Where to stay in Taiwan
You’ll find a wide scope of different accommodation options in Taiwan, with standard mid-price hotels at one end of the market and a raft of big-name international chains and chic design properties at the top end. Taipei in particular has a good number of all-out luxury properties. For full details, contact the Taiwan Visitors Bureau. Prices can fluctuate according to peak seasons, weekends and public holidays, with the period around Chinese New Year the most expensive time.
Grading: Since 2007, hotels have been rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. However, the old system of 1 to 5 'Plum Blossoms' is still used by many establishments.
Bed and breakfast
The homestay concept has taken off in a big way in Taiwan, with all manner of family-run establishments opening their doors to visitors. While some are downright fantastic, offering enough charm and hospitality to make them a trip highlight in their own right, others are more basic. Breakfast is often provided, although it’s not often eaten with the family. Costs tend to be comparable to mid-range hotels, although a homestay is far more likely to give you an insight into Taiwanese life.
The notion of camping in Taiwan is an increasingly popular one among both visitors and locals, with a good number of dedicated sites located in the most scenic parts of the island. It’s best to have your own equipment, particularly if you’re striding out alone to pitch up within a national park, but several of the island’s communal sites also offer the chance to rent a tent. Costs are affordable and – when the weather holds – the camping lifestyle is arguably the most rewarding way of experiencing the natural beauty of Taiwan.
Youth hostels are relatively easy to find in the most popular areas for visitors, with most of them offering good budget accommodation in either dormitories or private rooms. An increasing number are now affiliated to the Hostelling International network, an association that many travellers see as providing good peace of mind. Kitchens, laundry facilities and internet connection are found in many of these properties.
Elsewhere, hot springs hotels are a great way for tourists to immerse themselves in what is one of Taiwan’s big visitor draws – its steamy, sulphurous array of hot springs. The resorts themselves vary in standard, as do the facilities, but it’s generally fairly simple to arrange a stay at a well thought-of option. The springs are said to have health-giving properties, but even for those visitors without ailments, a soak in a hot public bath under an evening sky is still an indulgent experience. The best baths also have plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas to enjoy. The colour and temperature of the waters vary from region to region – some are crystal-clear, while others a reddish hue.