Moving House in Taiwan – From Shulin to Banciao

Geez. It’s amazing how I’ve suffered without Internet, phone or TV for the past five days. OK. I’m exaggerating. I haven’t really suffered. You would think after traveling for three months and being under the radar during that time, I’d be used to this feeling of floating.

At our old apartment in Shulin.
At our old apartment in Shulin.

Well, I’m not. It’s completely different when you’re at home and you’ve got nothing to occupy your time! It’s doubly worse when you’re also off work. Needless to say, we moved house in Taiwan quickly and were quite efficient at setting up our new digs this weekend.

By Sunday night, I fell into my pile of books and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

Now, about our move.

Despite living in Asia, and moving several times over the past five years, we discovered moving in Taiwan is not as easy as we thought it would be. We asked a Taiwanese friend to call a moving service for us because we wanted to ensure a smooth transition out of our old building in Shu-lin and into the brand-new Taipei Sky Dome building complex in Banciao.

After making the call from our house and giving all the correct information, she assured us we would have no difficulties. The moving service had our old and new address, and they knew we would be moving from the 4th floor to the 24th floor.

She told us we would have to pay 2000 NT for a truck. We had two trucks.

The math is pretty simple right? Wrong!

On moving day, the movers showed up early.

One bare-chested fellow headed straight for our bathroom and threw up for a good five minutes. I wasn’t impressed, but they moved us swiftly and we figured everything would be clear sailing from there on. I jumped into the truck with the driver and we drove to our new address.

As soon as we arrived, the same fellow threw up again on the side of the street. While this was going on, the driver coolly demanded some beer, and since it was a hot day, I complied. It seemed a reasonable request.

The guys started unloading while the boss followed us to our new apartment, where he christened our bathroom facilities in the worst manner.

As he chugged his beer that I paid for, he told us that the distance from the truck to the elevators was too far (it isn’t even 50 meters from the road) and demanded we pay 10,000 NT! (Obviously, we had contacted a moving company run by Taiwanese gangsters. Lovely. You don’t really want to mess around with these guys.)

I started arguing with him, as we’d already decided on a price. He told me my Taiwanese friend obviously didn’t understand. I found this odd, as my friend is an English teacher at my school. Her English is very, very good. I also told him that I had listened to the conversation and she had most certainly not misunderstood. I have to wonder if he raised the price because he thought they would be moving a Taiwanese couple.Sky Domes

Since my friend was having her wedding photos taken that day, we decided not to call her and instead called our real estate agent, Rock, from across the street to help us deal with the situation.

After arguing for over thirty minutes, I asked John to pay them 4000 NT to get them out of there. They dumped our belongings in the first floor lobby and we had to move the rest of our things up by ourselves. It took us all afternoon in the sweltering heat. Our sympathetic building manager brought us a trolley to make things a little easier.

Our real estate agent felt so bad for us, he insisted on staying to help. Both the manager and our real estate agent wanted to know how we had gotten involved with such a shoddy service. I’m going to blame John on this one. He wanted a cheap service and we got cheap service. Lesson learned. Make sure you shop around when booking a moving service. They aren’t all reputable!

Since this first disastrous move, we now use and recommend Steven The Mover to countless friends and teachers in Taiwan. Steven has been in the business for 20 years, he’s honest, quick and gives you exactly what he says he’ll give you. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else!

We worked like dogs late into the evening. By 11pm, we had half our boxes unpacked and we headed up to our roof for a much needed bottle of cold Taiwan Beer.

So, moving wasn’t as easy as we thought, but we’ve got a fantastic new apartment and that’s really all that counts.

Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian expat who has been living abroad in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. My husband and I have owned our own business in Taiwan since 2012. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on on Twitter @globetrotteri or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carriekellenberger/.

10 thoughts on “Moving House in Taiwan – From Shulin to Banciao

    jorees

    (July 25, 2007 - 6:45 pm)

    Wowsers! That sounded like quite the move you and John went though Carrie. I’m glad that everything worked out and that your real estate agent was able to help you out. Sometimes you never know when a simple planned activity is going to take on a life of its own in Taiwan…

    Can’t wait to see the new place and view!

    range

    (July 25, 2007 - 7:14 pm)

    Sounds hellish.

    Too bad our landlord was in Canada, her moving service was pretty good. On top of that, you had a lot of furniture to move.

    5 days…
    I’ve done 3 weeks without internet and it wasn’t pleasant. I was between switching providers in Canada.

    I was glad that when we moved in, all was set up already, even though the apartment hadn’t been lived in for a while.

    Prince Roy

    (July 25, 2007 - 7:24 pm)

    sorry about the awful move but welcome home!

    Thoth Harris

    (July 26, 2007 - 4:03 am)

    I’m happy to hear that you and John survived all that.

    Indeed, I have read about similar horror stories (worse, or equally bad) in some advice thingy. I’m not sure where: I either read it in a travel book or TEALIT. Next time, before you move, do some websearches to find advice about moving in Taiwan. Canada is probably one of the easiest places to move in Taiwan. If there’s one thing that Canadian police seem to care about (and I often have really harsh criticisms of them, particularly of the Montreal police), it’s person property. I would say that Canada is pretty regulated and policed in that way.

    But a good deal (and maybe “good deal” is an understatement) of the movers are gangsters or involved in that sort of business. I also read that in the same place. I’m sorry I don’t remember exactly where I read it. Anyway, good for you for trying to stick to your guns and not purely submitting to the intimidation and thuggery!

    knitplaywithfire

    (July 26, 2007 - 4:07 am)

    Well at least you are in the new place!!! And that sort of stuff happens all over the world. And I am sorry that you had to clean up that idiot’s mess. But your real estate guy and the land lord sound like they are princes!!!

    globetrotteri

    (July 26, 2007 - 1:43 am)

    Jo and Range, Housewarming party plans are in effect but we’re going to have you over before that!

    And thanks for your comments Prince Roy!

    jorees

    (July 27, 2007 - 11:32 am)

    Hi Thoth I think that Micheal Turton’s web site: http://www.michaelturton.com/Taiwan/teach_index.html
    that had advice about the movers being gangsters. Overall, I found his blog to be very true about life in Taiwan!

    Thoth Harris

    (July 27, 2007 - 11:33 pm)

    Yeah, Jorees, you’re definitely right about that, I think. I actually discovered Michael’s main site, The View From Taiwan through his teaching in Taiwan site.

    About two months ago, when I was hanging out with Michael and Kaminoge (another blogger who lives in Fengyuan), Michael told me another interesting fact. A lot of taxi drivers in Taiwan are gangsters. Yeow! Probably not a majority, let alone alone of them. Still….scary.

    It wouldn’t surprise me. Have you seen how aggressive the taxi drivers are at the Taichung train station? It reminds me of the stories I’ve heard about people arriving inn Manila. I’ve observed they are not aggressive like that in Taipei, Kaohsiung, Jhunan, Miaoli, Fengyuan, Hsinchu, or any other of the places I’ve been.

    Anyway, enough of me being off topic. Carrie was talking about movers, not taxi drivers. Sorry.

    Peder

    (March 29, 2009 - 9:09 pm)

    What an ordeal, and on a day when you definitely do not need that kind of drama!

    I remember a few moving experiences in Shanghai … er, moving house, not the other kind. In any case, I was generally blessed by reasonable experiences. Often I’d just rent a truck (and driver, a service provided by the taxi companies) and I’d do most of the heavy lifting myself (or with friends).

    But my first moving experience was by far my worst. Two months after settling in to a nice Victorian-styled apartment not far from work, my two roommates and I discovered the landlord was psycho. That’s a technical term there 🙂 After a bit of a row over a security door (that locked the three of us IN our apartment one night) we knew it was time to leave.

    The day we moved was a crazy circus of people flying all over the place. Because everything was happening so fast we were still packing the morning before we were scheduled to leave. A couple friends were there helping us get organized. The landlady and her uncle showed up an hour early in a foul mood and immediately dove into the diciest topic: the security deposit. She pointed out every manner of imperfection, including those that were there previous to us and that she had acknowledged before. The malfunctioning door was an issue because she was convinced we had broken it. Things were not looking up.

    The climax hit when they tried throwing our stuff out the 10th floor window. Fortunately the crazy lady’s aim was off and she hit the closed pane instead of the open panel. Her uncle picked up a jacket and ran toward the balcony. My roommate jumped up and grabbed it, and all of a sudden these two adult men were playing tug-of-war with a windbreaker like a couple kindergarteners at recess. Unbelievable. My boss finally showed up (wondering if we’d ever make it to work that day) and helped facilitate a face-saving solution for all, that finally let us leave that wretched woman’s apartment. Good riddance!

    But every new home is a new beginning, and our new residence was a yearlong dream. I hope yours works out the same. Welcome home, Carrie.

      globetrotteri

      (April 3, 2009 - 5:39 am)

      Hey Peder,

      That comment really deserves a blog post all on its own. What a story! Thanks for your kind comments. We\\'ve been in our new place for a year now and we love it. It finally feels like home.

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