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Tea & Tall Buildings in Taipei: A fun minibreak with the kids

Supermum of 2 boys and pregnant with her 3rd, Franny hit up Taiwan’s Taipei for a long weekend from Hong Kong and here’s her review below:

Taipei is a fantastic Asian city to visit with a family, everyone should go!  My husband bravely took our 3.5 yr old, 21 month old and 6 months pregnant wife to Taiwan for 4 nights at the end of October and I would whole-heartedly recommend it for a short family holiday.

Flight
The flight from Hong Kong is just over an hour, the city is easily reachable from the airport and literally everything we did was very very easy.

Hotel
We stayed at the Riviera Hotel.  It’s a business hotel that I wouldn’t normally have considered but it was recommended by a friend who has been staying there regularly for  a decade and as we booked last minute, a lot of the bigger international chains had no availability for the family sized rooms we needed.

The Riviera’s executive rooms have an outer room where we had a cot and a single bed set up, which was separated from the decent-sized bedroom by the bathroom and a short corridor.  For a young family it was perfect as there was no door to close between the two, my husband and I could see through to where the children were, but we could actually have an evening, watch TV and hold a conversation without having to worry about waking the boys.  The breakfast buffet was good and the hotel had a cute rooftop garden growing vegetables and herbs for use in the kitchens.  The hotel is opposite the city’s beautifully maintained and very interesting Fine Arts Park.  It was also reasonable priced.

Getting Around Taipei
We only took taxis to and from the airport, using the MRT for everything else as it was so easy, even with a pushchair.  There are well signed lifts and escalators. There is no Hong Kong style scrum to get on the trains, just orderly lines.  People leapt out of their seats when they saw I was pregnant and the boys were entertained and given gifts by people on virtually every journey. The MRT also produces a fantastic map of Taipei which is worth getting early on in your trip – we didn’t find an English one until the last few days.  The train lines go a long way and it is very easy to get out of the city and into the hills.  The city itself is very green too with loads of gorgeous parks.

Things to Do
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park was fantastic for the boys: flying a cheap kite in front of Taipei 101, lots of bubble blowing and ice-cream and some very impressive displays of breakdancing to gawp at.

Taipei Zoo – Asia’s biggest apparently – was busy on a sunny Sunday but at only HKD$50 for entry, children under 12 free, we couldn’t really complain.

You can get a gondola directly from the Zoo to the tea-growing area, Maokong which was a lovely cool and breezy spot to enjoy some Taiwanese food and tea.

I would have spent more time at Taipei’s famous night markets given half the chance but they were a bit too crowded for 2 hungry little boys.  They happily stuffed themselves on sticks of fruit but didn’t really experiment further than that.

Public toilets are numerous, clean and best of all, often featured a family toilet, with a normal sized loo, mini-loos for toddlers and changing tables all in one large room.

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