Any suggestions for how to book hotels, hostels, B and Bs for a tour around Taiwan? I don’t really want to book in advance as I would like to make the route flexible in case I’m tired, have extra energy, hit bad weather, etc. I can’t speak Chinese to save my life. If I have to book in advance I will, but any tips would be appreciated.
The usual sites, hostelworld, hotels.com, etc. For example, for a trip to Hsinchu last week I booked the night before Sites are all in English. Easy peasy.
when i did my 9 days of tour of taiwan on bike, i didnt prebook anything and just winged it everyday, worked put great. I don’t have to be anywhere at any certain time, ride as fast or slow as i want…
I have used Hostelworld a number of times and it has always worked like a charm.
Be advised that Taiwanese have a strange habit of pre-booking even hostel or B&B rooms a year ahead. If you come without a reservation and it’s a weekend, you might be out of luck unless you are in Taipei or Taichung or any other of the big cities.
Even in typical tourist destinations like Taidong, Kenting or the Taroko Gorge room capacities are shockingly low, whereas in places like Taipei there seems to be overcapacity.
I’m trying to avoid spending a lot of money just for a hotel. While the suggestions are good, sometimes you will only get an expensive hotel on those sites for the dates you want. What do you do if you ride into a town and are looking for a hotel and you can’t read or speak Chinese? I’d prefer to wing it, which would be possible if I could read the language. But since I can’t, I’m at a distinct disadvantage in that regard.
Hotels are pretty east to spot even without reading any Chinese. Do you have a smart phone? Google maps will show nearby hotels.
And the above posts suggest hostel booking sites, which cover hostels, that is, cheap places to stay.
Also, get a guide book so you know where to look and the general prices of places and where to expect English service (it kinda drives me crazy that people act as if there is no help for them when these books exist precisely for travellers like you).
Don’t worry too much about places being full. While Taroko Gorge itself might be full, down in Hsincheng you will find a place, or in Hualien, which is loaded with hostels and hotels now.
And learn to recognize a few characters:
民宿 guesthouse B&B
thanks for the tips. i did find one suggestion that recommended the “love hotels” as a place to stay for cheap.
i do have a smartphone. cycling around taiwan might be easier than i think. i guess we will see.
[quote=“nonredneck”]thanks for the tips. i did find one suggestion that recommended the “love hotels” as a place to stay for cheap.
I do have a smartphone. cycling around taiwan might be easier than I think. i guess we will see.[/quote]
Love hotels are not usually that cheap unless you just want for a few hours.
They are also not usually in places you are going to be riding, but near High speed rail stations, highway exits, and so on.
I ended up in Love Motels twice, both in towns when I thought I’d be able to find somewhere - then somehow couldn’t (Lugang and Sanxia).
Larger places I booked ahead about 4/5 days in advance (Taidong, Kending, Tainan, Keelung, Taipei).
Got the wife to book most other places (B&B, small hotels) inbetween, the day or so before.
By yourself? I’ve been there. Love the looks you get from the cashier at the front.
By yourself? I’ve been there. Love the looks you get from the cashier at the front. [/quote]
Yes, but breakfast was far worse. Couples, and couples, and couples, and … me.
That’s not a love motel then. Love motels are places you drive into your own garage and suite. No contact with other guests.
You don’t really need to book in advance. I rarely if ever do. The best deals are the cheap hotels near train stations. These are also easy to find since they tend to cluster around one or two streets. Smaller towns will have one or two. The best deals are at the older lushe 旅社. And there’s almost always someone around who speaks enough English. Just be patient and keep your sense of humor.
The only places you need to be careful are major tourist attractions like Alishan, Sun Moon Lake, Qingqingnongchang. The places there are always expensive and on holiday weekends with good weather it can be tough to find a room. Fortunately, these are total tourist traps that you don’t want to stay in anyway. Just go to a nearby town and you will find something.
The advice in this thread has been very helpful. So far I’ve booked almost nothing in advance. When I hit Kenting for the holiday weekend I snapped up a deal on Agoda. Otherwise I’ve just been winging it. No love motel, just hostels and random train station hotels so far, but I did spend a night in a rental home in an aboriginal mountain village in Pingtung
The only downside: after a hard ride I am disinclined to shop around very much so I know I haven’t been getting the best rates. Google has been surprisingly helpful when I’ve been out of luck finding something in more rural areas.
Overall it’s not something to worry about. If in doubt just stop at a shop and ask. Most people understand the “sleeping” gesture (two hands and tilted head).
Unless it’s a busy holiday weekend or some other event happening, it’s normally easy to find a hotel in Taiwan, in both large towns and small towns.
If you want a nice hotel, it won’t hurt to book in advance. If only looking for a simple place to sleep, they can be found if willing to go around a bit and look around.
Many simple basic hotels are not listed on any of the expected websites like agoda, or booking.com, etc. You may see a hotel on one of those sites, but right around the corner are three more simple basic hotels.
It really depends on what you are looking for, how important a hotel is on arrival, and how much you care about riding around the town looking for something that is available.
So to answer the question for a tourist, it is definitely better to book in advance via one of the major booking websites. If scheduling flexibility is important, then use your smartphone as your pulling through towns as it might be better to book at the town before or the town after, look around, and find something.