Let me share with you our easy and hassle-free Taiwan itinerary with our 4-year old and 10-year old. I know how hard it is to travel with young kids especially if you make your trip packed, tight and always in a hurry. That’ll make your little one cranky, tired and whiny all the time. Who would ever want that?
So I’m telling you now that when we travel as a family, we always make it a point that it’s for our kids and not even a quick side trip to any of the places we (my husband and I) want to go because that’ll just ruin the entire trip. We just make it a point to come back without the kids if we truly want to experience something from that country or place.
Anyway, here’s our hassle-free kid friendly Taiwan itinerary (with tips too!):
Day 1 – Arrival.
I booked a wifi pocket rental for 5 days through Klook for only P500. It was easy to book, I claimed the pocket wifi from their desk/kiosk at the arrival area (this is not that big so it’s not hard to spot). From the airport, we initially planned to just use UBER going to our hotel but there are plenty of drivers outside the airport offering fixed rate service which by the way, is reasonably priced. It’s nothing like the ones you get when you hail from NAIA… not at all! So in short, we got that rate instead of the UBER. We were staying at XIMENDING area which was about 40mins away from the Taoyuan airport and paid NT$1,000
TIP: Know what your hotel check-in time is and don’t book waaaaayyy earlier than that or you will risk a highly tired and cranky toddler. You know when you have to be at NAIA super early to check-in, immigration duties, etc? That’s already BORING and TIRING for these kids and then they had to endure few more hours of waiting time before boarding. NAIA though has some free playgrounds that you can use whilst waiting for boarding time.
For us, we left our house around 4AM and was at the boarding gates by 7AM-ish and finally flying by 8AM-ish. Our hotel check-in was by 2PM. We arrived at the Taoyuan airport around 10AM and was in the arrival area post immigration around 11AM. I did my business with the wifi rental and money changers and ATM withdrawals and we were on our way to the hotel by 11:40AM.
12NN- We left our luggage at the hotel and went out for lunch around the area. Perfect time to scout some local grubs and check the vicinity as well. Even at this rate, my 10 year old got tired waiting for check-in even if it was just less than 2 hours, so I might want to consider a later arrival time.
MONEY CHANGERS IN TAIWAN – There’s not a whole lot around the city. I advise you to bring USD and have it changed in the airport and withdraw from their ATMs instead. I used BDO ATM card and it worked well. The service charge per withdrawal was P188 and keep in mind your withdrawal limit converted to NT$. So for 10,000 per withdrawal limit is around NT$4,500.
So after check-in, we let the kids rest and enjoy the room. We also discuss what’s going to happen the following day so they’d know what to expect, what time to wake up, etc. We find this very important and helpful because you’re involving the kids with the decision making and you’re making them feel that the trip is about them and for them. Dinner time is a great opportunity to check out the local cuisine too. We were booked at the Ximen area which we found out is a “party” place. It gets active from 6PM until wee hours, perfect for barkadas and older kids. We didn’t mind because there were a lot of toy stores for little kids too! Our girls were very happy with our location.
Day 2- Leofoo Village Theme Park
This is actually a great theme park because it’s 3-in-1 : park (rides, shows, etc), water park and it has a zoo as well. It’s well kept considering its age. We didn’t experience super long lines, very minimal waiting time on attractions and shows. Huge, huge place to run around. Clean restrooms, restaurant food prices are not too expensive unlike Disneyland or any other popular theme park. I booked the park tickets through KKDAY and it’s a lot cheaper than when you book directly from the park. It was easy to claim the tickets inside the park’s visitor area as well.
Stroller rental is NT$50 with 500 deposit (of course you will take it back after). The zoo part was great because the animals were healthy, great looking safari animals. They’re also not caged so it was great and pleasant. Surprisingly, the park didn’t smell like a zoo (Manila Zoo?).
Leofoo Village is around 2hrs away from Taipei and I won’t advise you to commute especially with a little kid in tow. Instead, hire an UBER going to the park which we paid for NT$ 1,200 and then rented out a van to pick us up from Hanton Tours (search them on FB- the owners are Filipino, we just used FB messenger to transact) which was NT$2,000. Park opens at 9AM and closes by 5PM
This park has a hotel inside it as well but we didn’t choose to stay there because it was realllly far from the city. For us, it was enough to spend a day here.
TIP: Not a lot of English speaking park workers and even those that are in the restaurant mostly can’t speak English so just point at photos of your orders. When you enter, get the park’s map and ask which rides or areas are open and which are close for renovation. Also, when it was lunch time, not all restaurants were open. I think for the entire park, only 2 were open. So ask about that as well. Take note of the shows and the time they’re opening it so you can schedule it. And yes, the shows are in Taiwanese. I asked if there was an English version but they said, none.
CREDIT CARD USAGE IN TAIWAN – We planned on using credit card for purchases but ended up using cash because our RCBC Bankard failed. I guess we had to call them and tell them we were using it abroad? BDO, we were able to use once and then after that, it failed. Again, we needed to verify that we were indeed using it outside Philippines. But when I did a cash advance, it went through. So my advice, call your credit card companies to inform them you are using it in whatever country you’re going. We’ve been using these cards a long time and this is our first time to experience this, so maybe it’s Taiwan?
Day 3- Taipei Zoo
We rode the MRT from Ximen Station (Blue Line) to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station to transfer to the Brown line.
Print this map so you can study it. In the station, there were machines were you can buy the tickets. If you’re confused, best to inquire at the station’s tourist desk, they’re very helpful. We chose to buy one way tickets/pass and not the tourist pass because we were not planning on using the MRT more than twice.
So we got off the Taipei zoo station and walked about 3 mins to the entrance, bought the ticket and we’re on our way inside!
Taipei zoo ticket prices are as follows:
Adults (children above 5yo are considered adults): NT$ 60
Groups of 30 people or more: 30% discount
Free admission qualifications:
1. Preschool children (even non residents, meaning tourists)
2. Handicapped individuals (with certification).
Taipei Zoo operation hours: 9AM-5PM
The zoo is pretty huge and it could get tiring for little feet so you might want to consider renting out a stroller for NT$50 with NT$1000 deposit.
There’s also a shuttle bus/train that takes you to the top of the zoo (where the bus station going to the Maokong Gondola Taipei Zoo station is also located).
You can do it 2 ways:
1.) Start from the top going down. Meaning rid the shuttle bus/train going up the zoo and then make your way down to the entrance or the visitor center where you will need to bring the stroller back. You can’ take the stroller to the Maokong Gondola, fyi.
2.) Start from the main entrance, walk all the way to the top whilst going through the different sections of the zoo and ride then ride the train going down to return the stroller, freshen up, buy from the souvenir shop, etc. Then once again, ride to the top for the Maokong Gondola.
Number 2 is what we chose to do since we were there early and we were able to finish it before 3PM. We had plenty of time to eat, freshen up, and shop. I find it nice to buy souvenir shirts from theme parks and especially zoo because these are one-of a kind shirt and I love supporting places that take care of animals and not abuse them.
Taipei zoo has a cage-free environment where you can really see the animals thriving and growing well. There are pandas, koalas, hippos, alpacas, giraffes, elephants, lemurs (my girls adore lemurs), all sort of birds (my eldest love owls), penguin, amphibians, and so many more. They even had a children’s park where kids can freely interact with friendly farm animals (like what they teach you in school? They’re all there!).
We did ride the Maokong Gondola- it got really hot inside the cable car so we’re happy we decided to take just the fastest ride (Taipei Zoo the first stop).
Back at the hotel, the minis were so tired but happy.
Day 4- Going Home Time!