Being centrally located in the up and coming travel destination that is Taipei is a must when exploring the city. Fortunately, the Ximen district -Taipei’s heart – houses more than a handful of hostels and hotels that can fit most of your accommodation needs. Being my group of friend’s defacto organizer I began searching for a good hostel that would fit everyone’s wants while working on a budget. After adjusting my filters on my search in Booking.com I was so happy to find a property that met all of what I was looking for; Ximen Wow Hostel.
Ximen Wow Hostel sits on the 8th floor of the building along the main street of the Ximen Walking Street. Not only it is centrally located in the Ximen district, it is also strategically situated just less than a hundred meters away from the Ximen MRT station.
As you step out of the elevator, you will be greeted by a futuristic industrial looking door that opens as you stand in front of it. The Ximen Wow Hostel staff is always there to welcome you as you enter. From there the hostel features a wide open space where people can come together and socialize. The common area is highlighted with a huge communal table, where you can just sit with other guests and get to know more friends.
The hostel features several mixed rooms while acknowledging the needs of solo female travelers with their female dorms. At the end of the hallway are the shower and toilets with an open concourse layout. The showers has rain-shower-heads with uninterrupted hot water coming out that sometimes it was just difficult to stop showering.
I’ve felt secured all the time while in the hostel because of their advance security system. Each guest is given a personal access card. You can use these cards to gain access to the hostel (doors are closed by 11pm). The same access card is also used for to access your personal lockers that are big enough to fit a medium bag inside.
I guess my favorite part of the hostel is their veranda. Ximen Wow Hostel veranda offers a good view of the Ximen skyline while letting you observe the busy Hanzhong street. The veranda offers a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the Ximen district. The veranda allows you to take a step back and just savor the moment. I go to Taipei when it’s spring time so chilling out on the veranda literally will make you chill out (which is a nice experience for people from the tropics like me) and just feel the the warmth of your jacket.
The room that was assigned to us has a 17 bed capacity, that’s more than enough to bring more friends next time (I had 11 friends with me on this trip). Each bed has a curtain providing some level of privacy for each guest. I like their curtains because they are thick enough to actually give you some privacy. You also get to have a comforter and a comfy pillow for your stay. The rooms in Ximen Wow Hostel are equipped with climate control making the temperature when you sleep just right and comfy. It’s also important (at least for me) to mention that the rooms smelled clean, I mean who would want to sleep in a moldy smelling room? If you are a night reader, it’s also great to know that your enclosure has its own light and a power socket so you can charge your gadgets at night (only get one socket so bring an extension cord if you need more).
Breakfast, to be honest this is one of the things that made me chose Ximen Wow Hostel over another property. I appreciate the fact that when you wake up that there is food and coffee that you can consume and not need to forage for food anymore. Ximen Wow Hostel lets their guest cook for them selves giving you some freedom over how you want your eggs cooked. There are jams available over the counter including a garlic flavored margarine (that I love so much) and a toaster so you can heat up of even make you bread nice and crispy. They also have a microwave so if you are person who needs rice in the morning, you can heat up your FamilyMart bought rice before you eat.
Taiwan is just starting to open up to the rest of the world, but you don’t have to worry about communication gaps. Ximen Wow Hostel staff has an amazing command of the English language! You can ask for directions, advise about your itinerary or even where to eat. My friends really felt welcome specially with Chen who always makes sure that we are okay. Chen is also sooo patient about me asking him every single day for more than a week about the charges being reversed on my card and he didn’t sound annoyed at all. Now that’s a talent! Hahaha! In general the staff are great to talk to and have lots of cool ideas and recommendation, I’m sure you’ll have a great time with them.
You will find slightly cheaper hostels than Ximen Wow Hostel in the Ximen area but they can be farther down the alley or doesn’t have breakfast. I bit of a walk is okay but bringing a group of friends with me made me want to have a hostel that include breakfast. The hostel is also accessible for vans during non-pedestrian hours and can be easily spotted as soon as you walk several meters from the train station. A bed starts at $15-$17 a night on weekdays, reasonable enough for the quality of the hostel.
So I guess if you are looking for a hostel that is just a stone throw away from the train station; a place where you can socialize a lot easier and where morning food is I’d say that Ximen Wow Hostel is a definite match for you!