Given that Fangliao is a small township in the southern Pingtung County, there weren’t many accommodation choices to choose from. After some research & going through my accommodation priorities, I decided on an apartment with a balcony facing the South China Sea. Probably because the township isn’t a well-known touristy area, accommodation prices were very affordable, even for mine with sea view. The studio apartment we finally booked only costed 999 TWD (~S$46.60) per night for 2 persons, the cheapest lodging we had for the entire 9-day Taiwan trip.
There was no English name for the apartment, or minsu as commonly known, which can be loosely translated as homestay or bed & breakfast in English. Since no breakfast is provided at this minsu, think it’s better to call it a homestay. 😉 I pondered over how to translate the Chinese name of this minsu – 幸福海钓猫 (bloglink; Facebook link) for a long time, & even tried to ask the host why he chose to name the home as such so that I could try to translate it better. He replied that it was his dream to own a small home by the sea, as he felt that watching the sunset by the sea makes him happy, hence the name. I guess I would never be able to get a perfect translation of the minsu for non-Chinese readers here, but here’s my attempt: “Fishing Cat by the Sea of Happiness”. When you see the photos of the minsu later in this post, you will understand why the sudden mention of cat. 😛
One thing good about booking this minsu, it was a fuss-free experience with the host Mr Xiao over email/ LINE messaging. He didn’t require us to pay a deposit upfront unlike most other accommodations. I was a bit surprised & concerned if the booking would really be taken seriously. So 1 week before the scheduled check-in, I messaged him a reminder & he replied to say of course he has reserved the minsu for us for the night! 😛
Check-in was only available after 3.30pm so we explored a bit of the township before we collected the keys to his minsu from the Takoyaki stall just steps ahead from Fangliao Station. To our pleasant surprise, although Mr Xiao had already provided pictorial instructions of how to get to the minsu through LINE, there was a photo album provided together with the keys! Furthermore, we also received our welcome gift – a free box of yummy Takoyaki from the boss. 🙂
Thereafter, we continued down the straight road for about 10 min before turning right into the small alley in front of a brown/grey colour building. It was easy to recognise where to turn right, because the Takoyaki stall boss had already alerted us earlier that we should turn upon seeing a tall building near the seaside. There’s a run-down shop on its ground floor with 2 really skinny cats, couldn’t remember what they sell but definitely not a convenience store. The minsu is located in the apartment building next to it as we turned in. We used the key to open the main gate & took the lift nearest to the gate to level 4. But alas, we had taken the wrong lift & had to walk further down the narrow & dark corridor before we could see our minsu entrance, just like how it looks in the photo.
Just like what I saw online, the studio apartment wasn’t very big, but cosy enough for 2 pax.
Based on what I read, Mr Xiao seems to be a fan of trains, hence that could have explained why he placed a figurine of an uniformed railway officer beside the TV. In my opinion, he was also pretty good with decorating the room with little details such as bright coloured cushions on the sofa, artistic wooden furniture and paintings of the beautiful sea on the wall. Overall, these evoked a warm & cosy feeling for guests staying here. Perhaps he also knew that the air-con may not be strong enough on hot summer days, there is a standing fan that we could also turn on to cool down the room. Thankful for that! A little downside would be, if you examine closely, the furnishings & amenities were not so well-maintained, so perfectionists may have some grouses if you stay here. The selling point of this minsu was of course, the awesome balcony overlooking the South China Sea!
Noticed 2 tiny cat figurines sitting on the edge in the middle of the balcony? 😉 This is why the minsu was named with cats inside. Too bad the day we arrived, the weather was too hot for comfort so we didn’t really want to chill out here to feed mosquitoes haha. We also missed the sunset & sunrise because it became cloudy that evening & drizzled all the way till the next morning. 😦 Nonetheless, with or without sunset or sunrise, the sea view was equally mesmerizing.
While there were hits & misses with this minsu experience, it was still a value for money accommodation in my personal opinion. For a short stay in a rural township to escape from the hectic city life & enjoy a back-to-basics life, I wouldn’t mind returning here again!