Taiwan languages


Taiwan languages

Mandarin is Taiwan’s official language, it became the country’s national language after the end of World War II, before the official language was Japanese. Mandarin is more frequently used in the north in comparison to the south, where most people speak Taiwanese. The younger generation speaks Mandarin better than Hakka or Hokkien (Taiwanese), the elder generation were educated in Japanese.

Taiwanese Hokkien is spoken by about 70% of the population, linguistically, it is a subgroup of Southern Min languages variety originating in southern Fujian.

Hakka is spoken by Taiwanese with Hakka ancestry, the majority lives in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli.

On the map bellow you can see the most spoken languages in Taiwan, (cmn) Mandarin, (nan) Hokkien, (hak) Hakka, (map) Matsu.






Tainan City


Tainan is the oldest city of Taiwan, it was the island’s capital for 200 years under the Dutch, Koxinga and the Qing Dynasty rule. The city is also known as “the Phoenix City” because of its history of renewals. Tainan is also very rich in culture including the famous local street food, traditional cuisine and rich folk culture, extensively preserved Taoist rites and other living local traditions covering everything from child birth to funerals. There you’ll find the first Confucian school–temple in Taiwan, built in 1665, the remains of the Eastern and Southern gates of the old city, and countless other historical monuments. Tainan claims more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other city in Taiwan.

Tainan is a great choice if you are into history because you’ll see a lot of what the Dutch, the Spanish, the Chinese and the Japanese left during their rule. Tainan is also more laid back than busy Taipei, the city also has less foreigners so you’ll fully imerse in Taiwanese culture.


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  • Things to do in Tainan


Kaoshiung City



Kaohsiung is in the southern part of Taiwan, and it’s currently the third most populous city with approximately 2.77 million people.

Kaohsiung has an international airport and to get around the city you can take the public bus, MRT, the Mass Rapid Transit or Ubikes. Since the city is more spaced out, if you have the option, get an scooter, it will make your life easier.

For people who like less busy cities, Kaohsiung is a great option! There’s a lot of nature around and a beach you can reach by a short MRT ride.

As the largest municipality in Taiwan, the city has many newly built leisure areas/parks. These include parks, zoos, pavilions and a number of wharfs and piers, like the Central Park, Siaogangshan Skywalk Park, Fo Guang Shan, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, the Love Pier, Singuang Ferry Wharf and Kaohsiung Fisherman’s Wharf.

Kaohsiung is great for people who are looking for a more laid back vibe and a more immersive experience of the Taiwanese culture in a city with less foreigners.

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  • Things to do in Kaohsiung


Basic Mandarin

1. Hello: Nĭ hăo/ Nĭn hăo (Pronunciation: Nee how / Neen how)

2. Thank you: Xièxie (Pronunciation: hsieh hsieh)

3. You are welcome: Bú kèqì (Pronunciation: Boo khe chee)

4. Pardon/Excuse me: Bù hǎo yì si (Pronunciation: Boo how eeh si)

5. How much?: Duō-shǎo-qián (Pronunciation: Doo oh show chee an)

6. I don’t understand: Tīng bù dǒng (Pronunciation: Teeng boo dong)

7. No problem: Méi yŏu wèntí / Méi wèntí (Pronunciation: May yo when tee / May when tee)

8. Where is it? Zài nǎli (Pronunciation: Zeye nah lee)

9. Bathroom: Cèsuŏ (Pronunciation: Tse sue-oh)

Cèsuŏ  zài nǎli? (Where is the bathroom?).

Still interested in learning more, check out this free online Chinese course:

Chinese Courses

If you are unsure if you should learn Chinese, read our post about the benefits of learning this language:

Should I learn Chinese?


Cost of Living

Some might think Asia has a lower cost of living but Taiwan is slightly more expensive than Paris and Milan. Even though Taipei is the most expensive city to live in Taiwan, it is still less expensive than Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong or Seoul. But most importantly the cost of living will vary according to the area you choose to live and the lifestyle you choose to have.

Updated august 2018


  • 1 bedroom apartment (city centre): 14,000 – 27,000 NT$
  • 1 bedroom apartment (outside of the city): 9,000 – 20,000 NT$
  • 3 bedroom apartment (city centre): 31,000 – 58,000 NT$
  • 3 bedroom apartment (outside of the city): 23,000 – 40,000 NT$


  • Bus/train fare: 20 NT$
  • Monthly Pass: 1,280 NT$
  • Taxi rate (per km): 25 NT$
  • Gasoline (1 liter): 28,52 NT$


  • Meal at inexpensive restaurant: 100 NT$
  • Meal at a business district: 200 NT$
  • Combo meal at fast food restaurant (ex. Big Mac): 139 NT$
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught): 50 NT$
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle): 60 NT$
  • Cappuccino (regular): 75 NT$


  • Cinema, international release: 300 NT$
  • 1 month gym membership: 1,400 NT$
  • 1 beer in pub (500 ml): 180 NT$
  • Tennis Court rent (1h on weekend): 400 NT$


  • The Health Insurance in Taiwan is quite advanced and the prices are low