One of the most popular places to visit in Hualien County (on the East Coast of Taiwan) is Taroko National Park. The quickest way to get there is to first travel to Hualien from Taipei by train and then take a local bus to the park. Due to the travel time involved (about 3 hours from Taipei to Hualien and then a further 45 minutes or so by bus to Taroko’s main entrance), most travellers opt to spend a night in Hualien County and begin their journey to Taroko early the next morning.
While there are an abundance of accommodation choices in Hualien, Hometown B&B (or 家乡民宿, ‘Jia Xiang Min Su’ for those who read and speak Mandarin) is certainly an accommodation option you should seriously consider while in Hualien and here’s why!
True home comforts which are hard to beat
‘A home away from home’ is probably the slogan travellers have most heard hoteliers and booking agents throw about while promoting their premises. But Hometown B&B doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walk.
Arriving at the humble entrance, you will be asked to leave your shoes at the door (don’t worry as it’s unlikely that they’ll go missing during your stay) and slip into comfortable in-house slippers before being escorted to your room. Speaking of which, even the simplest rooms at Hometown B&B are very well furnished and decorated with a clever mix of elegance and simplicity, all of which makes you feel like you’ve just stepped into your own room at home, except maybe cleaner (ahem).
The beds are comfortable, the en-suite bathrooms are spacious, the Smart TV installed offers a list of programmes to enjoy during your down time, and depending on which room you take, the room may even have a small balcony where you can catch some fresh air, perfect during spring or summer.
What further adds to the homey feeling is the unrivalled hospitality offered by the owners, Mr. Nihart from Turkey and his Taiwanese wife. The ‘lobby’ (more like living room) is fully stocked with coffee, tea, snacks and fruits, all of which the owners will gently remind you to 'help yourself’ to. It’s a cosy place to hang out with other travellers and even exchange stories with the owners who are always up for a conversation.
A hearty breakfast and helpful service
Guests staying at Hometown B&B are entitled to a redeemable discount voucher for a breakfast café just a short walk away. The café, called Mo Dou Dining Room, serves up delicious breakfast sandwiches and burgers, in addition to full American breakfasts and good coffee. The buns used for the sandwiches are toasted to perfection and the filling is flavourful, ensuring that patrons get the perfect start to their day.
You can also request for the food to be delivered to your room in Hometown B&B, but, as the owner suggests, it is better to go there yourself as the food will be fresher and you will have more options to choose from.
Apart from breakfast, Hometown B&B’s owners also offer tour packages and ticketing services, mainly to Taroko National Park. The supposed price is 700 TWD (21.45 USD) for a full day tour, but the owners negotiated with the travel company on my behalf and managed to get me in at 650 TWD (19.92 USD). It’s not much of a discount, but it’s a nice gesture.
You will also find many maps (most of them food trail maps) at the reception area and the owners are always happy to point you in the direction of the best places for food or shopping.
As mentioned earlier, most travellers visit Hualien so that they can visit Taroko National Park. That being said, Hualien certainly has its own undeniable charms, and by ‘charms’ I mean gob-smacking good food. From delicious braised pork rice to crisp and sweet fried ice cream, the very best of Hualien’s street food can be found on Zhongshan Road, which is like the heartbeat of Hualien County.
And luckily enough, Hometown B&B is located just one street away from bustling Zhongshan Road. A short five minute walk takes you from an average neighbourhood alley to a busy street filled with enough aromas to make your stomach growl every other minute. The only regret you’ll have walking down this street is the realisation that you can’t eat everything you see.
Which, naturally means you should save space for certain foods. One of them is the 小笼包 ‘xiao long bao’ or steamed buns found in Gong Zheng Bao Zi, a humble buns shops located on a corner of Zhongshan Road. You’ll know it by the queue which is often spotted outside the famous shop.
For something much more sinfully satisfying, you’ll want to make your way to the very end of Zhongshan Road, to Dongdamen Night Market where you’ll find various stalls selling grilled meat kebabs, ranging from 20 TWD (0.61 USD) to 100 TWD (3.06 USD) per kebab depending on choice of meat. The entire stretch of Zhongshan Road goes well over 3km (1.8 miles), so do make use of the bicycles available at Hometown B&B if you’re not prepared to walk right after a meal.
Besides Zhongshan ‘street food’ Road, Hometown B&B is also located close to the train station, which is a short 10 minutes’ walk away. Upon checkout, the owners of Hometown B&B will generously offer to give you a lift, free of charge, to the station to catch your train back to Taipei or wherever it is you’re headed to next.
A truly relaxing place to stay in
A typical night’s stay costs between 1800 TWD (55.15 USD) for the most basic room housing 2, and 2800 TWD (85.78 USD) for the most expensive option, which is capable of housing 4 guests.
Despite the many choices of accommodation in Hualien, Hometown B&B definitely stands out. With its comfortable atmosphere and owners who go beyond the call of duty, you can expect to be fully pampered into relaxation when you stay at Hometown B&B in Hualien!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.