongst the most expensive in terms of rent or purchasing price of a property. These districts, however, are close to all major amenities and attractions in Taipei. Thus, they prove very popular with expatriates who can afford the premium prices on their own or don't mind living with roommates to split the rent and/or household bills. Da'an is also popular with students attending either Shida University or the nearby National Taiwan University, situated in Gongguan, which is another popular neighborhood for foreigners moving to study in Taiwan.

Tips for viewing properties in Taiwan

When relocating to Taiwan, the best way to find a place to live, whether renting or buying, is of course, to view these properties on the ground unless your company is sponsoring your housing and arranging for a place to live in advance of your arrival. Still, there are some things to consider before choosing or settling in your new home in Taiwan.


Although new real estate developments are popping up all the time in Taiwan, driven by rampant speculation in the housing market, many accommodations are decades old and prone to problems associated with aged dwellings. One problem unique to Taiwan and other countries around the Asia Pacific Ring of Fire is earthquakes. There are safety standards in place when it comes to new buildings regarding structural integrity in the event of a quake, but many older buildings predate modern standards and are of a time when such standards were lower and construction regulations laxer. When viewing an apartment in Taiwan, check the walls and ceilings for cracks or any other signs of structural damage, which may indicate that the building is already compromised from previous tremors. Taiwan experiences hundreds of quakes per year, most of them small and barely perceptible. However, occasionally, larger temblors strike, and inevitably, buildings collapse, leading to serious injury and loss of life. The newer the building, the more likely it will be able to stand up when the next Big One strikes.


It is also prudent to try and view an apartment on a rainy day. This is the best way to perceive if the house or apartment is susceptible to leaks during the year's rainy seasons and the typhoons which strike Taiwan annually during the spring, summer, and early fall. Given the damp, humid conditions of the country, mold can be a problem, and a leaky apartment would, of course, only exacerbate the spread of toxic black mold and the subsequent health problems that may arise.

Most apartments are furnished, but some people prefer to find their own furniture to replace what the landlord provides.

Repatriating your belongings from Taiwan

When the time comes for you to leave Taiwan, there are options for taking your belongings with you. If you do not have much, you can easily ship boxes with Chunghwa Post at reasonable prices and then pack as much as you can to take on your flight home. For more expensive options, you can also contact DHL or FedEx for rates on shipping your belongings.

If you have a lot more that you want to ship home, you'll need to hire a relocation service that specializes in international moving.

Before choosing an international moving company, check that the company has insurance for your belongings. You may also be able to find reviews online. You should also ask questions about customs declarations and ensure that nothing gets packed that may hold up the customs process on either end.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.