Taiwan: a Must-Visit for Families

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.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

We headed up to the second floor for our meal…
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
BIG oyster, see my iphone for reference

If the oysters were huge, check out the crabs…
Taiwan Tour

The market was a great experience too. It showcased fresh food, amidst a relaxing, dimly lit space where one can purchase other food items, drinks, fresh flowers and home accessories.
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

We also could not pass up a meal at Din Tai Fung, home of the famous xiao long bao. Not many know this Michelin starred restaurant originated from Taiwan.
Taiwan Tour

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!

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

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!)

There’s the torched beef which we hoarded and brought back to the hotel
Taiwan Tour

Beef and vegetable rolls, people were lining up for these
Taiwan Tour

Sausages on sticks, enjoying it with ourawesomeplanet.com himself, Anton
Taiwan Tour

…AND… the (in)famous stinky tofu!
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
Luigi and Rovilson found it really stinky, though personally I think it tastes okay as long as you keep your nose pinched up!

I love strawberries so I enjoyed these candied fruits
Taiwan Tour

even Rovilson wanted some of mine. Haha.
Taiwan Tour

Definitely even more options here for the more adventurous foodies.
Taiwan Tour

I also enjoyed the sweet stuff like this matcha ice cream
Taiwan Tour

and of course Milk tea, which you also might not know originated in Taiwan as well!
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan has lots of food options,our Jeron hosts put up us to this “Takaw challenge”!
Taiwan Tour

Here’s Chal (of Jeron) making us try out local delicacies and fruits!
Taiwan Tour

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…

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

For a night out, we went to this cafe called Relax…
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

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.
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
With Loris

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.
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
The place was mostly in hipster vibe, with the brick, concrete and wood, then we have a surprise of modern industrial structures.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

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.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan was under Japanese rule in the late 1800’s till mid 1900’s which is why there is a leaning towards clean lines, good design, natural elements and creative packaging.
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

How do you like my ‘do?:)

At the Park there was even a Kids’ Expo going on!
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
…and a cute kid who wanted to be with me! I guess she felt my mommy-energy:)

Taiwan Tour
This Upside Down house is a popular destination. Everything inside the house is…. upside down!

Taiwan Tour

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.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
Art at the lobby

This seat ROCKs!
Taiwan Tour

The rooms featured everything made by local artisans, items that reflected Taiwanese culture, down to the steamer-shaped trashbin

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Down to the smallest detail, Home Hotel was a showcase for Taiwanese creativity and innovation
Taiwan Tour

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.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Remembered Reese when I saw this very life-like dog statue asleep on the armchair…

Taiwan Tour

We took the time to walk through Fujin Street and I was snapping photos everywhere of little nooks and crannies filled with such charming vignettes.
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

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.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

The puppet likes Rovilson…:)

Taiwan Tour
The kids will love this, everyone gets to hold a puppet, like me and Chichi in this photo

Taiwan Tour
Our show featured Luigi, Alyanna, Loris and another tourist. Watch the video here.

Taiwan Tour
Me with the very engaging puppet master and his beautiful female puppet

After the wine tasting mentioned earlier, we hiked a bit to the Toucheng Leisure Farm

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Here we enjoyed a DIY dinner barbecue which the group enjoyed very much.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
Mr. Jack Cho, owner of the Toucheng Farm, gave us a warm welcome.

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.

Taiwan Tour

They say if you want your wishes to come true, write it down….
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

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…

Taiwan Tour
Erron donning his best farmer look!

and we were taught to make rice puffs.
Taiwan Tour
Alyanna grinding the rice

Taiwan Tour
Rice puffs are more tedious to make than I thought!

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

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!

Taiwan Tour

At the Shilin Night Market, there are not only shoes but also many other finds.

Taiwan Tour

even game booths for kids
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour
Chal, owner of Jeron Travel, walking the walk at Shilin. Chal is half Taiwanese which is why she is passionate about sharing her mother’s home country with people.

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.

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

When we dropped by there was also a cultural show ongoing and I loved the colorful characters and costumes.
Taiwan Tour

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).

Taiwan Tour

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.

Even their VIP lounge in the Taipei Taoyuan Airport was unlike any other I’ve seen
Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

Taiwan Tour

I’m now a China Air fan as well!
Taiwan Tour

I had the best of times with these people, our “Kumquat Crew”!
Taiwan Tour

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!

Taiwan Tour

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.

Follow Jeron Travel on Instagram @jerontravel and www.jerontravel.com.

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