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Inexpensive but acceptable hotels in Southeast China and Taiwan


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Hey all,

   I am planning to travel to China and Taiwan in about six months. I plan on spending most of my time in Guangzhou in the mainland and am open to the major cities in Taiwan. I also plan on travelling to Xiamen, Fuzhou and possibly out West to Chengdu , Chongqing and Xian. As I want to go to Vietnam I might end up in Nanning as well.  About a year ago I went to Dongbei and had a pretty good experience with the Hanting Express hotel chain. As most everyone knows in this forum you can book a room on a western site like booking.com and when you show up they still don't want to honor the reservation as they would have to go through the trouble of registering you will the local security bureau. 


   I would rather be in a few cities and really take it all in than spend all of my time on a train to be in a city for a day or two. That all might change. My vacations are a real rarity to I think I would like to go the hotel route instead of hostels. Thanks to everyone in advance and if I don't respond quickly it is because my current internet is having issues. If anyone has specific questions about Beijing , Tianjin. Shenyang, Changchun or Yanji I will do my best to share any knowledge I have. 


Thanks again Ray


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Hanting and most other chain hotel websites now indicate, one way or another, whether a particular property takes foreigners. A great many properties don't, so by checking the website beforehand you'll save a lot wasted effort. You can also book online and usually get a discount.


I've found the major booking sites -- agoda, booking, ctrip (English) and elong (English) -- have become more reliable in the past couple of years on this issue. Agoda and booking do show Chinese-only hotels -- and yes, that's very confusing -- but there's a warning shown. Ctrip (English) and elong (English) supposedly list only foreigner-friendly places; they're more or less reliable, but they do make mistakes. If I'm concerned, I usually look for a place that has a review in English, suggesting at least one foreigner has stayed there.


The no-foreigner hotel situation has tightened a lot in the last few years. You can waste a lot of time walking around trying to find a place that'll lower itself to take you. So using one of the online booking approaches is well worth it, I think. I now dread showing up somewhere without a booking, knowing I'm going to have to traipse around looking for a place to stay.


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I find that a single room in a good hostel is often better value than a single room in a budget hotel. I usually go that route. I remember when I first came to Beijing I was booked into a Chinese budget hotel by someone else and it was gross. I left after one night and found a single room in a hostel for half the price. It was a much bigger room, much cleaner and generally better all round. 


Another advantage is the people who work in the hostel are usually more used to giving advice/helping you. They’re also more likely to speak English (not an issue for me but maybe for you). 


Otherwise Super8 速八 is a chain similar to Hanting. I’ve stayed in three of these hotels in three different cities. The rooms are just no frills, basic rooms. All fine. No English but competent enough staff. 


I could only recommend the hotel route route if you’re going to stay somewhere fancy. If it’s budget, a good hostel is the way to go. Hotels are also more isolating if you’re alone. 

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Interesting. I have exactly the opposite view. I'd have to be desperate as can be to enter the door of one of those foreigner ghetto hostels. Give me a good Chinese chain hotel any day. Clean and efficient.


Besides, hostels often charge quite a premium on single rooms, since their business model is cramming half a dozen travellers into a double room at maybe 80RMB each. Perhaps if you're the sort who travels mainly to meet other foreign travellers -- of which there really aren't that many in China these days -- but not otherwise.


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Maybe you haven’t actually stayed in a hostel for a long time then haha 


As you mention, foreign travellers aren’t really who you’ll run into these days. A lot of hostels have a lot of Chinese guests. Especially once you’re outside of Shanghai and Beijing.

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And maybe you haven't stayed in a decent hotel recently!


But I do see the listings and photos for these places on the booking sites, and rarely see anything attractive. And I do walk by them sometimes and cringe a bit. They usually look like they're casually run on a shoestring, not professional operations. Suitable for kids, maybe. Kids who aren't fussy.


A chain hotel room is well worth the money, and rarely any more expensive than a single room at a hostel, at least if you shop around a bit. But yes, you do have to shop around.


(And on the rare occasions when I have been forced to stay at that kind of place, I always feel patronized by the staff, who've grown jaded and tired, dealing with barbarians day in and day out.)



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When not staying with friends in Taiwan, have been at these places.....


Apollo Hotel
No. 1, Minzhi 1st Street
Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 545


There was another hotel/hostel (closer to a hotel) in Puli but I cannot think of the name.


Bike Kaohsiung Hostel
No.128 Lixin Road
Zuoying District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
if you're allergic to cats, avoid this place.


N-square Hostel
No. 9, Lane 7, Chenggong Road
Yuanli Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan 358

This township is off the beaten path.


In Taipei I stayed at the Emperor Hotel.....

No. 118, Section 1, Nanjing East Road
Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104

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Formosa 101 Hostel in Taipei was very nice! Super friendly staff too. I had a good single room there. Place is very secure. 


Recommend checking that one out. 


In Kaohsiung I stayed in a budget hotel and it was fine apart from not accepting cash! Free beer at check in. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/8/2018 at 9:24 PM, ChTTay said:

fine apart from not accepting cash! Free beer at check in. 


Is that free beer for demanding card? But seriously, why the insistence on card? Is cash dethroned?

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On 5/7/2018 at 9:55 AM, flray said:

I am planning to travel to China and Taiwan in about six months. I plan on spending most of my time in Guangzhou in the mainland...


If you are interested in exploring Chinese regional cuisine, particularly Cantonese-style dishes 粤菜 and their methods of preparation, consider a side trip from Guangzhou to Shunde 顺德。It is generally considered to be the "cradle of civilization" for this kind of food. For one thing, many famous chefs trained there and then took "Shunde cooking" to other parts of China over their professional lifetimes.  

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No cash means no till I guess. Easier to manage and more secure. In China it would be fine as everyone uses wechat pay or Alipay. I haven’t used cash in months. In taiwan though, neither of these work so not so convenient for me. 

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23 hours ago, flray said:

I guess that is part of Foshan and there's plenty of temples and even kung fu schools there I've heard.


Yes, that's right. Most of what I know about Shunde is from watching a TV series on their cuisine. I'll try to find the details and come back to add them later. It has many episodes, and they were shown on CCTV 2, the 财经频道 as well as on Channel 9.

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Here is the series: 寻味顺德




I think there are about 15 episodes. They are often replayed on TV here in China. It follows a format similar to "Bite of China" but all the episodes concentrate on Shunde because of its importance in the growth and spread of Chinese cooking. 


Here's one fairly typical episode that I watched yesterday: http://tv.cntv.cn/video/VSET100270195194/5717e7fdbdb3485da0f5b2b368b8422d 


The production values are high; the programs have been carefully made. 


(I think I will borrow from your thread and cross post the Shunde information in the food and drink section to spread the word a bit. Hope you don't mind.)


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