Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Taiwan Homestay @ 台灣之旅 . 民宿篇

Back in April, went to Taiwan with V and V's sistersss, yes, sisterssss...:D
A bit late to write this, but better than none I guess.

10 days trip is a bit difficult to put it in words. So I might only focus on accommodation and transportation first, the 2 most basic things that travelers concern.
This is the first travel accommodation and transportation planning by myself for an oversea destination.

For Chinese version of our Taiwan travel experience please find V's blog - Life's Simple Pleasure
中文版台灣遊記請看V's 部落格 - Life's Simple Pleasure

Taipei City Hostel - Ximen Branch  西门橙舍
Our first stop is Taipei City Hostel - Ximen Branch (西门橙舍).
After come out from the Arrival Hall (Tower 2 for Air Asia from Malaysia) turn left and look for the bus counter signboard. Go straight and it's on your left.

We took the Free Go Airport Bus (飛狗巴士) which is "direct" bus to Ximen Taipei City Hostel. In fact, when the bus reach town area, it stops and we need to get down from the bus and change to another smaller bus then only take us to our hostel. It's not exactly "direct" though.
We just need to walk a bit and cross the road to reach the hostel. X is the hostel location.

         X
------------------------------------------
漢口街二段 Hankou Street
------------------      -------------------
                  |漢 |   (Free Go)
                  |中 |
                  |街 |
   Hanzhong Street

When we reach the hostel, the owner is expecting us there already. We feel really welcome.
The place is pretty and clean, which is exactly the same as the photo in their website. The bed is comfortable and the shower and toilet are clean. It is equipped with everything you might needed, including washing machine, free wifi with a notebook on each floor for use.

The drawback is the shower and toilet are pretty small, but we don't really care much as only spend not more than 15 mins in the shower. Another thing is the rooms are located up to 4th floor but only staircase is available. But I guess that's the signature of Taiwan's buildings.
Spot the building
double decker 6 pax dorm
Hanzhong Street is a buzzy street where you can find various of food and shop till you drop. We only managed to shop in few shops but it was enough to spend lots of our money. Go straight on the Hanzhong Street you will reach Ximen MRT Station (Exit 6) in less than 5 mins, which I find really convenient and that's the main reason why I choose Taipei City Hostel.

Hanlin Homestay 翰林居民宿
Next day, we going to Hualian for Taroko (太魯閣) sightseeing. We leave our luggage at the hostel as they provide lockers for us, one of the nicest thing from them.

Hanlin Homestay is at Hualian Back Station (花莲火车站后站) Just across the big big road in front of the station. You will see a 7-11 at the corner shoplot. Hanlin is at the upstairs of the 7-11.
Hanlin is only basic for a place to stay. They have hot shower, soap and towel are provided. And most important and basic, water dispenser. You can't imagine how important it is for a backpacker. They do not have extra things like washing machine nor a kitchen, but I think it's pretty good enough for a short stay. We stay in the Japanese Style Room for 4 (日式四人套房301) + 1 extra bed at NT1700 on Sunday.

They are clean and comfortable. Do not worry about the mattress is too thin whereby it's on the floor. They are comfortable and make us a good sleep.

paiseh we already mess up the room

Taipei Backpackers 台北橙舍
Back to Taipei, we stay at another branch of Taipei City Hostel, named Taipei Backpackers (台北橙舍) located near Taipei Main Station  as we need to depart from the Main Station with High Speed Rail (高鐵) on the next day.

The hostel is not hard to find but the Exit of Taipei Main Station is really hard to find. We need to find the Exit Y9 of the Station in order to get to the hostel. You need to look for the Train Station Map to make sure you are on the right direction to Y9. The station is really big and too many branches and exits. Try your best to find signboard to Section Y or the Underground Street (地下街) in the station where lots of shops and stalls reside, they will lead you nearer to the Y9 exit.

Once you out from Exit Y9, you will see a 7-11 on ur right. Beside the 7-11 there's a really small alley, do not hesitate, that's the correct way to Taipei Backpackers. Turn into the alley, then turn left again, the hostel is 3 to 4 shops away on your left.

Taipei Backpackers is as good as it's branch. They have kitchen and cup noodles in their common hall. You just need to pay for the noodles by inserting the money to the container provider. All based on trust, which I really admire. Both of their branches are running keyless system, we only need to memorize the password and enter it on the key pad at main entrance and our room. This is really convenient where you have several travel partners and you do not need to wait for each other for return when only have 1 set of key.
as nice as ximen branch


Shin Shin Homestay 阿里山欣欣民宿
Shin Shin Homestay (阿里山欣欣民宿) is the final decision after surveying a lot on Alishan accommodation. As it is Sakura Season (櫻花季), most of the accommodation is extremely expensive. Although lack of confidence, but it's my final choice with it's location, condition and price.
Shin Shin located just beside the 7-11 (left hand side if you facing 7-11) once you step out from the bus from Jiayi. The train station is about 5 mins walking distance, it's very near just takes time because we need to deal with the staircase.
The boss is extremely friendly. He guided us with a map on the route that we should take for the trail and tell us what to do like where's the station and we need to buy the train ticket in the evening for tomorrow sunrise. Outside of the homestay, the boss is selling some local goodies and he keep wanna give us for free. So nice of him.
photo with the boss
gift from Shin Shin's boss
They have extra sweater at lobby that can borrow from the boss. Remember to try their hot jelly (烧鲜草), pretty special but not sure what exactly it called in English.

Fengchia Home 台中逢甲夜宿館 (逢甲星)
Stop by at Taizhong on our way back to Taipei. Stayed in Fengchia Home 逢甲夜宿館 (逢甲星) . It's pretty basic like Hanlin Homestay, I guess because normally people won't stay long in these places, basic is enough. They do not have water dispenser but they gave us few bottles of mineral water. It's 3-5 minutes walking distance to Fengchia night market (逢甲夜市). Be careful as need to cross a really big and busy street.

白海豚 4人房

We stay at Taipei City Hostel (西門橙舍) for the rest of our trip. The place really gives us comfort and really think for traveler on what they really need. This is my favorite stay among the homestay we had in Taiwan and I highly recommended it.

FAQ 常見問題
Q1:什麼是台鐵火車後站? 前站和後站有甚麼差別?
A1:其實就是前門和後門.方便旅客有通往不同街道的出口.有些火車站從前站到後站需要索取月台票(不須付費).
Q1:What is Back/Rear Station? What's the different between Front and Rear Train Station in Taiwan?
A1:Basically it means the front and back door of the train station. It allows travelers exit to different streets as normally the station is very big. You need to get the platform ticket from the ground staff if you need to walk from front station to rear station or vice verse. 

Q2:預定住宿須預先繳費嗎?
A2:以上我們入住的民宿,除了欣欣民宿外,其他經過和老闆商談後都不需要先付款,check-in時才付全款.欣欣民宿使用Paypal讓國外旅客安全付款.壞處是需要繳Paypal手續費.
Q2:Do I need to pay deposit to book the accomodation/homestay?
A2:For the homestay/hostel that I mentioned above, we did not pay for any deposit except for Shin Shin Homestay at Alishan. Just pay full amount when you check-in. Shin Shin uses Paypal for oversea transaction. The cons is we need to pay service charge to Paypal.
https://www.paypal.com/my/

Q3:民宿含早餐嗎?
A3:以上民宿都不含早餐.
Q3:Is breakfast provided at hostel/homestay?
A3:No, breakfast not included in above mentioned hostel and homestay.

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