Words by: Kathy Cheng
Photos by: Kathy Cheng, Moralis Tsai, Jessie Rock, April Chen, glowonconcept on iStock, Pitua Sutanto, Taiwan Scene, MyTaiwanTour, Anastaiia, Phan Anh Tran
Taipei is an absolutely fantastic city for kids of all ages. There’s plenty to keep them entertained, active and well-fed whether you’re here for three days, a week or the whole summer.
Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei, is an easy and approachable introduction to a mix of Asian cultures and food for your children. It’s the perfect place to inspire adventurous young eaters and spoil them with tasty snacks and gourmet meals. Surprise them with seasonal Taiwanese-grown fruits like guavas, mangoes, pineapples and wax apples. Or sit down and enjoy a spread of xiaolongbao at a dumpling restaurant. (Read also: Taipei Summer Hotspots: Beat the Heat This Summer with These Five Family-Friendly Outdoor Destinations)
If you’re looking to enjoy sightseeing and outdoor activities under the
sun, Taipei has plenty to offer in that regard, too. Children can stretch their legs on scenic hikes just outside the city center, or ride along the trails running through many kilometers of riverside parks. There are small playgrounds in every neighborhood where kids can socialize after school. You’ll also find restaurants and departments stores have strollers and high chairs on hand to make life easier for parents. Is Taipei the most kid-friendly city in Asia? I absolutely think so. (Read more: 10 things to do with your parents in Taipei)
About the Author
|Kathy Cheng is a writer and creative consultant based in Taipei. Her blog, Tricky Taipei, is an English-language platform covering design, culture, food and travel. After having her daughter in 2017, she started writing about parenthood and traveling with children. Her love of the city inspired her to write a children’s picture book introducing Taipei to the world. Hey Taipei was published in 2019. (You might also like: Interview with Hey Taipei Author Kathy Cheng)
WHY I CHOSE TAIPEI FOR MY FAMILY
I’ll admit that I had no idea about Taipei’s appeal for children until having a baby girl of my own. I was working in New York City before moving back in 2014. Now after two-plus years living in Taipei with my daughter, I’m constantly trying to convince my overseas friends to come for a family vacation with their kids.
I tell them it’s sort of like an undiscovered gem in Asia. While Tokyo can feel daunting and infinite, Taipei is welcoming and manageable. And where Hong Kong can seem like the densest place on Earth, Taipei offers open, green spaces and wide boulevards, each a welcome breather from city life.
① PREGNANCY & CONFINEMENT IN TAIPEI
I first noticed the benefits of being a parent in Taipei during my pregnancy. The majority of my tests and ultrasound scans were covered by Taiwan’s National Health Insurance. Maternal support is also very strong. The culture of zuo yuezi (坐月子, postpartum confinement) is practiced widely in Taiwan by mothers of all ages. Specialized confinement centers take care of the newborn’s feeding, bathing and sleep needs, allowing new mothers to focus on recuperating and healing after childbirth. Some mothers choose to stay for 10 days or two weeks, while others complete the full month of confinement. Nourishing meals are always included and spa treatments are not uncommon. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? (You might also like: 6 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Taiwan)
② CONVENIENT TRANSPORTATION
After settling into life at home with a newborn, I started to discover all the ways Taipei is designed to help young families. For instance, the city’s public transport system has been crucial to helping us get around. It’s clean and affordable, with lots of family-friendly amenities such as ramps and elevators for stroller access, breastfeeding rooms for nursing
mothers, plus family toilets with changing tables. We’ve never had a car in Taipei and I can honestly say that I haven’t missed having one yet. Passengers on the MRT and bus are friendly to pregnant women and parents with kids as well.
My next favorite thing about life in Taipei is how kid-friendly restaurants and cafes can be. Even though most restaurants don’t have a dedicated kid’s menu, they have high chairs, kids’ utensils and dining sets to make eating out with kids easier on the whole family. And as the cuisine in Taipei is so diverse, exploring new restaurants can be incredibly fun with kids.
Another bonus to life with kids in Taipei are the small parks you can find down almost every alley in Taipei. There are slides, swings, seesaws and sometimes even inline skating grounds. Just watch out for the mosquitoes in the summer months and pick up some sticky insect repellent patches for everyone. (Read more: Summer in Taipei: Calendar of Good Times)
HELPFUL TIPS FOR PARENTS IN TAIPEI
Navigating a new city is never easy. These are a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned these past few years which may help you, together with your kids, enjoy a wonderful stay in Taipei.
►BEFORE YOU GO
PREPARE MOSQUITO REPELLENT PATCHES
Due to the hot and humid weather in Taiwan, mosquitoes can be everywhere in the summer months. To keep kids safe in parks and playgrounds, stick mosquito repellent patches on their clothes. I go for the back so it’s out of sight and out of reach.
FOLLOW TAIPEI-BASED INSTAGRAMMERS
Deciding where to eat can be even harder when you have kids in tow. To help save time, I frequently rely on Instagram as a great resource for restaurant recommendations straight from Taipei residents. A few of my favorite foodie accounts to follow include @taipeieats, @hungryintaipei and @taipeieater. I also share my own Taipei recommendations on Instagram at @trickytaipei. (You might also like: Michelin Guide Showcases Taipei’s Thriving Culinary Scene: From Street Eats to Tasting Menus)
►DURING YOUR VISIT
DROP IN TO CONVENIENCE STORES
There are 24-hour convenience stores on just about every corner in Taipei. You can pick up necessities like toothbrushes and shampoo, as well as daily essentials such as milk and fruit for kids to have a quick teatime at any time of day or night. Parents can grab coffees on the go in the mornings or local beers for an after-dinner drink. (Read more: 5 useful things you can do at 7-Eleven in Taiwan)
RIDE THE TAIPEI SIGHTSEEING BUS
On those days when kids aren’t up for walking and parents don’t have the energy to carry them, the hop-on, hop-off Taipei Sightseeing Bus is a lifesaver. The double-decker bus stops at all the major attractions so you don’t need to worry about navigating the metro map. It’s a lifesaver on rainy days too.
KIDS UNDER 6 TRAVEL FREE
Children under six years of age or less than 115cm tall can ride for free on Taipei’s MRT and bus system alongside a ticketed passenger, which makes it easier for parents to take young kids out. This means only parents need to tap on and tap off at the turnstiles. Preload an EasyCard at a convenience store or MRT station and won’t worry about loose change.
ESCAPE TO AIR-CONDITIONED MALLS
When your family needs a bit of respite from the summer heat, simply do what locals do and hang out in a cool mall for an afternoon. For example, Syntrend (三創生活園區) on Civic Boulevard (市民大道) has eight floors of gadgets, toys and digital products for everyone in the family, as well as two floors of restaurants. You’ll find all the latest technologies from Asia’s top brands and hard-to-find collectibles.
(Click here to customize a family tour for you and kid, or click page 2 for more recommendation from Kathy)