Having visited most of Asia, I thought there was little left to discover. Boy, was I proven wrong during my recent trip to Taiwan. This country, located in East Asia, just north of the Philippines, is an island nation rich in its cultural heritage, while exuding its very own unique, up-to-date sensibility.
It just takes two hours travel time by air, and there is a no time difference between Taiwan and Manila. During my 4-day visit a few months ago, I was happy to discover a new destination to add to my family’s travel list, especially for when we want a quick getaway, when a staycation isn’t enough, but we want to fly out and experience something different from the usual HongKong or Singapore. Besides the easy travel because of proximity, here are reasons why I think Taiwan should be on every family’s travel list:
1. Food tripping for all ages. What is travel without food, and we all know how food brings families together and can create the best travel memories! In Taiwan, flavours abound, and there’s something for every type of person’s appetite, taste and budget. Our first meal was at the Addiction Aquatic fish market where we treated our post-flight selves to a delicious meal of seafood, vegetables and hot pot.
I also loved experiencing this traditional hotpot meal because my family loves hot pot! I personally like it because not only is it fun and interactive for the kids, and is also quite healthy since there is no frying and food is enjoyed in its most authentic flavor, without much salt nor sugar. Our meal at the Yilan Taiwanese Organic Hotpot Resto even guarantees its ingredients to be all organic!
Then of course, there’s the yummy streetfood Taiwan is also known for. In the markets alone, there are so many streetfood options I was only able to try a fraction of it! (More reasons to go back to Taiwan!)
We also got to visit the Cang Jiu Wine Refinery where we learned more about different local wines and how they are processed. Our tour guide here was a Filipina who was quite the storyteller…
What would you know? The place has somewhat of an “alter ego”. Behind a hidden door, there was a speakeasy bar called Ounce. The bartender (in photo) asked us what flavors we enjoyed. I told him I prefer fruity, sweet, and light. He came back with a unique concoction of rose, berry, rum, among other ingredients, which I happily sipped on through the night.
2. Touch on your creative spark. I love visiting unique places, even if considered commercial, I get inspired by unique products, merchandising displays, multiple colors, the feel of various textures. I experienced much creative inspiration in Taiwan and I know my kids will enjoy it here too. If you’re into anything creative, whether it be in crafts, fashion, street art, photography, painting, film etc. you’ll enjoy visiting these places:
The Huashan 1914 Cultural Park. This compound of old warehouses was an industrial area and also a winery, which was abandoned and later on converted by the government into a venue for people in the creatives scene to set up pop up stores, exhibitions, film showings, and shows.
The place reminded me of my happy places back in Manila like Common Room and the Alabama crafts market, I wish for a development like this at home, one with private and government support so that our local artists can thrive.
How do you like my ‘do?:)
Hello…was I ever here before? How I wish. Huashan 1914 was one of my faves during this trip.
Even our hotel, the Home Hotel at the Da-An district was a treat to my senses.
The rooms featured everything made by local artisans, items that reflected Taiwanese culture, down to the steamer-shaped trashbin
We visited this interesting restaurant called Solar Kitchen on Fujin street and we feasted on salad and delicious carbonara while we enjoyed art placed everywhere.
Remembered Reese when I saw this very life-like dog statue asleep on the armchair…
3. When traveling with our families, we always want to experience interactive fun! Taiwan did not disappoint, and I loved that what we experienced had much cultural value, I was not only entertained but I learned a lot as well.
One such place was the See-Join Puppet Theatre Restaurant. This place is the only one of its kind, showcasing a live puppet show with audience participation, plus a full course meal.
The puppet likes Rovilson…:)
Our show featured Luigi, Alyanna, Loris and another tourist. Watch the video here.
After the wine tasting mentioned earlier, we hiked a bit to the Toucheng Leisure Farm
Here we enjoyed a DIY dinner barbecue which the group enjoyed very much.
The farm offers a host of DIY activities for families. We were scheduled to do tshirt painting but only had enough time for the Sky lantern activity.
Here are our lanterns and wishes taking flight…
Another fun, interactive activity was this visit to the Tea and Rice resort, where we learned about local rice farming…
4. Last but not the least, there’s the great shopping! I found out that Taiwan is the place to be for sneaker heads and rubber shoes collectors. In our family, that would be Gary and Coby. I kept sending them pics thru Viber so that they could shop virtually!
At the Shilin Night Market, there are not only shoes but also many other finds.
We also visit a cultural market, National Center for Traditional Art where there were so many interesting local products and crafts and set up like an old town, you feel like you’re transported back in time.
My first Taiwan experience was a memorable one. The country is clean, efficient and organized. Taiwanese are generally warm, friendly, and also able to be creative and push the envelope in innovation because the government supports it. There were facilities for children and families to bond and grow, proper facilities for children, moms and babies. Even transportation systems are well developed and safe – reminded me that well-managed system in London (we used the Oyster contact number for public transport, I remember).
Last but not the least, another pleasant discovery, China Air! China Air, Taiwan’s official flagship airline, gave me such a good experience during this trip, my family ended up flying China Air all the way to Canada last summer.
So much fun with these people! Jenni and Aryanna Epperson, Anton Diaz, Chichi Tullao, Czarina Ledesma, Cate de Leon, Rovilson Fernandez, Alyanna Martinez, Erron Ocampo, with Chal and Nikki of Jeron. Missing in photo is Luigi Muhlach.
I hope you didn’t mind the long post and tons of photos because I have so much to share about this country. This trip left me fascinated and wanting more so my next visit will hopefully be with my family, “The Flying V’s!”
Thank you for the experience, Jeron Travel, as well as the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and China Air!
More posts on my Taiwan trip:
Nature Tripping in Taiwan: http://janicevillanueva.com/nature-tripping-in-taiwan/
JeronTravel is a premiere IATA & DOT accredited travel agency for 23 years, a one stop shop for all things and services related to travel. It is a two-time awardee of the best and only Philippine Travel Agent for Taiwan, a country that holds titles for Best Food Travel by CNN 2015, Conde Nast Traveller Magazines’ “Taiwan: The World’s next foodie travel destination” and 2015 Travelers’ Choice Destination by TripAdvisor.