This was a truly free and easy trip. I basically hunted down the nearest hotel at the end of the day by asking a local for directions or looking out for a motel sign. For this reason I have no idea of the hotel addresses and telephone numbers, and suspect I’ve remembered some of the hotel names only partially.
My initial visions of countless hotels lining the roads, there for the entering whenever I was ready, didn’t exactly materialise. The reality was that I had to be near a city to have a chance of finding a hotel. I learnt to check my distance covered at mid-day, double that to estimate where I would be by late afternoon, and aim for the nearest city in that vicinity. Even then, most of the buildings were offices and shops and I had to ask my way to a hotel rather have one conveniently appear before me.
To avoid getting lost in the confusing city streets, I rode through each city to the far outskirts and looked for accommodation just before the buildings disappeared. This got me out of the way of peak hour traffic the next morning, and made it easier to find the route out of the city as there were fewer side streets and more major road signs.
Generally I stayed in 3 types of accommodation: car motels, hotels, and B&Bs. The names and prices of each place I stayed in are recorded in the Budget page.
All the places I stayed at provided shampoo, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, and towels (some also provided shower caps and razors) so even the minimal toiletries I brought weren’t necessary. One hotel (Grand Boss in Yilan) refused to let me take my bike to the room so I went to another hotel nearby. And the B&B owner tried to convince me to leave my bike outdoors in her yard but I insisted on taking it to the room (about 5 times) until she agreed.
Known locally as “chi che lu dian”, car motels seem to be the budget option. Ask any local to recommend a hotel and chances are they will lead you to a car motel. Or look out for signs like this:
The standard characteristic of car motels is that they have a parking garage, which is useful for bikes too. The interior furnishings of car motels vary. Some were pretty basic, while some were almost luxurious.
Car motels come with a pre-packed breakfast and drink in the morning, which I found quite unappetising. At one motel, when I said I was leaving before their breakfast delivery time, they offered me a breakfast voucher for the nearest MacDonald’s which opens at 6:30am. This is a better option if you like MacDonald’s, which I don’t.
Hotels are easier to find in city centres and tourist areas like Kenting in the south. The rooms tend to come with a view as they are high rise buildings compared to motels. All the hotels I stayed at included a simple buffet breakfast, at which there was always at least one large group of tourists. At one hotel, I was eating my breakfast when a group of tourists came down, one of whom coughed into every tray of food she passed. I was glad I had made it there before her.
In Taidong, a local man on a scooter led me to a B&B which turned out to be the most amusing stay of my trip. It’s called the Two Flowers B&B, with a friendly lady owner. She didn’t provide breakfast but gave me a breakfast voucher for the nearest MacDonald’s, where I went the next morning.