Life in Taipei and Shanghai




Overview
Taipei, the vibrant capital of Taiwan, is situated at the tip of the island. The greater Taipei city hosts about 7 million people, similar to that in the Bay Area in northern California.
lNew York Times calls Taipei “…the best of what Asian cities have to offer great street food, crackling night life, the worlds best collection of Chinese art, and hot springs and hiking trails reachable by public transportation.


Time Zone
lTaipei is 15 hours ahead of California, USA

Currency Exchange
l1 USD dollar equals to roughly 31 New Taiwan Dollars (NTD) (as of July 2010)

Electricity
lElectricity in Taiwan is 110 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. 

Language
The primary language used in Taipei is Mandarin. If you travel to the southern part of Taiwan, the primary language spoken there is Taiwanese.

Eating
lA typical lunch on the streets of Taipei costs about $4 - $10 USD. The beauty of living in Taipei is, you dont need to tip anyone. Nicer restaurants sometimes charge a 10% service fee.   

Weather
lThe Tropic of Cancer runs straight through the middle of Taiwan bringing with it hot & humid weather. During summer, the average temperature in Taipei is between 80 to 90 Fahrenheit. Summer is also the typhoon season, so bring an umbrella and dont be surprised if you see thunder and lighting!
 



Transportation
lThe streets of Taipei is often busy and sometimes chaotic. You will see a lot of taxi and scooters. The best way to get around is taking MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), which is the equivalent of the subway system in New York (except the MRT in Taiwan is much cleaner). Bus is another alternative. One-way typically costs 15 NTD ($0.5 USD)
lIf you are interested in other cities in Taiwan, you can travel with the HSR(High Speed Rail) system. A ride from Taipei to Kaohsiung, the southernmost city, costs 1490 NTD ($50 USD), and it takes two hours. It’s the fastest and the most comfortable way to travel in Taiwan.