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I know I’ve been so incredibly slow with writing about my trip to Taiwan, but with an active 13mo, it’s very difficult to muster the willpower to write when all I want to do is sleep when bubs sleep! And yet, write I must, and write I should, because it helps me to remember where the awesome places are, fabulous food to eat, best way to travel around and where I should TOTALLY GO again!
Since a 10 days trip to Taiwan is a relatively long period, I’m gonna break the Taiwan post into bite-size articles. This is going to be an overview of the trip.
SEASON: Winter, November 26 – 6 December. That was the period we travelled to Taiwan and I highly recommend travelling to Taiwan during this period if you can withstand cold or love cold places. During our first week in Taiwan, the weather was actually pretty warm, and we were pretty disappointed we couldn’t put the winter wear we brought to good use. In fact, Ray was perspiring in his long-sleeved rompers and we had to switch him to Tees and shorts, because, yes, it was that warm and sunny! However, during the second week of our stay, the cold front hit, and we promptly bundled the little tyke up.
Pro tip of the day: Unlike Singapore, it is a MUST to check out the weather and temperature in advance, because the weather can change suddenly! During the first week on Sunday, it was still warm and sunny, and the next day on a Monday, it was cold and windy.
Sunny one moment….
Cold the next! I love dressing babies in winter clothing, they look oh-so-cute!
Don’t worry too much about bubs’ adaptability either! Babies are highly adaptable! Ray was enjoying the cool weather or so we imagine from his babyspeak. Normally in Singapore, he absolutely detests wearing long sleeves and long pants of any kind and would always pull at them, but amazingly, in Taiwan, he wore jackets and all properly, and even the hoodie with nary a complaint! I was worried that he wouldn’t wear his clothes properly but looks like I fretted unnecessarily! Heh.
FOOD: Taiwanese cuisine is very must suited for our Singapore taste buds. Cmon, it’s the land of bubble tea and night market food, what’s not to love??? However, I would just like to point out that if you are an Orh Luak lover (oyster omelette), the ones in Taiwan is extremely gooey, and has got NOTHING on Singapore’s orh luak! Despite knowing that, we ordered the omelette once (just to tell others without a shadow of a doubt that the omelettes suck) and were suitably disappointed. Bubble teas were good, and night market food was excellent!
Baby tip of the day: While the food is awesome for us adults, it may not be as awesome for little ones. Ray was 11mo when we headed to Taiwan, and food was a concern for me. To survive the plane flight, we brought baby puffs, and in Taiwan, we bought fruits for him to eat. I can’t tell you much about warming formula milk since he is on breastmilk, but breastfeeding is very easy and convenient since Taiwan has MANY nice nursing rooms everywhere! Love it when an entire nation is supportive of something as natural as breastfeeding. Also, for breastfeeding moms, you may want to learn how to nurse on the go in a baby carrier. Makes your job much easier as bubs can also be easily lulled to sleep while he fills his little tummy, without stopping your shopping plans! In Taipei, we also booked an entire apartment, where I bought some fish from a nearby supermarket, and boiled it. I brought lock n lock to put his food in, so that he can also eat something outside.
SLEEP AND ACCOMMODATION: Taiwan is full of minsus, and I do suppose it will be good to rent one of these during your stay! Heard that it is very warm and hospitable. During our stay though, we didn’t stay in a minsu, but hotels, a lofthouse, and an entire apartment rented off airbnb. Would definitely want to try a minsu the next time!
Baby tip of the day: For little babies, space is an issue. When I was single, I would save money on accommodation so as to maximise my cash for shopping. This meant tiny little hotels in Hong Kong/Japan etc, but with a baby in tow, sad to say, I think it would be good to rent a bigger space so that they can move around and develop their psycho-motor skills. This means that it would be a good idea not to be renting hotels all the time, but to sometimes rent a room/apartment off Airbnb for example, where the baby can also crawl/walk into the common space. This is especially so for older babies or younger toddlers, who have only just started walking or are still crawling, and are mostly in prams or baby carriers when touring during the day.
TRANSPORTATION: While public transport in Taiwan is easy to navigate and move around in, with a little family, I suggest hiring a driver to save time, especially when certain areas are rather far flung from one another. For example, we wanted to go to Taichung, and not just stay in the city area within Taipei, hence, it was worth it to get a driver. When I travel, I usually use public transport, but with a little active baby who’s into climbing and crawling and constantly moving, hiring a driver can make moving from one place to another faster and more bearable. It also lets them sleep better than with the countless distractions and noises encountered on public transport.
If you are afraid of the plane journey and daren’t even think of the road journey, maybe my previous article on surviving plane flights – http://jashuat.com/surviving-a-flight-with-a-baby-in-tow/ will help you remain sane and be brave! (hopefully hahah)
Look at the squirmy worm! If I can survive traveling with littleboss, I’m sure you can too!
CULTURE: The Taiwanese are friendly, and speak mandarin (don’t really hear hokkien as much as I imagined it to be) so for Singaporean Chinese, communication is not a problem. The breastfeeding culture is huge in taiwan, and the country is generally a kid-friendly place, with many people coming up to play with boss (if he is in the mood LOL). I would recommend Taiwan as a nearby country to visit for a young family, for it appeals to us GEN X adults, and has a great mix of city and nature to delight the kids.
Guess that’s it for now!
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Updated November 2015: A more in-depth writeup on Taichung, Part I!
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