There are lots of things to consider when you're deciding which country to head to as an English teacher. Obviously the main things are the job prospects and the cost of living, but nightlife is also one you really want to look into.
Nightlife includes more than just the clubbing scene, so we've put together this guide to the various things to know about night time in Taipei, a city that never seems to go to sleep.
Why Taipei Is Considered A 24-Hour City
Places like New York might be famous for never sleeping, but certain parts of Taipei can claim to not be far off. The first thing you'll notice is that you can generally get what you want, whenever you want it. Convenience stores are open 24 hours, and you can do all sorts of things there like buying plane tickets or even reading a newspaper.
Speaking of reading, there's also the world's first 24 hour bookstore in downtown Taipei, and people really do go there to read books at 4 in the morning.
With a relatively mild winter, even in December you'll find people out on the streets (particularly in the downtown areas) at all hours, and as Taipei is also incredibly safe, people don't really feel uneasy being out late at night. The only thing you need to be worried about is bags under your eyelids from a lack of sleep!
Things To Do At Night
Perhaps the most famous of night activities in Taiwan is the abundance of night markets. These are mostly food oriented but you can also find some souvenirs, clothes, and other market-stall type things. Going hungry at 2am in Taipei really isn't possible.
Not all night markets are open for the full 24 hours, but with the 7-11's EVERYWHERE, you'll still be able to eat whenever you want to.
As well as eat, you can also drink. Like any major city, Taipei has a large amount of nightclubs in different parts of the city (Zhongxiao Fuxing area being one, and XinYi being another).
Taiwan isn't exactly a drinking culture like some western countries, but when you do get some time off, there are places for you to go and have a few beers with your friends if that's your thing.
Yes believe it or not, a popular pastime for foreigners and locals alike, a trip to the local KTV. This is basically karaoke, but a lot more fun and less embarrassing. KTV buildings have private rooms for you and friends to rent out, choose your own songs, and sing along to your heart's content. It's a very popular thing to do and a lot more fun than it may sound.
As touched upon in the drink section, there are a lot of good bars and clubs in Taipei. It's easy to go out and let your hair down, and also a good opportunity to meet new people. Whether you want to meet other foreigners, or some locals, the Taipei clubbing scene is generally pretty friendly and not overly expensive either. There ARE some high end clubs for those who want to dress up though.
Taipei also has a lot of movie theaters, and though they aren't 24 hours, you can probably see a movie that starts at 11pm in most of them. The Ximen area has about 5 cinemas within a mile square radius, so it's a popular night area as well.
Department stores often close around 9:30pm, but many shops stay open later, especially if they are boutique or in a popular night area.
As touched upon earlier, Taipei really is a very safe city. Not only is there a general lack of crime, there is also a large police presence. The police are friendly though, and there in case needed, rather than out looking for trouble.
This doesn't mean that you can leave your wallet lying around or be totally careless, there's always SOME risk when you're out at night, but for most people who visit Taipei for any length of time, safety really is something that stands out.
Buses tend to run until around 11 or 12am (depending on the line) and the MRT is open until about 12am. If you're staying out later, Taxis are abundant and pretty cheap as well.
If you needed to go from one part of the city to the other (and as it's a small city, you probably don't need to go that far), you'd only be expected to pay around £10 maximum. Most taxi journeys end up costing half that.
Something For Everyone
There is probably even more to be said about night time in Taipei (and the rest of Taiwan too), but this post should have let you see that there's something for everyone here.