Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Homestay in Luodong

Sunny Stream Villa

If you have just come from Taipei, Yilan/Luodong is very different. It is more rural with many small fields that are submerged in water or that are planted in rice. Standing among these fields are houses. Some are very nice and have been turned into homestays. If you visit the Yilan/Luodong area, I would recommend staying in one of these homestays. I found myself spending a night in Luodong as my first stop in my around Taiwan trip as a solo traveler who does not speak Chinese.

Lots of water and small farm plots

Finding Taiwan homestays where English is spoken can be difficult. Try the usual booking sites such as Airbnb and Agoda. I have used Google Maps and clicked on the homestay and where they have a Facebook page listed, I message them and see if they reply in English. Payment is another issue. Most Taiwan homestays want a deposit sent to a Taiwan bank. This is where Airbnb and Agoda are more convenient.

My homestay in Luodong was called Sunny Stream Villa and like most homestays, it is owned by a nice couple. When determining which homestay to stay, I will look at the reviews on Google Maps and other sources such as TripAdvisor if the homestay is listed. I find pictures are also very useful to determine the condition of the house. 

As a rule, I don’t want to be far from the train station since I am traveling around Taiwan using public transportation.  However, to get to Sunny Stream Villa I had to take a taxi from the bus station which was in front of the rear exit of the Luodong train station. The taxi driver did not speak English, so I showed him the location of Sunny Stream Villa on Google Maps on my phone. Apparently, I didn’t show him the street name in Chinese.  He got me close but not at the correct address. With help from the hotel he stopped at, I got to the Sunny Stream Villa.

The host/owner warmly greeted me as I walked in (but I forgot to remove my shoes, a big no-no). She offered me coffee and a snack. Her English was good, so I told her I wanted to go to the National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA) and how was the best way to get there. It was too far to walk or bike, so she called a and made sure the driver knew where to go.

After a long day of visiting the NCFTA, the Luodong Forestry Culture Park, and a walk to the night market, I got a taxi back to Sunny Stream. This time I made sure the driver saw the street name in Chinese on Google Maps. When I got back, the owner offered me fruits and snacks. As guests, you also have access to the kitchen, coffee maker and any snacks on the counter.  Everything was very clean and organized.

Fruit and snacks available

My room was on the top (4th) floor and there was no elevator or “lift” as my UK friends would say. I had a great view of the Yilan city area and the mountains in the background. The room was large and beautiful. The bath had a large tub and windows all around so you could view the city as you shower. There was a balcony shared with the other fourth-floor room, but there was no outdoor furniture which would have been nice to sit on and enjoy the weather and views. Only a small complaint I have is that the AC controls were in Chinese. It would have been nice if there was a sheet that translates those to English.

Roof balcony

The morning breakfast was elegant. Many different items were served in a bento type tray. It was fresh, satisfying, and nice to look at. Afterwards, the owner dropped me off at the train station as I continue my journey around Taiwan with the next stop at Taroko Gorge.

Simple elegant breakfast

and the breakfast carbs...

Nice stay. Thank-you!

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