Taipei Time!

Last November, we flew to Taipei for E’s 11th month and for our annual Cumbre trip with our favourite travel buddies, his Ninang Maits and Ninang Cams. The four of us have travelled many times to different places but this is our first trip with a new member in tow!

This was also our first family trip and since we’ll now be traveling with a baby we decided to go somewhere we haven’t been to that is near, safe and convenient with baby . So Taipei was our choice for the weekend. It was Elian’s first flight and we were wondering how he’ll take traveling. Good thing for us, he turned out to be a fairly easy and jolly baby traveller!

We had to plan what to bring to the trip very carefully and prepare well to make sure we are geared for our first adventure with our baby. Being yayaless throughout majority of Elian’s full year really equipped me and Ken with caring for Elian independently. We had a full long list of stuff we had to bring for him throughout our trip — for the airport, for the flight, what’s checked-in, what’s in the handcarry, what we’ll use everyday, do we bring just stroller or just carrier or both, etc. etc. Traveling with a baby is like going to a battle, you have to make sure you’re ready for anything lol!

Our flight was the early morning one out and we had to be in the airport before 6AM which means we had to get up and be ready by dawn! Elian has always been an early bird (wakes us up every morning at around 630am) but this was still too early for him. He always takes a bath before bedtime so to not disrupt his sleep, we literally just picked him up in bed when we left that morning. He didn’t wake up and slept through our drive to the airport. When he woke up we were already there. After check-in we changed him out of his pajamas and that’s it he’s ready!

He was just excited and curious the whole time and didn’t cry at all. Good thing the actual 2-hour flight coincided with his morning naptime so he just slept through it too.

Taipei airport was very clean and pretty. I love that there a ton of pretty orchids that welcome tourists upon arrival. Their immigrations just took forever! It’s pretty much worse than ours. It took us 2-hours for us to finish through the long long line of travellers. That’s when Elian got really fussy and bored. Good thing he had his Ninangs to entertain him throughout the wait and we got his favorite crackers to tide him over. By the time we got to our turn, he was already adamant on feeding and was already grabbing my shirt that I had to nurse him right then and there. Forever thankful for my discreet, nursing friendly tops!

One thing we loved during this trip was our baby-friendly budget hotel. Ark Hotel had toys, books, a play area and a snack bar (with free drinks) ready for guests. Plus, they had free laundry service too! This turned out to be very useful for us especially since E easily gets stuff dirty. They also lent us a baby bathtub for us to use for free during our entire stay. Our room a night was only around Php5k and comes with breakfast. E also loved the safari themed rooms. Ours had zebra print wallpapers and zebra pillows. Glad we discovered this hotel at the last minute since it really was a good deal!

Since E was with us, we decided to take it easy on the itinerary. We didn’t really plan anything and decided to just see how it goes as well as how the weather will be. November is a rainy time in Taipei and it rained during our first days so we had to stay indoors and mostly in malls. On our first day we went to Taipei 101, on the observatory deck and in the malls nearby. The next day, we tried exploring the old town of Tanshui but it also rained so we just ended up having hot pot and doing some indoor shopping. But we were able to go around in Ximending which we all enjoyed. We love the shopping, the vibe and the food stalls in Ximending!

On our third and last full day, the weather cleared up and we were able to explore outdoors. We went to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and I’m glad we did! I didn’t really expect to enjoy this place but I loved the architecture, the design and the gardens around it. Elian very much enjoyed playing with the pigeons, feeding the fishes and running and walking around. One thing that makes me happiest is being outdoors, enjoying scenic views and being one with nature. Taipei is said to have many beautiful gardens and parks but unfortunately because of the rain we only had a chance to go to one. If you only had a chance to go to one touristy spot in Taipei, this would be the perfect one. You get to learn about their culture and enjoy the sights outside as well.

If there’s one thing our group enjoys doing while traveling, it’s definitely eating lol! So our goal was actually to just discover and try the many yummy food finds around Taipei. And here’s my favourite ones (or the ones I was able to take photos of) lol! 🙂

  1. Addiction Aquatic Development – It’s Taipei’s version of our dampa, but more high-end and is found in Taipei Fish Market. It’s a big place that offers many options of dining. There’s a grocery where you can buy seafood and sushi etc and there are also other restaurants for hot pot or grill. We chose to dine-in the alfresco restaurant and had grilled seafood for lunch and it was uh-maaaazzing!! The beef is really really soft and yummy, the prawns, crabs and everything else even the rice are all very very good! I enjoyed it so much it’s definitely in one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to and became my favorite eating place in Taipei immediately! Not only do you get to enjoy superb food but the place is really pretty too! I really love it’s ambiance and styling! I can’t wait to eat here again when we go back to Taipei this Spring!
  2. Jiu Tao Stone Hot Pot in Tanshui – This was a surprise find in Tanshui. We went here to see the old town and sites but it rained. This was the first restaurant we saw so we went here for cover and it turned out to be a yummy and interesting way of having stone hot pot! We had the sets and it was plenty! We couldn’t finish everything. We super enjoyed this too and was perfect for the cold and rainy season. We also tried Elixir Hot Pot the next day in the city, it was pretty good too, but we all enjoyed this better. Ken particularly liked the unlimited sauces you can make! 🙂
  3. Kuko Waffles in Taipei 101 Mall – This was E’s first taste of waffles and he loved loved loved it so much! It’s a branch newly opened in Taipei 101 mall and we were intrigued with the interesting flavors so we tried it out and I was so hooked we came back for it on our last day just so we can eat more flavors lol! It’s soft and moist and just flavorful. I love the ones with filling! E just had the plain classic ones and it was also very good. Can’t wait to eat this again!

Here are my food shots and you can also see videos from Jiu Tao Stone Hot Pot in the video below! 🙂

Thank you Taipei, our visit last November was very short but sweet and we can’t wait to experience you again in a different season when it’s definitely colder and no rain! Looking forward for our family trip there this April! 🙂

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