Whether you're getting around by Metro or bus, there are seats on every kind of public transportation especially marked for children, handicapped, and the elderly. Unlike other cities where handicapped seats are only there as a mere suggestion, the citizens of Taipei follow a strict code of conduct for not occupying those seats unnecessarily. There are many occasions when riding the metro or bus with my babies where people would actually give up their seats for us. In fact, I have never had people not offer me a seat when I traveled with my kids or during pregnancy; even during peak hours. My most memorable moment of riding the Taipei city bus is when I was 8 months pregnant with my son and the bus driver announced through a microphone to a full bus load of people to "please give up your seats for the pregnant woman getting on". I was shocked to see that so many people abide to this order so gladly. Some even helped me to my seat. The bus driver also made sure that I was safely seated before driving off.
Children will never be bored in this city. Children's classes are ample and cheap (compared to western standards). Some interesting kiddy classes of note are African dance (website in Chinese only and class instruction is in Mandarin), baking class, Kindermusik, and Lego class. I have taken my kids to Kindermusik and African dance classes and would strongly recommend both. Kindermusik offer classes for children from 6 months to 6 years old. Classes are conducted in English and a trial class is free of charge. However, this class is recommended for expats and travelers aiming to stay in Taipei for at least for a couple of months. The length and duration of the dance classes can usually be worked out privately with the teacher. The eclectic choices of activities available to children in Taipei not only relieves their boredom but it is also a good way for kids to develop social skills.
I must admit, after having kids, it's been a while since my husband and I were able to sit down and enjoy a nice quiet breakfast while reading the Sunday paper. However, recently a western style brunch cafe in Taipei's Xinyi district came highly recommended to me for taking the children along. So we decided to give it a try. Upon entering Woolloomooloo cafe I saw an informal section resembling a play area with a box of Lego placed on a kiddy size chair. I immediately placed the kids in front of the Lego and went ahead to order our breakfast. It totally kept the kids occupied and my husband and I were able to have that tranquil breakfast we longed for.
|Breakfast at Woolloomooloo Cafe in Xinyi District|
Teppanyaki: It entertains both adult and children alike to watch the chefs work their magic.
Night Market: Don't have to worry about table manners and picky eaters. The choices are endless. Already pealed and cut up fruit is always a good back up plan. Entertainment and games resembling those of American county fairs are available in most night markets.
Buffet: The city is filled with Taiwanese style buffet. There is usually a range of 20-40 dishes to choose from. My favorite is a vegetarian buffet called Minder.
We've brought our kids along to some pretty upscale restaurants. Not a single one of these restaurants deny service to children. There has been discussion on the news recently of charging a 100NT cleaning fee for children regardless of whether they eat table food or not. But I have yet to see it implemented (As of June 2012).
The first thing I wanted to do when I felt fit enough after having a baby is...go out! I don't care where. As long as I'm out of the house. But as a nursing mom, I worried about how I was going to feed my baby while out and about. Luckily nursing rooms/family rooms are plentiful in Taipei. All of the bigger metro stations has one. Most tourist attractions like Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and National Palace Museum have a few. Even large book stores like Eslite has one. My favorite nursing rooms are the ones inside the shopping centers (Breeze center and Shinkong Mitsukoshi). These nursing rooms are equipped with private rooms for nursing/pumping, refrigerator for storing pumped milk, warm water for drinking, a sink with baby shower gel for washing messy doody business, magazines for reading while pumping, and bottle sterilizer. Some even has diapers on sale in vending machines and a nurse on hand to help with feeding and changing the baby. As a mom whose nursed 2 kids for one year each, I cannot ask for anything more to make this period easier.
Like most metropolitan cities in the world, you probably won't find many playgrounds in Taipei. But that's nothing to sulk over really. There is something comparable or maybe even better. There are plenty of indoor play spaces (Website in Chinese only) in the city. Playspace is like an extensive indoor playground where you pay a minimal fee (usually cheaper on weekdays) to get in for a certain amount of time. Warning: must wear socks to be admissible. But if you forget, socks can be purchased within the facility. Playspace is a better alternative to traditional outdoor playgrounds during rainy season and on stifling hot summer days. Kids also have less of a chance of getting hurt during play time because Playspace takes more extensive measures to ensure child safety than outdoor playgrounds. All equipments/facilities are either padded or is made out of Styrofoam. These indoor play areas also follow strict sanitary procedures that prevents the spread of bacteria and germs among kids. Its sanitary policy includes: no shoes on the play areas, socks must be kept on at all times while in the play area, taking the body temperature of all who enter the facility, and sanitizing hands with anti-bacterial cleanser before entering. It sounds like a big hassle but it really isn't. The Playspace staff are rather efficient when it comes to admitting kids into the play area. From storing your personal belongings to actually being admitted into the play area takes around 2 minutes (more or less depending on people traffic).
|Yu Kids Island|
Planning to visit or relocate to Taiwan: