Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

Top family vacations in Asia: 5 days in Taipei

After 3 years in the Philippines, I have to admit it: Blue skies and white sandy beaches don’t get me high. I am definitely a city girl, the vibes of the capital are the most creative to me. I am craving for the intellectual stimulation and this unique feeling of solitude in the multitude.

Add a forest nearby and I will feel totally at home. Even in a Chinese speaking town like Taipei.

The Taiwanese capital has it all for me, the kids and hubby. Just follow the guides :

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Even with a cold, Taiwanese sense of fashion will make you look super cute

For the best food: Night markets

It’s not a legend: Taipei is a vegetarian paradise! We never ate in a restaurant because the street food was so varied and delicious. We only stopped a couple of times to those incredibly yummy (and cheap) vegetarian buffets. I never thought tofu could come in so many shapes and colours, and .. smell! Try the stinky toffu, it deserves its name.

In every corner of every street you ll be offered samples of food in front of shops. Make sure you visit the delicious Sugar and Spice on an empty stomach as they ll make you taste every single cookie and sweet you  lay your eyes on !

There are also many non vege options. Pick up a night market and .. Bon Appetit:

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For a Motherdaughter kind of day: Ximending !

For the ultimate kiddos/teenager shopping experience along pedestrian streets, best place for socks shopping and last but definitely not least : lying down while getting a shampoo massage in a beautiful Cafe Hair Salon! Here is a glimpse of what you’ll find there:

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For a beautiful way to practice of mindfulness: visit a tea house

Taiwan is worldwide famous for its teas. We were brave enough to bring the kids along and to our uttmost surprise, they loved it as much (almost) as we did.

The ceremony itself is fascinating. We learnt how to serve and taste different flavors of tea in the historical Wistaria tea house. The whole family was mesmerized by the graceful ways of our host: how he set up the pots, guided us into our degustation.

You have to spend time in such a place to realise that “Tea allows people to settle into tranquility and, consequently, the tea space is the native land of contemplative thought, the home of inspiration”.

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We tried this game with the kids:  When you close your eyes and very gently sip your tea, what is the place that comes to your mind? the weather? the flavor?

Was it because of the ambiance of the tea house? the very special taste of the teas? they really loved this game and we’ve been playing it in every other tea house we visited. Never too young to practice mindfulness ..

4. and everywhere else 

Just look up, down and sideways and you’ll feel like an explorator ..

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If after all those adventures you still don’t feel sleepy, here is my ultimate favorite place in town: I love librairies especially when they are open 24/7, come with teas and coffees and we can pick book to read just anywhere. Like daughter ..

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To travel to all those places, you can totally trust the public transportations. Although in a country where it is all written in Chinese, you d better get a local sim card! It gives you unlimited access to internet and you ll bless google maps! There is even a hotline that can be reached by dialing 1999 from any city phone, with transfer to an English operator available around the clock by dialling 0. All the taxi drivers we met were very eager to help, and used their phone to connect us to an English speaking center that would translate all our requests in Chinese to the driver. So helpful!

Even during rush hours, subways are incredibly clean, perfectly organised (people are really falling in line, a real cultural shock for a Parisian like me!) and any passenger will stand up to give his seat to children. Our Attilas were really treated like kings. Lovely detail: my kids hate it when strangers insist on taking selfies with them. In Taipei, it never happened.

Here is what a subway station looks like there:

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We paid less than 20 US dollars for our 4 seats on the  “hop on, hop off” double decker bus. 4 hours to visit the major tourist spots in the capital .. or enjoy the rest:

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And taxis are everywhere. Far cheaper than in Europe, and the security obsessed Mum appreciated that the seatbelts are compulsory for everyone

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Taipei ‘s sidewalks are very very large. You can rent a bike very easily to wander in town. Our kids are not tall enough, so we spend hours simply walking and exploring for hours .. Bon Voyage 🙂

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19 comments on “Top family vacations in Asia: 5 days in Taipei

  1. wellbeingbetty
    March 31, 2017

    Great little post.. I had never thought of visiting Taiwan, but I am definitely attracted to the idea after reading this. Thank you!

    • estelea
      March 31, 2017

      You’d love it ! There so much to explore in this town, next time I ll have to check on the yoga classes so we can meet up there 😉

  2. Britta
    March 31, 2017

    Taipei looks dreamy. I love the tea game you played with your kiddos!

    • estelea
      March 31, 2017

      Oh thanks dear Britta 🙂 it’s so sweet to see them asking for a “a little tea” instead of their usual milk for snack.
      Taipei was really the best city we’ve visited in the region so far (although we only saw a bit of it). And cheaper than Japan and Korea. Icing on the cake: the temperatures! So much fresher than in Cebu. Can’t wait to explore more !

      Hope all is fine on your side of the world 🙂

  3. Gaya
    March 31, 2017

    I recently booked tickets to Taipei for October so I was really happy to read this. As for beaches, I haven’t been to one for the longest time (and I live here!) though I suspect I will feel more fond of them and will put in more effort to get to them when they are no longer as accessible. 😀

    • estelea
      March 31, 2017

      Hi neighbor 🙂 we totally fell in love with Taipei and we hardly explored it . I m sure you ll have a blast there !
      And you are totally right for the beaches. We don’t realize the beauties besides us .. until we are far from them 😉 i never knew I was such a fan of my hometown forest until i started living abroad .. something tells me that when l ll face the European winter again I ll look back at Bantayan with a little bit of nostalgia 😉

      how long will you stay in Taipei?

      • Gaya
        March 31, 2017

        Only 3 full days, I’m afraid — just a girls’ weekend with my friends. But we plan to make the most of it, particularly with regards to the food. I’m also hoping to go up to the Yangmingshan National Park. (And your beautiful Fontainebleau remains on my destination wishlist as well.)

      • estelea
        April 3, 2017

        Come to Fontainebleau this summer ! we ll be there up to mid August 🙂 Wouldnt it be insane that we never met in 4D in Cebu but would in France 😉
        As per Taipe, as you are not vege, you ll have an incredible blast in those night markets. Make sure your stomach is super empty, would be too bad to stop after a few stalls only… Bon Voyage gwapa 🙂

  4. connie.n.w.
    March 31, 2017

    Ahh I’m so happy you love Taiwan!! I love it so much! The vegetarian options are very good! I’m happy your family enjoyed the trip as well. Are you going to other parts of Taiwan, too? I hear Kenting supposed to be very beautiful and relaxing. I hope to go there someday! <3<3<3

    • estelea
      April 3, 2017

      We totally fell in love! Too short though to spend time out of Taipei as it had been raining too for half of our stay, so we played it safe. In just a few days, we could not see as much as we obviously wanted to, but we ll be back again for sure.
      We want to visit the mountain and the parks as well, looks so relaxing. Coming from a very active and loud city (to european standards ) it was so very calming hence resourcing.
      When did you go there? Just reading those 2 words “vegetarian options”, my mouth is watering again ..

      • connie.n.w.
        April 3, 2017

        hahaha me too. very delicious food and affordable when I went. I went long ago, unfortunately. Would love to go back!

  5. lexklein
    April 2, 2017

    You are making me more and more eager to get to Taipei! I can’t believe how much your daughter has grown up in the time I’ve been reading your blog; she looks like a young lady instead of a toddler – and all while you look younger and younger each day – incredible! 🙂 What a great trip you all had.

    • estelea
      April 3, 2017

      Thanks so much for the compliment 😉 Yes indeed my daughter is growing so fast, she already selected the shoes I am not allowed to give away, as “soon enough they ll be my size”. In comparison my son is still the little chubby one .. The good point is that she is now a great shopping/yoga and museum partner.
      Yes yes, go to Taipei ! I am becoming their Ambassador since we came back. Especially because right beside our little appartment was a famous French bakery serving the best pains au chocolat we ve had in months and months. See how welcoming those people are 😉

  6. Green Global Trek
    April 2, 2017

    What a fun trip. We have stopped at the airport in Taiwan in transit, but have gone no further, so this was an interesting and fun read. Next time we will venture in to the city further if we have time as it sure looks great! Thanks for sharing. Super cool subway interior. Cute face masks!

    Are you in your way back to France?

    Peta

    • estelea
      April 3, 2017

      Good morning dear Peta 🙂 We have 10 more weekends in Asia before we head back home. I am beyond excited, especially now that I found my wedding dress in a little Taiwanese store (at least I know it no one will have one like that back home). Kids graduation/packing/another yoga teacher training and tatatata … Vive la France 🇫🇷 (at least for a few weeks).

  7. Ann GrubbsnCritters
    April 3, 2017

    Taipei looks like such an awesome country to visit. Did you actually try the stinky tofu??! You go, girl! I cannot stomach that one, let alone go near it.

    Oh man..look at the kids. How they have grown! Can’t wait to see you guys. x.

    • estelea
      April 3, 2017

      To be honest I really wanted to try it. But each time I came super nearby, the smell itself would kill my stomach 😛 Next time ..
      I know, M is probably my Mum’s size by now ! 10 weekends dear and we are back to France, lets set up a date before DA DAY ❤

  8. that traveling nurse
    April 10, 2017

    I love, love your pics here…specially the cute face masks, that curly chip your son was holding, that tea set up with the bonsai tree?, your precious daughter and her new bangs. I never expected that place could be that interesting. Forgive my ignorance (considering my roots) or I may just have forgotten but I just had to google difference between Taiwan and Taipei! Ooops! 😛 enjoy your last few weeks in Pinas!

    • estelea
      April 11, 2017

      (tell you a secret dearest, I didn’t know either). Come and visit us in Vietnam soon ❤

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