8 Things We Don’t Miss About Taiwan

Last week we shared what we miss most from our lives in Taiwan. Now it’s time to divulge a few of the things we don’t miss so much.

No matter where you call home, there are going to be both pros and cons to the location. If you’re one of our dear Taiwanese friends reading this, please remember we love you, and the pros to our life in Taiwan far outweighed any of the things that bothered us.

Although we wanted to keep the lists balanced, we could only come up with 8 things we won’t miss. See? Told you we loved more than we didn’t.


8 Things We Don’t Miss About Living In Taiwan


1. The Umbrellas


The average height of an Asian female is 5 foot 2 inches. Dan is a comfortable 5 foot 9 inches —just the right height for people walking around crowded areas with umbrellas to stab him in the face. This happened more often than you might think: Taiwanese women prefer white skin, so they often choose to shield themselves from the harsh rays of the sun with their handy- dandy umbrella! So no, Dan won’t miss the jabbing.


2. The Nervous Giggles


‘Wai Goa Ren’ means ‘white person’, but it is not an offensive term. If you are light-skinned, you’ll likely hear the name called out when you enter an establishment where no one feels comfortable conversing with you in English. If Taiwanese girls are present, they will probably get flustered, which in turn will become an uncontrollable spell of giggles. We got really tired of this, especially when we were trying to get something accomplished quickly or attempting to speak our limited Mandarin. It became difficult to keep from asking the teenage girls to take a breath and calm down.  Some might find the giggling cute. We found it tiresome.


3. The Facemasks

Face Masked Student
Taiwan is an extremely crowded place to live, and it is easy for germs to hop from one person to the next. We get that. As a result, many Taiwanese people wear facemasks in crowded areas, when sick, or while driving. Fair enough. That doesn’t change the fact that teaching a foreign language to students is exacerbating when you can’t see the student’s mouths. We’re all for sick students wearing a facemask, but otherwise, please leave them off in the classroom.


4. The Disregard For Oncoming Traffic


We already said that we loved getting around by our two-wheeled transportation. And we are aware that driving in Taiwan is much safer than most other places in Asia. However, that doesn’t change the fact that many Taiwanese (especially the older generation) pay no attention to oncoming traffic. If they want to pull out in front of you, they will.  We never use to speak profanely—and then we began driving in Taiwan.


5. The Long Working Hours


The Taiwanese work extremely hard. It often starts when they are as young as three and sent to bilingual kindergartens; it continues through grade school with extracurricular classes most nights of the week and even Saturday mornings; it is concreted as adults when those same hardworking students begin to work ten-hour days, six days a week. We admire the work ethic, but personally believe it to be a bit much at times.


6. The Lack of Microbrews


Asia is not really the best place to go for microbrews, which is fine. We enjoy local beers, but you can only take so much Taiwan Beer before you begin to crave something a bit darker.


7. The Crowds

Taiwan Crowd

There are a lot of people competing for space in Taiwan. If it’s a public holiday, expect people shoulder-to-shoulder on the train and hotels booked full. If you’re attending a festival or night market, leave your personal bubble at home. This wouldn’t be a huge issue, except for the fact that Casey gets a bit claustrophobic when she feels trapped in a small space. Has she mentioned she doesn’t actually love flying?


8. The Smell of Stinky Tofu

A Cruising Couple Stinky Tofu

We admitted to trying stinky tofu on multiple occasions, and even kind of enjoying it by the end. But that doesn’t mean the smell ever got better. Try training for a marathon and getting a big whiff of rancid tofu at mile 15. You’ll quickly understand.


Again, while we don’t miss these particular elements of life in Taiwan, they are greatly shadowed by the many things we do miss. The crowds and facemasks don’t define our time in Taiwan, but the wonderful people, places, cuisine and experiences do.


Have you lived in Asia before? Do you agree or disagree with our notes listed above? Share your experiences below!




  1. Great blog! It is always interesting to hear about the places you are traveling in. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Our pleasure!! Thanks for always taking the time to read and share them :)

  2. We have only spent a bit of time in Asia (maybe 6 weeks), but mostly as tourists, so very different. We haven’t been to Taiwan, nor smelled stinky tofu. We were over the crowds, pushing and spitting (China) fairly quickly. As for the umbrella, my daughter likes to carry one and this is a great reminder for why I discourage it. I love this post!
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Cutting Class or Splitting the Loo? – Wordless Wednesday *LinkyMy Profile

    • We never made it to China, but I would have loved to visit to see how it compared to Taiwan! I can imagine in the cities that the crowds are much worse. That’s too funny about your daughter and her umbrella! Just know we sympathize ;)

  3. Good list! We’re in fact in the middle of writing a list just like this! Definitely agree with all of yours, although neither of us mind the smell of stink tofu – it’s kind of just comparable to eggs, we think.

    • Thanks Charlie! That’s awesome the smell doesn’t bother you… haha I cringe a little just thinking about it! I would love to read a list that you guys come up with to see any similarities and differences!

  4. You’d rather have a child take off their mask and get you sick? It drives me nuts that students come to class when they’re clearly sick. And worse when they sneeze everywhere. It’s gross. Sneeze in the mask.
    Nicole recently posted…My Love, Where Have You Been All My Life?My Profile

    • O no! Sorry I guess I didn’t explain correctly! If they are sick, then please, wear the mask (or better yet don’t come to school!). What would drive me crazy was when my entire class was wearing a face mask, whether anyone else in the classroom was sick or not. I found it extremely difficult to teach English to 4 and 5 year olds when I couldn’t see their mouths or hear what was coming out of it! Eventually I made a rule that they could only wear face masks when they were sick, which went over surprisingly well with the parents. I’ve known many teachers to have this problem, both with young students and adults.

  5. Nice to have a balanced perspective here. I’ve never lived in Asia, but I can understand that these things would become tiresome or annoying.
    Sam recently posted…Top 10 Art Galleries and Museums in LimaMy Profile

    • Thanks Sam! We felt it would be helpful for anyone else potentially moving to Asia exactly for that balanced perspective :)

  6. I think this is a more-than-fair list, and I don’t think any of your friends have a real reason to be offended by this!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted…A Weekend At HomeMy Profile

    • Thanks Colleen! I think I probably worry a bit too much about possibly offending someone. Thanks for the reassurance!!

  7. We’ve been to Taiwan too and there are things we think we won’t miss too if we lived there. For instance, despite I like stinky tofu (call me weirdo) I cannot stand the smell of it.

    • Haha that is too funny! Glad to know it’s not just us getting jabbed left and right ;P

  8. Hah, I’ve lived here for years and the stinky tofu still gets me. Depends on the kind (fried vs boiled), but some of that stuff is horrendous smelling… although it tastes fine. Also, the traffic sucks. For being such a developed and relatively rich country I wish people had a better regard and concern for safety.

    • I know, actually your comment reminds me that all the children driving around and not wearing helmets on scooters really bothers me too!

  9. Haha loved this post! I lived in Hong Kong and traveled to Taiwan! Stinky Tofu, that is one thing I don’t miss :D
    Veera Bianca recently posted…Dear Hong Kong,My Profile

  10. What me and my girlfriend also don’t miss about living in Taiwan is standing in front of a red light when suddenly some older guy spits his betel nut juice right in front of you. It almost made my girlfriend vomit time after time…apart from that… I wish we could be back there… Love Taiwan!

  11. I still can’t believe you guys tried stinky tofu one that once. My gag reflex kicks in just thinking about that god-awful smell!
    Heather recently posted…Visiting the NYC 9/11 MemorialMy Profile

  12. Haha, throughout Asia, I think the umbrellas, facemasks, driving and tofu strike me everywhere. I’m about 5 foot 9 too and I sometimes pretend to scratch my head when I spot oncoming umbrellas, then it’s only my arm that gets stabbed. The driving is crazy, there never seems to be any rules! I’m not a fan of tofu at the best of times and those masks are a little scary at times! :)
    Andrew recently posted…Travel Companions, Exhaustion and ThailandMy Profile

    • Nice call with scratching your head! That trick could have saved me a lot of pain :-p I can’t help but laugh to myself a little bit when I see the news and everyone is walking around with masks on while they talk about the next epidemic like they are coming out of quarantine. Nope, it’s just another day in the streets of Asia. :-p

  13. Taiwanese are so rude. That’s what I don’t miss about them. The rudest country in Asia. They push you and walk across you…

    • We actually miss the Taiwanese very much and we’re not so sure we would say they are rude as much as they know what to do in a country that has one of the highest population densities in the world. I definitely got annoyed with the pushing and such too, but overall Taiwanese are very kind, generous and hospitable people. I don’t miss the crowds though haha!

    • I’m sure “Peter” has to be an internet troll for sure, because I’m positive that the Taiwanese are the nicest people in Asia, if not the entire world. Liked reading your posts on Taiwan, always good to hear a full foreigner perspective (I’m an American Born Chinese/Taiwanese, ABC so I’m not really privy to that!). Totally get what you means about the crowds; I actually stay at home way more during vacations than during “normal” seasons.

      Anyhow, I still live in Taipei & have recently opened a blog about it; so feel free to pop on by if you’re needing a dose of Taipei-love! Cheers xx
      Stephanie recently posted…Cafe Review: Fabrica 椅子My Profile

      • Thanks for sharing your blog, Stephanie! We will definitely have to go check it out. We miss Taiwan all the time, especially the lovely Taiwanese :) You’re right- they have to be some of the nicest people in the world! Enjoy Taipei for us!

      • Nicest people in the world?! I’m not agreeing with Peter (who is an obvious troll), but tell that to the Southeast Asian laborers and migrant brides in Taiwan.

  14. You could replace Taiwan and put Japan here and it could virtually be the same article except Japan’s traffic is pretty good. The stinky tofu could be replaced with the stinky nato which is made by the same bean

  15. Correction: “Wai Goa Ren” means foreigner. Bai Ren means ‘white person’. I can see how you confuse the two since white tourists far outnumber black tourists, just wanted to put that out there.

    • Thanks Gary! You’re definitely right, but we found that colloquially people use Wai Goa Ren to refer to white people. Thanks for the feedback and clarification though!

  16. This list is very close to what I’m feeling in Shanghai right now. That stinky tofu is the stinkiest!

  17. Going to Taiwan, west coast mainly, in November 2015. These insights are very helpful. I’m 6’2″ and now expect a few jabs in the top of my arm ( wife is 5’4″ and should be fine ). Using the trains and buses to move around so might buy some masks for use on p.t. Looking forward to meeting the people. We will do most of our touristy stuff during the week and leave weekends for travelling between cities and cycling in the mountains.



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