Taiwan is a very underrated family holiday destination, says Kai Speth, General Manager of Grand Hyatt Taipei. He lives in the Taiwanese capital with his children Erik (11) and Ana (9) and has many, many, many family-friendly activities he likes to do in Taipei with kids. suitcases&strollers chats to Kai about his very extensive list of must-dos in Taipei with kids.
Why should parents plan a family holiday in Taipei with kids?
Taipei is very child-friendly and safe. Generally, all over the city, the sidewalks are big and easy to maneuver. The YouBike system (bike rental available at MRT train stations) is fun and convenient and the MRT is clean, easy and fast. Taxis are easily available and inexpensive.
The city also has great geographic appeal. The mountains rise up just outside the far neighbourhoods — indeed, with the far neighbourhoods — and the ocean and beaches are nearby. Lots of different and attractive places can be reached within one hour from the city centre and most people in Taiwan are super friendly, especially to foreigners.
Where is your favorite place to take kids in Taipei?
There are a lot of options and they are all very easy to find and accessible. My kids enjoys the Taipei Zoo, the many riverside parks, Baby Boss [a role play centre for kids], Maji Maji Square [a fun collection of food vendors and retail spaces], Yangming Mountain, Elephant Mountain [also known as Xiangshan], Yehliu Geopark [a park of magnificent rock formations], the ice rink at Living Mall, the observation deck at Taipei 101, the National Taiwan Science Education Center, the night markets and the hot springs and steam vents at Yangmingshan. The list of things to do for kids in Taipei is endless.
Where are your kids’ favourite places in Taipei to hang out?
We have a little Bichon Frise dog and the kids love to take her to the long and big riverside parks. There are also dog playgrounds and parks; my kids can’t get enough of them.
[For more travel tips on other outdoor activities to do with kids in Taipei, see the suitcases&strollers story Hiking in Taipei With Kids]
What is the best free activity to do with kids in Taipei?
There are too many to list. My kids really enjoyed the little train ride in Wulai which takes you to the waterfall.
They also love the laser tag place, the malls and, of course, going to the parks on nicer days.
Mount Datun [at Yangmingshan National Park] is also one of their favourite sites because it has spectacular views from 1,000 meters above the Taipei valley. One can drive all the way up there and a taxi will take you there as well.
[For more travel tips on free things to do with kids in most cities, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Where is the best place to take kids in Taipei when the weather is bad?
On rainy days they love going to the Living Mall because it has a cinema, ice rink and a lot of indoor playground options under one roof.
What are some of the city secrets that tourists might not know about but shouldn’t miss on a family holiday in Taipei?
You must see the surrounding areas in New Taipei City from Yangming Mountain to Yehliu to the scenic northern coasts as well as the mining towns in the Pingxi district.
What’s the best way for children to have an authentic Taipei experience?
Try some food at a night market or soak in the atmosphere at [the historical city of] Danshui, which has fabulous views and areas to explore — and great food too.
[To read more about having an authentic Taiwanese experience, check out the suitcases&strollers story about a family who could only speak English and went to Taiwan with kids relying solely on their 7-year-old’s Mandarin here.]
Which is the best place to stay if you are on family vacation in Taipei?
In the Xinyi district, the Grand Hyatt Taipei is located in the heart of the city. There are two MRT stations a few minutes’ walking distance. The hotel caters to children and has a heated outdoor pool which kids love.
When is the best time of year to visit Taipei with kids?
I would suggest visiting Taipei between September and November as there is less rain and less humidity.
Where is your favourite family-friendly restaurant in Taipei?
Although the options are endless, my top list includes Maji Maji Square as kids can run around and there are a number of restaurants to choose from.
What are your tips for kids' shops in Taipei?
There are lots of them in all the major malls with entire floors dedicated to children’s needs. There’s plenty of options for bargain hunters at the Shilin Night Market too.
What is the best way to move around Taipei with kids?
The MRT as it is the easiest, most convenient, most cost effective and safest form of travel. I do prefer to walk if my destination is within walking distance.