I'll be arriving in Taipei in early September and need to start thinking about my living situation. I'm doing my master's up at the Taipei National University of the Arts (in Beitou, next to the Zhongyi Station on the red line). I'm open to either living close to school and traveling to Taipei for fun or living closer to downtown and commuting up to school. I'm leaning towards the latter since I'll most likely only be in classes 3 days a week, but the nicer environment and more bang for your buck up north is also kind of appealing. I don't know what my expectations should be in terms of housing, so here's my ideal living arrangement, and you guys can tell me if I'm crazy or not:
20,000/month or less, including any guanli fees
Single, non-shared apartment
2 bedrooms would be great so I can have a place for friends when they visit, but I'm also open to one room + enough space for people to sleep on the floor.
On the red line for easy transportation to and from school.
A nice, non-nasty bathroom (if Taiwan is anything like China in this regard, I think this might be the hardest to find)
Fridge, AC, washer and dryer would be great.
Fitness center on the premises would be great (just basic stuff like treadmills), but I'm not expecting to get that.
I've been looking at Shilin and Datong (near the Zhongshan station) so far, and it seems like it might be possible to find something that fits my specifications. Does anyone have any advice/opinions on where I should be looking and what I should realistically be expecting to find? I'm primarily using 591 to search.
Also, I do speak Chinese pretty fluently, but I'm still concerned about getting ripped off if I go apartment viewing by myself. I've heard Taiwanese people are pretty friendly in general, but something tells me I'm not going to find any friends within the first 24 hours of being there that would be willing to come with me. Should I just go through an agency and save myself some trouble?