Monday, November 18, 2013

Taiwan budget stay review

Taroko (Hualien) > Hualien City > Taitung > Kaoshiung > Taichung > Taipei

Since we did my Taiwan trip on a shoestring, but not totally. We did stayed at dorms and opted for accommodation below RM50 per night. Everything is kinda cheap in Taiwan, but not accommodation really. When I told my Uncle (who frequently visits Taiwan) I was gonna bring RM2k, he said I'll need more because accommodation would be expensive. But since only 2 young girls went, we figured staying at dorms should not be a problem. 

We booked ALL our accommodation before leaving for Taiwan. However because we were busy with our convocation, I only managed to make reservation 3 days before we departed. I opened 3 main websites: Taiwan Youth Hostel, and So using these 3 websites, I made the comparisons for the cheapest, but yet the most accessible and hostel with the best reviews.

Over 8 days 7 nights in Taiwan, we stayed at 6 different places! Because we wanted to cover as many places as possible so we were on the move most of the time. It is always better to write your hostel/hotel name in Chinese because it would be easier to ask around or hire a taxi. Below are the pros and cons of the hostels/hotels we booked:

(1) Hualien - Liwu Inn International Hotel via Taiwan Youth Hostel
Address: No.242-2, Fushi. Xiulin Township. Hualien County (near by Taroko)
Phone number: 886 3 861-0769
Cost: TWD300/night (4 female bunk beds room)

for more photos please visit Taiwan Youth Hostel

Comment: If you didn't inform them earlier, you will need to check-in by 10PM. Because it was our first day and we traveled to Hualien right after landing in Taoyuan International Airport, we arrived at the hostel at 10.30PM. Thank God we met 2 awesomely good Samaritans who not only helped us get cell phone cards, also drove us to the hostel. The hostel is located near XinCheng train station, quite a distance from Hualien City. When we arrived, the owners were about to leave! We made it just in time to check-in. After he showed us our room and the shower, they left. Owners were really nice and friendly! We were so tired and didn't know we paid extra for the room, the next day the owner told us he made some miscalculation and returned the balance to us. We were the only occupants in the hostel that night. Not really creepy because the bed, pillow and blanket were awesome! Super comfy. The bunk beds had own sockets and curtains for privacy. We slept so well. Hair dryer was provided. The shower room is nearby but the heater malfunctioned, the water got either too hot or too cold, so to get the right temperature we had to switch frequently. Besides the heater, wifi was weak inside our room, but you can always use it at the corridor where chairs and tables are provided. And Liwu Inn is really located just next to the bus stop to Taroko National Park. We didn't know we need to wave to get a bus to stop so we ended up walking to Taroko (which was actually do-able from the hostel and we actually enjoyed the scenery on the way)

Verdict: 4 stars!

(2) Hualien CYC International Youth Hostel via Taiwan Youth Hostel
Address: No.41-11, Gongyuan Rd. Hualien City. Hualien County 970
Phone number: 886-3-8324124
Cost: TWD350/night (8 female bunk beds room)

for more photos please visit Taiwan Youth Hostel

Comment: This one kinda shocked us. We didn't know how it looks like and where exactly is the location. We only know it is in Hualien and probably near to Hualien Train Station where we supposed to take train to Taitung. The good Samaritans from the day before were thankfully from Hualien and they of course knew the place well. After our dinner together, he drove us there. And to our surprise, it was a school (or maybe still a school). It is a school dormitory. The area is huge. The receptionists were more like at a counter where you need to settle your school fees (because the place also offer workshops and classes like Yoga and Taichi). The bed is however as hard as rock, but we were tired and still slept well. Toilet is dorm style, separated shower rooms in a row. Heater didn't create any problem, worked perfectly. Washing machine and hair dryer were also provided. The only problem was that there was only one socket near the door. Thank God were brought our own extension cable. For CYC, there was a TV with all 100+ Taiwan channels. We spent the night watching a figure skating competition Lol.

Verdict: 3.8 stars!

(3) Traveler Hotel Taitung via
Address: 42 An Ching Street. Taitung, 950. Taiwan
Phone number: 88689326456
Cost: TWD1080/night (private double)

for more photos please visit Traveler Hotel Taitung at

Comment: For Taitung, I couldn't find any youth hostel or more budget dorm stay. However for a double room at TWD1080, meaning it was only TWD540 per person, almost a great deal for a private room without shared bathroom! When we arrived, I saw the hotel also has a "Hosteling International" logo on the entrance. I figured that it must be one of the youth choice due to the price. This is not a dorm but a proper hostel so we didn't have much to complain. The receptionists were helpful. Ding Dong Bus Station (Mountain Route) bus station were just nearby, DingDong Bus Station (Sea Route) is a distance away, around 15 minutes on foot. Hairdryer provided, famous eateries are nearby, bicycle and motorcycle rentals provided. Even though there are not much to see in Taitung compared to other county, it was our best (private) stay so far, we spent the night watching a Taiwanese reality show before calling it a day.

Verdict: 4.2 stars!

(4) Kaohsiung Backpackers Hostel via
Address: No.40, Jianguo 3rd Rd., Sanmin District, Kaohsiung
Phone number: 886-72888028
Cost: TWD389/night (4 female bunk beds room)

visit for more photos

Comment: For dorm stay, this was probably the best place. It is super near to the Kaoshiung main station were you take the regular train, MRT (also to High Speed Railway station) and the bus. Only 5 minutes walk. It is 2 lots away from 7-11 and opposite the road there is another 7-11! Receptionist was sooo friendly! We stayed on the 4th floor, was tiring but it was new and the environment was nice! They used password security lock rather than keys so it was so convenient. You can check-in late on your own as they will provide you the password and room number through email. And you can check-out with no problem, just take you stuffs and leave! That night we had a Taiwanese and a HongKong roommates, both were friendly~ Again, sockets for every beds, reading lights provided, hairdryer not provided but shower rooms were really nice and refreshing! I loved their interior designs (I realized most items are from IKEA) very much, simple and clean! From our Taiwanese roommate, we found out that they have a branch in Taipei exactly in Xi Men Ding area. We quickly cancel our initial booking with "The Meeting Place" (to be commented on later) and made booking with Taipei Backpackers Hostel.

Verdict: 4.5 stars!

(5) Unicorn Hostel via
Address: No.18, Lane 83, Xing Lin Road. Xitun District. Taichung.Taiwan
Phone number: 886-912378070
Cost: TWD399/night (4 female bunk beds room)

for more photos please visit Unicorn Hostel at

Comment: One thing I will always remember about Unicorn Hostel, the receptionist Yoyo is super friendly! She is a young girl probably my age and maybe working part time. We arrived very late as well that night and almost got lost. Called up Yoyo and she came out welcoming us with our roommate from China. Unicorn Hostel did surprise us because it is actually a terrace house lot made into a hostel. They only have 2 room, 4 bunks female and 8 bunks mix. Besides the location, everything about it is nice! The shower was perfect (though it is downstairs but there were only 3 girls and 1 shy HongKong guy so it doesn't matter), dining room where we tapao-ed our food from the Night Market and ate dinner. The nearby night market is Fengjia Night market. Yoyo said it is 10 minutes but I think we took half an hour to reach, they should change the time approximate. Taking a bus from regular railway station or high speed rail to the hostel was not a problem. The problem was the other way round. There were way too many buses, we waited for almost an hour, finally gave up and took taxi. There is also a mall nearby (Xin Guang San Yue) where we watched a movie on the second night because besides night market Taichung can be quiet at night. If you will be visiting the Formosa Cultural Village at Sun Moon Lake, I would suggest you to stay overnight at Sun Moon Lake (there are buses to Taichung and Taipei direct from Sun Moon Lake), else half a day or day trip to Sun Moon Lake would be sufficient.

Verdict: 4 stars!

(6) Taipei Backpackers Hostel via receptionist at Kaohsiung Backpackers Hostel 
-you can always visit to book for either Kaoshiung or Taipei Backapackers Hotel-
Address: No.41, Sec 2, Hankou St., Taipei (MRT Ximen Station)
Phone number: 8862-2311-9559
Cost: TWD1100/night (private double)

cr: Visit for more photos

Comment: Though we had a great experience at Kaoshiung branch, Taipei branch (at least for Xi Men Ding MRT branch) was totally a disappointment. The receptionist (particularly one with short hair) was very rude, didn't bother to look at us while talking. Because we check-in early and the room was not ready, we left our luggage at the receptionist and went on to explore Taipei. When we came back around 9PM, no one bothered to show us to our room. We actually went up the wrong place and didn't know the other branch is on building (if you see their website, they have 2 on the same street). And our room was at the very end, next to the washing machine and window (kinda noisy with cars and people talking at night because Xi Men Ding is a busy area). Room was quite squeezy compared to Kaoshiung's 4 people dorm. Other facilities are alright, good thing Xi Men Ding made up for it. I was just pissed that nobody told us that our room was at a totally different building, quite far across the street, and of course the rude receptionist. Most expensive stay but not the most comfortable. Area is nice but would probably request for a room further in next time.

Verdict: 3.8 stars!

And about "The Meeting Place" which is highly rated and which I booked through in advance, I canceled my booking after I found out from the Taiwanese friend we met in Kaoshiung that Nangang, where the hostel is located, is far from main town. I emailed them twice but didn't get any reply. I made the cancellation 3 days in advance (they said I should cancel 24 hours in advance so 3 days is of course a good thing right?). Up till today I am not sure whether they received my cancellation, but obviously I didn't turn up and they didn't bother calling or emailing me?? And hopefully they didn't charge my credit card else I would totally rage, cause that would mean they pretended not to read my email (??)

Will blog about our detailed Taiwan itinerary soon (hopefully)! Managed to eat, sleep and play in Taiwan for RM1.6k in 8days 7nights, is this considered cheap?

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