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