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I've been travelling on foot and by hitchhiking and sleeping in a tent in many countries and now I'm doing so in Taiwan.

But in some countries it's really easy to keep fresh.

In Turkey I was often told I could wash with the taps for worshippers beside the prayer room or small mosque that many places including truck stops and petrol stations sometimes had.

In Thailand I would often meet people at a roadside restaurant and there was always a bucket shower they would point me to. Roadside police stations also offered me use of their showers, some of which were specifically public, and others I began asking permission to use.

In several Southeast Asian countries I've asked or had a local I met ask on my behalf if I could pitch my tent on the grounds of a Buddhist monastery/temple. I was always shown where there were showers or bucket showers.

In Japan and Korea there's always a sento or jjimjilbang where you can have a cheap and great bath and sauna.

In some countries showers were common in petrol stations or in public restrooms at parks and beaches.

I've even seen in some countries facilities provided for cyclists that include showers and walkers have also been welcome to use them.

So far in Taiwan I've made pretty miserable attempts to wash a little bit in public restrooms, but they're not common and often have a female attendant or cleaner, so you can't be very thorough. Until I move back from roughing it to hostelling.

Is there something I don't know about Taiwan that would be good for showering or similar? Hiking and cycling are very popular here. I don't know if people do those on overnight or multi-day trips. If they do there might be something they use.

Or are there any other ideas?

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    Oh before the smartarse comments start coming in, I don't want to shower in public. I want to use showers provided for public use (-: – hippietrail Aug 17 '16 at 16:23
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    What about a visit to a hot spring, where you are asked to shower before soaking? Here's a link go2taiwan.net/hot_spring.php – Giorgio Aug 18 '16 at 2:04
  • I am not cosed to either swimming pools or hotsprings, but those are not something you can just wander to the nearest one of in in a morning/evening/when you feel disgusting. They're more destinations of their own that you have to plan to get to. In Japan and Korea they are totally ubiquitous. If they are here too then I haven't learned how to spot them yet. – hippietrail Aug 18 '16 at 5:26
  • Not an answer yet, but yesterday some Taiwanese travellers in my hostel in Lukang told me police stations in Taiwan have more and more facilities for travellers and include shower. I have noted that some people do seem to say "shower" in English when they mean "wash". They don't always mean an attachment above your head releases water onto you... – hippietrail Aug 22 '16 at 12:25
  • I've now been to a couple of police stations and although those visits were not to ask for showers it struck me that they are not the kind of place a traveller would pop in to use the shower. If you arrive at a park quite late and it's not so close to town you can get a pretty decent wash without accidentally flashing any attendant, cleaner, passer-by, or other user. These are easiest to find if you're following the national bicycle routes around the country which have frequent information signs with maps showing restrooms. – hippietrail Aug 25 '16 at 8:06
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This will be very difficult, I think, if you want an actual shower rather than a wash. Some suggestions would be:

  • Find a local swimming pool (these are not common outside big cities); pay for entrance and use their showers. Many pools will require you to have a bathing cap. Hot Springs are another option.
  • Some schools allow people to use their grounds as a public park outside school hours; this can include the toilet facilities. I have seen one which also had a shower but I think this is quite rare.
  • Find a hotel that allows room rental by the hour (colloquially referred to as a 'rest') for... some reason :). Rent a room so you can use the shower.

Taiwan is not really geared up for backpackers; locals who want cheap travel will stay in the cheap local hotels that are hard to locate if you can't speak or read Mandarin, and the ones who want to flaunt their wealth will stay in flashy big hotels. You're already seen the state of most public toilet facilities so I won't mention those here...

  • I think the public toilets, when you can find them are fairly well looked after. Not up to South Korea's standards perhaps. Some may lack maintenance but even the ones in seemingly little visited parks seem to have cleaners come around at least at about dawn each day. – hippietrail Aug 25 '16 at 8:03
  • @hippietrail - this may depend hugely on the place where you are. In Taipei, maybe they're better maintained, but outside the larger cities I've seen places that would make you lose your lunch. – Steve Shipway Aug 26 '16 at 22:31
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Where I have been staying for over a week now on the east coast, Dulan village, Donghe township, Taitung county, the police station basically has a full camping setup intended for cyclists.

It includes several "bivouacs" which are basically well built low lean-tos with floors and roofs but no walls. You could sleep in those or probably set up a small tent in there. There'll be protection from rain as long as there's no typhoon.

There also free filtered water and a bathroom. The bathroom is even supplied with laundry soap power so you can hand wash clothes in the handbasin.

And I didn't realize it because there's no sign in English, but when I met a western couple cycling around the country, they told me you had to register inside the police station and you would be given the keys to the shower!

Part of the camping section of the Dulan police station.

The couple told me it's like this all down the east coast. I never saw the bivouacs on the west coast but I also never thought of going inside to ask if there was a shower.

Now I had been taken to two or three police stations on the west coast weeks ago late at night by a couple of young local guys who didn't speak any English. None of the police offered me any amenities but the guys were only asking them about finding a park for me to camp in, so there is a possibility the police station on the west coast may provide some things and I just didn't ask the right questions or go to the right police stations.

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