Today I start working at a Taipei co-working space instead of cafe’s

update April 2014

I’ve been working here for a month now, and thought I would give my honest review of the Maker Bar. It is a large creative space with a mix of long tables and standing work stations. I like the standing desks as there are actually some health benefits and these are hard to find in Taipei. There are plenty of the basics: 2 bathrooms, water machine, fridge, power, space, and even a meeting room that can be booked. My productivity has gone up as a result of being able to focus on working without worrying about distractions of people at a coffee shop. While there are not many digital nomads I’ve started to meet some of the regulars who are a mix of developers who touch on video and on-line crowdfunding learning platforms. Monica, is one of the co-founders, is from Vancouver and speaks English.  She has been friendly and accommodating to me, which I appreciate. There is even a fridge stocked with apple juice and Taiwan beer for those times you have a craving.

I also think the location is excellent with the closest MRT being Zhongxiao Xingsheng MRT exit 2. It is central to Taipei and is close to cheaper and mid-tier restaurants as well as the Guanghua Digital Plaza, and the Huashan Creative Park.

On the down-side the Internet connectivity fluctuates occasionally, which can be frustrating. It isn’t fast enough for me to do my large video uploads for Udemy or Stock footage. I do these uploads at home and do less intensive Internet or off-line work like my filming, video-editing, or any writing related work. Sometimes it can be a bit noisy with the machinery, but I’ve learned to tune it out and put on my headphones. There are also some occasional workshops in the evening and on Saturday’s, which can be a little disruptive.  The last thing that could be improved are the hours. Hours are 10am to 9pm on weekdays and 12pm – 6pm on Saturday. I’ve adjusted my schedule to the hours by sleeping later and working later.

In a nutshell, this has been a good decision especially for a freelancer or digital nomad who needs a space to get some work done. The creative environment is a better space to work from than my apartment for sure. It feels like I’m coming to the office and can separate my work and personal life a little bit better. You might see me here one day. If you do say hi.

Where and how much

copy and paste this address into google maps. It is a 6 minute walk from Zhongxiao Xinsheng exit 2

台北市100中正區金山南路一段9號5樓   2000nt a month 300nt a day
5F no 9 Jinshan s road Taipei City, Taiwan

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M-F 10am-9pm Sat 12pm-6pm
+886 223221772

Since developing into a digital nomad I started embracing the lifestyle. I started looking for the best Cafe’s in Taipei to work from. There are a lot of them and not all of them are equal. However, when I first interviewed my friend Raj in Vancouver he introduced me to the idea of a co-working space. In this article I’m going to give you the scoop on a good Taipei co-working space.

What is a co-working space?

A co-working space is an office space that you share with other people. Usually it offers the basic necessities you need to work like fast internet, bathrooms, water, and desk space. It caters to people who work from their laptop.

My criteria for a co-working space

Me trying out this working space for the month
  • Nice and creative atmosphere – large enough that I don’t feel claustrophobic
  • Good value – A cafe you spend on average 100nt X 30 days = 3000nt (so less than 3000nt).
  • Power
  • Fast Internet – (10mb down at least 10mb up) for video work
  • Desk and chair
  • Reasonable hours – at least 9am -5pm Mon – Fri
  • Other people – Chance of meeting like-minded people
  • Bathrooms
  • Free water
  • Good location – Central to Taipei and good food.

Bonus criteria

  • Meeting rooms
  • Could I film videos here
I can use the meeting room to film videos

Working from home is not always bliss

My setup from home

Since returning from Taipei I was hit with some major expenses from living a month in Vancouver and expenses for the websites that all seem to hit at the same time. I decided to work from my apartment since January to save on some costs. My apartment is a decent sized studio for Taipei. The Internet was fast and I had everything I needed. The issue was that I didn’t have a separation between my work and my personal life. Even though I considered myself to be disciplined I found that I was increasingly slacking off in my PJ’s.

Working from Cafe’s is not always ideal

Occasionally I would go to Cafe’s to work. Cafe’s are okay to work from, but I think that working at a co-working space would be better suited to a digital nomad. Why?

  • Cost – Cafe’s minimum drink are often 100nt. Usually they serve you water. If you drink like a camel like I do then you usually have to bring your own water, which is an additional cost
  • Crowded – Cafe’s in Taipei are often crowded especially Starbucks on 2 for 1 days. Good luck getting a space
  • Competition for resources – Because of the dense population in Taipei sometimes you have to compete for the good tables with power. You have to wait for bathrooms
  • Safety –  Taipei is pretty safe to begin with, but after drinking water you’re going to need the bathroom after awhile. When you go to the bathroom there is always the risk of your stuff getting stolen

I don’t want to be totally bias. There are pro’s to working from a Cafe.

  • You get access to better coffee and food selection
  • There is probably better eye candy if that is your priority
  • You have the flexibility of choosing the cafe you want to work from.

Today I take the next step

When I returned to Taipei I began looking for a co-working space. I found a spot from called the Maker bar. After a meetup at Huashan creative park I went with a friend to find this space. I liked the space, but I didn’t want to pay 1500nt upfront at the time. However, after working from home for 2 months I felt that I was getting stagnant working from home and cafe’s.  I felt it was time to visit this space to see if it help take my creativity and productivity to the next level.

2000nt a month. 750 a week or 300 a day. It makes since if you do the monthly option

I visited the Maker Bar today. Before I came I decided to have some Kimchi vegeterian handcut noodles for 75nt. The food is important.  They have since increased the price to 2000nt a month, but I still think it is good value for what you get. What do you get exactly?

  • Free Wifi (Fast Wifi 22 mbps down, 24 up)
  • Free water (hot, warm, cold)
  • Microwave
  • Large creative space – They do 3d printing here and it has an industrial feel that reminds me of Gastown in Vancouver
  • Toilet
  • Location – 5 minutes away from Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT, which I consider the center of Taipei. It’s also close to Guanghua digital plaza with plenty of electronics and good cheap eats.
  • Free power
  • Not crowded
  • Beer and soft drinks in the fridge
Veggie kimchi noodle soup. Near the co-working space

I can also use the meeting room to film my videos like courses or tutorials in a more professional setting. This sealed the deal for me. I can use the meeting room to film videos like tutorials or youtube videos. Sweet.  So far I’ve written this blog post and have taken a face-time call from South Africa. I met one of the people here who helped me take these photos. So far so good. I feel like I’m a part of the start-up scene working in this space. The hours here are 10am – 9pm.

When I leave here I hope to leave my work here so I can give myself personal freedom time away and not trapped into burning myself out. I want to leave my apartment for my personal enjoyment space.  This is one step close to realizing my 2015 vision and I’m excited to come to work. Again I have to thank Raj for giving me this idea, but this is an example of how listening to others peoples ideas and taking action can pay off. Look out for our interview coming on-line soon.

The kitchen

If you have any questions about working as a digital nomad lifestyle in Taipei sign up for more updates

Resource List

UCC Coffee – If I do work at a coffee lounge this is my favorite one to work from. This is a Japanese coffee house with good coffee originally from Kobe, Japan.

Cafe a la mode – I like the location in Zhongshan. They have good food and are quiet

Mr Brown coffee – Many locations. Their Wifi has no time limit and you can pour your own water

Starbucks at Nanjing East road and Jianguo – A new starbucks location a large space and not crowded. GPS coordinates for google map 25.052490, 121.537274

Digital nomad resources

Makerbar Taipei – More info on this co-working space


Tokyo 2015 – Travel & food cheat sheet

2015 is a good time to visit Tokyo. I remember years ago I also wanted to go there. The problem was I was all the way in Vancouver, Canada and I just imagined it would too expensive for me.In 2011 Japan was struck by the East Coast Earthquake, which resulted in radiation to Tokyo. According to a Bloomberg article Tokyo’s radiation level is less than Paris or London 3 years after the meltdown.

Tokyo 2015 – Cheat Sheet

My memory is still fresh from my long recent trip to Tokyo. I spent most of my time filming video and eating food. I flew a low cost airline from Taipei to Tokyo for about $100 us, stayed one night at a capsule in, before staying 3 nights at a private Airbnb apartment in Akasuka Roppongi living like a local. I would compare the area I stayed to Yaletown in Vancouver. It was close to a park at the upscale Tokyo Midtown Center with plenty of options for food. I enjoy my Japanese beer, gyoza, ramen, beef rice bowls, sake, sushi, and udon. I spent a lot of time trying to research and figure out where to spend my time to eat and what to take footage of.  I know there is a lot of free information out there, but you’re probably not going to use it. How do I know? Because some of it’s outdated, and it doesn’t feature beautiful pictures. Worst of all it’s all over the Internet.

It’s a good time to visit Tokyo, Japan. The currency is not as strong and Japan offers great food, some of the politest people in the world, an original culture, in a world class city.

In this guide I’m going to give you a nice PDF cheat sheet with the following:

  • Information on where I got my cheap flight and how much I paid.
  • Tips on getting from Narita airport to town
  • Tips on getting a shuttle (yes even for 7am flights) to Narita airport for 1000 yen
  • Where to get free Wifi for your trip in Tokyo
  • The Japanese coffee house you must try (no not Starbucks)
  • Tips on finding good cheap food like gyoza, rice bowls 24/7 for under 700 yen
  • Where to find some of the best Sushi in Tokyo and where I got that delicious seafood donburi
  • The stations and areas that you must visit and how to get there. As I take video footage I will also give you tips on where to get the best angles. For example: Shibuya crossroads you want to go to the 2nd floor of Starbucks to get a birdseye view
  • How to figure the Tokyo metro
  • The best Japanese beers to try and where to get them
  • Where to get craft beer (IPA’s) in Tokyo
  • Which Airbnb I stayed at and my experience staying at the upscale neighborhood of Roppongi
  • I’ll give you at the actual business cards of some of the places I visited
  • Where to get a skyline view of Shinjuku skyscrapers for free

In order to get the free guide please sign up with your email address.

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