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“Charming” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Formosa Backpackers Hostel

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Formosa Backpackers Hostel
No.206 Jianguo Road, Hualien City, Hualien, Taiwan   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #21 of 95 Specialty Lodging in Hualien
Xiamen, China
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Charming”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2014

Formosa has a good location in Hualien, only a cheap taxi ride from the train station - easily walkable but it was raining when we got there. It has a good social vibe - reviews scrawled all over the walls, a piano and guitar, bar/ cafe, lots of great events like movie nights and second hand fairs and, best of all, a huge book shelf! The room and bathrooms are fine - I liked room 1A because the wall is made of glass and it backs onto a charming private back garden.
We were all sick with colds while we stayed there and it was cold and raining everyday, but the hostel adapted to our needs - endless cups of free hot tea, a library of books to keep us entertained, clear directions to good restaurants in the vicinity, and the host spent a lot of time giving us a lot of help and advice. They advised us to take a bus around taroko gorge as it fitted our needs better since it was raining. It is walking distance to a park and a nice night market too. Even after we checked out they let us leave our bags in the hostel and come back and charge our phones before we got the train. They even called a cab for us to take us to the train station. Very grateful for their friendliness and envy their lives in such a beautiful place.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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21 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    13
    1
    0
    4
    3
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2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

I wish I came to this site first, then I would have known about the bedbug infestation.

I stayed in room 4A my first night. When I first checked in, I noticed a few ants, but there's a door leading to an outdoor patio so I killed them, took all of my belongings off the floor and was going to ask for bug repellent later on. I decided to go to bed early because I was exhausted and my body was aching. I woke up at 11pm and after a while I noticed an ant on the bed, then a little while later a bedbug! I stayed awake the entire night after checking my belongings, showering and moving everything into the lobby. There isn't any staff onsite until 10am and no one was there when I first woke up. When I told the female worker about the problem, she said they never had a problem there and she wasn't authorized to give a refund but could switch me to another room for the night. I was reluctant at first but then convinced myself that this was a problem that could happen anywhere and maybe it was just that room. Since I had no money because I couldn't get a refund, I stayed the night with the light on in room 2C, waking up every few hours checking for bugs and I didn't notice notice anything.

Next day, there was a male employee there (maybe the owner) and he told me that I needed to get out of that room because someone else booked it and the only room available was 4A which I originally booked. He said he could give me a refund, but only for the days I didn't stay there, even though the first night I didn't even sleep in the room and I only stayed there the second night because they was holding my money hostage! (I'm a traveling student on a budget!) But because I stayed on the property and they "checked" the room and didn't see anything they weren't giving me a refund.

I even caught the damn bug and put it in a plastic bag for them to take a look. I left it in the room and they claim they didn't see anything.

DO NOT STAY HERE!!!!!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

All my friends got it. The beds are infested with bed bugs for the 6 room dorm. . Horrible stay there. I switched bed from my allocated one to another empty one. I woke up at 2am in the morning cause i was itching all over, and confirmed with my very own eyes the army of bed bugs.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

Hard to fault this excellent little hostel - one of the best I've ever stayed in. We stayed in a private room so I can't comment on the dorms, but the whole place was spotlessly clean and nicely decorated. Shared bathrooms are really big and nice. The woman who runs it speaks excellent English and was really helpful. Location is great, 15 minutes walk from the train station and 10 minutes to downtown Hualien. There's a night market at the end of the road, too. We only stayed one night as a base for going to Taroko Gorge but I would actually recommend staying in Hualien longer as there is a lot to do and it's a lovely town, right on the sea. And Formosa is definitely the place to stay.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traveling
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

Fab hostel with super staff, fresh clean rooms and a cute dog.

I stayed here with my Girlfriend during our tour of Taiwan and we could have been happier with the place.

We sampled the dorms, both 6 and 10 beds. The 6 bad was very spacious and looks out onto a cute garden with floor to sealing windows, very peacful. The 10 bed dorm is upstairs and has a private bathroom and a lovely balcony with sliding doors so the room can be kept nice and kool on the hot days. The 10 bed was also very large and despite all beds being full, the room never felt cramped.

The lovely owner upgraded us free of charge to a private room, that was simply lovely. The room was recently refurbished, it had a great big comfortable bed and opened out onto a very nice roof terrace.

The hostel had a bar which is reasonably priced and is a kool place to hang out, the wifi is quick and the sofas and outside seating are ample and comfortable, making it a nice place to relaxe after a long day at the gorge.

Staff are friendly and knowledgable about the local area and Taiwan as a whole, the fact that they gave us a free upgrade was very sweet and much appreciated. I alao wanted to catch the F1 GP whilst I was staying there, I was unable to find a venue and the owner kindly lent me laptop to use, this made me super happy.

Formosa also has a super cute dog named Sunny, I will miss her.


All in all I have nothing but praise for Formosa, the staff and Sunny

Room Tip: If you book a double, the top floor rooms are fab
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

I stayed there with my mother and my boyfriend. It was great. We rented out a room upstairs for 3 people that cost 1700 a night. The staff was incredible helpful and friendly and the whole atmosphere was ok for any age. Nothing negative to say.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

Only about 5 minutes or by taxi or 15 to 20 minutes on foot from the high speed train station, you could walk right past this very interestingly deceptive spot and not notice it's not the very chic, bohemian bar you thought it was. It's a terrific hostel. As you enter you will pass though the tables out front, kind of like a Parisian sidewalk cafe. You will first be greeted by the lovely and intelligent Nita Lin who manages the place from behind the front desk which also happens to double as a very tastefully decorated bar. Comes in handy if you've had a tough trip. She is as intelligent as she is beautiful. I mean really intelligent. Speaks English very well and is a wealth of information.

There's art and musical instruments which are located in th the middle of the common areas, murals on the walls, a wall for messages written by the many very satisfied customers, wall hangings,. sculptures, surf boardsyou name it. Great little library with shelves of books organized by language. It's hard to describe this place because there so much to see. They serve some great tea. And there's a wide assortment of alcoholic beverages. Not very large but really cozy and welcoming. I only met a couple of people in the common areas but they were really nice.

There are upstairs and downstairs sleeping quarters which I did not check out but the one in which I stayed in had 3 bunk beds on the ground floor. It was a very comfortable room and beds with very comfy chairs and tables and more art. Behind it was a very relaxing garden area which was a great escape from the busy city. The bathroom, next door to this room was a good size with lots of space for hanging laundry or taking your shower. It was stocked with shampoo and conditioner as I recall. Everywhere in the place was clean . Very homey instead.

There's small refrigerator in the common area in case you have left overs. It's a very relaxing place where you can spend the day chatting with Nita or other guests. Or you can take a walk around the surrounding areas where you can avail yourself of many of the nearby restaurants, or do some shopping at the many stores that line the major street a block away. If you take a walk toward the beach (about a half hour walk) (Probably not good for swimming). You will pass many, many stores, selling all sorts of items. But if you get off that main drag there is a multitude of little shops down the side streets with all sorts of bargain priced men's and women's garments. Can't remember the name of the street but I'm sure Nita could tell you how to get there. It's just a short and easy walk. Not difficult to find at all.

As there are very limited accommodations in Taroko National Park, (Stunningly beautiful place) you can catch a bus, in the same parking lot for the high speed train station and enter the park and disembark at various points in the park, take a hike, return to your debarkation point and catch another bus to the next point in the park and take another hike. There are bus schedules at the bus station or at the rangers station near the entrance of the park. So you can catch the last bus back to Hualien, with ease and get back in time for a nice dinner in town.

Return as late as you wish to Formosa because your key will also open the front door. Between this really warm and wonderful place and the woman Nita Lin who manages it I had a terrific time at this hostel.

Not a negative thing to say about this place because it was allll good. I Oh did I mention the rate is terrifically low. I look forward to returning.

Room Tip: Bring your own towel
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Formosa Backpackers Hostel

Address: No.206 Jianguo Road, Hualien City, Hualien, Taiwan
Location: Taiwan > Hualien
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 95 Specialty Lodging in Hualien
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 17
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Also Known As:
Formosa Backpackers Hotel Hualien

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