Taiwan Kaohsiung is one of the best places to spend winter and that's why I'm here.
I've lived here for a couple months in the past, came to really like this place and was wondering if it could be another nice hub for digital nomads. My recommendation is base on what I like, which is usually healthy lifestyle, not much nightlife, not crowded noisy places, cleaner air, a surplus of fresh fruits and veggies, affordable cost and very safe for females.
Why should digital nomads seek Kaohsiung as their next location?
Here is living in Kaohsiung Taiwan, the Pros, Cons and Facts about Taiwan Kaohsiung:
Perfect Winter Weather
Winter in Kaohsiung average low in 15°C (59°F) to high 24°C (75.2°F).
The breeze is very comfortable, the sun is beautiful and warm, almost every day is pleasant.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you'll get to enjoy a lot of outdoor activity during the winter and won't be too hot or cold.
Too Hot in The Summer
Kaohsiung's winter is perfect, but summer is dreadfully hot.
One could easily get heat stroke if not careful.
Summer in Kaohsiung average low in 26°C (78.8°F) to high 33°C (91.4°F).
Since Kaohsiung is more spacious than Taipei, more likely will you feel the heat when you are out.
Usually, there are no living souls out during day time in Kaohsiung summer days.
Warm Tropical Area - Insects, Bugs, HUGE Slugs Oh My!
Kaohsiung is very tropical, tropical means bugs.
There are lots of bugs in Kaohsiung. (Extra protein anyone?)
There are huge slugs that reminds me of Ito Junji's story, the slug girl.
Word of advice, be on the look out for possible diseases on Centers For Disease Control of Taiwan.
Mosquito is very common, some carry potential dengue fever, so make sure you use insect repellent sprays.
Very Fresh & Raw Farmer's Market
Besides normal air-conditioned, indoor, civilized supermarkets, Kaohsiung has lots of outdoor markets and traditional markets.
These markets are like treasure hunts, you get to see local produce and vegetables, vendors shouting our their prices like Chicago fish markets, and the whole road shared for both scooters and pedestrians.
Quite an exquisite shopping experience...
Not Everyone Knows English
Most Taiwanese are very friendly to foreigners.
In general, language won't be a problem because we got smartphones for translation and most Taiwanese is friendly to help. From what my American friends told me about how some foreigners are being mistreated in Japan, it'll less likely to happen in Taiwan.
Can't Prevent Eating Pesticides
Just because there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to buy, doesn't mean there are no pesticides. (Hey it rhymes)
Best you can do, use baking soda or activated charcoal powder to wash your vegetables and fruits.
Cheap Foods Within Reach
Cheap Foods Within Reach
Kaohsiung is no scarce for foods.
Cheap foods found in night markets range from $30~$100NTD($0.92~$3.05USD)
These restaurant foods cost around $180~$320 NTD ($5.50~$9.77USD)
Not A Lot of Healthy Food
Like anywhere in the world, consumers need to educate themselves about a healthy diet.
Just because the food is cheap, doesn't mean it's healthy.
Oil, processed foods, and other food products in restaurants and supermarkets are highly questionable, but that's not just Taiwan, that's anywhere in the world.
Taiwanese people's stomach is used to these type of foods, they know which is good and which ones to recommend.
Just because there is a surplus of choices, doesn't mean they are all good.
If you need food recommendations, ask a local, they will be happy to tell you which street corner or which valley to find their favorite hard-to-find eatery you won't find anywhere else.
Taiwan Kaohsiung's Produce Price Fluctuates With Floods & Storms
Being tropical, you can buy tropical fruits and vegetables at a decent price and they grow well.
At times, there will be typhoon, which lead to exponential increase in price on produce and veggies.
Water may be scarce so Kaohsiungians will need to store water supply in case of the emergency like droughts/storms/floods etc.
Kaohsiung has lots of places to check out.
There is a plethora of food vendors, night markets, shopping district, creative artsy hangout place, handicraft weekend markets, and a whole bunch of stuff.
Noisy At Night
Night market districts tend to be very noisy and messy at night, there's quite a few of those in Kaohsiung.
These district is definitely not for you if you don't like crowd places or eat at open area where scooters pass next to you as you eat, possible rats & cockroach running on the side of the street and lots of dust and fumes.
Lots of Foreigners
I spot lots of foreigners here with nationalities of all types.
Americans, Italians, Canadians, Europeans and more.
They completely blend in, live just like locals, riding scooters and buying at outdoor farmer's market.
New Light Rail, Coming Soon
Kaohsiung has been investing a lot in its transportation system.
Light rails have been operating in some areas and more to come.
They are quieter, more eco-friendly, adds convenience with its connections to the MRT and will upgrade the whole city because all noisy old-fashioned railroad trains will go underground.
Light rail construction is still in progress, lots of area is still under construction.
Their first trial run was on Oct 16 and was derailed, so...still got lots of work and testing.
Kaohsiung metro is great, but it does not have a lot of lines. Most people drive, use scooters, bicycle and take bus or taxi.
Kaohsiung is Mega City, in Debt
National Geographic featured Kaohsiung as Mega City:
With great engineering, Kaohsiung was able to transform from ugly duckling to beautiful swan it is today.
With all the wonderful facilities provided and lots more new things planned for the future to attract more visitors and residence, Kaohsiung is in serious debt.
Lots of New Buildings
Lots of building are being built at this moment.
Housing is fairly affordable, there are quite a few Airbnb, hostels, hotels, apartment rentals available.
New apartments are very nice.
They usually have public facilities like the pool, small gym and meeting room available only for residents.
Some luxury apartments even have their own karaoke and entertainment room.
But of course, all those cost management maintenance fee.
Construction and Traditional Parades Noise
Some areas have lots of construction noise and at times, they will have traditional Chinese parade with Chinese horn and instruments, all performed at a pretty loud level.
Invest in earplugs and eye mask.
Real Estates Rising
Supply and demand in a big city when new facilities being built, population/business/investors increase, land value & price goes up.
Direct International Flights To Many Destinations
Tiny Airport, Not a Lot of Flights
Flights may be limited by availability and routes.
Small airport can be a good thing because you don't have to walk 3 mile or so just to get to the terminals, but then as population increase, I'm not sure how regulation can keep up with the travelers.
HK Visa Run Is Easy-Peasy 58 Minutes Of A Plane Ride.
If you need visa run, you can hop on a plane and go to Hong Kong for a day trip in less than an hour, eat some dim sum and come back on the same day.
Nature Within Reach
There are a plethora of natures to explore and outdoor activities here. From mountain hiking, river kayaking, snorkeling, wake park, scuba diving, swimming, rock climbing, fishing, surfing and so much more, outdoor people would love it here.
Not only nature is available, there are quite a few parks around the city where there are lots of people hanging out flying kites, practice Taichi, dance practice, jogging, bicycling, dog walking and so much more.
Mountains are not very far away, the beach is within reasonable travel distance by metro, bus, and ferries.
Kenting National Park by bus within few hours.
Wild Wild West...
Kaohsiung, being at the south part, certainly has its primitive side.
Mosquito, bugs, insects, bats, rats what have you, all included.
I'd say that's all over Taiwan, heck, all over SE Asia.
The answer would be to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants.
Mother Nature have some Mercy for Kaohsiung Taiwan
Sometimes there will be a landslide, earthquakes, rockfall, typhoon, flood, drought, and all the hardcore party mother nature planned for us, but at least, Kaohsiung doesn't have tornadoes, tsunami, sandstorm, snow, blizzard and stuff.
Always look on the bright side.
So there you have it, Taiwan Kaohsiung pros, cons and facts.
If you want to learn more about Kaohsiung or want to know how to travel to Taiwan, you can check out this comprehensive guide I made on all the tips, tools, and best recommendations on Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Have fun travels!