TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Bed and Breakfasts have become something of a phenomenon in Taiwan in recent years. As the travel boom in Taiwan has continued to blossom, hotel prices have crept up and up, and more people are looking for a more affordable place to rest their head on a trip.
B&Bs can also offer a much more unique and personal experience than most hotels. Many offer just a handful of rooms, meaning guests can get to know the owners, learn a little about the local culture and history, and often sample some of their own home-cooked local delicacies.
Many B&Bs have also set up in unique buildings and locations which offer guests the chance for a really special experience, rather than spending more time in anonymous and uniform hotel rooms. However, there a slightly fewer quirky B&Bs available across Taiwan this week after the Consumer Protection Committee (行政院消費者保護會) shut down a number of enterprising facilities which had created accommodation out of shipping containers.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of unique and interest B&Bs to choose from. In this article, we have highlighted our pick of Taiwan's best alternative and unique B&Bs. If you have stayed in any good ones that haven't made it onto our list, why not share them with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
- Beishan Old Western Style Hostel– Kinmen (北山古洋樓)
Image Credit: tripadvisor.com.tw
Arguably more of a backpacker's hostel than a B&B, the Beishan Old Western Style Hostel offers 24 beds in a mix of eight and four-bed dormitories, plus one family room. It is located in an old Qing Dynasty house which is situated in Kuningtou (古寧頭), a small village in the north of Kinmen (金門). The village is close to the scene of the Battle of Kuningtou, also known as the Battle of Kinmen, between the Nationalist and Communist Forces.
This house was used by the Communist Party forces as a military command post during the battle. It is the only such building still standing on Kinmen. There are still plenty of scars from the battle to drive them out of Kinmen to be seen too, with numerous bullet holes to be seen in the walls. After the war, the house fell into disrepair but was restored in 2005, and in 2015 it was registered as a historic building. The Beishan Old Western Style Hostel opened in September 2016, and now hosted frequent events about to Kinmen's history, culture, cuisine, and architecture.
- Lake South Mansion House- Kinmen (湖畔江南洋樓館)
Image Credit: Agoda.com
Also located in Kinmen, in the ancient village of Jinning (寧鄉), close to Kuningtou, the Lake South Mansion House is another stunningly well preserved historic building that guests can spend the night in. It was built by the local Lee (李) family, who travelled south as part of their business and returned to build a Western-style mansion to demonstrate their business achievements. This house also served as a military base for the Nationalist officers during the Chinese civil war against the Communists.
The house boasts a beautiful Shanghai style wooden staircase and guests have use of the splendid front-terrace where they can enjoy breakfast in the morning. It offers four en-suite bedrooms and four regular bedrooms which have the use of two shared bathrooms. If you have a group of 20 people, it is possible to hire the entire house.
- Shan Zhai Min Ju- Hsinchu（山宅民居）
Image Credit: DearB&B.com
The Shan Zhai Min Ju B&B is located right on Beipu Old Street (北埔老街), one of the most popular attractions in Hsinchu (新竹). It is also close to a number of other local places of interest. The building housing this B&B is a traditional tile house which still boasts almost all of its original features, from intricate brickwork and wooden ceiling beams to original window frames and a beautiful tiled courtyard.
The owners of the Shan Zhai Min Ju B&B also offer guests an experience of Hakka culture. Despite the building's historic nature, the rooms themselves are modern and comfortable. It is not a big house and if you go with a big group or with your whole family, you can even rent out the whole house on your own.
- Houhu Garden Resort– Hualien (後湖水月)
Image Credit: Tripadvisor.com.tw
The Houhu Garden Resort is as far from a typical resort as you can get. This small B&B, which is located in beautifully manicured gardens just off the number 11 east coast highway close to Jiqi Beach (磯崎海灘). It has been painstakingly created in a tranquil valley sandwiched between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. According to the current owners, the site used to be landscaped as a terraced pond. They have endeavored to recreate this effect and the result is a truly special and peaceful place to stay.
There is a choice of four villas to stay in, each of which is beautifully kitted out to ensure every guest is staying in comfort and style. There is also an on-site restaurant which alternates Chinese and western style breakfasts and can also provide a lunchbox and set meal for dinner. The attraction of a B&B for many is to escape the rigors of modern Taiwanese life. And there is nowhere to do that better than Houhu.
- Ponponwu– Kaohsiung (棚棚屋)
Image Credit: Ponponwu.com
If you like the idea of camping, but not the reality of it, then Ponponwu is the place for you, because this is Taiwan's first indoor camping area. Guests sleep in their own special tent or chalet, which are situated in a small group, much like a campsite. You can choose from special tents or chalets, creative tents, or economic tents. For those looking for a more conventional night, there are a few regular rooms available too.
Like a regular campsite, guests do have to show consideration for other 'campers' in neighboring tents. But there are plenty of communal facilities available too, including bathrooms, recreation rooms, a coin-operated laundry. It not for everyone. But if you like the idea of camping right in the middle of downtown Kaohsiung (高雄市), within close proximity to all of the city's major attractions, then Ponponwu is a fun and unique place to stay.
- Machiya Hinoki– Tainan (町屋日本)
Image Credit: Agoda.com
If you want to sample an authentic Japanese-era B&B, then Machiya Hinoki in Tainan (臺南市) is a good bet among the many Japanese style B&Bs that can be found in Tainan. Located close to the Confucius Temple in Tainan, this Japanese-era house retains many of the original period features including the original wooden doors and window frames. It is also decked out with plenty of retro furniture which fits the style of the building well. The owners have attempted to mimic the style of such B&Bs in Kyoto and other historic Japanese cities, with considerable success.
Guests can choose from three rooms, and guests have the option to sleep on a regular bed or go for a proper Japanese experience by sleeping on bamboo floor mats. Each room offers a traditional style wooden bathtub too. Rooms are cozy and not recommend for more than 2 people at a time. But that just adds to the ambience of this incredibly atmospheric B&B.
- Laymon Music Studio and Hostel– Kaohsiung (樂門樂門)
Image Credit: DearB&B.com
This small B&B, which is located just behind the main station in Fengshan (鳳山車站), Kaohsiung (高雄市), doesn't look much like a B&B from the outside. When you go into the living room, things look pretty ordinary, and frankly rather grotty too. But climb the stairs and you are confronted with a rock and roll lovers paradise. The owner of this B&B is a musician himself. This was his family home and while it retains many of the features of that time (including family photos), he has kitted this place out to reflect his own musical passions.
The Laymon Hostel offers a sound-proofed music room with drum set and guitars for guests to use and full studio facilities. There is also a six-person room, a double-room, and a single-room where guests can stay. Each room is designed in a rock and roll style, with strong bright colors, rock posters and memorabilia on the walls. If you don't like rock, this isn't the place for you, but music lovers will treasure the unique experience it offers.