I've travelled in both mainland China and Taiwan before, but this time in Taiwan I've noticed a lot more Chinese words and characters than I was aware of are used for different types or accommodation, or indeed for the same kinds of accommodation.

In China there were a few words for hotel but for the ones at a backpacker budget the most common words were 宾馆 binguan and 旅馆 luguan. For hostel I don't recall seeing anything other than 青年旅舍 qingnian lushe.

When I'm searching for cheap accommodation online, if the places don't have a good English listing or prices listed, it's hard to know which ones might be hostel type.

For instance the place I just stayed for a week used 客棧 kezhan in its Chinese name, which I don't recall ever seeing in China. It's English name used hostel. In this case it was combined with 背包客 beibaoke which means backpacker, but that's not always the case.

I've seen a bunch of other terms and characters too. I'll come back and add some to this question from now on:

  • 青年旅店 qingnian ludian - used for a hostel
  • 民宿 minsu - I think the kind of accommodation this used to be for in China is either very uncommon now or does not expect foreigners to ever stay. But it might be for the cheapest hotels in Taiwan (Which I think are still a bit out of my budget.
  • 背包房型 beibao fangxing - seems to be another way to say backpacker hostel
  • 背包民宿 beibao minsu - yet another one that obviously means backpacker hostel

I know I've seen breakdowns of such terminology for either or both of Japanese and Korean before, but I don't know a resource for Taiwan.

I'm personally interested in the shoestring budget options but I think it would be good to find a complete list somewhere to help everybody that will find this question via Google etc.

  • It may be worth asking at the Chinese stack exhange site? While cross posting is frowned upon in general, it is a very useful q/a here but you're more likely to get a comprehensive set of answers there.... Sep 21, 2016 at 19:35
  • Direct crossposting is frowned upon but asking the same question individually worded for each site is fine. The only problem is over there I could be asking a "list question" wanting them to "give me all the terms" whereas over here I can ask "did anyone come across a place listing all the terms". Different sites get uppity about different things. Also on Chinese.SE nobody votes which makes it feel strange even when you're not in it for the votes. Sep 22, 2016 at 6:22
  • Not a complete list but surely useful: zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%85%92%E5%BA%97#.E5.90.8D.E7.A7.B0 (in simplified Chinese, be aware. And Google translate is bordering on hilarious)
    – mts
    Nov 5, 2016 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


It seems the task may be hopeless:

The word for hotel is 大飯店 (dà fàn diàn, literally 'big rice shop'). This is usually used by hotels, but in common speech the term usually refers to a large, posh hotel that businessmen might dine at if they weren't staying there. A 旅館 (lǚ guǎn, literally 'travellers building') is more commonly used for a budget hotel, hostel or any other form of budget accommodation. If looking for a bed for the night it's usually more successful to ask someone where the nearest 旅館 is. Finally, 住宿 mean to 'stay overnight' (as opposed to a 'rest' during the day - see Love Hotels below). Finally, the words used to describe accommodation are not used consistently in English or Chinese, for example the Juifen Walk Hotel (below) is really a hostel, while the City Home Hostel in Hualien (my favourite accommodation in Taiwan) is really a B&B or boutique hotel.

From Formosa Guide, my emphasis.

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