I choose a minsu in Maoli as there were very few good and affordable options in Miaoli. We almost went with F Hotel Sanyi but I cancelled the booking after I had good correspondences with the owner – Mary at Hao Wang Jiao ( 好望角民宿). I chanced upon good reviews on Tripadvisor and thought this will be a good alternative to hotels. Wendy, our travel guide, recommended hot springs hotels/accommodations but we are not huge fans of hot springs so decided to go for a mountainside minsu.
Mary and her husband run Hao Wang Jiao minsu together. Their relatives run a camp site just down the hill – more suitable for locals.
We took 2 attic rooms which came with pine wood flooring, walls and stairs. Our room has a real attic room which can sleep a total of 7 to 8 pax; whereas my in-laws took the room next to ours with 2 huge beds good for 4 pax. The rental is very affordable as compared to Flying Cow Ranch and others nearby.
The downside: There is a flight of stairs to climb up to the rooms. And the rooms/bathrooms are a little dated in look and feel. Cleanliness and condition of the place is about 8/10 but still acceptable for a short stay.
The upside: The hospitality of the hosts – Mary and her husband – is superb! They welcomed us warmly when we reached. Helped to carry our luggage up the stairs and invited us downstairs with hot tea and some biscuits. We had home cooked breakfast on 2 mornings and it felt like they are relatives after a while! Their black dog was shy but otherwise all of them were a pleasure to mingle with. After the 2nd day, it felt like home!
There are 2 other rooms on the ground floor, but Mary said the attic rooms are better. Mary’s husband (I can’t remember his name!) did most of the improvement works around the hill which are interesting when you looked closely.
Mary’s husband and sister-in-law (we needed 2 cars) drove us to the Flying Cow Ranch (more about that on next post) and thereafter we requested to go fruit picking. They kindly picked us up after lunch and drove us to a local fruit picking farm. My mum is a huge fan of fruit picking. I can’t say it’s a proper farm; but more of a random, neighbourhood sort that only the locals might know. We paid a nominal fee to enter the land with plastic bags to pick up to a few kgs each. There were only oranges and persimmons in session; and they were grew on steep slopes. But we had good fun cutting, eating and selecting the best to pack. My two city kids were fighting to be the one to cut the fruits; clearly city kids. ^_^
We picked more than enough and feasted on yummy oranges for the next few days; and had bags to bless our driver and left some for the next guests at Hao Wang Jiao.
After our fruitful fruit-picking-cum-eating session, we decided to eat in for the night and Mary offered to help us buy local noodles. We ordered a few variety but there weren’t any vegetarian options in the noodle shop (my mum is a vegetarian). Mary kindly offered to go to her sister-in-law’s house down the hill to grab some vegetables to stir-fry for my mum!
Xi En and I tagged along to harvest the greens – it’s a fun adventure for the city kid! And my mum – she simply loves from field-to-plate food produces.
We had a relaxing evening at Hao Wang Jiao; chatting and sipping tea with the hosts. The kids either ran around the compound or up and down the stairs.
There were nothing much to do, no high-technology cable TV to watch but that’s the whole point – we didn’t want to do much except to laze around and enjoy the fresh air.
Our hosts are really sunny and down-to-earth people and that made the whole minsu experience a pleasant one.
Will recommend this place if you don’t mind roughing it out a little in a more rustic place. You will need to speak Mandarin as hosts are not proficient in English.
Their website: http://www.8898go.com/hwj/
I communicated with most Taiwanese via WeChat or LINE. Some use whatsapp as well. Will be useful to have those communications apps if you are planning to stay in minsu or Airbnb.
Next up: Day trip to Flying Cow Ranch
Read more about our Taiwan trip below:
Day 1: Taipei (Taoyuan) > Yilan
Day 3: Yilan > Miaoli
Day 4: Miaoli (Flying Cow Ranch)
Day 6: Taichung > Taipei
Day 7 & 8: Taipei