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[Guest post] Taiwan as a host – great accommodations and special people

During our visit to Taiwan, we circumnavigated the whole island. Accordingly, we didn’t only see beautiful places but also stayed at a lot of different accommodations: from big and small hostels over hotels, in which we were nearly the only guests, to a guesthouse, where we took breakfast together with our host family.

The reason for which we went on a journey to Taiwan in March last year was an old lady who we randomly met in a bookstore while rummaging in illustrated books and guidebooks. When she saw that we had a guidebook of Taiwan in our hands, she approached us. With infectious enthusiam she told us about her journey and raved of the gorgeous landscape and the friendly people. We were absorbed in her stories. One hour later, we left the store with hearts in our eyes and the guidebook of Taiwan in the pocket. If we hadn’t met this woman, we may have never decided for this destination, which would have been a great mistake. Because the old lady was absolutely right. From the first day we were enchanted by Taiwan.

What makes Taiwan one of a kind? Just everything! Hot springs that mix with ice-cold stream water and fill a bath tub with just the right temperature. Flames that playfully flicker out ouf the ground and upstage every fire-eater. Hiking trails that are entirely made up of logs and float like ladders in the air. Mountains that drum up enthusiasm for adventures and on which summits you feel like the king of the world. Waterfalls that take us into the land of water gods and elves. Not to forget the people who sweetened our trip through Taiwan with their encounters, with our incredibly lovely hosts leading the way. Because in their accomodations we truly felt at home.

In the following article, I will have the pleasure to introduce you to the seven beautiful places we stayed at while circumnavigating Taiwan. May it be of assistance to you.

Taipei | Main Inn Hotel

Taipei’s Main Inn Hotel has a great location, which can equally end badly. How so, you ask? Under the hotel runs the Taipei City Mall and the entrance (Exit Y13) is right in front of the main door. The Taipei City Mall ist a huge underground shopping paradise in which you can find everything from clothes to anime merchandise. Even a gambling hall, a Maid Café and a (by the way delicious) ice cream parlour, the “Cold Stone”, are among them. No wonder, we spent two entire days there. For our defense: it was absolutely bucketing down. ☔ Nonetheless, we could have come back even a third day. It is practical that you can reach the Taipei Main Station subterraneously via the Taipei City Mall. From the station you can reach almost everywhere. It’s a railway station, a subway station and (hooray!) another shopping center! Advice: Try Beard Papa’s and Ten Ren’s Tea!

About the hotel. At first it looked rather gloomy, since corridors and rooms are poorly lit and there are only a few windows. Nonetheless, we felt very comfortable. The rooms are small, yet contemporary furnished. The bed captures the bigger part of the room. Maybe this is exactly what made the room so cozy. At the top floor is a lounge with free cookies, coffee, tea and water at your disposal. It was possible to wash clothes here at zero cost.

Taichung | Hotel Mi Casa

The stuff at Hotel Mi Casa simply is super friendly and helpful. Since the lady in the laundry service didn’t speak a word of English, the stuff wrote the washing instructions for her in Taiwanese. The woolens at 30°C, the trousers at 40°C… Too bad, we found out later that it was all for nothing, because in Taiwan everything is washed with cold water.  😅 Although the receptionists must have wondered about us, they wrote down everything very patiently. The hotel has a lovingly decorated entrance area with designer lamps suspended from the ceiling and big wooden sculptures. The fresh flowers on the reception desk discharge a wonderful fragance which adds a feel-good atmosphere to the hall. The rooms are kept in warm earth tones. Even though they are very small, they are very homey. The Hotel Mis Case got his own café, the Mi Café, in which the breakfast is served in the morning. There are different sets to choose from, consisting of egg; ham, bacon or sausage; toast, white or dark bread; and salat. We can definitely say that Mi Casa had the best breakfast selection in all the Taiwanese hotels we stayed in. Also its location is splendid. Taichung Station is located exactly opposite and thus many restaurants and shops can be found in the area.

Kaoshiung | Hotel Midtown Richardson

The Hotel Midtown Richardson in Kaoshiung is a typical business hotel and only few meters away from the subway station Houyi. Within four metro stations with the red line you reach the picturesque Lotus Pond with its colourful temples. The most famous temples are the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Another stone’s throw away from the hotel is one of the most impressive subway stations in the world, the Dome of Light. The Hotel Midtown Richardson is relatively small, classical in its style and for the upper price range.

Kenting | Check In Hotel

Our room in the Check In Hotel: sand-coloured parcett floor, pale grey brick wall, small seating area, big bed soft as a feather, behind that a natural wooden wall, a TV and a big window. The predominant colour a friendly light blue – perfectly integrating into the idyllic landscape of the southern tip of Taiwan. The hotel offers nine, individually decorated rooms which are all being cherished by one man. You heard right! The check-in is literally a one-man-show. The owner leads the hotel all by himself – and maybe you wouldn’t expect this from a man, but everything is tiptop! Nothing looks shabby, rather the opposite, as if everything was brand spanking new. On top of that, he is an incredibly charming person. Every morning he pampered us with sandwiches and tea from a Taiwanese fast-food chain and if we preferred something else, he gave us vouchers from Seven Eleven instead. One day he even lent his moped to us – such a dear!!

Kenting National Park covers the southernmost area of the Taiwan island. The park is well known for its tropical climate and sunshine, scenic mountain and beach and has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Taiwan. [Text sligthy amended from Wikipedia]

Taitung | Woodenfish Hotel

The Woodenfish Hotel is located on the East coast of Taiwan, close to Donghe Bridge. It is a cosy little house that is placed in the middle of marvelous palm garden right at the main road. The hotel is minimalistic elegant. Natural materials were selected for the furnishings. In the entrance hall, for example, which serves as a breakfast room, the table and stools partly were made from wildly shaped logs. The owner is a kind lady with two cute dogs who doesn’t speak a lot of English. Nonetheless, the communication between us worked out fine. With gestures and signs? No, with Google Translator. 😉 This application works far better than expected.

Hualien | Sunny Path Guesthouse

Well hidden in a calm alley among a similar looking row of houses and doorways is the gate to Sunny Path Guesthouse. The reception is closed most of the times. To enter the house as a guest, we got the door code. Once indoor, our door key was waiting for us, dangling on a hook at the staircase. Already the reception area and the staircase impress with a unique style, built with love for the detail. At latest when we entered our room, we were completely overwhelmed. A pleasant and luminous, sun-filled room with a big comfortable bed, a seating area (underneath it a soft carpet), a dressing-table, a sweet white bathroom and a cute picture of a deer on the wall. Each room in this guesthouse has something special, none resembles the other. The Sunny Path is situated close to the Zhongshan Road. There you can find restaurants, food stalls, stores and much more. Although many of the rooms were occoupied, we never caught sight of other guests during our stay at Sunny Path. In this way we felt as if we had the whole house all to ourselves 😊. The hostess Erica Lin is incredibly likeable and had many good excursion tips up her sleeves. Moreover, she kindly assisted us to obtain the permit for the Zhuilu Old Trail in the Tarokko Gorge by lending us her passport number and allowing us to put her as our emergency contact. Just too bad it didn’t work out in the end due to technical problems on the website. But next time it surely will do!

Yilan | Yoyolife Hostel

In Yilan, we lived at the Yoyolife Hostel – a small guest house which is operated by a three-person family, who lives in the same house. Never before where we welcomed more cordial than here. The owners of Yoyolife only speak broken English but their daughter acted as a superbe interpreter. The rooms in this cute little house are not very big but lovingly and comfortably furnished. Also the cleanness is top. I love rice fields, that’s why I appreciated that there was one right in front of the house. That is because it is located a bit remotely in a calm residential area. The family literally integrated us into their lives, so that we really felt like visiting friends. In the morning, we ate together and got to know each other. What a pity that we only spend one night in this wonderful family. Before the good-bye we took some souvenir photos together. And when they handed us two little, self-made pouches and sweet as a farewell gift, it was definite that we will stay here again on our next visit to Taiwan!

Keelung | E-Coast Star Hotel

Das E-Coast Star Hotel of Keelung is located close to the harbor and the Night Markets and thus very central. It is very modern, has nice rooms and a cozy breakfast room with a great buffet. What I found the coolest of all was the huge Totoro wall sticker in the reception area (figure in the anime “My Neighbor Totoro“). The manager of the hotel is incredibly nice. We asked at the reception if it possible to extend our stay one more night. The price of the booking was then supposed to be much more expensive than on the hotel booking site on the internet. Ultimately we were able to book directly at the hotel, since the manager offered us the same price as on the booking site – we really appreciated this gesture!

Teapot Mountain Trail, Ruifang, New Taipei

All hotels and guest houses in which we stayed were very clean and offered everything we expected from them: air-condition, television, etc. But some of them offered even a little bit more: endearing people who turned our stay in their premises into an experience worth remembering!

 

About the guest author

Nicole describes wandering through Asia as her passion. In 2007 she discovered her love for Asia, which remained with her since. It culminated in her five-month long sabbatical leave in 2017, which led her to Myanmar, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam. Too big was her thirst to immerge into the colourful diversity of Asia and to experience the countries in depth. Since then she feels more connected to the Asian culture and its people than ever before and wants to share this attitude towards life through her articles and her travel blog Open Your Wings [in German] with the world. Always at her side: her best friend and life partner Jürgen.

Have a look at her social media channels 💕

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A selection of our tested accomodation in Taiwan

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