Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Hotel Review: Leader Village Taroko (4*)

Budget travellers will stay at family-run accomodations called Min Su 民宿 in Hualien or Sincheng (which will be quite inconvenient cos if you intend to explore 2 days you have to drive in and out of the gorge) while most tour group-type tourists will stay at the only 5-star hotel called SILKS PLACE at tianxiang but Grace recommended this unique hotel in Taroko Gorge because she stayed here when she visited and liked it very much. Located in Buluowan 布落湾, about 10 mins from the entrance of the gorge, this hotel is nestled among mountains and clouds =) very very scenic and lovely view =) the air is so fresh and everyday you can hear birds chirping...

Hotel entrance. There is an area in front of the entrance where you can lie down and see stars (provided not too cloudy)

Each hut has two rooms and the interior is semi-Japanese, with a platform and mattresses. Amenities are basic (no conditioner!! my hair was so rough after two nights of no conditioner >.<)

toothbrush and toothpaste
shower gel
shower cap
tea and coffee
FREE UNLIMITED WIRELESS INTERNET!! (which surprised me given the location... not high speed like in the citis but decent la)

there's a path from the hotel which leads to swallow's grotto trail.

all staff in the hotel with the exception of the manager and assist manager are aborigines as in they are from the same tribe. they look normal like us, no tatoo-ed faces la... there was supposed to be an aboriginal performance at night but when it's off-peak season and the occupancy rate is less than half (like the two nights we were there), the performers are the staff LOL but they performed with so much sincerity (even the wash plate aunty and the cook came out to perform) that i felt touched and enjoyed myself. they basically played aboriginal instruments and sang aboriginal songs. There was also a night trail in the hope of catching some flying squirrel action but we didn't see any. there were toads, frogs and other nocturnal insects though. quite interesting. and we ended the tour with a loud holler towards the mountain to hear our echo because buluowan means echo in their language. what's amazing is that they're Christians!! i guess when the village head gets saved, the whole village is saved too hahaha...oh oh, the assist manager has a master'd degree in tourism and hospitality and speak English...

meals are traditional Taroko tribe food which wasn't quite to my liking on the first night. The dinner was called "When Wild Boar Meets Eiffel Tower" i don't know why... i couldn't identify the "eiffel tower" hahaha... the roasted wild boar fatty chunk reminds me of German pork knuckle... chris liked it but i found it too fatty =P i think they should call it "When Wild Boar Meets Hitler" maybe more apt... the second night's food was much better. grilled beef =)

i do recommend that you stay here one night if visiting the gorge because the surrounding nature is really beautiful =)

NT$4300 (about SGD$200) per night inclusive of breakfast and dinner. i advise taking the package with dinner because there is absolutely NOTHING else to eat in the vicinity hor. the next nearest place with some form of civilisation is tianxiang (where the 5-star hotel is) and the town outside the gorge (can't rmb name). So people plan their trip around the gorge to target having lunch either here or at tianxiang. if you're staying two nights, you can probably stay one night here and one night at silks place for more variety. But silks place is just a typical modern 5-star hotel lor. this is more interesting =) silks place is also much more expensive at NT$7000 a night.

Location (View): 6*
Room: 4*
Food: 3*
Service: 4*