Taiwan Number 1!
We don't specify a particular city here. Most of the action is in Taipei but the city we've already recommended as the "Chiang Mai of Taiwan" Kaohsiung surprisingly has some gamer attractions of it's own making it an even bigger bargain than we originally realized. Taiwan is a great place not just for gamers to arbitrage time costs but has it's own gaming attractions and culture as well
Lee Ming University
Learn eSports at a real university from eSports pros. Balance IS supposed to be the place for people not trying to be eSports players. However if you were inclined to train for it, Taiwan wouldn't just be place for cheap time to practice but a place you could also get real instructional support and coaching
The world's most luxurious hotel specialized in gaming. Perfect for fancy international events but often used only for gaming itself whenever there's a prestigious local event. Rates generally start at $100 / night and similarly per day for marathon sessions. Ostentatious (as no doubt intended) and perhaps overkill but worth a visit at least to say you've been. Someday this may be Bellagio or Wynn Las Vegas of gaming.
All the PC Things. MSI, ASUS, Thermaltake, Gigabyte
Just about everything you have in your PC is largely designed in Taiwan as the world's global semiconductor hub. Even though manufacturing and largely "shanzai" style innovation has shifted to Shenzhen in the recent decade, you can make a pilgrimage to least some of the companies and check out their showrooms
Computex - Taiwan's Largest PC/Tech event
Computex was Taiwan's CES maybe even before CES was a thing. As the home of TSMC which is now the most advanced chip fab/manufacturer in the world passing Samsung surpassing even Intel's homegrown fabs, if you're around for it you'll have the benefit of seeing some of the latest chip or mobo launches here first before the rest of the world. Increasingly the show is becoming more similar to CES and it's asian competitor and is one of the largest tech events globally.
When in Asia this is to be expected. However vs how things are in Korea, Taiwan's cafe's are less high end, the players less competitive (which may be a good thing for us) and more crammed with much more of small town arcade feel in most cases
Taipei Digital Art Center
The Taipei Digital Art center is a less known find. Even to their own tourism authorities but here you'll see the intersection of Animation (particularly Taiwan's history in it), VR, Art and gaming inspired art.
Taipei - Gamer/Otaku Shopping
You can probably buy otaku stuff in a lot of Taiwan, it's not the same level as Japan but two particular places stand out.
1) The actual Taipei Main train station has a TON of great underground stores ESPECIALLY for Airsoft, Transformers and other figurines. They may even have some of the fantastic large sized knockoffs from China that are sought after by US collectors. The last time Munly was there, he regretted not having a more permanent home at the time and swore he would come back and buy up a storm next time. There are many Airsoft brands and models unique to Taiwan that are largely still unknown to westerners.
2) Guanghua Digital plaza is like a big multi-storey building and surrounding mini-city that is legendary for being representative of Taiwanese PC enthusiast and gaming culture. There are dedicated stores to sample everything from high end earbuds, mechanical keyboards (and even the particular switches to customize) and mice. However the actual PC hardware and laptop variety is a little disappointing by US standards. What is considered mid-range in western countries is high-end in Taiwan price-wise , at least that was the case the last time we were there. It was disappointing to see the home of Asus and MSI largely reserve their best stock for the export market although we cannot fault them. There are many boxed copies of rare older PC titles too if you're a collector
The first row of images are from some of Taipei Main's stores, the second row is Guanghua Digital Plaza
in 2018’s the International e-Sports Federation hosted it's 10th Esports tournament at the Kaohsiung Arena and big events continue to this day. As gamers but not necessarily e-sports people, having something around like this locally can't help but be an attraction whenever something's on.
HTC Viveland / Kosmospot
Located in Taroko Mall in Kaohsiung city, this is mostly a VR arcade that also has traditional gaming and even a 3D Aquarium. Whether they also offer room/warehouse scale VR is something we cant confirm as we've only heard of the place and dont know anyone that's checked it out yet. However it's something to consider especially if you're also travelling / geo-arbitraging with another gamer
Cost Of Living / Visas
Visas are generally 3 months with working holiday visas available to some reciprocal countries even if you don't plan to work that offer 6 months stay and renewable for another 6. Taiwan is generally a "visa run friendly" country like Malaysia, meaning there isn't much of a "slow travel"/expat population that are staying long term via chaining tourist visas together like Thailand. Entry into both Taiwan and Malaysia is generally hassle free on strong passport generally speaking
Our low-end cost of living for a single person travelling is estimated below. The general rule is Taiwan's cost of living is roughly double that of Thailand's and after the research we did for this primer and our experience with Asia Super Team 2020, we now understand there's far more value in this diamond-in-the-rough country than we ever realized.
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