Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taiwan 民宿

One of the more intimate way to experience Taiwan is to stay in 民宿 : Min2 Su4. 
I learned more about 民宿 from our Lead Guide 芬姐 Fang Jei who operates one with her hubby 國哥Guo2 Ger1The idea came from Europe. It means Home Stay where originally if you had an extra room, you could lease it out to visitors, back backers, cyclists. These 民宿 have sprouted a lot in Taiwan and became a unique feature of their country.
南埔庭園民宿  (Nan2 Pu3 Tin2 Yuan4 Min2 Su4) 
7 rooms which easily fit 20 folks. 

United nations flag... no lah.. just laundry for 20... flying in the wind 
芬姐, Kimi, Cayla, Momo and 國哥 
Easy access to wash ur steel horses @ 南埔庭園民宿 
We were very glad to have 國哥Guo2 Ger1 and 芬姐 Fang Jei to support us for the 10 day cycling/ family tour. Their 南埔庭園民宿 is located at Hua Lien. This is a lovely place where we had visited earlier March and we stay around Seven Star bay area. 
There are many sites which are accessibleby biking around. Like the route 193 which we took the classic padi field photo . Or alternatively if u want to take on something very challenging... the entry point to the Taroko Gorges will lead you all the way up Mount Wu Lin (He Hwan shan @ 3227metres). That too can be arranged.  
Route 193... Padi fields with LCSG!
Padi Fields!  
Ok, I must share this 民宿 is not for those who like posh posh stylo milo living. You get to live in a real home and experience life closer to ground level. It is actually quite nice really.. here a shot of the room.  
This is for 8 person but was given to us as we have a little one... so spacious!

It is about meeting real people who call Taiwan, home. Like for Guo Ger, he is a Sports journalist and juggles both jobs. With his extensive network, he loves to find those off the beaten track places which still retains the real Taiwan flavor. I remember he shared with us Hualien Custard Apple.. I have never been a one who like to try exotic fruit but his passion was so infectious that I tried... and it is really good.
Momo and Kimi melting the heart of 國哥
Fang jei used to work 7/11 (monday to Sunday) for many years. Like many Taiwanese folks 
and Singaporean alike... they burn out and became so tired. 
Hubby said.. "enough, we are not going to do this anymore. With both our work schedules, we hardly ever meet." With that  Fang Jei left her job in Taipei and they moved to Hua Lien to set up 民宿.  BTW, she studied Tourism and was once a qualified tour guide. Something she loves doing. And it shows.    
Home made Tou jiang and nice bao. 芬姐 treating us more like friends than customers. I like. 
hot and steamy.. nice pao!
Playing with the kids and the children love her!
The thing about I find about 民宿 is this.. although the houses may be a bit rough on the edges and not as spiffy as a 5 star hotel. It just feels more welcoming.Like a pair of well worn jeans. I guess their personality (國哥+ 芬姐) helps in giving the place a real character. Nothing pretentious... just being them. We can all just be ourselves and no need to keep up with the jones so as to speak.  
Small thoughtful gestures and chats really made staying in Taiwan a pleasant experience.
國哥 driving one of the 3 VW transporter. Seat 6 and can carry 4 brompton(folded) some more.   
4 Brompton fit in beautifully inside the VW Transporter. With space for bags and other barang barang

No sign board stall... simple, good minced meat noodle. 國哥 personal makan place... and he share this lobang with us
I am not taking away the awesome views and sights. But I really think the magic of Taiwan is in the people. There is this sense of "Ren ging wei", esp at villages which makes things so very comforting.

Ok, enough of the fuzzy whuzzy. Want to try what we did? Here's how to contact them if u want to visit Taiwan.
Guo Ger and Fang Jei  contact
1) 南埔庭園民宿  -- visit their Facebook site and share with them when would like to come Taiwan, how long u intend to stay, any budget targets and what do u like to do (like for us, Cycling and family centric)

1.1) They can also do custom tour specific to your needs. Not just at Hua Lien area. For Cyclists, they can act as ur support vehicle, carrying ur barang barang. Help lead u to nice places so u can ride stress free. And when tired, u can jump into their would help if u bring foldies so they don't take up too much space. 

2) The interesting bit is here..... They converse in Chinese so best is to pen in English. Be extra nice you bi-lingual friends to help translate the message. And follow up with a call/ email.   

3) After they receive your rough intent/infor.  They will help to check if ur plan is feasible or propose some changes. Do listen to their advice as they are very experienced. 

4) Confirm the route, dates. And then pay up 50% via TT are set for a awesome adventure!



  1. What precious jewels of information. I really want to try their hospitality la. You are so right when you say its the people that makes the trip, and Taiwan comes tops here!!!

    1. Thank Sir Al, coming from you feels like getting a A for report card haha. Yes, the people is the magic mojo.