5D4N Itinerary to Taipei台北-Yilan宜兰-Miaoli苗栗
We love Taiwan. In addition to their hygiene and safety, we love the warmth and hospitality of her people. We would like to commend firstly, our Taiwanese driver-guide, Lee and his fiancé Wenny, who run Tour Taiwan. We got to know them by chance during our first trip to Taiwan where Lee sent us to the airport. We found his service honest, sincere and friendly. His driving is very safe and one of the perks is that we enjoy free in-car WIFI in all his vehicles. For this recent Summer trip, we have them to thank again for showing us more of their beautiful country.
Here’s what we did in 5 short days:
Check out our video highlight:
Day 1: Taipei 101 & Yong Kang Street
We took an early morning flight on Scoot which arrived into Taipei past 2pm. Upon arrival, our driver-guide Lee was already waiting at the arrival terminal to pick us up. He drove us to check in at our hotel – Dandy Hotel, Daan Park 丹迪旅店大安森林公園店. This is a small boutique hotel that is priced affordably in a central location, located right opposite Taipei’s biggest and greenest public park (with a huge playground!).
After a quick wash up, we asked Lee to bring us to Yong Kang Street famous Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館 for a late lunch. Right after, we proceeded to tour Taipei 101 Observatory. I was so thankful I bought our admission tickets via the Klook website which enabled us to skip the snaking queue. We were able to go directly to the high speed elevator right up to the top of the observatory. After spending about an hour at Taipei 101, Lee brought us for a Taiwanese porridge dinner. We headed back to the hotel after the light dinner. The kids watched a cartoon animation on Netflix on the TV while I used the self-service laundrette (free for guests!). I popped by the 7-11 next door to buy snacks while waiting for laundry to be done (safe and convenient!).
Day 2: Taipei City
• Maokong Gondola Ride 貓空纜車
• Taipei Zoo 台北動物園
• Huashan Creative Park 華山1914文化創意產業園區
• Dinner at Kao Ji Yong Kang St 永康街高記 or one of Taipei Night Markets 逢甲夜市/士林夜市 / 饒河夜市 / 師大夜市
Maokong Gondola 貓空纜車 (Rating: 4/5)
This is our 2nd visit to the MaoKong Gondola 貓空纜車 (Cable car). We love the stunning bird’s eye view of Taipei and its surrounding lush greenery. The entire ride takes about 30-40 mins (one-way) from the time you board.
• Go on a bright sunny day. The view is spectacular.
• Avoid the long queues by having your guide drive to the peak so you can take the gondola ride one-way down. It’s the same view up or down, but much more pleasant without the long wait.
• While waiting for the gondola, ask for the crystal (see-through) cabin. It doesn’t cost extra but gives that extra thrill to the ride!
• You can try some traditional Taiwanese snacks and tea from the eateries at the peak.
• You can include Taipei Zoo with this visit (which is what we did). They are right next to each other.
Taipei Zoo 台北動物園 (Rating 3/5):
This zoo is more than a century old. It’s a huge zoo (if we compare it to Singapore’s) and features some unique animals from the region. The main attraction includes the Children’s Zoo section where kids can see some cute animals and participate in activities at designated times.
• Go early in the morning to avoid the heat and also to see the animals during their morning feed. When the noon heat sets in, the animals get sluggish and you end up only seeing them laze around.
• If you have limited time, head directly to the Children’s Zoo section where there are shows and feeding demos.
• Bring a brolly, poncho or wear sunblock, as this is an open zoo.
• Wear comfy shoes. Expect to walk a lot.
• Food: There is only one main dining area with McDonald’s being the main eatery. The queue can be long during meal times and tables are limited.
• The shuttle train only brings you from one point of the zoo to another and it costs extra. Unlike the Singapore Zoo tram, you will not get to see any animals on board this ride so save that money.
• Expect crowds from late morning (11am) onwards.
HuaShan Creative Park 華山1914文化創意產業園區
We love this creative ‘park’. Technically, it is a precinct of old warehouse and go-downs situated next to a large outdoor park. Within the premise, expect funky and creative pop-up stores ranging from fashion to furniture to art. The arty vibe here is strong and infectious!
Wooderful Life (Rating: 4/5)
We spent most part of our visit at a shop called Wooderful Life where Dana and I hand made our own personalized wooden musical boxes and the boys (Daddy and Buddy) were engaged in a series of wood-based game stations that test their skills and stretch their imagination.
For the games station, you have to pre-book your slots upon arrival. Each slot lasts about an hour and costs TWD 100 per person (child and adult alike). Young children have to be accompanied by an adult. There are a variety of stations that test your skills e.g. balancing a wooden ball, flipping a wooden item into a basket or fixing wood-based puzzles. In short, good ol’ family games fun. Daddy was initially skeptical if he could engage our 3 year-old for an hour but they loved it so much they wanted to stay even longer!
• Spend some shopping money here and DIY a personalised Taiwanese Musical Boxes that would make others go ‘wow’.
• Factor in at least 2 hours at Wooderful Life to make your own musical box.
• You would need half a day (minimally 4 hours) to really soak in the vibes of the Creative Park.
Day 3: Taipei – Yilan
• Spring Onion Farm 三星青蔥文化館
• Lunch at Wood Oven Chicken Restaurant 甕窯雞
• Dinner at Yilan Night Market 宜蘭羅東夜市
Accommodation (Yilan): Easylife Child-friendly Minsu 宜人生活宜蘭民宿
Yilan is a relatively unexplored rural gem of Taiwan. The ride to Yilan takes about 3 hours and we broke the journey with a pit-stop at a Spring Onion Farm followed by a hearty lunch at a traditional eatery where we tasted one of the best roast chicken, cooked over traditional wood-fired oven.
Spring Onion Farm 三星青蔥文化館 (Rating 3/5)
Spring onion is a key agricultural produce in Taiwan and it was in abundance in June during our visit. At the farm, we not only got to experience how it is like to go into the fields to harvest spring onions (complete with farmers’ hats) but we did a fun, hands-on cooking session making Taiwanese spring-onion cake!
The harvesting experience is not difficult but guests are allowed to pick only a few sprigs. After ‘harvesting’, it’s time to make some yummy spring onion cakes. The steps are simple but be prepared for hands to get oily as it is made ‘prata’-style. A chef will deep-fry the spring onion cakes and we can get to enjoy it piping hot right at the farm!
• Please apply sunblock if the day is very sunny. You are expected to be out in the fields for about 30 minutes at least.
• Do expect some mud (not a lot) to get onto your footwear.
• There are sinks and soaps at the farm. The Taiwanese are very hygienic and would regularly remind us to wash our hands.
Accommodation: Easylife Child-friendly Minsu 宜人生活宜蘭民宿 (Rating 5/5)
Taiwan is famous for the ‘Minsus’ or home-stays, which often are themed bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Easylife Minsu is a family-friendly three-storey bungalow in the outskirts of Yilan, set amidst lush organic farms.
Rooms at Easylife Minsu are specially built to welcome families with young children. Upon arrival, your kids will be awed by the wide selection of toys, motorized kids-vehicles, scooters and pushbikes. Each room also comes complete with its own bathroom and bed(s) for the kids. Some, like ours, feature customized bunk beds complete with a slide. These beds, made of solid wood, are very sturdy and strong.
Our ‘Totoro’ themed room comes with a separate living area much like a suite. The beds are firm and comfortable. Sheets and towels are clean and fresh. They even provide kids’ amenities like kids’ toothbrushes, cups and bath toys. How thoughtful. The bathroom is clean, spacious and offers a good view of the lush paddy fields. Water pressure and heating are good. There’s TV and cable in each room as well as free WIFI with good connectivity. There are so many outdoor and indoor toys and even costumes for kids to play with. In fact, the costumes range from popular cartoon characters like ‘Anna’ from Frozen to those of policemen and fighter pilots. The kids were truly spoilt for choice. No wonder both Dana and Buddy were so sad to bid this Minsu goodbye!
Our stay comes with daily home cooked breakfast prepared fresh by the housekeeper, 二姐. We chose a mix of Western and Taiwanese breakfast sets. Raw ingredients were harvested from nearby organic farms and the meals were delicious. The kids loved their meals, which were served in attractive kids’ cutleries. Service at the Minsu was always personable, warm yet non-intrusive. Our host made us feel very welcomed and we feel right at home in this comfy, clean and child-friendly Minsu. If only we had more time, we would certainly stay an extra night or two.
• Most Minsus are private homes. If you are travelling with older folks who may have issues with staircases, you may want to select a room that is on the ground level. Most Minsus, like this, do not have elevators.
• The water pressure of the toilets in some parts of Taiwan does not allow for soiled toilet tissues to be flushed. Soiled papers will have to be thrown in a bin provided in the toilet, next to the W.C.
• Soundproofing in Minsus may not be at its best as these are not built as commercial properties. Hence please ensure the kids observe courtesy in the early mornings and late nights when playing.
兒童王國–官網 | http://www.kidshostel.com.tw/index.html
宜人生活–官網 | http://easylife.yilantravel.net/
電洽：國外+886975622882 | 台灣：0975-62288-2 | Whatsapp: +886975622882
Day 4: Yilan – Miaoli
• Tomato Farm 番茄园
• Baba Tunnel Coal Mine 巴巴坑道休闲广场
• Flying Cow Ranch 飛牛牧場
The ride from Yilan to Miaoli takes about 4 to 5 hours and crosses some hilly terrains. Those who are prone to motion sickness may like to pop some anti-nausea pills before the drive. We broke our trip with 2 pit-stops before reaching Flying Cow Ranch.
Tomato Farm 番茄园 (Rating: 2/5)
This was a far cry from the Spring Onion Farm experience but the kids did enjoy plucking some tomatoes off the vines. There was no explanation involved and we just simply went from car to vines, started plucking then off to payment. Also, there were not much ripe tomatoes to pluck during our visit in June.
• Although it is sheltered, sun still shines through so be prepared for it to be hot and humid.
• Miaoli county is more famous for strawberry picking. Do check with your driver if strawberries or other fruits are in season during your visit.
Baba Tunnel Coal Mine 巴巴坑道休闲广场 (Rating: 3/5)
It’s not everyday that one comes across a coal mine, so this is certainly worth an experience if it’s along your way. Closed since the mid ‘80s, the Baba Tunnel Coal Mine offers guests a chance to walk into one of its actual disused mines. The depth is not too deep, although at certain points the cave can get quite tight and seems more suited for kids’ height but therein lies the experience.
We caught a glimpse of the tough life the miners had to endure to ensure that energy is provided through coal mining. If you have a chance, speak to the owner about the life his grandfather had to go through as a miner. Apart from the tunnel walk, there are areas where kids can experience digging for ‘coal’ while donning mining gear. Unfortunately, time did not allow us for that experience. The entire mine is non-air-conditioned so be prepared to perspire. There are indoor craft activities for kids where they learn to make miniature miners’ hats and paint a mining car. It’s good fun.
Food: There’s a restaurant that serves a small selection of Hakka cuisines. For some reason, we didn’t quite enjoy the lunch. Perhaps the winding ride has affected our appetite.
• The place is surrounded by thick forest. Dress light and comfortably.
• The area is not large but made up of undulating rocky and dusty terrain. Wear comfortable shoes.
• There is only one restaurant within and no others in the near vicinity. Come after breakfast if you do not wish to eat there.
• The mining experience is safe and suitable for kids above 4 years and up.
Flying Cow Ranch 飛牛牧場 (Rating: 4/5)
We first stayed at the Flying Cow Ranch 6 years back in 2012 when our daughter was 4. This trip, we brought 4 year old son to experience the same farm stay. The farm is still very well-kept, rooms are large and clean. As the grounds are sprawling, it takes stamina and time to walk from one part of the farm to another. Overall, the kids love feeding the goats, the rabbits and milking the cows. We ate the milk hot-pot for dinner but it was nowhere as delicious as we remembered it to be the last visit. If you have more time, staying 2 nights here would definitely make the trip more relaxing.
• Aim to arrive early in the day so kids can participate in the animal feedings.
• Wear comfy clothes and shoes. Remember to apply insect repellant.
• Find out the location of the various activities so you don’t lose your way when the sun sets. It can get quite dark.
• Remember to redeem your free bottles of milk before checking out.
Day 5: Miaoli – TaoYuan – Singapore
- Breakfast in hotel
- Check out of Flying Cow Farm and head to Taoyuan International Airport
- Last minute souvenir shopping at airport
- Board flight and Home Sweet Home
Our comfy 7- seater ride from Tour Taiwan, with free in-car WIFI
Download our 5D4N Taiwan Family-Friendly Itinerary at http://bit.ly/LTM5D4NTaipei.
Here’s our 5-day Video highlight: