For the free and easy traveller, staying at the
conventional hotel is no longer a refreshing experience.
Leave behind the luxury of hotel glamour and bask in the
friendliness of the locals at these smaller accommodation.
In recent years, there has been a rising trend of staying
at hostels with smaller and more localised lodging.
Accommodation can range from backpacker hostels in USA, to
the cozy homestay minsu in Taiwan, traditional Ryokan in
Japan and even the historic Hanok in Korea. This is
especially popular among locals, for an authentic cultural
experience that is not overshadowed by the commercialism of
the tourism sector.
Contrary to popular belief, staying in a minsu does not
mean having to squeeze on a couch on those room. In Taiwan,
there are those who open up their houses to travellers for
a lower fee than hotels. Minsu consists of a range of room
types and usually less than five rooms (double, triple or
more) for a small group to stay. Some minsus are decorated
according to themes ranging from beach, farm, hot spring,
spa, castle, fantasy, Mediterranean or simply classic. For
example, the Dream Town Hotel in Cingjing has a European
theme, while the beachside minsu villas in coastal Penghu
has an ocean or a santorini theme. The best part of staying
in a minsu is that the owners usually provide home-cooked
meals in local Taiwanese cuisine. You can also mingle with
other guests or chat with the hospitable owners during your
stay there, making your experience a personal and memorable
Let's take a look at the factors that you should look
out for when selecting a minsu for your clients.
Most minsus are located in the suburbs and are hard to
find. However, they usually provide transport with prior
reservation from the nearest train stations. Be sure to
check the area of your minsu before booking and arrive
early in the day to avoid getting lost.
Although a minsu does not function like a hotel with a
whole fleet of trained staff to service your every need,
they are also comparable in terms of aesthetic taste and
comfort. With the owners' dedication to decorate the place,
some minsu are actually tastefully designed with exquisite
furniture that makes the decor unique. Here are some
examples of amazing minsu places that can be found on www.qiito.com.
Castle fantasy theme
As the name suggests, Xin Yuan Castle is based on a
castle theme. Experience living like a royal with the
exquisite decor and furniture during your stay at this
minsu. From the velvet cushions to the soft floor mats,
indulge in luxury and pamper yourself at this minsu for an
Sato Castle is a stunning medieval golden ancient castle
among the modern and technological metropolis. Each room
has a different and interesting theme, ranging from Popeye
the Sailor to Cinderella's Princess theme and much more!
The décor includes a giant carriage in your own room, with
a huge jacuzzi in the bathroom!
For animal lovers
What's so special about Ilancat Country House is that
there are five furry animals, consisting of cats and a
Chihuahua, that belong to the owners here. For all animal
lovers, you may want to consider staying in this minsu and
enjoy tea with the lovely furry pals.
Travelling in a large group? You may want to consider
staying at The Dew B&B, which is an African themed
villa minsu. The villa is mainly decorated with wooden
furniture and they have beautiful four poster canopy beds
that will make you want to lay in bed whole day. This minsu
even provide high quality organic bathroom products for
Ten reasons to stay in a minsu
1. Unique theme and decor, different minsu has different
2. Personal touch. Most owners are selfemployed, relying
on word of mouth to get guests. This means that hosts will
go out of their way to ensure that you have the best stay
possible. Furthermore, the fact that B&Bs normally have
just a handful of guests allows for more individual
attention and a higher level of service. The more intimate
setting creates a sociable atmosphere; guests can share
travel tips and make new friends over breakfast.
Owners also live in the minsu themselves, thus will
ensure cleanliness of their own homes and hygiene of the
3. Local place recommendations and interactions with the
locals, owners and other travellers.
4. Save some money for shopping! (minsu is cheaper than
5. Food prepared in minsu is often the traditional
speciality of their region. Have a taste of the homemade
dishes with a healthier local flavour.
6. Feel at home even when abroad. The hospitable owners
are more than just concierge. They share your travel
experiences and offer help if needed.
7. Minsu accommodation is now very wellestablished in
Taiwan so you can expect a basic standard of quality from
the minsu. Locals themselves like to stay at minsu when on
road trips or for short staycations.
8. Have a private gathering. Some minsu have no more
than just four or five rooms, making them ideal for groups
of friends or families holidaying together. By special
arrangement you may be able to book the entire property,
meaning you get the experience of having your own private
holiday home while still having breakfast cooked for
9. A higher level of security and privacy due to fewer
guests and more attention is devoted to each guest from the
10. Peace and quiet. The friendly, family atmosphere
encountered in a minsu promotes a greater sense of respect
for your hosts and fellow guests. B&Bs also tend to
have plenty of quiet nooks where you can relax with a cup
of tea and a good book, from cosy fireplace lounges to
Tips: Things to note when booking a minsu for
1. Most minsu sites are listed in Chinese. If you are
not well-versed in Chinese, you might want to check some
English sites on minsu booking. Qiito provides an English
option for your clients' booking needs.
2. Check for the official registration number of your
minsu to make sure it is a legal accommodation or book from
an established site. Find out more from the official sites
at Taiwan Tourism Board. Call or email the contact person
before booking. This is to ensure that the contact details
given are in use and you can check with the owners on any
enquiries you might have. Remember to arrange for private
transportation if necessary. Some minsu might not have
Wi-Fi due to their locations, thus you might want to check
with the owners if you cannot survive without Wi-Fi!
3. Convert your currency early and take note of
additional expenses like meals, daily necessities,
transport and rental.
4. Some minsus might not have Wi-Fi due to their suburb
locations, thus you might want to check with the owners if
you cannot survive without Wi-Fi!
5. Mosquitoes! You might want to prepare some insect
repellent tools especially during the rainy season and if
you are staying at a farm or nature-based minsu.
The writer is founder of Qiito (short for Quick,
Interesting, Interactive, Travel Organiser), an online
travel organiser and accommodation hosting platform, which
helps users personalise their itineraries. For more
information on the accommodations or to book one, visit http://qiito.com.