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Accommodation Taiwan Travel

Where to Stay in Taipei: Happy Taipei Hostel

My friends were busy giving me advice on our group chat because they are more bothered with my singlehood than I am.



One of them told me to approach the guys and say,

“Where are you guys headed tonight?”

She swears it’s effective because she uses that line herself. Hmm… Yeah I don’t think so. 

The other one advised me to do a more blatant approach,

“Walk around, pretend you’re going to the bathroom then sit right in the middle of them.”

Hmm okay, hell no! 

I was the only girl in the mixed-dorm in the hostel where I was staying in Taipei; and I didn’t know what to feel about it. I heard my room mates, white men of different nations, speaking in their own language. I heard Dutch, German, English, and I remained in the confines of my bed on the upper bunk pretending I wasn’t there. 1) Was I able to talk to anyone in that dorm? 2) Did I find anyone cute? 3) Would I recommend this hostel to you my dear readers? Please read on to find out.

A few months prior to my Taiwan trip I booked a hostel near Taipei Main Station via Agoda. The boyfriend of my friend learned about it and recommended that I cancel my booking and stay at Happy Taipei Hostel instead. This one is in Shilin District and he said that it’s close to the most famous market in Taipei, Shilin Night Market. To be honest, I didn’t want to give up my previous booking, but I relented when he said that it’s cheaper at Happy Taipei. He booked it for me at Hostel World then forwarded the booking information to me through email.

Happy Taipei’s email provided full information on hostel conditions and a comprehensive instruction on how to reach their place. They are so thorough you’d expect that I wouldn’t get lost—I did. Somehow, despite having a map I still lost my way. Then I saw a woman who just got off from her scooter and started stuffing old clothes in a recycle bin. I decided to approach her to ask for direction. I haven’t even finished a sentence when she waved me off.

“So sorry, no English.”

Great.

I just said ok and contemplated about how stupid I am. She seemed to have taken pity because she changed her mind and decided to help me. I showed her the map that Happy Taipei emailed me; moments later she was already driving me in her scooter to get to OK Mart, a convenience store. I would have wanted to ask her to deliver me to the hostel but Happy Taipei’s instruction stated that guests should give them a call so that one of their staff can come and fetch them from OK Mart. So that’s what I did. I thanked the kind woman for the ride then approached a payphone to make a call. I don’t remember the last time I called using a payphone, it’s practically outdated in my country where everybody relies on their mobiles phones. But in Taipei, they still have them in every corner of the street. On the fifth ring, a woman picked up my call. I told her my name, location, then we hung up after she confirmed that she would be coming to get me.


I went inside the store to get a pork bun (which by the way was really good) and ate it as I sat on the wooden bench outside waiting for the woman. 30 minutes later, a woman named Tina came to greet me. She led the way to the hostel, which is only a few minutes away from OK Mart. I realized that the hostel is not that hard to find after all. So before I make a review, I am going to show you first how to go there. Do not worry, this is going to be an adventure.


How to find Happy Taipei

 1. Go to Yuanshan Station

The first step is to get yourself to Shilin District, but first you have to go to Yuanshan Station where you can take the train. From Taoyuan Airport, purchase your bus ticket  for 125 Taiwan Dollar (PHP 198.69 – USD 3.99) at the Arrival Passenger Reception Areas (it’s in the basement). Get the one for Kuokuang Bus, route 1819.

Now take the bus and keep your eyes on the digital sign inside that shows the destinations. Travel time takes about 45 minutes to an hour. When you see Kulun, alight from the bus.

See that picture above, well go the other way , I just took that picture to show what Kulun street looks like. Now you have to cross the road, then take this street in the picture below, walk straight ahead. Yuanshan train station is at the end of this street.

2. Go to Shilin District

Enter Yuanshan Station then buy a ticket to Shilin, or, and this one I highly recommend for convenience, get yourself an Easy Card and load it up. This card is very useful because it’s accepted on the train, bus, even UBikes.

In Taipei, you get charged not before the ride but after the travel. When you swipe the card to the ticket machine it does two things: open the entrance and show you the balance of the easy card. When leaving the station, you have to tap it again, that’s the time you get charged for the ride. The train ride from Yuanshan to Shilin is TWD 16 (PHP 25.42 – USD 0.51)

From Yuanshan Station go to the lane that goes to Shilin; look up, check the red sign, and go where the Tamsui line is. Shilin is only two stations away from Yuanshan and travel time takes about 15 minutes.

3. Walk your way to Happy Taipei

You can definitely do what I did; go to OK Mart, and have someone from Happy Taipei come fetch you. Or, you can be your own boss and follow this direction that I made instead . First, here’s the map.

When you reach Shilin Station take the Shilin Night Market Exit. Cross the zebra crossing towards where the Ubikes are parked. Turn right, walk down the street, past Family Mart, and on the first block, turn left to Wenlin Road. Again, cross the street and walk ahead. The most prominent landmark that is close to the hostel is Shilin Precinct, as shown in the picture below.


Past the precinct you will see these. That’s when you’ll know that you are near the hostel.

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From here turn right and you will find Xiaobei street. Yay! You are quite close! Happy Taipei is on the left side of the street, can you see the blue sign?

Let’s have a closer look at that blue sign, there you go! Remember that Bright Dental Clinic because the door behind it is the way that leads up to Happy Taipei.

Okay here’s the door, I like to make it easy for you .

Congratulations! You made it! 

Review

Now let’s get down to business and review the hostel. Check-in time is after 2:00 p.m. and check-out time is before 12:00 noon. The first thing you should know if you want to stay here is to bring your own towel. Shampoo and soap are available in the bathroom and there’s hot shower so don’t worry about freezing to death if you go during the winter season (December-February). I went this January (just last week actually) so I experienced my first ever legit winter albeit without snow. Anyway, the toilets have no bidet (apparently, the Taiwanese are not fond of super toilets unlike the Japanese).

They have private rooms and dorm beds. I stayed in a mixed-dorm and paid TWD 1,160.01 (PHP 1,843.84 – USD 37.01) for 3 nights. Inside the room there are security lockers and hooks to hang your clothes with. The room was already full when I got in save for one bed and it’s on the upper bunk. I would have wanted to be on the lower bunk because climbing up and down that bed was such a hassle, but yeah, all the other beds were taken already so I had no choice.

There’s a curtain for some bid of privacy, an electric outlet, and a reading light. They use a spring bed and a duvet. That duvet is everything! It made sleeping extra comfortable and the nights, less cold.

There’s a common area where guests can hang out, laundry area, meeting rooms, game room, and a kitchen with fridge, toasters, and microwave oven. Happy Taipei also offers free breakfast, which is my favorite part of staying in this hostel (that and the hot showers).

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They do have free WiFi but it was intermittent so I would recommend that you book a WiFi router with Klook instead. I am going to give you more information about it next time.

What else should you know… Ah, they don’t have curfew, they will give you a set of keys; one for the room and another one for the hostel’s door. If you want to rent a locker, you have to deposit TWD 100 (PHP 158.93 – USD 3.19), which they will return to you when you check out. Also, they have a strict no smoking policy. Tina even mentioned this to me several times that I had to wonder if I looked like a smoker.


Now to answer the questions that I wrote earlier:

I did talk to someone in the mixed dorm though it was nothing romantic. He came from the US and he said that Taiwan is his first country overseas. I did tell him about the Philippines (even advised him not to skip Manila to get a better feel of the life and culture). This answers question number 1.

For question #2, there are other men in the hostel but I didn’t find anyone to my liking.

And lastly, would I recommend Happy Taipei? Yes, but only if you don’t mind traveling and if you are looking for a more laid-back atmosphere. I told my friend that I was shocked to find that Shilin is too far from the central part of Taipei. Shilin District is 4 stations away from Taipei Main Station, but the train is fast and efficient so I didn’t really mind the travel. Also the bed was nice and the neighborhood is charming and quiet so I’d still give this hostel a rating of a 3 out of a 5.

 

 

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    neha
    May 24, 2017 at 4:17 AM

    Its really helpful the way you have given directions to reach the hostel. I can understand your feelings when you are the only woman sharing a dorm with a herd of men. After all men are from mars and we are from venus 🙂 Jokes apart, I like the subtle interiors of the hostel

  • Reply
    CAthy
    April 27, 2017 at 10:37 AM

    I think this is a cheap hostel for me. To hear about Taiwan is quite expensive as they say. I like the vibe actually ( kahit walang Hanson ) haha. You are good at giving directions marge hehe . I should consider this hostel once I booked my flight to Taiwan. Hhoooraaay xx

  • Reply
    Erica Poyauan
    February 3, 2017 at 6:32 PM

    Breakfast and hot showers are two things I look forwrd to whenever I stay in any accommodation. Good to hear Happy Taipei has them both and more. Staying here for 600 plus pesos per night is reasonable. I wonder if they offer unlimited coffee and tea? In Thailand, the hostel I stayed at for 400 pesos has unli coffee, tea and milk tea. But unlike ur bunk bed, no curtains. I’ve never stayedin a mixed dorm eith curtains before. It’s very useful especially when u still want to keep ur light on or in my case sleep with short shorts. I’m going to Taiwan in July. I wish to stay here and exp the curtained bunk beds but Id be staying with my relatives so I guess next time.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    February 2, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    The hostel is so vibrant and bright and you have provided detailed information about it and a step by step direction to reach it. I have never stayed in a hostel apart from the ones during college days, and do miss that spirit of bonhomie which prevails in these places.

  • Reply
    Gel
    February 2, 2017 at 5:04 AM

    Shilin district is a little far from the airport. And the hostel is a little far too from the Shilin station. Anyway, I wouldn’t mind traveling a little far if it was me though, I gives opportunity to explore and see places.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 2, 2017 at 2:00 PM

      Nope, it’s not that far from the Shilin Station. The walk only takes 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Reply
    Elisa
    February 1, 2017 at 10:23 PM

    It seems that this hostel has everything I look for when I want to book a hostel. Cool that you explain how to reach it, navigating in “China” is always difficult without a little bit of Chinese. By the way, apart from the hotel do you also recommend to visit Taipei?

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:17 PM

      Hi Elisa, of course I definitely recommend Taipei, it is such a beautiful city and Taiwan a lovely country. In fact I am already thinking about going back this year.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    February 1, 2017 at 3:55 AM

    I do remember that Convo. Hahahah. Anyway I see what you mean about that ladder. Tricky. I would have reserved a bottom bunk for me. I hate those kinds of ladders. Good that they have a privacy curtain but too bad on the bidet. And I was surprised about the wifi. I thought Taiwan had good internet! And it sure is an adventure to get there.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:20 PM

      They do have good Internet, at least in most areas area. I’m not sure why the signal is a bit weak in the hostel though. So for Internet, I highly recommend booking Klook, it is very reliable.

  • Reply
    Jessica Foster
    January 31, 2017 at 9:50 PM

    I’ve only been to Taipei once for a short layover, but it would be great to experience more of Taipei and Taiwan in general in the future. Did you find many budget friendly options?> I don’t know much about the area but it looks like there are a lot of things to do. Thanks for this guide!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:21 PM

      Hi Jessica. Yes, I find Taiwan relatively cheap, at least it is cheaper than Japan. The food is cheap and there are many cheap hostels.

  • Reply
    Jill
    January 31, 2017 at 7:24 PM

    This is a good budget place to stay. The prices is not bad for 3 days already. It’s good that they have hot shower. I love your pictures, by the way. 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:21 PM

      Thanks Jill. 🙂

  • Reply
    neha
    January 31, 2017 at 4:41 PM

    Great post. Never tried hostel option whenever traveled outside. But after going through your post I am getting a feel that I should try this option also which will be pocket friendly. And when I visit Taipei, I will definitely going to consider this option of stay.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:22 PM

      Staying in hostels is not that bad, especially if you find a good hostel. So far, in my case, I haven’t had a bad experience in any of the hostels that I stayed in.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    January 31, 2017 at 6:57 AM

    That’s quite an adventure! My husband went to Taipei also years ago. He shared about the places he visited. This made our entire family interested in visiting it someday with him. Did you get to visit Taipei 101?

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:22 PM

      Hi Teresa, nope, I did see Taipei 101 from afar but I didn’t bother going inside.

  • Reply
    Swayam tiwari
    January 31, 2017 at 5:50 AM

    India doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, because of China though Acer sells in good volumes here. And can I call you Ms. Google, because, with the thoroughness that you have described the way to the hostel, there is no other name for you ))) USD 37 for 3 nights is not a bad deal. It is quite a steal, actually. Do you travel to India? Let me know! ;)))

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:24 PM

      Actually, my friends call me Ms. Google already not because of the reason that you mentioned but because I happen to be working as a technical writer in our company under Google account.

  • Reply
    Mohit Agarwal
    January 31, 2017 at 5:13 AM

    wow..what an amazing place that is and moreover would have been for you for you found it after getting lost…but at last did you interacted with the others or stayed back..

  • Reply
    Johna
    January 31, 2017 at 4:28 AM

    Taipei looks gorggggg! Love all your photos and would love to go here one day! Your friends advice about just randomly sitting next to someone is funny! Try it out, would be a great story I’m sure, or maybe an awkward story. Hahaha!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:26 PM

      I can’t do it hahahaha…. I have to have some bit of dignity hahaha….

  • Reply
    Danica Gilbuena
    January 31, 2017 at 3:07 AM

    That’s pretty cheap for three nights. Though I prefer to have towels already prepared for us. It’s just too bulky. But I love how it’s near Shilin Station. I’ll be in Taiwan too this coming June and would love to bookmark this for reference. 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:26 PM

      Yeah, the towel is bulky indeed. I’m not sure why they don’t provide towels though. I hope you enjoy Taiwan as much as I did!

  • Reply
    Mommy Queenelizabeth
    January 31, 2017 at 1:06 AM

    Wow that must be a great travel experience to Taipei. I wanted to visit Taiwan too but not so soon. The hostel looks very basic for me but as long as it is safe and comfortable its okay. I just don’t feel like travelling and asking for directions when finding the hotel. I am poor in communicating and in using the map! I get irritated easily hahaha. And so i would prefer a hotel near the stations and where a cab can drop me right in front of it.. btw, i like the bunk beds with curtains. Looks cute!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 1, 2017 at 11:27 PM

      I’m sure it can be found by a taxi, but I didn’t want to take the cab because it’s expensive.

  • Reply
    klaudia
    January 30, 2017 at 9:09 PM

    Oh wow, what a brilliant ‘guide’ 🙂 I really enjoyed your post, as it almost feels like really walking with you through all these streets.Very smart done! I wouldn’t be too keen on that hostel tho, but hey … I understand that this is rather a place for young people traveling on a budget. Anyhow, your images are brilliant.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 30, 2017 at 10:49 PM

      You’re right. This hostel is really for the budget travelers.

  • Reply
    Revathi
    January 30, 2017 at 7:51 PM

    Such gorgeous pics, Marjorie. Sounds like a decent place to stay in Taipei. Love how you have provided such detailed directions to the hostel. I cant live without wiki and would be interested to hear back from you about Klook.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 30, 2017 at 10:48 PM

      Hey Revanthi, don’t worry, I am going to make a review of Klook. It is quite useful and reliable that I want people to know more about it.

  • Reply
    Promise Chika Maxwell
    January 30, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Folks don’t like to pack much especially when you know you staying in a hotel or hostel, but I think is hygiene bringing your towel along. Clearly described details with photos of how to get yourself from the airport to Shilin District.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 30, 2017 at 6:27 PM

      I was a bit disappointed too that they don’t offer towels, but I guess it’s okay when you’ve put it that way.

  • Reply
    Me-An Clemente
    January 30, 2017 at 11:46 AM

    It’s my first time hearing about Happy Taipei hostel. I agree with you that staying in the upper bunk bed is such a hassle. I hope the bed doesn’t creak so the one staying in the lower bunk bed won’t be disturbed. Anyway, I love how it offers privacy for a mixed dorm. I just find the common area too plain for my taste. By the way, since that hostel is in Taipei Main station, you can also walk to Ximending which is also a pretty cool neighborhood.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 30, 2017 at 2:21 PM

      Hi Me-an, actually, this hostel is far from Taipei Main Station. This is in Shilin.

  • Reply
    Indrani
    January 30, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Loved reading the detailed trip to the hostel 🙂 Free breakfast, hot water with these two luxury stay should be easy. Intermittent Wifi may bother me too. Noted your suggestion for Klook.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 30, 2017 at 6:23 PM

      Klook is super helpful and it’s cheap!

  • Reply
    Herbert
    January 30, 2017 at 6:09 AM

    Taiwan is not that far and its kinda reasonable to visit since there a lot of airfare promos now. I will surely have this place in one of my options for accommodation. Looks decent and the budget is friendly

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 30, 2017 at 6:23 PM

      Yes, in fact, my airfare is around 4,000 pesos, which is not bad at all!

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