Anyone who has ever traveled with children will know the pros and cons of towing little ones in transit. The main advantage is that you always get to see even the oldest of places with a fresh set of eyes. And when you’re visiting a new place together, it becomes part of the collective memory. The con is it takes a lot of planning and patience as you are responsible for their security, entertainment, enjoyment, and all other parts of their experience.
Regardless of whether you’re with a big family, or it’s just you and your little one, Taipei is one of the friendlier cities to bring your kids to. For one, it has a very low crime rate. The streets and most of its places of interest are safe. Secondly, the weather is quite predictable. You can prepare for the different seasons even before landing, although Taiwanese advise the best months to visit are April and November. So, head on to Taiwan and enjoy the many areas that you can immerse in with your kids. These are just six of them:
1. Taipei Zoo
The zoo in the Wenshan District of Taipei is the largest zoo in Asia and is a leading example of animal research, preservation, and conservation. Kids as young as two will have a lot of fun roaming around its wide grounds, and it’s quite easy to reach via train. That said, you might want to prepare some snacks for the train ride as the zoo will still be several stops away from Taipei Main Station, and the little ones might get angsty. Taipei Zoo covers around 90 developed hectares with several exhibitions including an aviary, amphibian and reptile house, panda exhibition and a koala habitat with habitats endemic to Africa, Australia, and the tropical rainforests, deserts, and temperate zones of Asia. There are also animals native to Formosa (the former name of Taiwan) such as the Formosan wild boar, mongooses, sika deer, rock macaques, pangolins, and black bears.
Address: No. 30, Section 2, Xinguang Rd, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 116
Price: 60 TWD or 2 USD for adults, 30 TWD or 0.90 USD for school kids, free admission for children in pre-school
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm
Website: Taipei Zoo
2. Maokong Gondola
Just a walk away from Taipei Zoo is Maokong Gondola, famous for its crystal cabins which have thick glass bottoms that allow passengers to see the forests and temples below. It’s safe for kids as young as four, although you’ll want to watch the little ones in case they get interested to peer out of the windows above (quite far from arm’s reach, but just to be safe). The crystal cabins have their own waiting line and is a bit more expensive than the standard cabin. You’ll also want to load up on your EasyCard or stored-value card. The Gondola runs about 4.3 kilometers (2.6 mi.) and will give you a slow, scenic ride going to three stations. You can opt to stop at the first, and second station if you want though if the kids become restless. Be sure to bring a fan as well especially if you ride the lift midday.
Address: Xinguang Rd, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 116
Price: single journey tickets start from 70 TWD or 2.26 USD for adults, 50 TWD (1.65 USD) for children
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm
Contact: +886 221812345
Website: Maokong Gondola
3. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
This is the most prominent structure in Taiwan, dedicated to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in honor of the former President and founder of Taiwan, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Other than its beautiful exterior, octagon in shape with a blur roof and majestic white body, it is also impressive in size at 76 meters high to house a library and museum that focuses on Chian Kai-shek’s beginning and struggles. On its outer hall is a big statue of Chiang Kai-shek on top of his Presidential seat. The changing of the guards ceremony takes place here. Older kids from seven to ten will be impressed by the synchronicity of their movements, and the discipline that these guards demonstrate. The changing of the guards is almost like a dance. The two pairs toss the military-issued firearm back and forth. It’s quite beautiful to watch. Just a walk away from the Memorial Hall is the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Address: No. 21, Zhongshan S Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm
Contact: +886 223431100
Website: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
4. Lin An Tai Ancestral House and Museum
The Lin An Tai Ancestral House is considered one of the oldest houses in Taiwan, but it wasn’t always located in Dunhua S. Road. The whole house was taken down from its original location in Siweir Road and then rebuilt with enough space to build a big courtyard, which became the exhibition hall of the Taipei International Flora Exposition. Kids will especially like running around the courtyard with its several walkways and the big pond with giant fish. The main historic home also has long hallways, ramps, small stairs and interesting doorways for kids to explore. The ancestral house and museum are also quite near the Sonshan airport, so kids can spot a plane or two quite close to the ground before its landing.
Lin An Tai Ancestral House and Museum
Address: No. 5, Binjiang St, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm
Contact: +886 225996026
5. Longshan Temple
This is one of the most well-known temples in Taipei found in the old Wanhua District. Here, you’ll find several locals offering baskets of food and flower mandalas to Buddhist and Taoist holy figures. It’s a good way to introduce kids to the belief system of the Taiwanese. There are two other temples that are quite near this area. Those are the Bangka Qingshui Temple, and Taipei Tianhou Temple. If you visit the temple at night, you can also drop by Guangzhou Night Market where the snake alley is. If your kids are brave and unsqueamish enough, you can let them try the snake soup.
Address: No. 211, Guangzhou St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
Contact: +886 223025162
Website: Longshan Temple
6. Elephant Mountain
Elephant Mountain has the best view of New Taipei. This is quite close to Taipei 101 and the Xinyi Shopping District. The best time to visit with kids is during the late afternoon on weekdays so you can get the best of the daytime and nighttime view. The crowd thickens during the weekends, and you don’t want your kids to be pushing and pulling along with the rest of the crowd, so time this activity in the middle of the week. Expect lots of stairs. Your kids may complain they are tired but remind them that the view is worth it. You can take long breaks in between. There are benches to rest on when you’re tired. In the end, you can take that mandatory photo with Taipei 101 as a backdrop.
Contact: +886 223431100
Website: Elephant Mountain
Taipei also has a lot of hidden surprises especially in their museums and in their street markets. It accommodates the interests of both kids and adults. After you’re done exploring Taipei, you may also want to visit more rural areas such as the Taroko Gorge for a nice, long hike, and Jiufen to show them some of the famous Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki’s, inspirations in making his film, Spirited Away. Taipei has lots of areas that will occupy your kids for hours on end. Here, you’ll never hear them utter the dreaded term “I’m bored.”
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