Kiwi Express Taichung Station Branch II is best described as a hotel-hostel hybrid. It is a large building of nine floors accessible by elevator, with the exception of the ninth-floor common room. The first three floors are for private rooms, which make up the hotel part of this establishment. The hostel part comprises the three upper floors as well as a common lounge. Entering the building feels like entering a hotel, more business than social hostel. Going up the floors, it does give more a hostel feel, with the wall paintings with signs, a local map, and a backpack figure contributing to this.
Kiwi Express is conveniently located only a seven-minute walk from Taichung Railway Station. The location is nice, along a small river; plenty of convenience stores, shopping places, and restaurants are nearby. Other famous touring spots nearby include the National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung Cultural & Creative Industries Park, and Jiguang Street and Miyahara. The property also provides free bicycles, which can help you get around the big city of Taichung slightly faster. The most famous Fengjia Night Market is still quite far away for a bike trip and is a twenty-three-minute drive by car.
Though the hostel has a good location for shorter stays, if staying longer there aren't that many interesting places nearby. But it is conveniently near the station for day trips; for longer stays, we recommend a motorcycle, which can be rented near the station, to explore some surrounding areas.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The dorms and shower facilities are separated by floor -- there are two female floors and one male floor. Dorms range in size from six to fourteen beds. An interesting gimmick are the lights outside the dorm door indicating which beds are taken. Each bed is in a good-sized and clean cubicle, though the two at the edge of the room are especially spacious with some extra space, which is handy for your bags. The cubicles are equipped with a mirror, a clothing hook, a normal and USB power plug, a light, and also an area to place some stuff like glasses. Noisy, roll-down curtains give each cubicle plenty of privacy. Your belongings can safely be stored in the spacious electronic locker. Shoes are stored in the locker on the ground floor, as all floors besides the ground floor may only be accessed with slippers.
There's a big shower area with plenty of good strong showers and toilets. The rack in the shower is not really useful, as you can barely put stuff on it without is getting wet. But baskets are available, which you can put with the hair dryer opposite the shower cabin.
The toilets seem well cleaned; toilet sanitizer is provided, so you don’t have to assume it is being cleaned, you can do it yourself. Most toilets are normal ones, while one is a fancy, Japanese-style toilet. On the ground is another big toilet that's accessible for the handicapped.
The ninth floor is a big common-area lounge. It is a nice common area with some tables as well as seating along the windows for a nice view of the city. There is a TV, which is usually set to a news channel, and some table games. The big setting of this lounge makes also the common area feel like a hostel-hotel hybrid, meaning it can both be a social space as well as a more hotel-like isolated place to be.
The kitchen has a big refrigerator and some for cooking including rice cooker. While there are tools for cooking, the kitchen isn’t really fit for it. The simple breakfast toast can be gotten in the kitchen every morning. Tea and good coffee (from a machine with bean grinder) are available all day. In addition, on the ninth floor are also the laundry facilities.
Overall, the hostel is quite good, offering convenient facilities and location. Unfortunately, Check-in is quite late at 5 p.m., but facilities besides the bed can already be used and bags can be left at the reception. Though the bags are tagged, it is not the most safe and we opted to put valuables in the shoe lockboxes. This hostel can serve a good hub location for traveling in and around Taichung.
by legends of monkeys
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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