Most things in Taiwan will not cost too much until you begin purchasing specialty items. Here is what you can expect to spend in Taichung for the following (all estimates in NT$):
|Monthly Expenses||8,000 – 12,000||1l Unleaded 95 Gas||33|
|Chinese Meal or Lunchbox||60||Bus Fare Downtown||26|
|Foreign meal||250||Taxi Downtown||120|
|McDonald's Value Meal||135||Practical Cellphone||600|
|Tea Drink||10-40||Practical Scooter||10,000|
|Cable TV||600||English Language Newspaper||15|
In a study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Taipei is ranked 48th in highest cost of living. In comparison to Beijing (20) and Shanghai (27), Taiwan itself is well below the expenses of major cities. Comparing costs in Taipei and Taichung, Taichung is considerably cheaper. For example, road-side meals and drinks are approximately 30% cheaper in Taichung, and shared apartments, or single-room apartments (with a bathroom but no kitchen), are 2/3rd's the price or less as well (of course actual location plays a factor in price of accomodation for both cities).
Apart from the financial aspect, there's another, maybe even more important but less definable in figures and that is the environment. Taipei is a giant metropolis with millions of people vying for available space, trying to prove to the world how modern it can be, thereby losing some of its uniquely Chinese aspects. Apart from being dramatically cheaper, life in Taichung is also much more laid back, much more traditional and less westernized.