We went to Taipei, Taiwan recently, and it was a lot of fun. It happened to be the first time that Eric and I were traveling alone with Paul so far away from Malaysia and it was quite challenging because Paul was a rather picky eater. So here is an overdue post, filled with photos – as with customary post-trip blog posts.
Street food is everywhere in Taipei and I mean everywhere. This was at the Shilin Night Market (????), which was our first rest stop the moment we arrived at our hotel. Many of the offerings can be found at our own pasar malams, but as they say, nothing beats the original.
There's lots of shopping to be done in Taiwan, and if you're wondering what's good and reasonable, try shopping for sports shoes – they're way cheaper in Taiwan than they are in Hong Kong! Oh of course, if you can find time, visit Guang Hwa Electronic Mall – our version of Low Yat Plaza, but where the prices for thumb drives especially – are crazily low! Here's Paul and I taking a photo together while his dad gets his pair of Converse shoes.
Took u nearly 3 hours to get to the top, there was such a long line to get into the Taipei 101 tour! Luckily, the building tour operators had a nifty system where when you purchase your tickets, you're given a number, and they'll tell you what time to head back up to join in the line. We got our tickets around 5 pm, and were told to return to join the line at 6.30 pm. By the time we arrived at the top, it was nearly 8 pm, all to see this gorgeous night view of Taipei city.
Also for Paul to have fallen asleep! This is a Damper Baby, the building's mascot. These ingenious folks at Taipei 101 decided to display the building's damper (building's safety feature) for all to see, and turn it into a mascot! Lots of merchandise, including soft cuddly version of the Damper Baby are all up for sale at the Taipei 101.
After a lost day of trying to do the shopping tour at Ximending (it was near impossible, having a fussy two year old who refused to sit in his stroller), we changed our tour itinerary and decided to go easy on the third day. So we went to Xinbeitou ??? for Taipei's most famous hot springs instead.
Taipei is a pretty environmentally conscious community / city, this is evident in the lush greenery you can see all around the city – and especially more so in the outskirts (places like Xinbeitou). There are also 'green-certified' buildings everywhere, and one of them is this Taipei Public Library XinBeiTou branch.
One of our other stops was Tamsui ?? and this is easily Eric and my favorite places in Taipei. It's such a family friendly place! Come here on the weekends, and you'll see the Taipei dwellers with their children, walking their pets, cycling all over the place. Being a seaside district, Tamsui is also very breezy and scenic, and it's a great place where young lovers come to see the setting sun. Beautiful place.
Finally, I thought of sharing a tip for parents traveling to Taiwan with young kids. Skip the Ximending shopping tours, and go straight for family friendly locations like Beitou Hot Springs (get yourself a nice hotel room for about NTD1300-NTD1400 – 2 hours), or visit the Taipei Zoo. If you're staying for over a week, then spend a day or two in the outskirts of Taiwan where the National Parks are – Taiwan is apparently most renown for its natural landscapes.