For a foreigner without adequate knowledge of the local language, moving can be a nightmare. Thankfully, I had a lot of help from Taiwanese people and my move was relatively painless. So here are a few details to help anyone doing the same.
Looking for Rental Apartments:
Kaohsiung is made up of many districts. I was looking for an apartment near the MRT lines, so the districts I looked at were (from south to north) Xiaogang, Qianzhen, Lingya, Qianjin, Sanmin and Zuoying.
Upon visiting and driving around there, I discovered that these are not very far apart, and if you have a scooter, driving from Xiaogang (furthest south) to Zuoying (furthest north) takes no more than 30 – 40 mins (depending on traffic and your speed). Also, the main road connecting them, Zhongshan (runs parallel to the MRT), has a very convenient scooter lane. I found Xiaogang to be the cheapest and Zuoying to be the most expensive in terms of rentals.
It’s difficult to find good deals if you don’t look on the Mandarin websites.
For those who don’t have any help, kaohsiungliving.org is a good place to look for rentals. It’s all English and mostly foreigners post here. Also a good resource for jobs and general life activities – a meeting place for foreigners in Kaohsiung.
Finally, there are a few FB pages where you can post an ad. These can be found by typing in “Kaohsiung rentals” or “rentals in Taiwan” in the FB search bar.
If you DO have help or ARE WILLING to slug it out with Google translate, then your chances of finding a good deal increase exponentially.
I used 591rent.com. It’s all in Mandarin, but you can Google translate the pages to get somewhat of an idea of what the ad is saying. Also, this page includes pictures of the houses and a map location of where in Kaohsiung it is. Here’s a brief tutorial on how I used it.
The website looks like this:
Here you select your city and district. The first dropdown box is for the city, Kaohsiung is 高雄市. The second one is for the district – you can choose more than one district:
- Zuoying = 左營區
- Sanmin = 三民區
- Qianjin = 前金區
- Lingya = 苓雅區
- Qianzhen = 前鎮區
- Xiaogang = 小港區
This is the amount of money you want to spend in NT dollars. Self explanatory.
These are the number of rooms you want. Again, self explanatory.
There are more option below these three, but these are the main ones you need to see.
Press *Click* (or whatever button moves you to the next page).
A number of choices will then appear. Clicking on one will bring up the ad with pictures and a map location of where it is, along with a contact number. Of course, there is tonnes more information, but this gives you a basic way to search for places on this site.
Contacting the landlord and going to see the place may or may not need Mandarin. I found the places myself, but needed help to get in touch and negotiate prices.
Renting in Taiwan invariably requires 3 month rent upfront – 2 months deposit and 1 for the first month. The apartment I got is a 3 bedroom with a kitchen, living room and 2 bathrooms for 8000 NT. Considering the location, it’s a pretty good deal. The place was listed at 9000 NT/month. Negotiation works.
From what I saw, studio apartments ranged from 4000 – 7000, 1 bedrooms from 6000 – 8000, 2 bedrooms from 8000 – 10 000 and 3+ bedrooms were 10 000+.
This all depends on location, age of the building, amenities provided etc. etc. Also, when you are looking make sure you ask if there is an additional “security” or “cleaning” fee as some places don’t list this in the original price.
If you are willing to do some handywork (painting etc) you can find very good deals on rent591.com. Keep in mind that the price you pay usually only includes rent. Water, electricity, cable TV and intenet are your responsibility – probably 2000 NT or more depending on what you get.