Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 3 (Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, Fu Hang Dou Jiang, Mid-Autumn Festival)

My last post on my trip to Taipei with twin toddlers included:

  • Reuniting with Yong He Soy Milk (Taiwanese breakfast stall)
  • Discovering the playground at Da’an Forest Park
  • Eating at the original Din Tai Fung outlet
  • Enjoying the scenery at Taipei 101
  • Sweating endlessly at the Taipei Zoo

This post will detail the last few days of our trip and include some final words of wisdom.

Day 5: McDonald’s, Eslite 24 hour bookstore, Yu’s Almond Tofu, Jin Man Yuan Pai Gu pork chop rice

Still exhausted from the previous day’s outing to the Taipei Zoo, we decided to take it easy on day 5 of our trip. We had McD’s for breakfast (slightly better than Singapore but the coffee was bitter; note that almost all the coffee in Taipei is unpleasantly bitter) and headed to the Eslite 24 hour bookstore near Zhongxiao Dunhua. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any children’s selections, but we enjoyed the air conditioned bookstore and cafe.

In the afternoon, we bought some souvenirs in Ximending and had a snack at Yu’s Almond Tofu, where we enjoyed our almond shaved ice with milk. For dinner, we had pork chop rice at Jin Man Yuan Pai Gu in Ximending. In Taiwan, pork chops are seasoned with salt and pepper (and probably MSG), deep fried, and served with rice and pickles.

Day 6: Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, empanadas at Maji Square, burger at Meat Up

Feeling rejuvenated after a relatively easy day, on day 6, we headed to the Taipei Children’s Amusement Park.

Our kids were only allowed to go on a few rides since they are just over 90 cm, but the outdoor and indoor playgrounds were enjoyable. Since it was unbearably hot, we spent most of our time at the indoor playground on the second floor (Kawai Candy Land). I highly recommend this play area for younger children (the playground is meant for those under age 6), as the play area is extremely clean, and there are lots of activities (ball pits, slides, play cars, pretend grocery store, kinetic sand). Each play session is for 1 hour and 50 minutes, and the staff spend 10 minutes cleaning in between sessions.

After our session was over, we headed to Maji Square for tacos. The tacos were decent with a respectable corn tortilla, but the empanadas at Mecato were absolutely amazing (FYI, empanadas are like curry puffs but with a crispier pastry dough and meatier filling). Maji Square also has food from other cultures, but we were floored by the empanadas! We enjoyed them with a fruity beer from the nearby deli.

My husband and I discovered another food gem after our kids went to bed. We wandered around Ximending and found Meat Up, a burger / smoothie joint. The burger was customisable and delicious, and the smoothies were Instagram worthy.

Continue reading “Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 3 (Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, Fu Hang Dou Jiang, Mid-Autumn Festival)”

Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 2 (Da’an Forest Park, Din Tai Fung, Taipei 101, Taipei Zoo)

In my previous post on traveling to Taipei with twin toddlers, I detailed information on:

  • Applying for our helper’s visa to Taiwan
  • Our experience staying in an Airbnb in Ximending
  • Our EVA Air flight to Taipei
  • Traveling around Taipei with a twin stroller

Today I will outline the first half of our Taipei trip itinerary. My husband and I prefer to be flexible while traveling, so we usually plan outings just a day in advance.

Day 1: From Changi to Taoyuan

We left Singapore at 1:10pm, during our twins’ naptime. Thankfully, they were excited by the airplane ride and showed little signs of crankiness. They were amused by the in flight touch screen entertainment and YouTube videos my husband and I had downloaded onto our iPhones. After a few hours of playtime, both kids managed to nap for a bit.

We arrived at Taoyuan Airport around 5:45pm. Immigration and luggage collection were a breeze, and we left customs after just 45 minutes.

We dropped off our luggage at our Airbnb in Ximending and went for a quick dinner at TKK Fried Chicken. The chicken was decent but quite salty. Our kids went to bed around 8:30-9:00pm, much later than their usual bedtime.

Day 2: Yong He Soy Milk, Da’an Forest Park, 2/28 Peace Park, Ximending Night Market

Six years ago, my husband and I stayed in Ximending during our first Taipei trip. We found an amazing breakfast place with Taiwanese offerings such as you tiao (fried donut stick), fan tuan (you tiao, pork floss, and pickles wrapped in sticky rice), and soy milk. When we returned three years ago, we couldn’t find the same place after wandering around endlessly. It turns out our long lost breakfast stall, Yong He Soy Milk, was just down the street from our current accommodation! They have a picture menu, and the staff speak a bit of English, since a lot of tourists congregate here.

After breakfast, we trekked to Da’an Forest Park, which is near the Da’an MRT station. There is a large playground and sand pit, which our kids loved. Unfortunately, it was very hot and humid with little shelter, so we didn’t stay long.

For lunch, we went to the Underground Mall food court at Taipei Main Station. I had my favorite food court meal here: lu rou fan (rice with saucy minced pork), pickles, bittergourd soup with pork ribs, and boiled lettuce.

We headed back to our apartment for a nap, and later visited 2/28 Peace Park, which I would highly recommend for kids. There are lots of greenery and large sculptures to keep kids entertained. We had intended to visit the National Taiwan Museum, but it was closed for renovations.

For dinner, we went to the Ximending Night Market. I think our kids were either exhausted from the day or homesick, because they were absolutely naughty during our evening stroll. We ended up cutting our evening short and went home.

Continue reading “Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 2 (Da’an Forest Park, Din Tai Fung, Taipei 101, Taipei Zoo)”

Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 1 (helper visa, Airbnb, EVA Air flight, travel resources)

My husband and I uncharacteristically decided to book a last minute family vacation to Taipei, Taiwan with our twin toddlers a few weeks ago. We returned from our 8 day, 7 night trip last week. It was mostly exhausting with some fun in between. In this first post, I’ll outline our trip preparation and some general advice for traveling in Taipei. The next few posts will detail our itinerary, including our favorite restaurants and attractions.

The n+1 rule

When traveling with young children, I firmly believe in having n+1 caretakers, where n = the number of children. So my husband and I decided to bring our helper along for the trip.

We applied for our helper’s 30 day visa at the Taipei Representative Office of Singapore, which is located in the PSA Building on Alexandra Road. The visa cost $65 SGD and required 2 passport photos. I also had to sign a letter stating that I was responsible for my helper during the trip. Her visa was available the next afternoon.  You may also apply for a visa online. It takes about 3-4 working days (according to online forums).

Choosing an accommodation

We only booked our trip a week before the departure date. With 3 adults, 2 children, and a relatively tight budget, our accommodation choices were limited. Our only criteria were to have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and proximity to an MRT station.

We chose a two bedroom apartment near Ximen MRT, which had its advantages and disadvantages. We were close to the Ximending night market, countless shopping areas, and early morning breakfast spots. But our area was extremely polluted with cigarette smoke and motorbike exhaust. Our apartment was in a rundown building (government housing?) with a gambling parlor on the third floor, and cigarette smoke was always lingering in the air.

For families, I would recommend staying in a less congested part of Taipei, even if it is less central.

Flying to Taipei

Our 4-4.5 hour flight on EVA Air was relatively uneventful. Our kids were entertained by the in flight television and YouTube videos we had downloaded onto our iPhones. I also packed a small activity bag with Daiso magnetic doodle boards, Daiso stickers, crayons (ones with edges so they don’t roll off), and a homemade activity book (stapled A4 sheets of paper with drawings for coloring).

My husband and I each brought a bag of snacks, 5 diapers, wet wipes, bibs, empty water bottles (which we filled at the gate after going through security), kids’ headphones, and alcohol wipes to sanitise the airplane seats and tray.

Although our flight to Taipei was during their naptime, our kids enjoyed the flight and were relatively well behaved. They even managed to nap for almost an hour. On the way back, they had a few small meltdowns since we had to wake up early for our morning flight, but overall, they seemed to enjoy their airplane ride.

Traveling with a stroller

Whenever we travel, our twins become extremely timid and reluctant to walk longer distances, so we brought our Maclaren Twin Triumph stroller. It was a huge help for traversing through the airports and around the streets of Taipei.

We took our stroller everywhere in Taipei, since our Airbnb accommodation was about 600 meters from the MRT station. 600 meters doesn’t seem very far, but with cranky toddlers in 34 degree C heat and 80% humidity, a stroller was a must!

Taipei was relatively stroller friendly. Department stores and tourist landmarks had elevators, as did all MRT stations. But only certain MRT exits had elevators, while others had a combination of stairs and escalators. Most MRT elevators had a long queue, so we often had one caretaker fold the stroller and carry it out of the subway station, while the other two caretakers carried one child each.

Resources

Here are some helpful websites I used for planning our trip:

KKday – Offers discounted admission to tourist attractions, airport transfers, etc. We used KKday for traveling to and from Taoyuan Airport. For 200 NT (about $9 SGD), you can book car seats in advance. While booking online, request the seats in the comment section. KKday will message you requesting your child’s date of birth, height, and weight. The car seats aren’t in the best shape, but they served their purpose. The car seat fee should be paid in cash to the driver.

A Toddler in Taipei – Blog with activities categorised by age, location and occasion.

A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei – My favorite Taipei foodie blog with restaurant reviews. The author also indicates whether the restaurants she reviews are child friendly.