Accomodations Available in Taiwan - Hotels, Hostels, Homestays
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The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from the Portuguese Ilha Formosa, meaning "beautiful island"), is located in East Asia off the coast of mainland China, south of mainland Japan but west of the end of Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and west-north-west of the Philippines. The island is crossed by many waterways, and the scenery goes from lush sub-tropical vegetation to large mountain ranges. The climate is warm and the four seasons are very similar to each other with an average temperature 23C; rainfall is 1,927 mm per year.
Taiwan doesn't sleep - just look at the number of 24-hour stores out there. But since you have to catch some zzzz's now and then, they do have Taiwanese hotels B &B and Hostels scattered around the island. They range in quality from seedy to very luxurious. Keep in mind however, that hotels which cater specifically to Westerners or business tend to be outrageously expensive, while comparable and much cheaper hotels are usually available, and most taxi drivers can take you to one. For example, the airport hotel at Taoyuan International charges about three or four times as much as a hotel in Taoyuan city which is a half hour cab ride.
Motels can be easily found in suburbs of major cities. A single room with attached bathroom will cost you about US$40 to $50 each day (although there are some to be found at $28 a day.) DO note however, that motels in this country have the reputation of being known as 'Love Hotels" and are usually used for such purposes.
As in much of Asia, hotel beds in Taiwan are generally much harder than in the West. Only in the most upscale Western style hotels will you find beds any softer than a billiard table.
For the budget-minded, there are hostels in Taipei and most other sizeable cities. Campsites in Taiwan are also available in many areas where you can enjoy the attractions and great outdoors. Especially when you visit the regions less travelled by westerners (mostly because there is no business there), don't be shy to walk in on the more pricey hotels, especially during low season. The Cesar Hotel, The Howard Beach Resort and the Chateau at Kenting are favored hot spots.
A small note regarding Motels. Unlike Motels in North America and possibly elsewhere, motels here are not generally cheap because they do not cater to the common traveler but rather couples, lovers who want to get away form their shared accommodation, roommates or family. Many motels here can be quite expensive, and have amenities like saunas, spas and some even have their own private little swimming pool.
What To Look For in accommodation
If you need a place to live, well housing in Taiwan can be quite expensive or cheap so you'll have to shop around. If you are just new to Taiwan and most likely staying in a hotel . I would suggest getting a one-room apartment, known as a Tao Fang. Most Tao Fangs come completely furnished with all the necessary hookups, telephone, cable, etc. This way you don't have to put up a lot of money for deposits and furniture when you first get here. This could only be for a few months until you start to get a feel for Taiwan and decide to stay. At this point you could decide on getting a bigger place or sharing accommodations with other foreign visitors that are in the same situation. You will find that most two bedroom apartments are unfurnished, so you will have to decide if this is an expense that you are willing to put out.
When looking for housing or to share a room, remember to ask:
- How much is the security/damage deposit. The standard damage deposit required in Taiwan is two months rent. So when you first move in to a new place you must have 3 months rent up front, 2 months damage deposit and your first months rent Try to negotiate 1 month before moving in and 1 month with the following months rent.
- What day of the month is rent due? Can you pay on the 10th, 15th, etc.?
- Can you leave before the end of your contract and still get your deposit back?
- Check the bathroom. water pressure, leaky taps, and bathing utilities can really determine the comfort level of your apartment.
- Is the telephone limited to local calls? (some older phones in Taiwan are coin operated, even in- house phones)
- Are windows, sinks and the undersides of tubs caulked or sealed properly? Creepy night crawlers like cockroaches tend to enter through these spaces.
- Is there security (GUAN-LI-FEI ) included? If so, is there a fee for the service? Do you need to prepay for three months?
- Who's responsible to pay the utility bills and do you need to switch into your name?
- Is the apartment near a busy road, motorcycle shop, small manufacturing shop or nightclub? (or all of the above) Could get quite noisy and make it hard to get a good night's sleep.
- Meet any future Roommates and go out with them one night to see how they are in the public and if they are similar to you.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT HOTELS
Hotels in Taiwan
Taiwan has an exceedingly large number of hotels meaning that they can cater to just about anyone's accommodation needs. Two benefits that some foreigners may be unaccustomed to are the fact that in the average hotel guests will not have to tip, nor pay a sales tax on the room, or food and drink.
Hostels in Taiwan
Hostels are considered to be illegal in Taiwan, but they exist in all the major cities and usually appear as normal-sized apartments. These compact rooms generally start in the $250 NT range and vary in price according to location, quality, services offered, etc. Depending on where you stay, here are a few tips for hostel-goers to think about bringing for their stay:
- Shower Shoes
- Small Toiletries Kit
- Mosquito Net
- Personal Fan (If Summer without AC)
You can enjoy low costs accommodation in the following hostels:
The China Youth Corps (CYC) runs hostels in urban and rural areas for as little as NT$200 on up: www.cyh.org.tw
There are government run hostels available, but are generally limited to use by those holding teaching/civil servant cards.? In the event of emergency, other accommodations are made available.
Like many of the cash-strapped that have visited Taiwan, there were no friends or family to room with. If this is the case, it is likely you will be staying in a hostel at some point. However, this does not have to be a bad thing. Not only are they cheap and easy, but many offer discounted rates for longer stays.
For those looking for a permanent place to stay, hostels allow a person time to save up money before committing to an apartment/house and signing an extended lease. Websites such as www.englishintaiwan.com offer free classified ads and sponsors that can help you in your search for permanent housing. Prices, of course, vary greatly, but the most reasonable of apartments (basically a large closet with plumbing), will start at around $3000 NT. Many choose to live with roommates and rent a large apartment or even a house.) Houses in the middle of major cities can run into the tens of thousands of NT.
The higher-end (3+ stars) hotels start around $1000 NT and can also run into the tens of thousands of NT, per night!
Reminder: If you are traveling during Chinese New Year or other holidays/festivals, as well as large vacation weekends, CALL AHEAD. The Taiwanese love traveling and taking advantage of hotels and hostels while on vacation.
Called "homestays" local families are known to cater to the lodging needs of travelers.? For some, this is a unique opportunity to envelop one's self into the culture of a Taiwanese family.? It is also a unique opportunity for the family to make a few extra NT.? Reminder: Hostels used to be illegal until just recently I believe, so there will not be big flashing signs outside but, ask around. They are there.
Taiwan offers a great variety of options for travelers and visitors; the costs of which are relatively moderate in comparison to other major tourist destinations. The trick is to do research before arriving, and, once having arrived, understanding what to look for. since 2008 or so, Hostels and bed & breakfast businesses have flourished all over Taiwan.
Enjoy your stay!