The Hiking Home Hostel is located in mid-slope of a mountain called MALABAN (peak at 1407m) within the Snowy Mountain Range in Dahu, Miaoli which is also the hometown of Taiwan strawberry. The value of this building does not lies on the splendid design techniques but lies on the involvement and expectation of the owners, Mr. Chiang. Because of the 921 Earthquake, Mr. Chiang gave up his work in Taipei and returned to his hometown to rebuild a shelter for his family. His determination and involvement to construct the house by himself is very impressive. After discussing and talking over for more than five years with the designer, the building is finally completed with all sorts of the difficult problems solved. Located in the high altitude of 900 meters in the mountains, the building keeps a low-profile and simple appearance. The mixture of cement painted, natural concrete texture, render of clouds which enhances the conversation between time and the building. It is almost the highest local hostel, the house coexists with the surrounding of primary forest. More than 80% of food served are planted, harvested and consumed by themselves. It also aims at using solar system and hydro power as more than half of their energy supply. It has become a model of self-sufficiency of the hillside, waiting for you to visit and experience – Hiking Home Hostel.
The grandfather of Mr. Chiang who is over-eighty-year-old leads a lifelong farming life in the mountain, following traditional dieting habits of the Hakka. After the 921 Earthquake, his family migrated. His grandfather was looking forward to having a sturdy house for the family. Therefore he is very proud when the building is completed in 2014. After all, every piece of the land here belongs to him. Mr.
Chiang said, “In fact, my mother is also expecting the completion of the building, and she hopes to move around to my grandparents and take care of them after retirement. It also provides a stopover for relatives and friends who comes for visit. This building is one of the simplest dream of my mother who almost lost all her siblings and delicate her lifetime for the family.
Mr. Chiang didn’t ask for anything intentionally, in fact, all of this just occurred naturally. He doesn’t become a person who is emphasizing on how to make changes or blaming on everything. On the contrary, he faced it with a humble and respectful mind without any about the strong rebuilding thoughts. After all, the pain will be forgotten and become a memorial and remembrance of our lost.
In addition to the function of accommodation, the common area in the middle was designed deliberately for a special intention. To meet Mr. Chiang’s additional expectation, this building is not just a house or a hostel. It is an elf in the hillside – a church in the mountain. It allows those adults who used to gather together along the hill for drink, those lonely children who go to school in remote area and those elderly who are always being ignored, to have an dependence for their spirit, a precipitation for their mind and a support for their life. The open-spaced dining room in the ground floor is specially designed with high flexibility for the use of church. The murals, named “New Genesis”, on the wall is painted by Mr. Chiang himself. You can see a colorful world with the shadow of God and Noah’s Ark. All colors are natural pigment origin from the mother natural then he reflect it to the murals by picking the color number from the color swatches.
Mr. Chiang adopts an experimental charging method in “Hiking Home” Hostel. The condition is “one family, two days one night, one landing two meals”. Guests can decide their payment according to the degree of satisfaction of accommodation. The reason is simple. Mr. Chiang’s family live in the first floor. To them, second floor and third floor are their rooms as well they just want some friends can come and visit. “The laughs brought by visitors will be retained in corners of the trees and bookshelves in the house, similar to flowers in the nature needed to be fed with nutrients. There are no TV and air-conditioner in the house. We prepared a comfortable turf to lie or step on with naked feet and the cool breeze in the summer shows you the pure and simple of the island. We invite you sincerely to come and experience it, “said Mr. Jiang naively.