We stayed one night in 基隆 Keelung and had wanted to explore Keelung attractions, and neighbouring Ruifang (Jiufen, Shifen etc).
But the RAIN never stopped…
By the way 基隆 Keelung has same pronunciation as “鸡笼 chicken coop”. affectionate nickname for the county 🙂
Earlier, we had took the HSR (High Speed rail) from Taichung to Taipei, before transiting from Songshan Station (not Song Shan domestic Airport) to Keelung.
We bought our tickets online from Klook, which was about 20% cheaper.
No need reservations unless you have smaller kids and must sit together. Trains arrivals are very frequent. We just need to QR code our vouchers to exchange for tickets at the HSR counter.
An Adult ticket is about 25 SGD. It is very affordable and took us only 55 minutes from Taichung to Taipei. It saved us precious time on travelling. Infact HSR would be faster than driving. (Checkout my Klook Japan services too)
On a side note, taking the trains in Taiwan was a good teaching moment for the kids, the trains are never late and folks keep the train clean.
Yes, although we tabao (package) the famous 铁路便当 (train bentos) onboard, everyone make an effort to keep train clean 🙂
And YES, Bentos are both economical and delicious!
Sights along the journey. As we travel further from Taipei, the cities get older and more laid back. We heard Keelung is one of the most underdeveloped county.
Even before we reached Keelung, it started to drizzle. Bummer.
基隆 Keelung is a port city, and commonly nicknamed as 雨港 Rain port “now we know why the rain never stops”. It is a popular day trip destination out of Taipei (45 minutes by train).
Keelung is underrated. Many visitors will actually bypass Keelung on the way to Jiufen or Shifen. But based on online reviews, those who visit Keelung always lament that they should spend one more day to explore the area.
I loved the old quaint infrastructure and feel around the neighbourhood. Things are slower here compared to main cities and you will noticed more old folks around.
Wherever you walk or commute, you are not far from the coastal view.
We only decided on Keelung at the last minute. The original plan was to stay one night at Ruifang. Our itinerary was to hop to neighbouring towns from Keelung or Ruifang, and I thought Ruifang would be too quiet at night.
Keelung has a famous and buzzing night market, so the choice was easy for us 🙂
Our accommodation was at Just Live Inn (享住旅店, GPS 25.129990, 121.746089). We chose this hotel due to its proximity to night market (6 minutes walk), and good reviews.
Funky decoration and friendly staffs, we were happy with our stay.
There is a small bathtub too. When we travel, we just need a bed to rest and we do not need any fancy amenities.
Shopping malls and eateries are just round the corner, although most malls would close by 9pm.
Previously, we mentioned that sports gears are cheaper in Taiwan (read our post). And we are confident that Taichung and Keelung’s sports outlets will garner you the best shopping experience.
Sales staffs (compared to Taipei’s outlets) are extremely friendly and accommodating. Thumbs up!
Some of the famous Keelung attractions are easily accessible via bus, duration between 1 to 2 hours are common.
-基隆崁仔頂 Fish Market Midnight tour would be No1 on my list, a pity I only found out after we left Keelung (check out this blog for more photos, GPS 25.129465, 121.741025)
–和平島 Peace Island (GPS 25.160152, 121.764064)
–象鼻岩 Elephant Rock (GPS 25.135420, 121.824452)
–忘憂谷 (Scenic sea views and valley, plenty of green fields at 八斗子 GPS 25.146005, 121.797613)
–野柳 Yehliu Geopark (GPS 25.206067, 121.690246)
–金山, behind Yang Ming Shan (Famous for rural settings, hot springs)
-You may read about my previous solo travel and hiking at scenic 鼻頭角too
* We will cover 九份 Jiufen 十分 Shifen in next post.
The rain never stopped during our Keelung exploration! And we ended up spending more time than planned relaxing in our room .
Just an excuse, we could always do with some body-maintenance (aka recuperation).
Rain of shine, we must still eat and explore. The signature yellow lanterns at Keelung Night Market.
Boon Yee looks cool right 🙂
Picture below, this is how the night market “基隆廟口夜市”got its name, “Temple Entrance”.
Because of the rain, the crowd was significantly smaller and umbrellas were everywhere. It meant we had more space and time to enjoy our dinner and night snacks 🙂
A different set of experience for our family, exploring Night Market in the rain.
Soup, bean curd, Shiok! Anything warm and soupy is always welcome.
Seaport must have a lot of seafood right.
Soft-shell crabs and prawns and squids please 🙂
Please try the “nutritious sandwich”. Not sure about the nutritional factor, but it was simply delicious. You might find similar stalls in other Taiwan night markets too.
A hot bowl of 滷肉飯 (again!) to warm our stomachs.
Massage anyone? I Googled and 大力水手 Popeye (GPS 25.128545, 121.742830) seems to be a famous one. In case you are interested, it is at one corner of night market.
Arcade attractions, we found the smallest train track in Taiwan!
Before we left, we grab some of the famous yam pastries from a traditional bakery, 連珍糕餅店 (link , GPS 25.128684, 121.741964).
Their yam cake is famous in Keelung and Taiwan. Another signature is their Sun cake, but we found the crust a bit too thick for us.
The Keelung sign illuminated in the evenings.
We have a Google Map of the areas around Keelung (Keelung attractions) and Ruifang. Keelung is “C”. It will give you a perspective of the relative distance between each attractions (Google Map Link here)
If you are visiting Keelung as a day trip, we would recommend that you leave your heavy luggage in Taipei train stations. Or you can consider Luggage storage at Keelung Train Station too.
Travel light in Keelung, our Instagram below, do swipe to view our Keelung experience.
Presenting our 10D9N Taiwan Itinerary for families.
(The itinerary and links to our photos and each day’s blog post are at the end of this page)
We love 台湾 Taiwan’s forest, mountain and waterways . Trails and hikes are simply refreshing for us, away from urban cities and just enjoying the great nature. We make an effort to spend more time to absorb the greens and fresh air in the mountains.
As it was near to Winter and with the high altitude, we were constantly blanketed with mist. So mystical and surreal, LOVE !
We last visited Taiwan as a family six years ago, read our precious itinerary here. Kids have all grown up and we can afford to add more sports and hiking into our itinerary.
[4 videos below]
YouTube link – 10D9N in 2 minutes, we Love Taiwan Day and Night, Dry or Wet
溪頭 Xitou’s mini hike was actually my second favourite activity, but I over-estimated our family’s fitness. Just amazing to see the bamboo forest :p
清境 Cing Jing farm, everyone knows about the sheep and fresh air, but did you know about the sheep poo :p (It was still a lot of Fun for our family)
奧萬大 Aowanda National Forest’s famous suspension bridge, only 180m long.
Our 10D9N trip took us from Nantou to Taichung to Ruifang and back to Taipei. We plan for only 4 or 5 sights per day so that we can fully enjoy and appreciate each hop.
We are still sorting out the photos. Tips, Venue and GPS will be added later. If you have any urgent requests, just drop us an email “andy@SengkangBabies.com”
Day 1 (Thu) – Dec 2017
Taiwan Itinerary for families start at 桃園 Taoyuan Airport. We hired a van to 清境 Cing Jing (Nantou).
1)Aowanda National Forest (奧萬大國家森林遊樂區) for hiking and maple leaves. The maples will not be as stunning as Osaka’s.
(Ticketed, recommend 2 to 3 hours, you need 1 hour to walk from entrance to bridge)
2)Do take note Carton King 紙箱王 and Swiss Garden 小瑞士花園 are closed till end December 2017.
3)Our Minsu 好家寨民宿, 8 min walk to 7-11 and Starbucks. One thing we quickly realised is we need a cab to get around. Would be challenging to drive when the fog sets in.
For meals, you can call the F&B outlet and they will provide complimentary transfers.
4)We visited 廬山 Lushan for a dip in their hot spring (aka Onsen, 泡湯, 溫泉). Feels shiok to indulge in hot spring in cool autumn or winter period (be it indoor or outdoor pools).
Temperature can drop to 7 degrees in the evening, we all love our snug and heated blankets.
We love the weather, the mist, the sheep and all the photo opportunities.
(ticketed, recommend 2 to 3 hours, including tea break)
Trailed 487 steps from horse ranch and walk back to 7-11. We did not try Sunset trail 4pm (Sun sets around 1705 during Winter time).
How come there are so few stars in the Winter evenings?
The cold weather gave us the perfect excuse to indulge in Hot Chocolate and cheese cake. Visited 星巴克 Starbucks every night 🙂
Day 3 (SAT) Xitou and Sun Moon Lake
9)Visited 妖怪村 Monster Village and 溪頭自然教育園區(Xitou), they are side by side. Nature lovers can spend up to half a day here. Famous icons are the bamboo forest and 天空走廊 “Sky corridor”. (Ticketed, recommend 2 to 3 hours)
Families might find Monster village fascinating, like a Japanese popup neighbourhood. Look deeper and you will find all stuffs quirky and even crass haha. (1 hour should be enough)
Love the mist which keeps floating in and out, so cool (literally).
10)We spent so much time at Xitou that we had to skip 車埕 and 貯木池.
11)Sun was setting and we had to forego cycling around 日月潭 Sun Moon Lake. If time permits, cycle towards “向山觀景台 天空步道” within 20 to 30 minutes. One round around the lake is about 25km, or 2 hours.
Rested at Sun Moon Lake 日月潭民宿 水社海 for the night (Homeaway link)
Day 4 (SUN) Taichung 台中
Finally, the SUN came out to play with us but temperature is still a cool 15 to 20 degrees YES!
12)苗栗大湖採草莓 Strawberry picking along Dahu (Miaoli). This is the first batch of strawberries so size is smaller and slightly more sour.
(Pay by grams, we recommend 30 to 60 mins)
13)勝隆客栈 (客家 Hakka restaurant) restaurant was recommended by our driver, Xiao Li. Love the old school feel and delicious home-cooked food.
Do visit the old Sheng Xin Station too, so nostalgic.
(1 to 2 hours, lunch and attractions)
14) 中社花海 Zhong She Flower Market (Take note this is different from 新社花海, which is free but open only in Nov/Dec). We found our Lavender field, pity too much photobombs.
(Ticketed, 30 to 60mins to pose with Piano and props :p )
The Mrs prefer Taichung to Taipei, I can understand why. It is slightly more laid back, and the small lanes are packed with good food and boutique shops.
18) 動漫彩繪巷 Painted animation lane was recommended by my boy, pity many painting had been demolished. (30 to 45min is enough, Manga fans can spend more time with selfie)
19) 彩虹眷村 Rainbow Village
SengkangBabies started with Mummy and Daddy. Rainbow Village has a lot of mushy couplets, perfect for love birds. (we recommend 30 to 60mins)
20) Taichung yummy Food tours 🙂
From Famous ice cream, 太陽餅 Sun cake, 鳳梨酥 pineapple cake to 日出蛋糕 (cheese cake) , you must visit 宮原眼科 Miyahara.
Besides the “eye treats”, the building interior is also Instagram worthy 🙂
(recommend 30 to 60mins)
21)大東屋日本活鰻店 (Japanese style eel was not suitable for kids, too much bones) and 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang, rumoured to be the world’s first Bubble Tea 🙂
(recommend chill 30 to 60mins each)
Boon Xin (no 4)’s favourite activity is actually hunting for Bubble tea at all the night markets haha. Kids all love to catch a toy or two at the Night Markets‘ arcades.
22)Optional tours in Taichung:
-新峰農場 Xin Feng to pluck Grapes – not in Season during our trip
-高美濕地 Gaomei Wetlands (check the tides and sunset timing first)
-九二一地震教育園區 Earthquake Museum (educational tour)
33) Visited 遼寧夜市 Liao Ning Night Market (8 min walk from our unit)
34) Legs Massage (爽 shiok)
Day 8 (THU) Taipei
35)永康街 Yong Kang for brunch and ice mango (many famous food here). Maybe you can visit 師大夜市 Shida Night Market (1km South), for dinner and snacks after Yong Kang.
(60 to 90 min to explore the corners, just follow the queues)
36)西門町 Xi Men Ding, sightseeing and 阿宗麵線 :p
(recommend 60 mins)
37) Split- Gals went 五分埔 Wu Fen Pu (recommend 60 mins) , boys hiked 象山 Elephant Mountain (recommend 60 mins, including 30mins for slow climb)
38) Gather at 饒河夜市 Rao He Night Market for snacks again 🙂
Acting cute, kids always role play Assassin Creed with their hoods :p
Day 9 (FRI) Taipei
39) Christmas toys shopping 東東玩具百貨
(10min walk from Taipei Main Station)
40) 北投區 Beitou hot spring dip our sore legs for free (recommend 20 mins)
Beitou Hell valley hot spring 地熱谷 (di4 ri4 gu3) (20 mins for surroundings)
滿客屋拉麵 Full House Ramen, enjoy some good broth in cool weather. Do sit outside.
41)士林夜市 Shilin Night Market. Kids thought all Night Markets are the same until they visit the Mother of all Night Markets.
A pity I ran out of time to discover the Coffin Bread stall, it is now located at basement near to prawn catching.
42) Back to Taipei 101 but minimum Christmas celebrations here.
“Frozen” special exhibit (ticketed) close at 10pm.
If you wish to soak in the Christmas festive atmosphere, take a train to 新北市板橋區 Banqiao Station (GPS 25.013666, 121.464886, Facebook link).
Day 10 (SAT) Taipei
43) walk around neighbourhood, no itinerary. Just anyhow explore.
Rest, eat, relax, eat and recuperate. This is our type of Holiday 🙂
Boon Yee (No3) is easy to feed. Just buy him 滷肉飯 (Lu3 Rou4 Fan4) and 鸡蛋糕 (Ji1 Dan4 Gao1) :p
Boon Wee (no 1)’s favourite activity is exploring Night Markets, because of abundance of cheap and delicious food choices! Our 50th bowl of Lu Rou Fan.
Our kids actually prefer local “mixed rice” compared to fancy restaurant or cafes! So easy maintenance right.
We did notice there are many accessories for pet dogs. Why do Taiwanese like to parade their pet dogs?
* 44) Taiwan culture is best experience. Most folks are very hospitable and helpful. 人情味 is so strong in Taiwan, and I hope the kids remember the friendly guides, host, drivers and many other vendor, hawkers we met in Taiwan.
Taiwanese know we are from Singapore or Malaysia from our accent haha.
As the Sun set somewhere in Taiwan, we got 10D9N of memories to bring home. 台灣赞!
Additional tips :
a)Be it high in the mountain, deep in the forest or exploring some back alleys in Taipei, ChangiWiFi from Changi Recommends did not disappoint. We could connect up to 6 devices simultaneously.
ChangiWiFi could last us 4 hours easily before a recharge.
Being Online means we can utilise Google Map, Google Images, Email, Social Media and if parents allowed, online games for the kids :p
b)YouBike is very popular in cities, but you need a Taiwan number for registration. When we were walking around in Taichung and Taipei, we love the dedicated bike lanes, there was minimum risk of being knocked over by a reckless eBike or eScooters.
By the way, bikes can only park at designated lots, thus no messy situation like Singapore’s bikes.
Easy connections via the Train routes 🙂
c)Lastly, we wish to recommend our guide and driver for 3 of the days, 小李 Xiao Li (from Tour Taiwan Hong Lee).
This page is the overview of our 10D9N Taiwan Itinerary for families. Too much Fun! , pardon the spam of photos.
Do pop by this page again as I will be updating the urls for new photos (on Facebook) and each day’s blog post. We hope our itinerary will be useful for your planning and reference.
Do visit our Google Sheet for our 10D9N itinerary (and Google Map tips)
Photo albums :
–Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
–Day 2 Cing Jing
–Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
–Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
–Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
–Day 6 Keelung 基隆 -Day 7 Ruifang, Jiufen and Shifen -Day x Taipei HomeAway and Neighbourhood
–Day 8 永康, Xi Men Ding, 象山, 饒河 Raohe
–Day 9 and 10 北投 Beitou, Toyshop, 士林 Shilin