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)”

8 free places for your active toddler twins in Singapore

Recently I have been scouring the island for free activities. My toddler twins have become increasingly active and adventurous. Here are some of my favorite places in Singapore:

1. Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – Open 8am to 7pm but closed on Mondays (except when a public holiday is on a Monday). One of our go-to places. There is a water play area, two sand playgrounds, and a fun suspension bridge.

2. Botanic Gardens – Open 5am to midnight. There are plenty of places to roam around, collect sticks (my twins’ favorite new hobby these days), blow bubbles, etc. There is also a cafe called Food for Thought at the Tanglin Gate. The food is mediocre, but it is a good place to cool down for drinks. There is  also a small playground outside. Check out the new Learning Forest at the Tyersall Gate…amazing!

3. Central Public Library – Open 10am to 9pm; closed on public holidays. Has a spacious kids’ area with plenty of books and exhibits to entertain.

4. Pip’s Playbox – Open 11am to 6pm (closed 2-3pm for cleaning). Beautiful, well lit play area located at Level 4 of Esplanade. There is a large craft table, playhouse with stairs, blocks, crawl spaces, etc. Great for babies, toddlers, and older kids.

5. Art Playscape – Open 10am to 7pm, Sundays to Thursdays & public holidays; 10am to 10pm Fridays, Saturdays, and eve of public holidays. Beautifully painted murals and play area at the National Gallery.

6. West Coast Park – Amazingly spacious park with 8 separate play areas and obstacle courses. Highly recommended. There is also a McDonald’s nearby.

7. Palawan Pirate Ship – Open 10am to 6pm. At the former Port of Lost Wonder at Sentosa; park at Beach carpark. Meant for older kids but toddlers accompanied by adults should be fine. Lots of water spouts, slides, etc.

8. Water play area at Singapore Sports Hub – Open 8am to 10pm. Great for toddlers and older children. Has shorter and longer slides, swings, and a small pool.

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!

Going out with twins in Singapore, from birth to year 1

Despite the mountainous struggles you’ll face the first 3-4 months, this period is the best time to go out with twins out and even travel on long haul flights. Most young infants will sleep through loud noise and movement.

Our stroller setup (Chicco Keyfit 30 car seats + Baby Jogger City Select stroller) made it easy to tandem bottle feed our twins when they were hungry.

Local outings

We frequented shopping malls with wide spaces such as:

  • City Square Mall (arrive before 11am on weekends, as it usually gets crowded mid-day)
  • Square 2 / Velocity (also best to arrive before peak hours)
  • Ngee Ann City
  • Paragon
  • Zhongshan Mall (which has an amazing FairPrice Finest!)
  • Suntec City (enormous space but the lifts are spread out, so you’ll get lots of exercise)

We ate at these baby friendly restaurants quite often:

  • Paradise Inn
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • Food for Thought
  • Omakase Burger
  • Kith Café (the Robertson Quay branch opens at 7am)

Indoor playgrounds are extremely popular in Singapore, and most offer free admission before age 1. We started taking our twins to play parks around 8 months. Our favorites:

  • Pororo Park at Marina Square (admission is quite expensive for kids age >1)
  • Cool De Sac at Suntec City
  • Fidgets World at The Grandstand (weekends and public holidays are often crowded, so the toddler play area can become too rough for small children)

Continue reading “Going out with twins in Singapore, from birth to year 1”