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.
Day 3: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Din Tai Fung, Taipei 101
On the morning of our third day in Taipei, we ventured to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. There are lots of great photo spots here and plenty of room for children to run around, but once again, it was extremely hot. We quickly went inside the museum to witness the hourly changing of the guard and to view the exhibits. My son was entertained by the wooden block station and didn’t want to leave!
For lunch, we walked to Din Tai Fung on Xinyi Road. Din Tai Fung is a famous restaurant chain which specialises in xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. There are several branches in Singapore, but most people flock to the outlets in Taipei, Din Tai Fung’s birthplace. The original branch is on No 194 Sec 2 Xinyi Road. Luckily, the wait was less than 10 minutes, since we arrived at 11:00am. We ordered several dishes including a bottle of Taiwan Beer. The food was tasty (somewhat better than Singapore), but I felt very thirsty afterwards. We bought a children’s dining set (stainless steel cup, bowl, and plastic spoon) for each of our kids. I would highly recommend purchasing souvenirs from DTF since they are not sold in Singapore.
We ended the day at Taipei 101. As expected, the entrance queue was extremely long during this weekend afternoon. Fortunately, children under 115 cm are free, and there is no time limit at the 89th floor observatory.
Day 4: Taipei Zoo
Our fourth day was extremely exhausting. We took the MRT to the Taipei Zoo, where it was about 33-34 degrees C (over 90 degrees F). The zoo in Taipei is almost 6 times larger than the Singapore Zoo, and we visited as much as possible during the scorching day.
We started off with the children’s zoo, which had alpaca, pony, and meerkat enclosures. Then we walked to the air conditioned panda house and meandered around the Asian tropical rainforest area, where we spotted pygmy hippos, elephants, and leopards. At this point, we were tired and sweaty, so we headed straight for the penguin house towards the back of the zoo. It was a tiring, uphill climb, especially with two whiny children in a stroller. After 3 hours at the zoo, we headed for an unremarkable lunch at SOGO department store in Zhongxiao Fuxing.
Exhausted from the morning’s activities, we lounged around our Airbnb most of the afternoon, watching TV and doing laundry.
After our kids went to bed, my husband and I went to Hankou 60, a hidden bar down the street in Ximending. The bar was empty, but the servers were friendly and generous with their alcohol. They had standard drinks as well as more creative cocktails with an Asian flair. My favorite was a slab of almond tofu with Hendrick’s gin and amaretto “soup.”
My next post will outline our next 4 days in Taipei–exploring department stores, visiting the Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, spending the mid-autumn festival in Taipei, and heading home to Singapore.