Taiwan is an island off the coast of mainland China with one of the highest population densities in the world. Expats moving to Taiwan are equally likely to notice that it is very mountainous, home to the tallest peak in northeast Asia, and has an abundance of nature reserves and hot springs.
Taiwan has ultra-modern cities that still strongly uphold traditional Chinese culture while at the same time embracing a capitalist business culture that appeals to Western expats. As a result, many new arrivals find that the lifestyle in Taiwan is highly convenient as goods are easily accessible and both the public transport and healthcare are excellent.
Taiwanese are extremely friendly, helpful and gracious people. They will generally go out of their way to make visitors feel at ease and they pride themselves on being good hosts. Expats may find themselves asking a stranger for directions and end up being personally escorted and then being invited home for dinner. The language barrier is no obstacle to this hospitality and willingness to assist as many can speak English.
The main religions in Taiwan are Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism and almost all Taiwanese pay homage to their ancestors. Homes have sacred shrines where people can burn incense and make offerings to ancestors. Beautiful temples are found throughout the cities, but churches and mosques are also easy to find.
The cost of living in Taiwan is generally high and accommodation, which mostly consists of apartment living, can be expensive. Taiwan's main industries include electronics, industrial processing and information and communications technologies but expats looking to work in these industries should be highly qualified, as Taiwanese companies tend to employ qualified local workers. Due to this, expats looking to work in Taiwan tend to transfer to the country from within an international company. Otherwise, many young Westerners move to Taiwan to teach English.
Taiwan has a problematic relationship with China, mostly as China insists that Taiwan is a province of China. While many cultural traditions of the Taiwanese stem from a long history with China, the majority of Taiwanese see their country as autonomous and have no wish to unify with China. This is a sore point and the reason behind the rocky political relationship with the mainland.
Taiwan is incredibly safe and foreigners moving to the country are unlikely to be affected by political tensions. In fact, those living there enjoy Taiwan's cultural richness, modern amenities and the country's embrace of the wider world.