Tried and Tested: Accommodations in Taiwan
Tried and Tested: Accommodations in Taiwan
Where to stay in Taiwan? Here’s a quick post to share the accommodations that I’ve tried during my 1.5 weeks vacation. Not the best bargain deals but definitely value-for-money and inexpensive places to stay at. These are the regions I’m covering:
- Hualien – Mini Voyage
- Taichung – Fengjia Garden
- Cingjing – Fon Chin Homestay
Star Hostel (Taipei Main Station)
Price TWD670/SGD29 per night for a single bed in all-female dorm
[su_quote]The hostel hits all the right notes with its Scandinavian modern interior. Seemingly cozy with its generous wood paneling, I felt some alienation with other stayers, especially with its capsule bed concept which makes interacting with roommates a challenge.[/su_quote]
I’m pretty sure the majority agrees with me; the photos of the hostel is extremely attractive. And the best thing? The photos are accurate. 😍
Shoes were not allowed past the lobby and guests needed to change into the indoor slippers provided. I thought it was a nice touch but was slightly inconvenient when going in and out.
The rooms were clean, basic but sufficiently equipped. One downside (or upside, depending on how you see it…) was the curtains that came with the beds; there was this sterile vibe with everyone cubed up in their capsules.
As far as I could tell, the bathrooms were squeaky clean. I liked that there were separate cubicles for the toilet and shower and the female amenities such as hair dryer, ear buds and even *ahempantyahemliners* too!
Location was fabulous, just opposite Q Square (which is next to the Taipei Main Station). Perfect for a short stopover. The street was slightly quiet at night but given the short walk, I thought it was pretty acceptable, even for a solo traveler.
Star hostel is extremely popular so book early!
Via Hotel (Ximending)
Price TWD12,424/SGD532 for 4 nights, deluxe double room
[su_quote]Definitely on the pricier side but the SEALY mattresses, Japanese-styled baths and cozy interiors make the price tag worth it, especially after hours of walking in the city.[/su_quote]
I’m not one who scrutinizes the bed that the hotel uses or TC of bedsheets, and I actually didn’t think it makes a difference as long as the mattress is clean and well, decent. So it came as a somewhat surprising thing to me that people actually choose Via Hotel because they use SEALY mattresses in the hotel rooms.
Putting aside how comfortable their beds were, I must also put in a special mention for their slated Japanese bathtubs. T’was a nice touch.
I liked that the room was cozy and the bathroom was separated by a glass panel from the living room. I get to watch TV while showering and not jump at every suspicious noise. At night, I just draw the curtains to the bath to contain my overactive imagination.
They also have a laundry room for you to wash your clothes. Perfect for me since I was there for 1.5 weeks, cold weather, had only few pieces of clothes to rotate around.
Location is absolutely perfect as well, tucked in a quieter street of Ximending. The hotel is directly opposite 86shop by the way.
The hotel’s lobby is on the 2nd floor and ground floor of the building was derelict by Ximending’s standards. Was a little creepy though, but otherwise, didn’t pose much of an issue.
Mini Voyage (Near Hualien train station)
[su_quote]New minimalistic hostel directly opposite the train station with a restful ambience.[/su_quote]
Comfort was discounted only because I was housed on the lower bunk. I knocked my head no less than 3 times in less than 24 hours. The worst was in the early morning where I caused a super loud clang; The lady sleeping in the upper bunk must have thought it was an earthquake.
There was ample space in the room for all three of us to get around and do our own stuff without getting into each other’s way. For some of you who might be more iffy about security, you might want to take note that their lockers are only sufficient for the more important things (unlike Star Hostel’s, where the locker could take in my humungous luggage).
The hostel was one of the newer establishments in the area so it was really clean and new. There was an ensuite bathroom for my dorm, which I appreciate. The staff was friendly too and recommended places to visit whenever possible.
I didn’t get to use their facilities much though, since I was there for less than 24 hours. This hostel is really easy to find, since it’s just opposite the Hualien train station and about ten minutes walk from the main streets. Ci Xing Tan is a half hour cycle away and Taroko Gorge is about twenty minutes by car.
Fengjia Garden (Near Fengjia night market)
Price TWD4,940/SGD209 for 3 nights, double room
[su_quote]Themed and homely rooms in a quiet street just a stone’s throw away from Fengjia night market.[/su_quote]
For a homestay (which likely is running unregistered), I felt that this was on a pricier side but it was also because I stayed over a long weekend and had to pay nearly double for two out of three nights.
Fengjia Garden is a well-known homestay in Taichung and some of its rooms, such as the Hello Kitty ones, are really popular. The rooms were cozily decorated and had a nice, homely feel.
Location was great too, about 10 minutes walk to the centre of Fengjia market and TWD250 for a twenty-minutes cab to the HSR or TSR station. There’s a bus stop right at the nearest junction too with buses to many locations.
Only grouse about the vicinity would be the walk from the junction along the street of the homestay. It gets really quiet at night and there’s a huge construction site in between which may come across as slightly eerie. Also, as mentioned, I believe the hostel is running unregistered as there is no signboard outside. There isn’t a proper lobby or reception area as well.
If I recall right, there wasn’t any room cleaning service. Not that I requested for anyway…
But all in all, Fengjia Garden has been around for years and it does appear to be a well-runned facility, with two floors of room and lift directly to the third floor. Security-wise, there is one access lock for for the main gate, one for your storey and a last one one, for the room.
Fon Chin Homestay (Julie’s Garden)
Location *Get a car, really*
Price TWD3,000+/SGD135 for 1 night
[su_quote]Countryside paradise with its gorgeous, uninhibited views of the mountains and spacious rooms with fluffy, heated beds to get through the cold at night.[/su_quote]
A huge plus point for this homestay was that we got upgraded to a family room for free! The family room is on a different level as the main accommodations which made it even more private and exclusive. The room was huge and housed three huge beds and a mini living room.
The views from the homestay was amazing too. Absolutely uninhibited; no pesky buildings or humans in sight.
The owner spoke fluent English so that might be good news for some of you! She was also a great host and shared with on the places we should visit, except that we were more or less done with the Cingjing itinerary by the time we got there.
The compound is also filled with little critters, idyllic swings; almost like the countryside retirement scene that I’m sure most of us thought of at some point in time.
Breakfast was a simple affair with choices such as porridge and toast.
Just one downside though, was intermittent hot water from the shower which was a torture in the cold weather.