Before we went for our trip to Taiwan, my friend and I made a pact. We would each pick a city in Taiwan that we were going to visit and book an accommodation there without consulting each other.
Naturally, we both got slightly nervous, mainly because we did not want to disappoint each other with our surprises. To be honest, I am generally pretty easy with where I spend the night while travelling, as long as there are no cockroaches, demons or poltergeist present. But I have to say, not only was I fine with the hostel my friend chose in the end, I was actually very pleased with our accommodation at Sun Moon Lake.
Once she had established that I did not mind staying in dorms, she decided to research into a few places and found this new undiscovered gem called perBED Hostel. It sounded very backpacker-ish, and it did live up to its name, only with an interesting twist. Instead of having the backpackers sleep on normal bunk beds in separate rooms, the hostel has decided to convert cargo boxes and other industrial things into beds and put them all in one big room. We picked one of these cargo boxes each as our coves, and in case you are wondering how it feels inside, here is a picture to give you an idea.
I had thought that I would feel slightly claustrophobic and uncomfortable, but I really enjoyed myself in there. It actually felt nice to hide yourself inside a small box and just read something with the aid of a small USB light (each box came handily with two USB sockets for the light and to charge your phone). You get all the privacy that you want along with some fresh (air-conditioned) air coming through the small gaps.
But in case cargo boxes are not really your idea of a bed, they have alternative sleeping spaces. Like these bunk beds made of pipes.
Or the slightly less private canopied mattresses.
We seemed to be the only guests in the hostel (and probably one of the first too since they were taking pictures of us while we were checking in), which was why we had no problem when trying to use the bathrooms. However, I can foresee that it would get extremely crowded if the room were to fill up (it could probably fit between 15-20 of us) and it would be rather problematic if all of the guests had to share the only two bathrooms in the whole hostel.
Anyway, the general design of the place was extremely appealing. The walls of the sleeping room, for example, are covered in blackboards which have been decorated skillfully by the owner (I think) who has excellent eye for aesthetic.
I did not try any food there, save for the complementary breakfast which was nothing to speak of (a small portion of scrambled eggs, two toasts, a slice of ham, and three slices of cucumber. We went looking for food right after breakfast). Which was fine, really, for the price that we paid.
The only qualms I had about the place were about the helpfulness of the staff there. Although we shared the room with a good 5 people, all of them seemed be working there and were students who needed jobs during their summer holiday. Which meant that they were as new to Sun Moon Lake as we were and were unable to give any helpful tips about the place (or at least told us that it was a horrible idea to be walking 10 km back to our hostel at night). Not that I blamed them or anything for our predicament, but I felt that one of the greatest benefits of staying at a hostel is that you would get a lot of information from the staff about the neighbourhood which can help you explore more. This important aspect was unfortunately missing from perBED Hostel. Moreover, most of the staff except for one did not seem to be very interested in helping us out and were most of the time busy watching movies from their laptops.
Other than that, I really enjoyed my stay there. The place was really new (it was only open for less than two months when we stayed there) and clean. I’m not very sure how the cargo boxes will fare after some time, so let’s hope that the staff keeps up with the maintenance of this charming little place. As an added bonus, perBED Hostel has swings outside the unit, which meant that I could relive the thrill of sitting on swings, something I haven’t experienced since I was a kid. WHEE!
Verdict: Great if you are young travellers on a budget and can sleep anywhere
perBED Hostel, good to know before you go:
- It is located at Ita Thao, which is NOT the main pier of Sun Moon Lake (the main one is called Shui She, which is where most of the walking trails are located). Ita Thao is where you ride on cable cars to go to the amusement park.
- Plan your exploration of Sun Moon Lake properly and make sure you can return by the last boat/bus (which ends pretty early at 5 40 pm and 6 pm respectively). Otherwise a taxi ride back will cost you TWD 880 (USD 35) and a walk back will scare you out of your wits.
- Bring USB phone chargers because you can’t really find normal electric plugs there.
- There are small night markets around the area, but the stalls close pretty early, mostly by 9 pm.