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Taiwan, it’s a small island, but don’t let that fool you, it’s packed with unmissable things to do.
It has a long history, hot springs, stunning museums and monuments, gorgeous mountain villages, quirky cafes, and spectacular beaches.
Whether you’re looking to find the best bubble tea, sing until your heart’s content in a 24 hour karaoke room, or explore the hidden gems of Taiwan’s coast, this guide will introduce you to the best things to do in Taiwan with kids.
As you’re about to find out, it’s no wonder Taiwan is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in East Asia, especially for families looking for somewhere safe and packed with entertainment!
- Is Taiwan A Good Destination For Families?
- Things to Do in Taiwan with Kids
- 1. Eat Taiwanese Food at Quirky Restaurants
- 2. Make Your Own Bubble Tea
- 3. Enjoy Taiwanese Desserts
- 4. Visit Taipei 101
- 5. Eat Street Food at Night Markets and Shopping in Taiwan
- 6. Visit the Theme Parks and Other Thrills in Taiwan
- 7. Check Out Rainbow Village
- 8. Visit Dragon Eyes Community Farm, Kaohsiung
- 9. Make Pineapple Cake at Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry, Taipei
- 11. Go Tea Making at Maokong & Ride the Maokong Gondola
- 12. Visit the Hot Springs in Taiwan
- 13. Hit the Bike Trails in Taiwan
- 14. Hike The Mountains in Taiwan
- 15. Go Snorkelling and Diving
- 16. Check out Taipei Zoo
- 17. Take a Day Trip to Jiufen
- 18. Check Out the Yehliu Geopark
- 19. Visit the Museums in Taipei
- 20. Visit the Longshan Temple
- Getting Around Taiwan
- Best Time to Visit Taiwan
- Cool and Kid-Friendly Hotels in Taiwan
- Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Taiwan with Kids
Is Taiwan A Good Destination For Families?
These days, families are starting to explore and enjoy the island of Taiwan as much as backpackers and independent travellers have been doing for years.
But if you’re wondering whether Taiwan is an excellent destination for families with children, the answer is yes!
The country is known for its welcoming culture, friendly people, and family-friendly attractions.
Taiwan is also one of the safest countries in Asia, which can provide peace of mind for parents traveling with young children.
It also has several world-class theme parks, educational museums for kids, and an abundance of outdoor activities.
Overall, Taiwan is a family-friendly destination that offers a unique blend of culture, adventure, and entertainment for visitors of all ages.
Things to Do in Taiwan with Kids
So what joys are there in Taiwan for kids and what are the best things to do for the whole family in Taiwan?
Myself and two of my children, Dexter aged 16 and Iona, aged 10, visited Taiwan for over a week with a guide who showed us all sorts of kid-friendly activities that we might never have found on our own.
Here’s what the kids enjoyed the most, in the order they put them in for fun and interest.
Below that, I’ll add in a few things that are top of our list for our next family visit to Taiwan.
1. Eat Taiwanese Food at Quirky Restaurants
For a couple of kids who’ve been very fussy in the past, Dexter and Iona really took to Taiwanese cuisine with enthusiasm.
Our first meal was a hotpot into which we dipped all sorts of seafood, vegetables and mushrooms. Over the week, they ate braised bean curd, all manner of dumplings and even steamed buns with taro, pumpkin and sweet potato.
The Taiwanese themed café culture, however, were what won Iona’s heart. The Modern Toilet Café in Taipei is not to be missed.
With poo-shaped bread and ice cream and mains served in mini toilets, you’d be forgiven for wetting yourself with laughter. Drinks come in a rude assortment of bedpans too – cringe!
Other café favourites were:
- Rilakkuma Café in Tapei, Riliakkuma is a famous Japanese teddy bear character
- Kobitos’ Secret Garden in Taipei, another cute and quirky Japanese character
- Robot Station in Taichung, home of some seriously cute robots
- The Dog Café in Taipei, this café is actually called Lang Lang Bie Ku, meaning Lang Lang Don’t Cry and the dogs there are all rescue dogs looking for a home. This is a relaxed and heart warming café.
2. Make Your Own Bubble Tea
Now a worldwide phenomenon, the bubble tea craze all started in Taiwan. The kids and I really enjoyed learning how to make bubble tea in the very café in Taichung where it was invented, the Chunshuitang Tea House.
We mixed our tapioca pearls, hot tea and cane sugar syrup with plenty of ice and then shook our shakers like crazy.
Ms10 got a fright when she sucked up the tapioca pearls, I think I like bubble tea most out of the three of us.
3. Enjoy Taiwanese Desserts
The Taiwanese have a passion for delicious desserts. We bravely and fearlessly tried many on our visit to Taiwan. Lots have fruit bases and the kids probably loved those best.
The Harry Potter style architecture of a historic dessert house Miyahara in the city of Taichung was a favourite. Here you can purchase all sorts of desserts and also eat in the restaurant.
But we popped over to the ice cream shop, housed in an old bank and we did not hold back.
4. Visit Taipei 101
The iconic symbol of Taipei, and for a short time the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 is well worth a visit. The fastest elevator in the world was a thrill.
We also learned a lot about physics and mechanics because of the detailed explanation of the damper. This HUGE ball of steel is suspended at the top of the tower and helps to hold Tapei 101 steady in high winds.
I have to say the views from the observation deck at the top of its 89th floors were great too. It’s one of the top things to do in Taipei, so don’t skip it.
NB Definitely get there early in the morning like we did, there were no queues at all.
5. Eat Street Food at Night Markets and Shopping in Taiwan
Night markets are a great attraction for visitors and each city in Taiwan has one or two.
Iona is a dedicated shopper so she was thrilled to visit them, especially the Fengjia Night Market in Taichung which has many clothes and jewellery stalls.
Myself and Dexter loved the Liu-He Night Market in Kaohsiung best, for its exotic shellfish, fruit and seafood and its laidback atmosphere. See a video of this night market here.
The best known night market in Taipei is Shilin Night Market. The bbq stinky tofu is a must try!
Another popular one for street food is Raohe night market.
If you love clothes shopping don’t miss the area called around Wufenpu near Songsang Station. The teenage girls in our group spent literally hours there and bought all sorts of new clothes at bargain prices.
6. Visit the Theme Parks and Other Thrills in Taiwan
Each of Taiwan’s major cities has some cool theme parks and exciting entertainment for children and teenagers. Here’s our list with the most popular first:
Lotus Wake Park
Lotus Lake in Kaohsiung is most famous for its temples, but we bypassed them all and spend an afternoon learning to kneeboard and wakeboard instead.
Dexter had to try many times before he got up on his wake board and whizzed away. Iona also face planted often. What a great lesson in persistence. I liked it too and almost made it round the course a couple of times. This is also a great spot to cool off in this hot, tropical city.
Taroko Park Go Karts and Shopping Centre
The Taroko Park has the only Suzuka go-kart course outside Japan. You only race for eight minutes but even kitting up is a thrill.
Iona was appalled not to be allowed to drive herself, Dexter was thrilled to race alone.
The shopping centre also has heaps of sporting activities itself.
Lihpao Land and Mala Bay
The Lihpao Land and Mala Bay theme park and water park complex is close to Taichung.
The theme park has many rides, the Wild River Canyon was a hoot but the Gravity Max is unique: the rail tips up and goes vertical then the carriage free falls and then whizzes around.
Terrifying! Iona loved it, I was too scared to go on.
Leofoo Resort Guanshi
Close to Taipei, Leofoo Resort Guanshi is a large theme park with fun rides and a water park which is open in the summer.
There’s also a zoo here where you can meet lemurs face to face and see many other animals.
The zoo has areas which are in need of upgrade and expansion, but fortunately changes are happening.
In Taipei itself, Taipei Children’s Amusement Park has many rides and a ferris wheel is very popular with locals and visitors too. It’s definitely on the list for next time.
7. Check Out Rainbow Village
Chiang Kai-shek, and two million of his followers, were defeated by the communists in mainland China, in 1946 and they escaped to Taiwan.
With such a massive influx of people, small and simple military dependent housing was built very fast. Over recent years many have been pulled down for new development.
One redoubtable elderly gentleman, Huang Yong Fu, wanted to save his simple home and began painting it in bright murals.
He was successful and still lives in there today. His Rainbow Village has become a popular place to see and he greets visitors with great verve, his fiercely independent spirit still shines.
8. Visit Dragon Eyes Community Farm, Kaohsiung
A third generation pineapple farmer took us into his fields and explained how his crops grow and are harvested. We picked pineapples ourselves and then met other members of the community and enjoyed a pineapple themed lunch.
This was so interesting for the kids and very hands on. There was also a bit of political insight as the farmers explained how farm land is often compulsorily purchased and sold to developers.
9. Make Pineapple Cake at Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry, Taipei
We learned to make the famous Taiwanese pineapple cakes at this museum and we also learned the history of the cake shop, founded in 1867. The museum explained the important role of cakes and sweets in Taiwanese culture, both in the past and present.
Iona loved dressing up in Chinese bridal clothes though we reckoned the girls looked more like ninjas than anything else.
11. Go Tea Making at Maokong & Ride the Maokong Gondola
Visiting the hills around Taipei makes a terrific day trip. You take the gondola from right beside Taipei Zoo and swing high over the trees and far away to the tea plantations.
At the Tea Master Chang Nai-Mao Memorial Hall we met the grandson of Chang Nai-Mao who had brought 3000 tea plants from Fujian province in China in 1895.
We learned how the small plantations of very high-quality tea are still picked by hand in Maokong. The complex drying, fermenting and rolling process was explained and then we tried a type of tea called tiekuanyin.
A walk through the tea plantations and then a tea-themed lunch at the Dragon Inn was followed by the gentle gondola ride back to Taipei. Quite a magical, and certainly an educational, day out.
Riding the Maokong Gondola is an experience that should not be missed.
This 30-minute cable car ride takes you on a scenic journey through the mountains of Taipei, providing stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
The Maokong Gondola is known for its glass bottom cabins, which offer a unique and thrilling perspective of the lush greenery and steep cliffs below.
As you ascend to the top, you’ll pass over tea plantations and charming villages, with panoramic vistas of Taipei City and Taipei 101 visible in the distance.
12. Visit the Hot Springs in Taiwan
Taiwan is famous for its many natural hot springs. We visited Beitou Hot Springs a renowned hot spring area which is within the Taipei metropolitan area.
But at first, we couldn’t work it out at all… Beitou looked like any other suburb.
In fact, you need to walk about half a kilometre to find where the hot springs steam forth from the ground. And the water really is very hot and cannot be touched at all.
There are public hot spring baths but we didn’t use these as most hotels pipe hot spring water into each room.
So our room at the Hotel Royal had its own hot spring tub with the mineral rich water literally on tap.
There was also a pool on the top floor of the hotel, plus some single-sex nude hot spring tubs. Neither Iona nor Dexter was keen but I joined other ladies in the nude tubs joyfully.
My favourite part of Beitou was visiting the Hot Springs Museum, a very beautiful building made by the Japanese.
It’s such a beautiful piece of architecture and the information about the hot springs and the history of the area was very detailed and beautifully illustrated and explained.
I got to enjoy this museum in peace and at length as Dexter and Iona and the other kids had decided to explore the local 7-Elevens and other shops. So we all enjoyed the local culture in our own way.
13. Hit the Bike Trails in Taiwan
Biking is very popular with Taiwanese families and there are some excellent trains we’d love to explore.
We’ve heard good things about the Old Tsaoling Bike Trail which goes through tunnels and is also close to the lovely beach at Fulong, just an hour from Taipei.
The Houfeng Bike Trail near Taichung comes highly recommended too.
14. Hike The Mountains in Taiwan
My children would claim not to like hiking but they’d be fine once they got started.
There are lots of great hiking trails in Taiwan, especially in the national parks.
There are lots of things to do around Sun Moon Lake, as well as a gondola ride, a ropeway, boat rides, hiking and biking, and a peacock garden.
The hike along Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge is also a popular one to do with families.
If you don’t want to go far from Taipei, Elephant Mountain is a great easy hike with views of Taipei 101.
15. Go Snorkelling and Diving
We heard great things about the aquatic adventures off Green Island, off the east coast of Taiwan.
The island’s crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and vibrant coral reefs make it a must-visit destination for anyone who loves exploring below the ocean’s surface.
Some other great snorkeling and diving spots in Taiwan include Orchid Island and Kenting National Park.
These areas are home to a wide variety of marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and vibrant coral formations.
One of the biggest advantages of snorkeling and diving in Taiwan is the relatively low number of tourists, which means you’re more likely to have the dive sites all to yourself.
16. Check out Taipei Zoo
Of course, there’s the very well known Taipei Zoo. Taipei Zoo is one of the largest and most well-regarded zoos in Asia, with a wide variety of animals from all over the world.
The zoo is home to over 400 species of animals, including giant pandas, elephants, lions, tigers, and many more.
One of the most popular exhibits is the Giant Panda House, where visitors can see these adorable creatures up close.
In addition to the animal exhibits, Taipei Zoo also offers a range of interactive activities and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
You can take a guided tour, participate in feeding sessions, or even spend the night at the zoo in a specially-designed sleeping area.
17. Take a Day Trip to Jiufen
If you’re looking for a unique and picturesque destination in Taiwan, Jiufen is a must-visit. This charming mountain town is known for its stunning views, traditional architecture, and vibrant market.
Jiufen was originally a small mining town, but it has since been transformed into a popular tourist destination since it was said to have been the inspiration for the Japanese animated Studio Ghibli movie, Spirited Away.
You can wander through the narrow streets and alleyways, marveling at the old buildings and beautiful vistas.
Stop off at a tea house and admire the beautiful mountain vistas (if you’re lucky to visit on a clear day, it’s known to be misty in the mountain).
One of the most popular attractions in Jiufen is the market, which is famous for its delicious street food, handmade crafts, and lively atmosphere.
Make sure to try some of the local specialties, like taro balls, fish balls, and xiao long bao.
If you take a tour from Taipei, they usually also stop by Shifen which is known for its waterfall, and is also a great place to release lanterns during the Pingxi Lantern Festival.
18. Check Out the Yehliu Geopark
A somewhat hidden gem in Taiwan is theYehliu Geopark, which is home to a unique natural wonder.
This unique geological park is located on the northern coast of Taiwan and is known for its unusual rock formations and stunning coastal scenery.
The park is best known for its “Queen’s Head” rock formation, which resembles the profile of a woman’s face and is one of the most photographed attractions in Taiwan.
You can walk along the coastal trails and marvel at other interesting rock formations such as the “Mushroom Rock,” the “Sea Candles,” and the “Fairy Shoe.”
Apart from its famous rock formations, Yehliu Geopark also offers a range of other activities for visitors, including sea kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking.
The area is also home to several seafood restaurants and markets where you can try fresh local seafood.
19. Visit the Museums in Taipei
The kids might not appreciate the National Palace Museum with the best collection of imperial Chinese treasures in the world, but mom and dad might.
I’d love to spend hours there, so perhaps that would suit me on another trip.
20. Visit the Longshan Temple
If you’re interested in exploring Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage, a visit to the Longshan Temple is a must.
This historic temple is one of the most important religious sites in Taiwan, dating back to the 18th century.
The temple is dedicated to various Chinese deities, with intricate carvings and sculptures adorning its walls and ceilings.
You can witness the impressive architecture, traditional artwork, and ornate decorations that depict scenes from Chinese mythology.
Aside from admiring the stunning craftsmanship, visitors can also witness daily rituals such as lighting incense and making offerings.
Although not an exciting attraction for kids, it’s one of the most unmissable sites in Taiwan and should be on everyone’s itinerary, as well as the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall which is a quick photo stop.
Getting Around Taiwan
Taiwan has an efficient and affordable transportation system that makes it easy to get around the country.
Taiwan’s train system is fast, reliable, and affordable, making it a popular choice for both locals and tourists. You can usually get a train ticket before you board the train, so no need to prebook.
The high-speed rail connects major cities in Taiwan, while local trains and express trains run to smaller towns.
In Taipei and other big cities, there is a subway network, known as the MRT, and there are MRT stations near to most attractions in the city. It even connects to Taoyuan Airport.
Taiwan also has a well-developed bus network that’s great for traveling to smaller towns and more rural areas.
Buses are affordable and comfortable, with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi available on many routes.
Best Time to Visit Taiwan
The best time to visit Taiwan depends on your preferences and what you want to do during your trip.
Generally, the best time to visit Taiwan is during the fall (September-November) when the weather is comfortable, the skies are clear, and there are fewer crowds.
The temperatures range between 18°C to 28°C, making it perfect for outdoor activities.
Spring (March to May) is also a good time to visit Taiwan as the weather is mild and flowers are in bloom, making it an ideal time for sightseeing.
However, this is also the peak season for tourists, so expect more crowds and higher prices.
Summer months (June-August) can be hot and humid with occasional typhoons, making it less ideal for outdoor activities.
However, if you’re a beach lover, this is the perfect time to visit Taiwan’s beaches.
Winter (December-February) can be cold and wet, especially in the northern part of Taiwan.
But if you love hiking and outdoor hot springs, then winter can also be a great time to visit.
Cool and Kid-Friendly Hotels in Taiwan
Dexter and Iona both gasped with joy when they saw the huge slide in the foyer of the Red Dot Hotel on our first night in Taiwan. They then immediately belted up to the first floor to slide down it.
I’d actually thought that at 16 and 10 they might feel they were too old and cool for a slide, but no such thing.
This child-friendly feature at a boutique art house hotel was a great introduction to the design style of Taiwan for us adults too.
Other hotels we can recommend ourselves are:
Leofoo Resort Guanshi is on the outskirts of Taiwan. The hotel is part of a complex with a theme park, water park and a zoo. There are zoo animals living right alongside the hotel rooms. So, expect to see rhinos and giraffes and all sorts of other animals from your room.
Grand Hi Lai Hotel in Kaosiung has a terrific swimming pool which both my kids loved, it has wonderful views over the city and beyond. This five star hotel shares a block with a huge department store which was also popular.
Hotel Royal Beitou Hot Spring Resort is very close to the Beitou station and is a luxurious five-star hotel.
Each luxurious room has piped-in mineral-rich hot water so you relax in the hot tub in your own room.
There are also larger hot spring pools in the hotel, plus it’s close to the Thermal Valley, Hot Springs Museum and Public Baths.
Another place that was highly recommended to us in Beitou is called Villa 32, though it may be more adult-orientated.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Taiwan with Kids
There are heaps to see and do in this rather tiny jewel of an island, so many areas of natural beauty and a rich and complex history of colonisation by both the Japanese and Chinese.
This has led to a very individual and independent spirit in the Taiwanese, and a unique culture of their own.
Taiwan is also one of the safest countries in the world for tourists, so that’s another plus for family travellers, as is the deliciousness of the desserts and ice cream!
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Tours of Taiwan
For another trip, I’d look at two tour companies we heard about:
- My Taiwan Tour: can organise family tours and group tours
- Taiwan Adventures – can organise hiking and other adventures
My ideal would be to start with a three-four day tour with an expert guide and then to have one or two weeks to travel by ourselves.