One of the best ways to experience a country is to eat and sleep like the locals, and frankly, there is no better way to fully immerse yourself into Taiwanese culture than staying in a bed-and-breakfast. Known as minsu, these accommodations are usually hosted by friendly home owners who would often go the extra mile to make you feel welcomed. Here are three unique minsus off the well-travelled path.
photo credit - oldfive.com.tw
Old Five Guesthouse
Set in Shuili, a sleepy township in Nantou County, Old Five Guesthouse is one of my best travel memories to date. With a lush Zen garden, minimalist wooden rooms and cosy tea nooks, the property looks like a page in a Japanese interior magazine, complete with the mountains silhouetted in the background. Guests are often hosted by Da Xiong, a Taichung transplant who has lived in the town for several years. He makes a mean pot of Chinese tea and is a favourite among the many organic farmers in the area. Sign up for the free nightly garden walk where he will introduce you to the resident spider, among other curiosities. After a day exploring the nearby Sun Moon Lake, guests often gather in the living area for long chats into the night, fuelled by Da Xiong’s tea, of course. Breakfast too is a treat, with freshly baked bread by the lady boss and all sorts of organic produce — think grain porridge, fresh fruit and steamed sweet potatoes.
photo credit -lunethings.blogspot.sg
Taiwan Alishan Seasonstar B&B
Even though this guesthouse is situated almost an hour’s drive from Alishan National Scenic Area, it is often booked out, thanks to its beautiful setting and the warmth of host Gordon. Surrounded by flowering gardens, the wooden cottage is reminiscent of fairy tales, and you can spend endless hours walking up nearby hills and breathing in the cool, fresh air. On your first night, you’ll be treated to a hotpot dinner in the dining room complete with a fireplace. In the mornings and during tea time, sit in the gardens to enjoy pastries and coffee. Gordon is a gardening buff who’ll be able to tell you all about the seasonal blooms in the area.
photo credit - windsorbnb.com
A short train ride from Taipei, the hilly town of Jiufen makes an atmospheric overnight stay with stunning views. Windsor B&B is a quirky, modern guesthouse located a short stroll away from the famed Jiufen Old Street. Besides the spacious rooms and artsy interiors, what really makes this place stand out are the views it offers. The breakfast room has a floor to ceiling window that overlooks the Pacific Ocean — the panorama is exceptionally gorgeous at sunset. Without a need to rush to catch the train back to Taipei, as most travellers do, spend your time lazily exploring the stalls in the Old Street, as well as the many art galleries and cafes that pepper the vicinity. This guesthouse is extremely popular, so you’d be wise to book ahead.