9-day Taiwan Itinerary
Travel by van to go to Yilan District 2.5 hours drive from Leofoo. Our B&B is at Toucheng Township close to Lanyang Museum. Went to Luodong Night Market
Yilan – Lucky Art Crayon Factory, Dude Ranch for Chong Yu Ping making, Mei Hua Lake my favourite spot of Yilan, Jimmy Park Yilan
Datong District shopping, Din Tai Fung, Shopping malls and street shopping, taking it easy
Day 1 – Arrive in Taipei Taoyuan International Airport
We took Scoot to fly to Taipei at 1:50pm and arrived Taipei around 6:40pm. One thing I realised about flying budget is that there’s absolutely no entertainment on board, so you really have to make sure you bring your iPads, toys and colouring boards and whatever you can think of to keep your little ones occupied! Silly me forgot to pack some of the stickers and colouring books I bought for my 2 year old! Note to self – always have a packing list! It was A’s first time flying and she felt very insecure and kept crying when she had to sit still and have a seat belt over her especially during take off and landing. Somehow we managed to get her to sit and she did finally fell asleep with daddy on the plane. She was also overtired cause usually she would be napping at 1pm. My older 3 entertained themselves with gadgets during the entire flight. I don’t really like that they play gadgets but sometimes, I just pick my battle and tell myself oh well…just let them have some fun.
When we arrived our private driver Taiwan Tour Hong Lee was there to pick us up with his Volkswagen minivan. He’s really very friendly and he gave us a lot of tips on where to eat and shop locally! Highly recommended!
Oh before that, I went to Unite Travel to pick up the wifi egg which only cost me $18.50 for 9 days. Changi Wifi was going to cost $35 for the same duration.
Finally we checked into our accom at Xinyi District. https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/23888084?guests=1&adults=1
The friendly host came to show us the place. It has 2 bedrooms upstairs and 1 bedroom downstairs. I love the fact that the apartment has a lift and the place comes with a baby cot. The place could easily house 3 adults and 4 kids. I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a toddler, there is a stairs going up to the rooms and it doesn’t have a proper safety barrier, so you may need to watch your toddler a bit more for safety reasons.
We had some dinner that my hubby tapao from 7/11 and then I tried to put my toddler to sleep – it was already 9:30pm which is way past her usual bedtime. I knew she’s really overtired and she’s starting to become more and more hyperactive. I did my usual bedtime routine with her like I always do at home, I brought along her favourite bedtime stories, Peter & Jane, I Love You Mommy and Goodnight Thumper. We read her stories, sing some lullabies and then I put her down in her cot together with her favourite sleeping buddies Pinky the Whale and her Teddy Bear. Anyway I thought I could leave the room once I put her down but she was feeling unsure of the new sleep environment so she asked me to lie down on my bed and sleep as well. So I obliged and it wasn’t until 11pm she finally fell asleep. Poor girl what a long day for her!
Day 2 – Visit Shifen for the Lantern Release
Told our driver we wanted an authentic Taiwanese breakfast. So he suggested 來來豆漿店Lai Lai Soybean Milk. We had the crispiest you tiao we have ever tried. The kids loved it and we kept ordering again and again.
Then we went to Shifen to release the lanterns to the sky. For TWD200 we get to choose a lantern with multiple colours symbolising different meaning such as Health, Success, Popularity and Wealth. Kids and us took turn writing our words of blessings and then we released it to the sky.
After that we went to Jiu Fen for some sightseeing and and squeezed ourselves together with the massive crowd. Our driver said since it’s our first time to Taiwan or Taipei, we must go to Jiu Fen otherwise people will laugh at us for not going there! The street was filled with lots of shops serving food and street snacks. We had siao long bao at one shop, then another shop for beef noodle and then taro balls for dessert. After that we went home by 4:50pm as my kids were getting tired especially my toddler who didn’t nap at all until we were in the minivan on our way back to our accomodation.
This time for the second night, I was able to put my little girl to sleep in her cot after doing the usual bedtime routine and I told her I wanted to shower and brush my teeth. She allowed me to do so and I managed to leave the room without lying down on the bed next to her. I guess she got used to the new sleep environment and was okay with me leaving the room.
Day 3 – Visit Maokong for nice tea and breathtaking view
We went to Maokong which is famous for their tea plantation and we had nice yummy lunch there. We could stay up there all day long if it wasn’t for the rain. It was really cold cause it was raining and we were up on the hill/mountain..haha. Anyway couldn’t see much due to the clouds…We went to one of the restaurants there for lunch. But the restaurant didn’t serve tea which is supposed to be the highlights of Maokong. So after lunch, we walked around the place and saw another place that seems quite popular and serve their famous Maokong tea. The name of the place is called 四哥的店 (direct translate :Fourth brother’s shop) So we went in there to get shelter from the rain as well. We had their famous tea and we also ordered the yummiest and biggest pot of chicken soup as it was so cold. Definitely worth trying even though we just had lunch earlier! Haha.
After that big lunch, we proceeded to Huashan 1914 Creative Park. Huashan originated from an abandoned sake and ginseng factory of Taihoku Winery built in 1914. Known as Taiwan’s creative pulse, Huashan 1914 is now home to many designers and artists. You will see lots of quirky shops of indie brands, stationery and bookshops, digital and interactive museums, a theatre, and even a concert venue. My mom and I love the shops and boutiques there and we spent quite a long time browsing at things in just a couple of shops. The one shop that’s not to be missed in Huashan 1914 Creative Park is the Wooderful Life, the popular musical box and wooden toy stores brand in Taiwan. Everything in there is made of wood and there’s just so many things to see and they are all so cute!!! I was like a little girl in my dreamland so mesmerised by how amazing the craftmanship was from Disney Toy Story to Tsum Tsum all in their miniature sizes. My kids enjoyed playing some of the FREE activities they have in store as well. I really wanted to bring the whole store home with me. Anyway since I couldn’t, I just picked a few small wooden calendars and picture frames to bring home.
We spent quite a long time in the shop and we managed to get some few cool shots with the old factory as our background. Then our tummies started growling and it was time for us to have dinner. We decided that Raohe Night market would be our first night market experience as we were told it’s more authentic and the locals like to go there instead of Shilin Night Market.
Raohe Street Night Market is one of the oldest night markets in Taipei. We were greeted by the beautiful Songshan Ciyou Temple which flanks the start of the famous food street. I will just let the pictures speak for itself what we ate. 🙂 My kids and I love the potato chips a lot and the beef cubes were nice too but a tad too chewy.
Day 4 – Leofoo Village Resort
We checked out of our AirBNB and our driver picked us up to go to Leofoo Resort Guanshi which was about 2 hours plus drive from Taipei. I wanted the kids to experience a safari theme resort where they could see the animals from the comfort of their rooms. But I don’t think my older kids were that fascinated with the animals – Maybe they have seen all these animals back in Singapore Zoo. But my toddler was so mesmerised by them. She kept saying I want to see 长颈鹿 or giraffe in Chinese. We could see rhinoceros, zebras, giraffes, and meerkats from our room. We booked Kenya room which could accommodate all 7 of us. The hotel has 2 restaurants which prepared decent food ( a bit on the expensive side) but we didn’t have a choice as it’s a long way out to drive to the nearest town just to grab a bite. At about 11 am, there was an African band that sang and performed some dances and acrobatics as a welcoming event for the hotel guests. We braved the cold wind to watch the entire show, and our twins even took part in the show itself! There is also a photo taking session once the show was over.
We finally checked in to our room. It was a duplex type apartment with decent size for us 7. Again, the room has stairs which can be dangerous for toddlers who likes to ascend and descend for fun. There was a good selection of channels if you like to watch tv. The shower rooms are a bit like dormitory style, with 2 shower cubicles next to each other separated by a wall.
There are lots of attractions in and around the resort like theme park, safari guided tours, animal encounters but we ended up choosing a DIY session. We chose this because the weather was cold and windy and we did not prepare ourselves with proper winter clothings. Dylan chose to paint a maracas while Callum chose to paint an African drum. This kept them busy for an hour or two.
We had our dinner early at 6pm and again at night at around 7pm the African band did another performance which was quite entertaining. After that at 8:30 pm, there was storytelling session organized by the hotel.
We had an early lights out that night as we were all too tired from all the travels so far.
Day 5 – Lanyang Museum and Luodong Night Market
The next day, the weather at Leofoo was so much better! We were greeted by the warm sunshine coming through the windows. The wind has stopped and it was warm again. Such a contrast from the night before. Immediately, we all stood at our balcony and watched the animals from there. Alyssa loves watching the animals roaming around.
Breakfast was served and we had our fill and now it was time to check out and move on to our next destination. Before we did that, the hotel gave us a complimentary photo taking session which was really a gimmick to get us to spend more and purchase a memorabilia. We are suckers for this kind of marketing and we ended up getting a blown up, framed photo of our family just for keepsake. No regrets there.
So we headed off, through the highway once again. Oh before I forget, this route will take you through the world’s longest tunnel, which measured at 12 kms. Quite an experience and at the same time unnerving knowing that Taiwan is a hot spot for earthquakes! Our journey today which is the 24th November happens to be national polling day. So this affected the traffic as a lot of people went on the highway to drive to the nearest polling station. This caused quite a congestion. As we were about halfway there, I decided to take a toilet stop. Against the advice of our tour driver cause this means we will be stuck in the jam going out again, I insisted (for good reasons haha). So he pulled over to a rest area, which really reminded me of Japan and their super cool rest area for motorists. So many choices of food and convenience stores available. I chose to have the stinky toufu dish, which I shared with my mom. Quite a delicacy I must admit. The smell and the taste somehow is different. The smell is off putting but the taste is really not too bad.
After we had our tummy filled and toilet stops, we hit the road once more. Stuck in the jam which prolonged our journey by a bit. Blessings however, is our little princess has mastered the art of falling asleep once the car moves. As our schedule is really tight and she doesn’t get much proper sleeping time, somehow she knows that when she is strapped in the car seat and the car moves, she just goes to sleep!
The drive to Yilan District took another 2.5 hours or so. We arrived at the location of our B&B at Toucheng township, which is close to Lanyang museum. This place is very near the waterfront and we could see some guys in their wetsuit and surfing gears too!
We had to wait for a little while for the B&B owners to arrive and open up the place for us. From the outside it looks like a cafe in the middle of nowhere. We were greeted by 2 really nice ladies riding on a scooter (very common in Taiwan). We finally got in the place, and to our horror, we had to climb 3 storeys ( with high ceilings ) to our rooms. So one luggage at a time, and our hosts were kind enough to lend a hand with the bags, we managed to bring all our luggages up. We were pleasantly surprised with the decor and the coziness of the rooms. Very tastefully decorated and clean. Even my mother loves the place (except for the long flight of stairs).
With that worry aside we charged up, washed up and drove up to Luodong night market for more food. This took about 30 minutes or so from our place. The evening was getting cloudy and light rain started to fall. We started off eating spring onion pancake with egg, as recommended by our tour driver. Apparently it is a famous stall, and it did not disappoint. I DO NOT enjoy eating spring onion, but somehow I love eating this one! After that we went for a walk around the night market. I must say, Taiwan night market is a lot more exciting than what we get back in Singapore or Malaysia. It’s vibrant, the food is good and you have so many choices! We bought some snacks and some cute phone accessories to bring home.
We finally settled back at our chic B&B place and settled for the night. I also managed to get our little girl to sleep after doing the normal routines.
At this point we had about 3 days of laundry to do, so my hubby insisted we do it NOW else we won’t have anything left to wear in the coming days. So I asked the hosts if they have a laundry room. They kindly replied and said to leave the bag of laundry in the dining area and they will do it for us! Can you believe it??? So, without delay my hubby collected all the dirty laundry and placed it at the designated place.
We settled for the night. Little A slept with me in the queen size bed. Having to adjust to different beds and different locations is probably starting to take a toll on her sleeping habits. Again, being overtired, she fuss a lot wanting daddy to lie down, want mommy to lie down, then asking for water to drink, where is Pinky ( her toy ) this goes on for another 15-20 mins until she finally falls asleep.
Day 6 – Lucky Art Crayon Factory, Dude Ranch, Ping making, Mei Hua Lake and Jimmy Park Yilan
Rise and shine to a new morning. I think we all rested well. Our hosts prepared breakfast for us that morning. It was magnificent! Very nicely prepared and presented. Our boys even asked for seconds!
Today we had a busy day planned for us. First stop, the Lucky Art Crayon factory situated at Su’ao which was a 45 minutes drive from our B&B. We were just in time for the 1030 am presentation on how crayons are made. The presenter was very interactive with the audience and even got our youngest son to join him on the stage. After it is done, we head over to a large room with all the participants to have some hands on experience on making them crayons and marker pens.This activity is great for families with young kids as it will keep them mystified and engaged for nearly 2 hours!
Next stop, we headed over to Dude ranch to make ourselves some lunch! Only one item on the menu and it is Chong Yu Ping, the spring onion pancake! We drove out almost an hour to this place from the crayon factory. Miss A is a pro in getting her short power naps during the drive which really helps with her stamina. The process of making this dish is super simple. We were guided step by step on how to make the dough and of course how to make the pancake. I actually wanted to use very little spring onions on mine but was told to put more to make it more delicious. So I listened to the experts. While our creations were being cooked, we went over to their small little animal enclosures to see some birds, peacocks, pigs, rabbits, turkeys and goats. We get to feed them too which is fun for the kids. Soon, we head back to the kitchen and collected our chong yu ping and enjoyed it to the max! Funny thing is, I never liked spring onion but somehow this one doesn’t even taste remotely close to spring onions that I know!
Just a short 15-20 minutes drive we headed over to Mei Hua Lake in Dongshan district. This is by far my favorite spot! I guess having lived in NZ for a long time makes me appreciate lakes and nature! This place is buzzing with people! We hired an electric 4-wheeler bike that sits 4 adults comfortably to accommodate us 7! It worked out fine with a little squeezing of course!
The ride was nice and easy and we made many stops to admire the view of the lake. The best part of the lake was a bridge that you can walk across to a jetty which overlooks the entire place.The view of this lake just makes me feel so at ease. I could almost picture myself retiring here and doing my morning walks around the lake!
Once we were done with the view of the lake we returned the e-bike and we had some wood fired pizza by the lake. My hubby who is a sucker for pizzas spotted this place on the way back. It was amazingly good and decently priced too! It is run by a family and they travel around to the tourist hot spots depending on the seasons to sell their super yummy delicious pizzas!
From this amazing lake we headed back and stopped by a “famous” roasted chicken restaurant for dinner. Nothing to shout about really. Realised later that our driver took us to a different restaurant as recommended by our B&B hosts. What a waste!
Then from there, we arrived back at our comfy B&B an hour later to call it a day. First thing my hubby noticed was the nicely folded clean laundry that our hosts did for us! Amazing service!
Day 7 – Lanyang Musuem, Brick Ark Musuem, Taipei 101 and Shinkong Mitshukoshi Xin Yi District
After a decent night rest, we were once again served an amazingly tasty and well presented breakfast by our hosts.
We checked out early so we can visit a few places around Yilan before heading back to Taipei. First place to visit was the Lanyang museum which is about a 2 minutes drive from our B&B. This place is unique with its architecture. We didn’t go in to see the museum but instead we just roamed around the outside and took some amazing photos.
Next we drove to the Brick Ark museum which did costs us to enter as a family but it was worth it. The museum itself is really small, but compact. Display after displays of craftsmanship done by renown brick artists. We spend nearly 2 hours there including some DIY session at the end of it.
The drive back to Taipei took about an hour, an hour of recharge for some of us. We instructed our driver to drop us at the famous Taipei 101. Although there has been some mixed reviews on this place we decided why not just go since we are already there. The entrance to the pinnacle wasn’t cheap for us all, and as the sun was quickly descending on us we had to quickly make our way up. There was a little queue and it took us nearly 20 minutes before we were in the packed elevator zooming our way up from the 5th floor to the 89th floor in less than a minute. Once there, we suddenly appreciate Taipei in a new light. It is MASSIVE! We slowly inched our way throughout the observatory, taking lots of photos and admiring the view. We also were educated on how safe the building is in the event of strong winds and earthquakes. The golden ball which is the world’s largest tuned mass damper is incredible!
We checked in to our final AirBnB accomodation at Datong district. This was the only night we ordered takeaways from McDonalds as it was getting late and we need something quick and efficient.
Day 8 – Datong District shopping, Din Tai Fung Shopping malls and street shopping
This is practically our last day in Taipei. We soon found out that Datong is quite a prominent shopping district in Taipei. So, we ventured by foot to the shopping district. The more we walked, the more we discover! This place is a good place for bargain hunters! We soon located a Din Tai Fung restaurant and we stopped there for lunch. The food is undeniably good! We paid approximately 20% less than we would in Singapore. We kept ordering until we had enough. After that we head out and roamed the streets of Datong.
After lunch, Alyssa was getting rather overtired as she’s been awake for a long time. She started getting cranky even during lunch time. So after lunch, I got hubby to put on the baby carrier. Now that she’s older she doesn’t really like being in the carrier anymore. But we strapped her in and she started to protest like mad. People were staring at us, but hubby just kept walking and trying to calm her down. Finally she fell asleep in the carrier and all was peaceful again! We spent the rest of the day walking around and shopping.
Day 9 – Depart Taipei
Every holiday must come to an end, and today is that day we say goodbye or in chinese we say “see you again”. There was some drama, as we nearly missed our Scoot flight but fortunately we managed to board the plane in time before the plane hit the runway tarmac.
SG Supernanny’s 5 key sleep tips and advice when travelling with kids
1. Always bring your child’s favourite sleeping toys and bring the bedsheet from home to imitate their home sleep environment. It will help them feel more secure in a new sleep environment.
2. Always try to give your child his or her own cot/portable cot whenever possible. If not possible, then it’s okay to co-sleep with your child too. As long as your child falls asleep independently, that’s the most important thing.
3. Do not overschedule during holidays if possible as your child will get overtired easily due to the travels. Try to get your child to nap in the cot back at the hotel if possible but if not, then you can try getting your baby to nap on the go either on the stroller or the baby carrier. If all else fails, if your baby isn’t napping much on the go, just give your child early bedtime whenever possible.
4. Bring their favourite bedtime stories so you can do the same bedtime routine you do at home at the hotel too.
5. If things are not quite going according as planned, your child is too overtired, cranky and crying incessantly, you may do whatever you need to get your child to sleep. Once you go back to your home or their comfort zone, then you can retrain your child again. Don’t worry, the retraining won’t be as hard as the first time.