Toddlers in Taiwan
Whether you’re looking for family-friendly night markets, the best children play areas, nearby overnight trips or essential phrases worth remembering, this ultimate guide to Taipei is here to pave the way.
Taiwan is, without a doubt, the region’s most underrated family holiday destination. In true Confucian-style, Taiwanese society places huge importance on family and, particularly, on children. This is reflected in the high number of parks, playrooms, kid-friendly restaurants, and kid-friendly museums available in and around Taipei.
Taipei was the first stop on our year long family adventure. We stayed for six weeks and loved every minute of it. The culture, hospitality, AMAZING food and ease of getting around make it a brilliant city to visit with toddlers and young children. The fact that it’s only an hour from Hong Kong means it’s also a no-brainer for a long weekend or short vacation!
Needing a bit of travel inspo to get you going? Here are some of our top tips and recommendations for a fun family trip to Taipei…
Where to stay:
Consistently rated as one of the top hotels in the city. The service goes above and beyond for families! Centrally located near all the shops and MRT station of Zhongshan district, the Regent is a great base from which to explore Taipei.
Address: No. 3, Lane 39, Section 2, ZhongShan North Road, Zhongshan District, 104 Taipei, Taiwan. 地址: 台北晶華酒店, 台北市中山北路2段39巷3號
A popular, albeit pricier, choice for accommodation. The W is located in the heart of Taipei’s CBD – Xinyi District. You’ll find all the amenities you’d expect, including a swimming pool – but the main perk of staying here is the quick and easy access to two of the city’s main shopping malls: Breeze and Mitsukoshi, both of which have a large variety of yummy restaurants and cafes.
Address: 10 Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 5, Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan 110. 地址: 台北 W 飯店, 忠孝東路五段 10 號, 信義區, 台北, 110, 臺灣
Located within Songshan Cultural & Creative Park, this hotel is run by the famed bookstore/ hipster department store. Staying here offers access to the park’s many exhibits, space for the kids to run around, as well as easy access to all the shops and restaurants at the Eslite megastore attached to the hotel.
Address: No.98, Yanchang Rd., Xinyi District., Taipei City 11072, Taiwan. 地址: 誠品行旅, 台北市信義區菸廠路98號
Where to shop (and eat… AND play!):
Located in the former Flower Expo, Maji Square is like a Taiwanese version of London’s Covent Gardens or New York’s Union Square. Filled with restaurants, boutiques, food stalls, exhibitions and regular performances, you can easily spend a whole day here – especially on the weekend when the fantastic farmer’s market is on. Remote controlled cars, a free merry-go-round and the lego-inspired Bricks Cafe mean the kids will have a blast. Don’t miss the fresh juices or homemade bagels with Taiwanese flavours!
Address: No. 1, Yumen St, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Nearest Metro Station: Yuanshan Station.名稱: 花博公園圓山園區. 地址: 104台北市中山區玉門街1號
Song Shan Cultural & Creative Park
Housed in the grounds of a converted cigarette factory, there are lots of child-oriented pop-up stores, art shows and installations, all worth checking out. There is also a big Eslite mall and hotel on the ground. Eslite offers arts and crafting classes for older kids, so check out their website ahead of time!
Address: No.133 Guangfu South Road, Taipei, Taiwan. 名稱: 松山文創園區. 地址: 台北市信義區光復南路133號
This street is the perfect example of Taipei’s renowned cafe and boutique culture. It has endless stalls, trendy shops and restaurants. We can’t forget to mention, it’s home to the original Din Tai Fung dumpling shop, a mecca for foodies and xiao long bao lovers! Yong Kang Beef Noodles is a must-try. It’s also close to Da’an Forest Park so you can burn off some of the calories consumed and enjoy a free activity after all the shopping!
Address: Yongkang Street, Da’an District. 名稱: 永康街. 地址: 永康街，信義路二段路口
Hua Shan Cultural & Creative Park
This iconic landmark is located on the grounds of a former sake factory and was established to support local artists, designers and entrepreneurs. Like Song Shan, Hua Shan offers exhibits, pop-up shops and regular live performances. When we visited, we enjoyed a Disney Tsum Tsum exhibition! There’s also a few grassy areas so the kids can let off some steam while you kick back with your bubble milk tea!
Address: No.1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng Dist, Taipei 100, Taiwan.名稱: 華山1914. 地址: 台北市中正區八德路一段1號
Where to eat:
Orange Shabu Shabu
Hot pot may not be the first cuisine that comes to mind for a kid-friendly lunch, but thankfully most restaurants in Taiwan are very family-friendly (offering high chairs, kids utensils and all that extra jazz, with no fuss). This popular Japanese-style hot pot restaurant serves the ultimate comfort food in a light & delicious konbu broth. We love Orange Shabu Shabu for its clean, fresh ingredients and excellent service. There are private rooms available and even in the main seating area each table is sectioned off giving you a sense of privacy (and reducing the guilt you might feel about your kids disturbing other diners!). Book well in advance and make sure to save some room for the delicious congee made from the hot pot broth at the end of your meal.
Address: B1, No. 135, Sec. 1, Da’an Road, Da’an District, Taipei
名稱: 橘色涮涮屋. 地址: 大安區大安路一段135號B1
Phone: 02 2776 1658
This is our favourite organic family restaurant in Taipei. Designed with kids in mind, Farmer’s Table offers a brilliant children’s (and babies) menu, a mini kitchen/play area complete with tiny aprons, wooden food items and utensils. There is a great grocery store attached to the restaurant and the Hsin Yi Read & Play Center is just upstairs. The kids bookstore and free play room next door is a nice way to spend an hour or two after lunch.
Address: No. 51, Chongqing S. Road, Section 2, Zhongzheng District (Basement). 名稱: 農人餐桌 親子餐廳. 地址: 100台北市中正區重慶南路二段51號1樓
Hours: 11:30 AM – 9PM Mon-Fri, 11AM – 9PM Sat-Sun
Phone: 02 2322 3716
Din Tai Fung
Our girls can’t get enough xiao long baos (小籠包) and dry fried green beans (乾扁四季豆). To avoid the long queues, we go to the location within Shinkong Mitsukoshi – arrive before the office lunch rush and you won’t have a problem getting a seat, otherwise grab a number and shop while you wait. They have high chairs and baby utensils available, and the food is served within minutes of ordering. Always a plus when you’re dealing with hangry kids! Post-lunch, get some refreshing mango shaved ice from Ice Monster next door at Breeze Song Gao.
Address: Shin Kong Mitsukosh Hisnyi Place A4, B2, 19 Sungkao Road, Xinyi District. 名稱: 鼎泰豐. 地址: 台北市松高路19號B2 (新光三越信義新天地A4館)
Taipei’s Night Markets are some of the best in the world thanks to their delicious street food and an abundance of stalls selling clothes, toys and trinkets as well as fairground-style games for the kids
Raohe Street Night Market
Roaming round with a food focus? This is our personal favourite, as it’s easy to navigate going down one long strip and has an impressive temple near the entrance. Our kid-approved choices are the fried chicken, stewed pork rice (滷肉飯), fresh fruit juices, scallion pancakes and shaved ice!
Address: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, 105. Nearest Metro Station: Songshan Station. 名稱: 饒河街觀光夜市.地址: 105台北市松山區饒河街
Hours: 5PM – 11PM, Daily
Phone: 02 2763 5733
Shilin Night Market
One of the largest and most popular night markets, as it also offers tons of non-food vendors, from fashion to antiques stalls. Keep the kids close as it’s a maze of alleys and almost always very crowded. Going early (around 6pm) is recommended to avoid the rush. Chengde playground is just across the street if the kiddos need a break!
Address: Lane 101, Wenlin Road, Shilin District, Taipei City. 名稱: 士林夜市. 地址: 111台北市士林區文林路101巷
Nearest Metro Station: Jiantan Station
Hours: 6PM – 12AM, Daily
Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail
Taipei’s most famous hiking trail which, despite all the stairs, is a pretty easy hike and offers a panoramic view of Taipei City. There are multiple rest stops along the way, and with young kids it will take about 30-45 minutes to get to the top. Older kids and parents can always continue along to Tiger Mountain if they fancy a more serious hike. It’s a great workout if you’re wearing the baby – make sure to have your bug spray and water on-hand!
Address: Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City. Nearest Metro Station: Xiangshan Station. 名稱: 象山親山步道. 地址: 110台北市信義區信義路五段150巷342弄
Places to play and sites to see:
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Located just 10-minutes from the Taipei 101 tower, this family-friendly attraction honours the “Father of the Nation”. Adults and kids alike will enjoy the giant statue, gardens and lake. There is also an exhibit about Dr. Sun’s life and his role as the first president of China. The girls were mesmerised by the changing of the memorial hall guards which happens hourly. The venue is a popular spot for young teens to practice their synchronised dance routines (which are really entertaining for kids).
Address: No. 505, Section 4, Ren’ai Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City. Nearest Metro Station: Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. 名稱: 國立國父紀念館. 地址: 110台北市信義區仁愛路四段505號
Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM, Daily
Hsin Yi Read & Play
With a focus on wooden toys and games, this amazing play room has everything from slides, ball pits, various role-play like house and shops and a dedicated area for under-3s. The building it is located in has a great restaurant (see Farmer’s Table above) a kids book & toy store, an organic grocery store and a free play area in the basement which offers storytime, cartoon screenings and other activities. A trip here is the perfect way to spend a rainy day! Book online here, they have 3 sessions available per day during the weekdays (10am – 12pm, 12:30pm- 2:30pm, and 3pm – 5pm) and 4 sessions during the weekend (10am- 11:30am, 12:30pm – 2pm, 2:30pm – 4pm and 4:30pm – 6pm.).
Address: No. 51, Chongqing S. Road, Section 2, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City. 名稱: 信誼親子館. 地址: 100台北市中正區重慶南路二段51號1樓
Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM, Tues-Fri / 10 AM – 6 PM Sat-Sun (Closed Mondays)
Phone: 02 2395 2028 #1588
Taipei Living Mall
Living Mall is geared towards older kids (3-12) and is filled to the brim with kids activities. There are over a dozen playrooms in this mall, including Baby Boss, a career-themed role-play park similar to Kidzania. Make sure to do your research online to check the career schedule and age limits. There are rope courses at Fantasy Island, the dinosaur-themed FEBO center, go karts at Krazy Cart, and lots of different DIY kiosks around the mall for those who want to get their art-and-crafts on!
Address: No. 138, Section 4, Bade Rd, Songshan District, Taipei City, 105. 名稱: 京華城. 地址: 105台北市松山區八德路4段138號
Despite the name, this is a fantastic family-themed restaurant and playroom. Well worth the cab ride north to Neihu district, Money Jump has a carousel, sand pit, wooden kitchen area, tunnels and a dedicated toddler area. The fact that the food is delicious (mochi waffles = yum!) is a great bonus for mum and dad. They have 3 sessions per day and you must book online. There’s no age limit for children but Money Jump is most suitable for kids aged 0-8. Minimum spend for food is NT$300 (weekdays) and NT$500 (weekends) for adults, and NT$200 for kids.
Address: 127 Minhao Street, Neihu District (2nd Floor). 名稱: Money Jump 親子餐廳. 地址: 114台北市內湖區民善街127號2樓
Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM Tues – Sun (Closed Mondays).
Phone: 02 2792 1156.
A large well-designed playroom for kids under 6 years old located downtown in Xinyi District. They have EVERYTHING, from sand and water features to dress-up, baby zone and ball pits. There’s even wifi and a small cafe for parents. One of the best things about this place is the staff, who are really attentive and look out for the kids so you don’t need to be constantly on high alert. Bear’s World is a short walk from the W hotel and surrounding malls so if you don’t fancy the nuggets and fries on offer at the playroom cafe head over to Breeze Song Shan or Shingkong Mitsukoshi. Sessions can be booked online, or, if you are going early just walk-in. Weekday price for children is NT$400 for non-members, and NT$450 for adults. Weekend/Holiday price is NT$450 for adults and children. The entry fee also includes vouchers to use at the restaurant and gift shop.
Address: No. 155, Section 1, Keelung Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei, 110 (B1). 名稱: 貝兒絲樂園. 地址: 110台北市信義區基隆路一段155號
Hours: 10:00AM – 8PM, Mon to Sun
Da’an Forest Park
Located in the heart of the city, Da’an Forest Park is Taipei’s equivalent to NYC’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park. It’s huge. The highlight for families is the massive playground including a sandpit and dedicated toddler and big kid play areas. Over public holidays and weekends there are often free open air concerts and other events held in the park.
Address: No.1, Sec. 2, Xinsheng S. Rd., Da’an District, Taipei City. 名稱: 大安森林公園. 地址: 台北市大安區新生路2號. Nearest Metro Station: Daan Park Station MRT
Hot Springs, farms and fun family activities. It’s no surprise Yilan is a popular destination for an overnighter – just an hour away from Taipei by car. Check out Shifen on the way back to Taipei for light wishing lanterns and traditional street food. We recommend getting a car and driver from Taipei (approx US100 a day) as the local drivers are usually very knowledgeable and can help you with an itinerary. Our favourite activities included soaking in the hot springs, picking fresh scallions and then making our own scallion pancakes and visiting the bricks (lego) museum.
- Yilan Silks Place is THE family-friendly hotel. It has both an indoor and outdoor play area, and mini cars the kids can drive around!
- Evergreen Jiaosi is another wonderful family hotel, with an awesome hot springs area, play room and onsen-style pools on the roof. Each room comes with its own hot springs-on-tap tub. Remember to pack your swimming cap!
- There are tons of family-friendly Bed & Breakfasts throughout Yilan County. We booked Lovely Pond Hostel which was perfect for our group of 15! The hosts were very welcoming, served amazing breakfast and we had a delicious traditional Taiwanese meal in the village next door.
Taroko National Park
Taroko Gorge is stunning and well worth the trip if you have an extra day or two in Taiwan. It’s 2-3 hours from Taipei by train or a short flight to Hualien Airport.
- Taroko Silks Place is the only 5-star accommodation located within the National Park and, like their Yilan hotel, it is family centric with plenty of activities for kids, including crafting classes, a kids club with legos, soft-play and video games and outdoor heated kids pool. There’s also a rooftop cinema and live music in the evenings. The hotel can arrange tours of the gorge by bike, foot and bus.
When to visit:
Similar to Hong Kong, the sub-tropical climate is hard to endure during the summer so we would recommend visiting between November and April. Everything is also at a standstill during Chinese New Year so we wouldn’t recommend going as you won’t be able to experience all the street food culture. Check out the key dates to keep in mind:
- January 1 – Founding Day of the ROC (3 day bank holiday)
- Late January or February – Chinese New Year (3 to 5 day holiday)
- February 28 – Memorial Day
- April 5 – Tomb Sweeping Day
- May 1 – Labor Day
- June – Dragon Boat Festival (on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month)
- September 3 – Armed Forces Day
- September – Mid-Autumn Festival (on the 15th day of the ninth lunar month)
- October 10 – National Day (Double Tenth Day)
Skyscanner Travel Tip: Within November 2017, the week of 13th November is the cheapest period to travel, and the best time to book is 6 weeks in advance (you can save up to 11.4% on flights). Yup, that means the best time to book is… right now!
How to get there:
- Taiwan’s EVA Airlines, is reliable and has outstanding service. EVA is famed for their adorable Hello Kitty aircrafts, but unfortunately they don’t use it for the HK to Taipei route.
Just like Hong Kong, cabs are everywhere, cheap and easy to hail! We found the cab drivers in Taiwan to be super friendly, incredibly patient and willing to help with strollers. Bonus! Most of the hotels have airport pick up services available, otherwise hop on a taxi outside the airport. The local taxi app is 55688, which is also the hotline to call a taxi (only in Mandarin). For English-friendly taxi services and excursions, contact www.gotaiwan.cc
The MRT (nope, we didn’t mistype MTR) is also very easy to navigate and a quick way to get around the city. Grab a EasyCard, which is the equivalent of our Octopus cards, and it can be used in convenience stores as well! You can arrange day and overnight trips with most taxi drivers in advance; if you come across a taxi driver you like, ask them for a name card so you can plan your trip with them.
- Yes = shr 是
- No = bu shr 不是
- Thank you = shie shie 謝謝
- Thank you very much = fei chang gan shie / hen gan shie 非常感謝 / 很感謝
- You’re welcome = bu yung shie 不客氣
- Please = ching 請
- Excuse me = duei bu chi 對不起
- Hello = ni hau 你好
- Goodbye = tzai jian 再見
- Good morning = tzau an 早安
- Good afternoon = wu an 午安
- Good evening = wan shang hau 晚上好
- Good night = wan an 晚安
- Do you speak … = ni huei jiang … ma? 你會講…嗎？
- English = ying yu 英語
- I = wo 我
- We = wo men 我們
- You (singular, familiar) = ni 你
- You (singular, formal) = nin 您
- You (plural) = ni men 你們
- He/She = ta 他 / 她
- They = ta men 他們
- Where is the bath room? = shi shou jian tzai na li? 洗手間在哪裡?
- How are you? = ni hau ma? 你好嗎？
- How much does this cost? = je duo shao chian? 這多少錢？
- Do you accept credit cards? = ni jie shou shin yong ka ma? 你接受信用哪嗎？
- I’ll buy it. = wo yao mai 我要買
- Please bring the bill. = mai dan 買單
- Bread = mian bao 麵包
- Coffee = ka fei 咖啡
- Tea = cha 茶
- Juice = guo jr 果汁
- Water = shuei 水
- Beer = pi jiou 啤酒
- Wine = hong jiou 紅酒
- Meat = rou 肉
- Beef = niu rou 牛肉
- Pork = ju rou 豬肉
- Fish = yu 魚
- Vegetable = shu tsai 蔬菜
- Fruit = shuei guo 水果
- Salad = sha la 沙拉
- Dessert = dian shin 點心
- How much is the fare? = che piau duo shau qian? 車票多少錢？
- Ticket = piau 票
- Train = huo che 火車
- Bus = gung che 公車
- Subway, Underground = jie yun 捷運
- Airport = ji chang 機場
- Train station = huo che jan 火車站
- Bus stop = gung che jan 公車站
- Subway station, Underground station = jie yun jan 捷運站
Key Phrases Source. All images from Rebecca Jo-Rushdy.