Taiwan is a small country situated above the Philippines. It holds a special place in my heart because it is the hometown of the best milk teas. A trip to Taiwan means fueling my milk tea craziness. Traveling with a small kid with dairy allergies in the land of milk tea was my ultimate dilemma, but it didn’t stop us from conquering Taiwan.
There are a lot of places you can go with kids in Taiwan. Let me share our video from our 4N/3D trip to Taiwan:
Taiwan has three international airports, Taoyuan, Songshan, and Kaoshing. Taoyuan and Songshan are in the northern part, and Kaoshing is in the southern region. Most airlines originating in Singapore have flights going to Taoyuan and Kaoshing only. Since most of our activities are in the northern region, we booked a direct flight to Taoyuan via Scoot. The travel time from Singapore to Taoyuan is around 4 hours and 35 minutes.
We chose a red-eye flight (12:40MN) to make sure that Daxton would sleep the entire flight (since it was his bedtime). Unfortunately, our flight got pushed back 5 hours due to an engine problem. No other flights are departing around that time, so we have no choice but to wait until they get the engine fixed. It was a setback to our itinerary and a major hassle to all passengers. Scoot compensated us with snacks and a $50 voucher for our next flight with them.
|Looking haggard but still all smiles for the camera
The Taoyuan Airport is quite small and straightforward in our opinion. It was nowhere near the beauty of Changi Airport. We didn’t explore the airport much as we were already tired and looking forward to our hotel to get freshened up. We headed straight to the Train station (which is conveniently near) after grabbing a quick bite.
WHERE TO STAY
Since we are traveling with a kid, we chose a decent hotel. As much as we want to save a bit on accommodation, a decent place for my kid to sleep is a bit of a priority. This mama has to check every recent review to make sure. At Taichung, We booked an overnight stay at The Enterpriser Hotel, which is accessible to the main train station and bus stops. You’ll be greeted by an old building facade, just a few meters from the main station of Taichung. Overall, The Enterpriser Hotel is one of those business hotels, running for more than a decade, with decent facilities.
In Taipei, there are a lot of accommodations to choose from. We booked two nights at Diary of Taipei for its convenient location among the places we wanted to explore. The hotel is small, the rooms are small but have all the things you may need. I can say that I liked the Diary of Taipei better because the facilities and rooms are quite updated.
I can say that there are a great selection of places to stay in Taipei, as compared to Taichung. Taichung has that old-town vibe, while Taipei is more of a bustling city, which is evident in the facilities you may see.
Taichung is just an hour away from Taipei via train and two hours by bus. If you don’t mind the commute, I suggest booking your accommodations in Taipei and taking a whole day trip to Taichung. Taipei has more selection and affordable places to stay as compared to Taichung.
Here’s our original Itinerary for our 4-day trip:
With some unforeseen circumstances, we weren’t able to follow the itinerary I prepared. We used it as a guide on which places we would like to go and check out. We did not pressure ourselves to tick all those places in our itinerary for it is exhausting not only for us parents, but for the kid as well.
PLACES TO CHECK OUT
There are a lot of beautiful places to check in the entirety of Taiwan. We decided to explore Taichung and Taipei for now. Traveling with a kid limits our ability to squeeze more places to visit in a day. We decided to choose the places wisely and to make sure both adults have enough energy throughout the day to care for (and baby-wear) our kid.
- Rainbow Village
Taichung may be an old village, but this village sure is a colorful one. Nested in a residential area, surrounded by buildings and houses, The Rainbow Village is a sight to behold. The whole village was hand-painted to preserve the place and its history.
|Habulan with the kiddo
|Saya mo Mamsh?!
It was surely a hit for Daxton because of the bright colors from the walls and lanterns. He had fun navigating through the alleyways of wall art. There is also a small play area for children situated just outside the Rainbow Village.
- Zhongshe Flower Market (also known as Houli Flower Market)
It is one of the must-see places in Taichung. It is a huge flower garden that they turned into a tourist destination. The flowers were notable as each section of the field was filled with different colors. The place exudes happy vibes because of the amount of colors present in the flowers.
We went in July, which is the summer season, so the Rainbow Village was a delight for there are flowers. I guess it looked better in Spring, for there were sections that the farmers were beginning to till, for the new set of plants to grow.
- Zhongxia Night Market
Night markets are a hit in Taiwan. It is where you can sample all sorts of Taiwanese street food. The biggest night market in Taichung is the Feng Chia Night Market. According to Google, there was a night market a few blocks away from our hotel, which is the Zhongxia Night Market.
|Wintermelon Tea with Gudetama cup
Tired from our delayed flight and afternoon of walking around Rainbow Village, we decided to drop by the Zhongxia Night Market. We were a bit lost as we walked through the streets to find it. We were expecting a street full of food stands along the road, bustling with a bit of a happy food scene vibe. Zhongxia Night Market is not what we expected. There were just a few food stalls along the street and most of them had menus that were written in Chinese characters. Also, most people only speak their local language (I’m guessing Mandarin, not too sure) which was a struggle for us.
We allotted one whole day for exploring Taichung and since our flight got way too delayed, most of our activities got pushed back. We were only able to choose three main attractions to visit. Other places that are on our itinerary but were not visited are Gaomi Wetlands, Miyahara Museum, Taichung Park, and a cute Totoro Bus stop. Taichung also has nice cafes that are also worth visiting.
* It is best to travel with data. We rented a wifi device to stay connected. Google Translate and Maps are a must. You need it for train timings, translating Mandarin, and of course, social media postings.
* It is helpful to know some Mandarin phrases (especially food!). Only a few stores had English translations of their menu. I was anxious for a milk tea, but had no luck picking for they have a wide selection, all written in characters. Google Translate made no sense as we attempted to use it. I ended up memorizing the characters for Wintermelon milk tea that I happened to get from one store that has an English menu.
* The must-see places in Taichung are far apart, traveling in a rented car is more convenient (especially if you have kids). Train stops are timed, so once you miss the train, you’ll have to wait for the next one, which is usually 20 minutes or more. You have the option to walk but expect to walk a lot.
Taipei, being the main city, offers more sites to discover. We allotted two days to explore Taipei, dividing it between North Taipei and Central Taipei.
- First Day — Central Taipei
After checking out in Taichung, we hopped on the train and headed to Taipei. The hotel we booked was within walking distance from the Main Station. Fair warning that the Main Station is quite huge and there are a lot of pathways underground that will lead you to anywhere in Taipei.
|Chillin with our haggard faces
After settling into our hotel and having a quick nap, we headed out and checked out Taipei. It was a bit late in the afternoon already, so we just walked around Taipei and checked out the milk tea spots and food stores we could try.
|If there’s queue, it must be good…not so much!
|Strolling around Taipei Main Station
When dusk settled in, we headed to Shilin Market to check out the night market scene. Our disappointment with Taichung was instantly washed over. Shilin Night Market is exactly the night market I am expecting Taiwan to have.
|Lakad pa more
|Pila sa Chipai!
|Pagod na, pero Gora parin..
We had loads of fun in Shilin Market. The selection of street food is like heaven for a foodie like me. My son’s dairy/egg/chicken allergy restricted me from gobbling all the deliciousness that I could see.
- Second Day — North Taipei
North Taipei is far, but pretty accessible by public transportation and car. We allotted one whole day to explore the Northern part. We opted to rent a private car with a driver (I previously mentioned above the timings of public transport) since time is of the essence on the trip. We wanted to see all three locations, Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Old Street, and Jiufen Old Street. All of them are in the Northern part, but relatively far apart. The car was rented only up to 5 pm, so we must be back in Taipei by then, otherwise, we have to pay extra for the exceeding hours.
|Yehliu Geopark Tourist Center
|Aura sa mga rocks!
Our first stop was at Yehliu Geopark. We started our day early, and the journey going there took around an hour, including traffic. Yehliu was packed with locals and tourists that day, it was almost impossible to get that perfect shout around the rock formations.
|First stop palang, haggard na!
Our driver waited for us and gave us a time limit. We gave him the list of the places we wanted to see, and he told us it was possible if we limited the time spent on each location. The humid weather and the amount of people left us exhausted after an hour of looking around.
|Palamig muna with Mango smoothie
The next stop was Shifen Old Street. It is an old town within the perimeter of the railroad. We opted to get our snacks here as per our driver’s suggestion. He said to try the BBQ stuffed chicken wings and other street food in the area.
Of course, we wouldn’t pass up doing the most touristy thing here, which is to fly a lantern. Our driver was very helpful in assisting us and talking to the locals. He gave us enough space to roam around the streets and at the same time assisted us in doing these activities we liked to try. Shifen Old Street was also packed with people, we opted not to visit the waterfalls because we would need to walk/hike a few meters, which would drain our energy more due to the heat (and babywearing kid).
|Pakak ang view ng kabundukan!
Our last stop was at Jiufen Old Street. Jiufen is situated on a hilltop. It was quite a trek to explore the whole area. A lot of steep steps combined with a herd of people going the same direction as you will be the main challenge. We refueled here with an iced black coffee from a quaint shop and some street food we saw along the way.
|Refueling with caffeine para more energy!
|Who is the shiniest of them all?!
Despite the steep stairway navigating through Juifen, the view at the top was breathtaking! We made a good choice of making Jiufen our last stop for we were there at the golden hour (near sunset). Jiufen is the perfect place to buy those souvenir items for they have an assortment of quirky things for sale in every corner.
|Tea break muna
|Tsaa with a view si Madame
In Juifen, you will be advised to stop at a tea shop to refresh and try their wonderful mountain tea. We wanted to go to the famous tea house with a view (A-Mei Tea House) but there was a queue going in. We skipped the tea house and had tea at another place with a wonderful view of the mountains and lake.
After our trip North, we had an hour to spare before the night market opened. We wanted to go to Elephant Mountain Trail after but we were so exhausted from all the walking that we decided to check out Taipei 101 instead. There were packs of tourists heading to the observatory so we decided to marvel at the building from outside. We wanted to have dinner in Din Tai Fung and have some xiao long bao, but the line in the Taipei101 branch was ridiculously long. We decided to check the food court and ate this nice bowl of beef before binging on snacks at the Night Market.
After sharing one bowl of beef, the adventure continues! We headed out to Raohe Night Market for more street food. It seems like we tend to eat more snacks than a proper meal in Taiwan. What I noticed is that most night markets have the same kind of street food, with each night market highlighting one or two snacks that make them unique among others.
What I particularly liked in Raohe Night Market is their Wintermelon Tea with freshly cooked brown sugar pearls. I know that the combination is instant diabetes for wintermelon is naturally sweet, and the brown sugar pearls are like extra sweetness that not many will appreciate. And yeah, I drink wintermelon tea in Taiwan almost every day for it is the closest I can order in milk tea shops (kid with dairy allergies dilemma), so I memorized the Mandarin character for Wintermelon tea.
|I wish it was milk tea, but oh well!
- Last Day — Memorial Hall Day
We woke up particularly early (7 AM) to have an early breakfast at the hotel and check out the Ximending neighborhood. We walked from our hotel down to the Taipei Cinema Park and Red House. It was a bit of a walk, but we had a great time admiring the quiet morning in the neighborhood.
Most of the stores (milk tea stores in particular) are still closed, but we made an effort to drop by and try the famous Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle. I had one spoonful of the noodles for I noticed that it contained eggs (baby with dairy, chicken, and egg allergy!). After that, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and fix our things for checkout.
Since our flight was in the evening, we left our luggage in the hotel reception and headed out to explore Taipei more. Our first stop was lunch at Din Tai Fung. We chose the Din Tai Fung Fuxing branch because it is dubbed to have the shortest queue. We ordered Xiao Long Bao, beef noodles, and pork pao for Daxton. Xiao Long Bao is a must whenever you visit Taipei.
After a hearty lunch, we headed to Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and had a blast shooting photos and videos. Daxton was elated for he had a massive space to run around. Tired out, we decided to make our last stop at Shilin Night Market again before heading to the airport for our flight.
|Sweaty from all the running around Chang Kai Shek
There are still a lot of places we haven’t ticked off our list in Taiwan. We are looking forward to returning and exploring more of the hidden treasures/scenery of Taiwan. Hopefully, when we return to Taiwan, my kid has outgrown his dairy allergy so I can have all the milk tea I want. ^__^
This is not a sponsored post. We paid for everything stated above. All of the photos above were taken by me (and my husband), otherwise, proper credits were cited in the photo. Everyone has different preferences and opinions. All opinions expressed are based on the my experiences. Indulge at one’s own risk. ^_^