Taipei is the center of Taiwanese government and society. Not so long ago, it was barely more than a sleepy town, but not anymore. Today, Taipei can be counted among the cities that never sleep. Life is busy and fast, and the people here work very hard.
Although Taipei is somewhat like a large Western city with its go-go attitude, its very different in other ways. For one thing, it's much more crowded than what you are probably used to. People who are used to a lot of personal space might find it challenging to adjust to Taipei's smaller confines. For another, there is much less violent crime. Muggings are very rare. There are parts of the city which should be avoided after midnight, but aside from those areas you can walk at any time without feeling threatened.
Because Taipei has grown so quickly, it is an interesting combination of old and new. Glitzy new department stores stand next to night markets and push-cart vendors. Taipei is the most expensive city in Taiwan. The surrounding districts are cheaper and sometimes even livelier and more densely populated. For those who prefer a quiet, more tranquil areas, the districts north of Taipei proper are greener and more spacious. The majority of ex-patriates reside here