Warning: this is based on my personal experience, haters gonna hate.
When friends already in Taiwan, told me it was very polluted, my first thought was “yeah, every city is”.
Thing is : Taiwan’s pollution level is beyond crazy.
It impossible to breathe and I come from a very big industrial city with nuclear plants (I am against nuclear plants !).
In Taiwan I always had sore throat and headache all day long because of pollution.
There’s not place where you can breathe well, the cities smell like a giant open sewer, even at the shore, the smell is repulsive and very dangerous for your health.
2/Millions and millions of scooters!!! Extremely dangerous roads and streets
There are too many scooters and they all drive fast and very dangerously, it’s just unbelievable how they don’t care about their life and others. I’ve never seen such inconsiderate people driving. And I witnessed countless accident there.
Taiwanese people never walks, you can see many of them ride de scooters just for some meters. It’s the culture: you have to show you have money: walking is for poor people.
There is no such things as sidewalk anayway! It almost doesn’t exist there Streets are horrid and dangerous! It’s very stressful to walk arround!
Also, the bus line is very unreliable, inconvenient, never on time.
(Except if you live in Taipei, MRT is very convenient and quite clean).
People here are mostly friendly, but once in the streets, they all drive as if they want to kill you, kill YOU personaly, for real, yeah.
I’ve seen more accident in some months in Taiwan than in all my live in Europe. Nobody respects roads signs, roads light, etc, they all drive way too fast and way to agressive, on the wrong side, crashing into pietons, etc
When they have accident, they’ll say it “bad luck”, not because of extreme stupidy and recklessness!
Traffic accidents is the first cause of the mortality in Taiwan, yet gov does nothing about it.
People are so rude and selfish when they drive here, that’s crazy!
I’ve never been so scary to cross a street in my all life, when I was in Taiwan.
Gif taken here : This is insane and very common in Taiwan.
3/Deranged Work culture and No efficiency
Asian are used to work long hours and maybe because of exhaustion, no one is able to do the most simple work properly. The level of unefficiency and unskillfulness is incredible. Workers are just physically there, but not mentally there. They are at work but don’t really work, just pretend to.
This lack of efficiency can partly be explained:
Children after school go to cram school, until very ate at night!
There was a cram school in my street and I could hear 5-8 years old kids repeating english sentences over and over again until 23H-Midnight! They are completly exhausted at a very young age and this seriously damage their brain development and health.
They don’t have a real childhood, they don’t have “a life” :
It’s only work/study and obey the rules/their parents/their boss – no matter how stupid the orders are, they would never question it.
They usually have incredible lack in general culture and absolutely NO life experience.
That’s espacially obvious when you talk to them, because they have no depth in conversation. It’s only small-talks and empty words.
They “live” through Facebook: but they don’t have real chat with real friends and don’t live in the real life. That’s scary.
I was always under the impression, nobody was real. As is really alive.
I was always dismayed : no matter how old your interlocutor is , it was like talking to a 4 years old brat.
They also always giggle. For no reason. Anyway, they don’t have much to say.
They are good at learning by heart, but not at thinking.
That’s also why there are so few bar, coffee, clubs, because nobody goes out to talk with friends. I found it nearly impossible to make friends, because no one has nothing to say, and people there don’t care about others anyway…
Personal opinion is not tolerated especially constructive criticisms, most of them are unable to say: “I don’t like this because of”…
4/Ugly Cities : Taiwan is expensive for what you get
Cities are ugly WITH ADS EVERYWHERE !
Maybe it’s because of earthquake and typhoon, but city are not sighseeing at all. They’re wayyyy too crowded, noisy, ugly, dirty, grey, polluted, weather is too humid and make everything worse.
It’s always noisy with crazy people shouting everywhere:
There’s no respect for the peace and tranquility of silence.
All temples are alike, flats and official construction are dirty and monstruous.
Cities smell really bad all the time : it’s like beeing in giant open sewer.
In fact, not only cities has no planned urbanisation but also don’t have proper sanitarian equipement, such as, yeah, a real sewerage steady enough for the size of the city.
Taiwan may have look nice once, but now the island is ugly, filthy, polluted.
There are No beaches!
No matter what travel “experts” want you to believe : Taiwan has NO tropical beaches.
I was also shocked by the fact that nobody in Taiwan knows how to swim!
5/NO hygiene / Disgusting food
Hygiene is totally non-existent. Either in food or housing stuff, everything is dirty, hazardous, full of insects. Every cities smells like giant swamp.
At buying: everything has and indivudual package, therefore package are too numerous! You end having huge bags of garbage even if you almost never eat at home.
There is no garbage disposal: you have to wait for the garbage truck and put your trash in it!
The stupid truck plays “Fur Elise” 10 times a day, EVERY DAY AND NIGHT!!! In the middle of the night!
I originally hated the song, but this is just nightmarish.
I’m gonna kill whoever play it again.
Also, why do I always read that Taiwanese food is awesome???? From the foreigners I’d meet there, all hated it.
Impossible to find a place where they can provide good coffee or anything good with a normal size portion (instead of ridiculously small and untasty) .
Fruits, Veggies and milk are over priced! And so hard to find! So few assortment, very poor selection.
In restaurant you cannot custom your food even a simple request (for example: if you don’t want garlic), because everything is pre-made… Almost no real restaurants can’t be find. For me : a place where staff is not able to cook real food, has no right to be called a restaurant!
It’s boiled, tasteless, greasy, dirty, junk food full of garlic! They eat hot food and have hot drink even if it’s 50°C outside!
6/NO taste in Fashion, Music, Art or Whatsoever : Expensive and ugly goods
I don’t know who the hell said Taiwan was cheap!
Because actually Taiwan is very pricey for what you have.
Impossible to find nice stylish clothes, qualities accessories no matter how high the price is. Everything has to be cute (=ridiculously childish) and dreadful.
Clothes and accessories are ugly and overpriced, but it doesn’t matter since sellers are following you everywhere in the store and creep the hell out of you, because your wetern and been western means for them that you are loaded with money.
In Taiwan everyone is not only the same but thinks the same, there’s very few variety in everything: people, fashion, arts, music, thoughts, etc.
Taiwaneses want to buy something that looks expensive, not something looking beautiful.
The choice is : either very bad quality repelling clothes (still expensive for what you get) OR very luxurious gaudy and hideous brands.
Nothing’s in the middle!
Typical taiwanese stores
Rentals seems quite cheap but they are not convenient: dirty, with no kitchen, no real shower/bathtubes, with coarcraches, and mosquitos…
Shops are open until very late 12pm, not so nice for the employees though.
Taiwan is ugly and expensive for what you get.
That’s very unsafe place too: there’s a lot of earthquake, typhoon, and Kaohsiung’s streets explose now and then.
One other thing: the way you are stared with a shocking face and taken in picture against your will, just because you are foreigner, this happens ALWAYS, it’s annoying, uncomfortable, rude, disturbing.
I would not advice to study here, except for exchange program so you can visit Taiwan and learn some chinese and you prefer not to go to China.
Students in Taiwan sleep, eat in class, are noisy and lazy. I couldn’t understand how teachers were hired! They have no skill and won’t teach you anything relevant (but I think it’s because they are poorly paid).
Diplomas are all faked. Nobody cares about knowledge and skills.
During their childhood, Taiwanese have to go to cram school until very late, when they arrive at the university, they just pay for the diploma, not to actually learn something useful.
That’s very sad and disturbing…
For degree seeking foreigner students, the visa cost and diploma translation are extremely high and absolutely not worthing it, since once in Taiwan, you may probably end up in a mill degree worthing zero.
When a someone is wrong (teacher or student) nobody correct him/her, because of the stupid “saving face”. How can you improve then, if you’re endlessly stuck with your mistakes???
You cannot speak you mind or do any constructive critics since it’s perceive as disrespectful (no matter how right you are), everything here is stuck with no perspective of evolution. Universities are no places for knowledge and thinking: this “losing face” culture is phony and hypocrite.
If you work here as english teacher: prepare for very long hours, low salary, no freedom of thinking and no being allowed to take initiatives, no holidays, etc.
8/ Taiwanese ridiculous obsession for appearances and marriage
Plastic surgery companies advertise everywhere in the street, with no such good result:
Beautiful South Korean reporter ruins her face with brutal plastic surgery.
They also want to erase their asian feature, which is really weird. I have never meet people such ashamed of their own racial feature, at that level, it’s insane!
They have this kind of ridiculous obsession and idealization for white western people (because they think we all are so wealthy) and want to EXACT same face as famous people.
Plastic surgeons make a lot of money, they earn way more than regular surgeons and doctor (who earn miserable wages in Taiwan while curing people), mostly because they massively operate (at high risk for their patients), but yeah, they make crazy ton of money, that’s why this career is so valorized, that’s all that matters there.
In Taiwan people don’t want to love and be loved in return. Women want a rich husband and men are looking for a plastic doll with european features and look. Do they know “love”?
For instance men’s criteria are NOT looking for someone nice, caring, loving, etc. They are looking for “plastic faces” : big eyes, pointy chin, very white skin, etc – only physical criteria!
There’s no love involved in that search and that’s sad.
It’s not uncommon than people in their late 30’s never date anyone. They are also very awkward in trying to get in relationship with someone, they act like brats (mostly spoiled and mostly clueless).
At the university, sometimes, taiwaneses students came to me and asked me if I wanted to be their friends, I said yes – thinking that we would talk about stuff we like/don’t like, walk arround, visit the city together. They responded “ok” and immediatly left.
Never more heard of them… Do people actually know that it takes time to create links, friendship and so on???
What the hell was that?
Also, I’ve heard every day, love stories between foreign and taiwanese with no happy ending (to sum up the foreign has been rip off all his money – usually a guy foreigner).
I was also shocked by the crazy amount of wedding companies everywhere in the streets, in huuuuuge buildings: this is a serious business in Taiwan.
They’re also obsessed by getting around strangers and take millions of pictures of any foreigner with them, because taiwanese think it will make them look so cool (and not because they actually like you). So basically, they’ll take picture of you without asking you first and post them on facebook, to brag about their foreigner “friend”… Never talk to you again. So nice to be used….
There were this one time when I went to a drink with 2 taiwaneses of the university, I didn’t want to have my picture taken, but they still did, posted it on Fb, and just one second after they left…
I was no use anymore!
Relashionships are very superficial and shallow. It’s all about taking pictures and bragging about it in Facebook. I had to unfollow some taiwanese, because they were posting hundred time EVERY day!!!
In Taiwan, everyone is not only looking the same, but thinks the same. There’s very few variety in everything: people, arts, music, thoughts, etc. All si so uniformised and hollow.
However there are few things still better than where I come from. Every country has its pros and cons and because I am trying to be fair and objective in my posts.
Please, take in count that I am not, one of those companies who are trying to sell travels and stuff and would lie about how great a country is. That’s personal experience on a blog.
But anyway, here are some few things I liked:
1/No street harassment (or sort of)
Nobody harasses you in the street (except for the weird way they act near foreigner), you can go home at any hour of the night and nothing will happen to you – just be careful at crossing streets (that would be really awesome if only nightlife was great).
You can also dress the way you want (from awkward to “provocative” from what I’ve seen in Taiwan), nobody judge this (because nobody cares), and you will have no trouble, no matter how you are dressed.
And this is really really great (the safety, not the fashion sense).
They just behave really weirdly with “white” people and take pictures of you without asking… I was annoyed by that, as it’s super rude.
(There are very few foreigner in Taiwan)
2/No/very few insecurity (except in the road because of crazy drivers)
There’s no burglary, no assault and others.
Yet Taiwaneses thinks Taiwan is “dangerous”, but that’s only because few of them go abroad (no matter if they can afford a travel or not).
3/Easy to launch a business (no matter where, no matter what, no matter how)
This option is much better than working as employee in Taiwan, you can start your business swift and easy because of the few (the lack of) laws and plain regulation for it.
Not so good for consumers, though, because it also means few regulations and few consummer protection.
4/ People are friendly (except when they drive, because then, they want to kill you)
They are always (too) curious about strangers and will ask you where you come from, what you are doing here, etc
They are also always willing to help (even if they cannot, they’ll try anyway, even if they make you lose your time…).
Also, public transports are free for small distance, and you usually pay proportionally to the distance, whitch is I think it’s a good idea. However bus are always crowded and drivers most of the time, drive like crazy and I was always wondering if I might die in this bus..
Taipei and Kaohsiung MRT were so clean and looking great! Taiwaneses told me, it was so because it was made for tourist and wealthy people. Must be true, because there always was very few people using it.