Accommodation Review: Meander Taipei Hostel in Ximending

Whether you are visiting Taipei, Taiwan for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months, I highly recommend choosing Meander Taipei in the Ximending district of the city.

I stayed here for 7-nights in the month of April and had a fantastic experience.

I had an early 5AM landing at Taoyuan Airport. After going through immigration and picking up my SIM card, I hopped on the MRT towards Taipei Main Station. An hour later, I transferred to the blue line towards Ximen Station. It was still pretty early by the time I got to the Ximen area, so I stopped for some breakfast, loaded my SIM card in my phone and entered the coordinates for Meander Taipei. It was about an 8-minute walk from station exit number 1. The hostel was very simple to find (without google maps, it could be a little more of a puzzle.)

*This review is not a sponsored post and remains my genuine and uninfluenced opinion.

Checking-in at Meander Taipei

img_2937Photo Source: meander.com

The hostel entrance opens at about 7AM but check-in is not until 3PM. Nikki at the front desk greeted me with the biggest smile and even though I was 7 hours early for my check-in, offered to store my luggage and perform the check-in process early.

Unfortunately, it was my fault booking a flight that landed super early, but if you have the option, try to line up your landing time a few hours before check-in.

I booked my stay at Meander on Booking.com (Save $25 CAD on your stay when you click this link to sign-up for booking.com.) For a standard bed in an 8-bed mixed dormitory, it cost me about $23 CAD a night. For 7-nights, it came to about $170 CAD in total. That is a fantastic price for a one-week stay in one of Taipei’s busiest districts. Depending on your budget and preferences you can pay $45-$110 CAD for private rooms, but I would seriously consider opting for the dorm rooms as the value and location can’t be beaten.

The Room

Photo Source: Andrew George|iPhone 7

After 6-hours of killing time by hitting up Chiang Kai-Shek, testing out some street food and hiding from the downpour near Taipei 101, I made my way back to Meander.

Since I had already paid and left my luggage there, Nikki was waiting to give me my electronic room key and show me to my room. I was on the second floor of the hostel which was nice considering my luggage was pretty heavy. Nikki showed me the room and left me to settle in. Lucky enough, the room was empty when I checked in. I was able to settle in, use the washroom freely and take a quick nap.

The 8-bedroom dorm came with its own washroom which is very convenient if you’ve ever been in any other hostel. It was clean, big and the shower head’s water pressure was as powerful as ever (I love me some good water pressure.) There was both a soap and shampoo dispenser in the bathroom — a huge plus!

The room came with individual electronic lockers. Lockers are a must in a hostel. The room had air conditioning and a beautiful private street view.

The Sleep

img_1478-1Photo Source: Andrew George|iPhone 7

I was on the bottom bunk and the mattress proved to be very comfortable and the pillow was fluffy enough. The bunk kind of reminded me of the capsule style you would find in Japanese hotels. There was a wall charger, reading light, sliding curtain and clothing hooks — everything you could ever need and more in a hostel room!

I found I had a very good sleep most nights even with the rotating roster of guests sleeping in the neighbouring bunks — some with varying noise levels. This is something that comes down to luck in ANY hostel you stay in. Some people are respectful and make little noise as possible and some people are loud and you just have to sleep through it. If you are a light sleeper, I recommend earplugs or sleep headphones, just in case.

The Lobby

img_2939Photo Source: meander.com

After freshening up and a well-needed nap, I took a tour of the gigantic lobby. Free for all guests to use, the lobby has a TV, a full-sized kitchen, water dispenser, laundry room, outdoor concrete terrace, bathrooms, multiple seating areas, pool table, computers and much more! The atmosphere was modern, minimalist and warming.

In the main the lobby, there was a giant chalkboard with a map to the city, MRT lines and city hotspots. To the right of that was a detailed wall of things to do written in multiple languages. In addition, there was a calendar with free walking tours and events you could sign up for — all organized by the hostel staff. I didn’t have the opportunity to go on any of them as my schedule was completely packed, but I heard they are fantastic and that Bonnie & Nicco pull off a good time! If you are solo travelling and want to meet people, this is definitely the way to do it!

At one point during my stay, I got a very bad bug bite at the hot spring and it looked like it was getting infected. Claire at the front desk was extremely helpful. She explained to me where the nearest English speaking pharmacy was and what the Polysporin equivalent in Taiwan was. If you are reading this Claire, THANK YOU SO MUCH — I will forever remember you!

All in all, the staff working at Meander Taipei were beyond helpful and worked like a well-oiled machine. If you ever have a question, problem or if you just want to chat, they are more than happy to be there for you. They offer additional amenities for purchase at the front counter and can help you get your laundry going! They all seem to speak both Mandarin and English fluently, so don’t be shy to approach them for assistance.

The Local Area

Photo Source: Andrew George|iPhone 7

When arriving or leaving Meander, you pass through the bustling Ximending area — the Times Square of Taipei if you will.

This is a very convenient area to stay as it is right on the blue and green MRT line, and is loaded with shops, entertainment, and a delicious night market food. I found myself exploring the area more and more every single night as I always had to pass through on my way back to the hostel. The absolute top highlight was Ximending’s Red House. It is a western-style octagonal building that acts as an open market. It is modern, spacious and full of small booths with custom crafts, fashion, and unique souvenirs. Go out to the back pavilion and be acquainted with even more small shops. Whether you are staying in Ximending or not, The Red House is a real treat while staying in Taipei. I could go on all day about what you can see and do in Taipei, but that is a whole post in of itself. Although a little on the touristy side, Ximending is an ideal place to base yourself during a short stay in Taipei.

Final Thoughts

My two prior hostel experiences were in Japan; but I kid you not, Meander Taipei Hostel takes the cake! If you are in Taipei and need a cheap place to stay, but want an experience that many hotels can’t even give you, stay at the Meander Taipei Hostel in Ximending. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Like my own, it may become your best ever hostel experience!

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