Taiwan is a popular destination for holiday-makers from Southeast Asia. And it is easy to understand why – from the cosmopolitan capital city of Taipei, to the bounty of natural attractions throughout the island, plus effortless kids-friendly dining options,Taiwan is an easy destination to love.
The modern island is also supported by excellent infrastructure and an extensive transportation network too. Families travelling with babies and toddlers will be delighted to know that breastfeeding rooms are easily accessible – you will find them located in train stations and major buildings. Kids are genuinely well-liked and welcomed by service staff everywhere too – doesn’t it sound like a most blissful vacation already?
|Area:||36,000 square kilometres|
|Currency:||New Taiwan Dollar (NT$ or TWD)|
|Tipping:||Hotels and higher-end restaurants add a customary 10% service tax to the bill. Where service taxes have not been included, rounding up the bill and leaving the change is a welcomed gesture, though not expected. Do likewise for taxi drivers. At hotels, bellboys and doormen should be tipped between NT50 – 100 per bag.|
|Languages:||While Standard Mandarin is the official language, Taiwanese Mandarin (Tai Yu), Hakka, and other indigenous dialects are widely spoken. English is commonly understood and spoken too.|
|Climate:||Taiwan enjoys warm weather all year round. For detailed, 35-hour forecast please refer to the official weather site.|
|Useful numbers:||Police 110
Fire / Ambulance 119
Toll Free Travel Information call centre
0800-011-765 (manned in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese)
|Keeping in Touch:||There are several mobile providers in Taiwan offering prepaid cards with different plans to suit your needs. Amongst the more popular are Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom. Visit the telco shops at the airport to pick up your sim upon arriving at any of Taiwan's International Airport - note though that most telco shops in the airport only operates from 8am - 9pm.|
|Getting around:||Within Taipei, the MRT is the best way to get around. Our community recommends buying an Easy Card , a ‘touch-and-go” ticketing system for the Taipe Metro – it offers commuters 20% discount off standard single trip rates on trains and buses. The MRT network is extensive - day trips to Tamshui, XinBeiTou or the Mao Kong Gondola (and the Taipei Zoo) are all possible via the network.
For more extensive travel around Taiwan, especially if travelling with young children and elderly folks, consider hiring a car and a driver-cum-guide for the duration of your tour. Popular guides and drivers are often booked up months in advance, so do plan accordingly.
Otherwise, rail travel is a great way to travel. Both the government-managed Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) network and the privately-owned High Speed Rail (HSR) are efficient and punctual. TRA also operates several tourist sight seeing lines, such as the popular Pingxi Branch line. With the HSR, it is possible (though not advisable) to visit Taichung or Tainan on a day-trip from Taipei - the HSR will whisk you from Taipei to Tainan in under two hours, for example.
|Food and Drinks:||It is advisable for visitors to drink bottled water, though tap water is safe for brushing your teeth.
Taiwan offers some of the best culinary delights in all of Asia. Night markets are fun to explore, and make for an exciting gourmet adventure. Children are welcomed in even up-market restaurants and many offer special meals for the little ones.
|For families and kids: |
Three Quintessential Activities
|1. Eat and shop the night markets. Night markets are an institution in Taiwan, with over 300 dotted around the island. Shilin night market is world famous, whilst Time Out Taipei named Keelung Night Market as the best on the isle. Everyone has an opinion on the best and the verdict is still out there - which is your family’s fave? Tell us here!
2. Enjoy a hot spring soak. Within easy commute from Taipei, Beitou and Wulai offer plenty of choices for hot spring enthusiasts. While some 5-stars spa resorts have no-kids policy, government-managed public pools offer children under 12 50% off entry fees. *Not recommended for kids below 3 years of age.
3. An interesting day trip from Taipei would be a journey on the Pingxi Railway Brunch Line. The trip brings your through old mining towns and picturesque countryside. Make a stop at Shi Fen, an atmospheric old town with a good food market. Buy a paper lantern, have the kids write down their wishes, and release it together. Surely memories are made of moments like these.
|*Photo credit: Sky Lanterns at Pingxi, courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau-Singapore Office.|