Taiwan with Kids: How to Plan a Round-Island Trip

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When I first moved to Taiwan, I never imagined I’d end up living in Taiwan for 10+ years, marrying a Taiwanese, and having two kids. Sage and Lavender were born and raised there before we moved to Canada in 2019, and we go back there regular for visits.

We never let having kids stop us from exploring our beloved Taipei (see my tips for visiting Taipei with kids here). And before both of them could walk, we were already taking them on trips around the island. When they were only 3 and 4, I took them on a solo full circuit of the island by train & scooter. We did this again, but hitting different spots, when they were 6 and 8.

I simply can’t recommend exploring Taiwan with kids enough. Below I’ll explain why I feel this way. Then I’ll give you my recommend two-week Taiwan itinerary with kids, with additional options if you have more time. With less time, you can pick and choose, but the route around Taiwan is the same.

I’ll also recommend the best kid-friendly hotels in Taiwan for each stop. Last but not least, I’ve got a similar but non-kid-focused guide to planning a 1 week, 2 week, or 3 week itinerary for Taiwan, which includes some places I skipped here.

For more trip ideas not covered in this article, see my articles on the best things to do in Taipei and things to do in Taiwan. You can also read my detailed guide to moving to Taiwan, which includes a section on moving to and living in Taiwan with children.

The gorgeous east coast of taiwan with my kids Sage and Lavender
Exploring the gorgeous and wild east coast of Taiwan

Useful Links for Visiting Taiwan with Kids

I first wrote this article several years ago. Please also see my newer articles: Our 20 favorite things to do in Taiwan with our kids. They are pre-teens now, so we’ve got lots of newer ideas in there!

Best Places to Visit in Taiwan with Kids

While I’m going to cover some of the best kid-friendly attractions in depth below in my itinerary for traveling around Taiwan with kids, you may want to jump right to some of my topic specific articles:

Why Taiwan is Awesome for Kids

My kids Sage and Lavender in front of our home in New Taipei, Taiwan
Sage and Lavender in front of our New Taipei City home, about to go on a trip

I’ve traveled to 55 countries around the world, and I’m convinced that Taiwan is one of the best countries in Asia for traveling or living with kids. I also consistently hear positive reports from other parents who visited or live in Taiwan with children. Traveling in Taiwan with a baby is even very doable. So what makes Taiwan so suitable for traveling with kids?

For starters, Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world. Second, Taiwan prides itself on being the land of convenience. There’s a 7-Eleven on every corner (2nd highest concentration in the world!), where you can heat up a milk bottle, take a rest in the AC, grab a treat for the kids, book a train ticket, etc. Taiwanese cuisine is generally quite kid-friendly, cheap, and there are restaurants or places to eat everywhere in Taipei and around the country.

Taiwan’s incredible transportation system is praised by everyone who uses it for its speed, cleanliness, comprehensive coverage, and politeness of passengers. For example, on the MRT (metro), people will ALWAYS let parents with young kids sit, and there are even dedicated dark blue seats for pregnant women and other needy. Buses, trains, and the HSR (high speed rail) can get you to just about anywhere in the city or country, quickly and comfortably.

Taiwan also has some awesome festivals, including some aimed specifically at kids. Learn about these and more in my Taiwan festivals and holidays guide.

But the one thing that will stand out the most during your trip to Taiwan with kids is the sheer kindness and hospitality of locals. Most visitors to Taiwan rave about it, and it’s something I’ve become used to after living here so long, but I’m still often taken aback at how locals are EVEN friendlier when you’ve got kids. Many Taiwanese are curious about foreign people in general and especially kids. Our kids are basically famous in our neighborhood, and people always go out of their way to help us or give them little treats when they see them.

Challenges or downsides

One thing you should be aware of is that this kindness and curiosity sometimes takes the form of little gifts, so we do receive a lot of cookies and candies from strangers. I don’t really mind, but some parents might. The most “Taiwanese” way to deal with this would be to accept these gifts and say thanks and then later do what you want with them, rather than rejecting the gifts and possibly causing offence.

Also, some locals may photograph your kids, with or without your consent. We catch people sneaking pictures of our kids all the time. I’m not too bothered by it, but I understand why many parents would be.

As with many countries in the world, you’ll want to especially take care of your kids with the traffic in Taiwan. Cars have the right of way in Taiwan (not pedestrians). Sometimes scooters appear out of nowhere, and drivers often just drive without looking both ways. And even in night markets, which are meant to be for pedestrians only, the occasional scooter might rip through, so do watch your kids!

Whether to bring a large stroller, small stroller (like an umbrella stroller), or no stroller at all for Taiwan is a common question. Personally, even though large strollers can hold lots of stuff, I find them less convenient in Taiwan. Sidewalks are often block (or non-existent) in Taiwan. Bigger strollers can be harder to push around. I like using a small stroller, which gets around things (or bumps/curbs) easier, and sometimes I can even pick up the whole thing to carry (with child inside) down a small set of stairs. And if you can, a soft, comfortable carrier is especially useful, but it can get hot/sweaty in summer.

Last but not least, summer in Taiwan is REALLY hot and humid, so it’s important to prepare accordingly. Even spring and fall can be quite hot.

Getting Around Taiwan with Kids

Taiwan High Speed Rail with kids
Riding the HSR (High Speed Rail) with kids.

Riding the Taipei MRT with Kids

Inside a Taipei MRT, which is super air conditioned in summer

Children under 115cm or under 6 travel free on the Taipei MRT. Children age to 6 and seniors can get a “Concessionaire EasyCard”, which only gives some very small discounts. Age 12+ needs to get a normal adult EasyCard. Only Taipei City students can get the student EasyCard. You can pre-rder your EasyCard on Klook for pickup when you arrive in Taiwan, but the Concessionaire card is only available at MRT stations or convenience stores in Taiwan. Here are some FAQs about using EasyCard in Taiwan.

Dark blue seats on all MRT cars are designated for the needy, including pregnant women or passengers with young children. But even if they are occupied, people in the regular light blue seats will likely give up their seats for you if you are traveling with a baby or toddler.

Parents can consider getting a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, which includes unlimited rides on the MRT and buses in Taipei and New Taipei City, five tourist shuttle buses to dozens of attractions outside of Taipei, and entrance to 16 major attractions. The card is valid for 1, 2, or 3 days. There’s also a Transport Fun Pass.

In this guide to the various Taipei Fun Passes, I explain how the passes work and whether they are worth the money. For kids, they aren’t worth the money, because kids get big discount at most attractions.

Every MRT station in Taipei has escalators and elevators from to platform. Usually only one station exit has an elevator, though. Leaving the station, you can just follow the signs. But entering a station, it’s sometimes hard to find the elevator entrance, as the various exits can be blocks apart. One trick is to look up the Wikipedia page for the MRT station. Every station has a page, and it always shows which exit has the elevator.

Riding the Train in Taiwan with Kids

Taiwan trains with kids
Riding the regular Taiwan train with kids. Bring lots of stuff to do!

When riding the TRA (regular train) to other cities in Taiwan with kids, children under 115cm or under 6 are also free but must share a seat with you. However, if you want a seat for your child, you need to buy a children’s ticket for him or her. Children 115-150cm or under 12 pay half price for a seat. Above 150cm and 12 years old pay full fare (above 150cm but still under 12, or vice versa, is still half price).

You can buy your TRA tickets online, then go to a convenience store or train station ticket window to have them printed.

Trains often sell out in Taiwan, especially on popular lines like Taipei to Hualien, and ESPECIALLY on weekends or holidays. Online reservations open 28 days before the date of travel, at exactly midnight. So if you want to travel on the 28th, book right after midnight on the 1st, that is, 12 AM – actually the night of the 31st. If I ever need to buy a ticket for a weekend or holiday, I try the minute they go on sale, since they sometimes sell out in minutes.

Note that even when a train sells out, you can still always buy standing tickets (except on Puyuma or Taroko express trains) and stand anywhere or sit on the floor between train cars. With kids, we’ve done this for very short trips (under an hour), but I wouldn’t suggest doing it for longer. On weekends, trains can be uncomfortably packed.     

Riding the High Speed Rail with Kids

How to get around Taiwan the fastest: by HSR
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail

The same age/price/seating rules apply for taking the HSR (High Speed Rail), which goes down the west coast of Taiwan only, from Taipei to Kaohsiung (Zuoying station). Buy your HSR tickets up to 28/29/30 days in advance (for weekday/Saturday/Sunday trips) to get the early bird discount of 10, 20, or 35% off (depends on availability).

You can also book HSR tickets on Klook, which usually gives 20% off. If you book on Klook, make sure to follow the instructions for reserving your seats after you receive the voucher by email. You’ll need to click the link to the voucher page, then click “manage” and key in your info. Don’t book on the HSR homepage.

You can also show up at an HSR station and buy a non-reserved ticket at full price, even minutes before the train’s departure. Then you can sit anywhere in the non-reserved section (cars 10-12). I explain all of these booking methods in detail in my Taiwan HSR booking guide.

The high speed rail is a much faster and smoother ride, but note that (besides Taipei Main Station) all stations are located quite a distance from the city center. They are NOT in the same location as the regular (TRA) train stations. In some cases this is fine, for example you can catch buses from Taichung HSR station to Sun Moon Lake, or from Chiayi HSR station to Alishan. But if you’re visiting or staying in the city, sometimes taking the slower regular train to the city center train station is more convenient.

Renting a Car (and Child Car Seats)

If you decide to rent a car for traveling around Taiwan with kids, then I recommend renting one here on Klook. This includes the option to add a car seat. Also make sure to read this info about driving a car in Taiwan.

You legally must use a proper baby or child car seat when driving in a private vehicle in Taiwan. This rule does not apply to taxis, which are considered a form of public transportation. Locals don’t use car seats when taking taxis with their kids in Taiwan, so if you want to use one, you’ll need to bring it from home or buy one there.

Driving in Taipei is not convenient. It’s much easier to ride the MRT. Leaving Taipei with a car can also be slow. What a lot of people do is ride the train from Taipei to Hualien (only 2 hours on the express train, vs. 4 hours driving). Then they start their car rental in Hualien. Going the other direction around Taiwan, you could do the same in Taichung.

Another common option is to ride trains around Taiwan, but just take taxis, private transfers, or hire drivers when needed.

For example, here’s a private driver for Taipei day trips, Yangmingshan National Park, Taroko Gorge, Yilan, or Cingjing Farm.

Last but not least, you can use Tripool for point-to-point trips across Taiwan or see my guide to finding private drivers or guides in Taiwan.

Traveling around East Asia with kids? Also see this article on the best things to do in Hong Kong with kids!

Arriving at Taoyuan International Airport with Kids

Baby playground at the Taoyuan airport, Taiwan
Emily with Lavender in one of the Taoyuan Airport’s many children’s play areas

The Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan City, where you will likely arrive in Taiwan, could definitely be regarded as one of the best family friendly airports in the world. If you depart from T2, don’t miss the Hello Kitty check in counter for Eva Airlines (even if you aren’t flying with Eva) at the back of the check-in hall. After checking in, the departure hall around Gate C3 also has a Hello Kitty-themed departure gate, LEGO store, and and Sanrio (Hello Kitty) toy store. Find other fun tips in my Taoyuan Airport guide.

Riding the Taipei Airport MRT with kids is a fast, cheap, and easy way to get to Taipei Main Station. There are also buses to the city and and as far away as Taichung city. There is no transportation from the airport to city between midnight and 6 AM.

There are always taxis available at the airport. They are safe and use the meter. You can also arrange a private transfer to your hotel, which is often a little cheaper than a taxi. You can also request a child seat if needed.

If you’d like to connect directly to the High Speed Rail for traveling south, ride the Airport MRT to Taoyuan High Speed Rail station, in the opposite direction from Taipei. There you can transfer onto the HSR.

If you have a very early or late flight, consider staying in one of my recommended hotels at Taoyuan Airport.

The Eva Airlines Hello Kitty check in counter at T2 of the Taoyuan Airport, Taiwan
Don’t miss the Hello Kitty check in counter at Terminal 2! (Sage pictured with G&G from Canada)

1 Week Taiwan Itinerary with Kids

Houtong, the Taiwan Cat Village, with kids
My kids loved cats! Shot at Houtong Cat Village

One week is a tough amount of time to visit Taiwan. It’s a little too long to stay in one spot (Taipei), but it’s too short to make a full circle around Taiwan.

I used to recommend that you just stay in Taipei for one week. However, in my experience checking hundreds of people’s family travel itineraries in my Taiwan Travel Planning group, I now know that MANY families rush around Taiwan and make so many stops in only one week, staying in each place only one night. So I will give you options below for a slow, medium, and fast one week itinerary with kids.

Relaxed 1 Week Itinerary

The most relaxing way would be to spend your whole week in Taipei. There are so many things to do in Taipei with kids and day trips from Taipei that you can easily fill your week with fun activities. And thanks to the convenient trains and HSR, you can even explore other cities like Taichung, Tainan, or Kaohsiung as day trips from Taipei.

To plan your time in Taipei, see my recommended hotels, where to eat, night markets, and my Taipei 2 day, 3 day, 4 day or 5 day itinerary for more information.

Medium pace itinerary

With one week, a lot of visiting families will spend 3-4 days in Taipei, then 2-3 days in one other place outside Taipei. A very popular choice is going to Hualien for visiting Taroko Gorge. Two nights in Hualien is best for doing this, because it usually takes one full day to explore Taroko Gorge. Even though Taroko Gorge is currently closed due to the April 2024 Earthquake, you can still visit these other places in Hualien.

Make sure to book your Hualien train early (up to 28 days in advance). And I recommend hiring a driver for Taroko Gorge. I’ll give more details about visiting Taroko Gorge with kids below.

Another popular choice is Yilan, a county on the north east coast of Taiwan. It only takes 60-90 minutes to reach Yilan, and there are so many kid-friendly things to do there. Here’s my guide to Yilan.

Yet another popular choice is Taichung and/or Sun Moon Lake. You need to pass through Taichung to get to Sun Moon Lake, and both places have some fun things for kids, so you can spend 1-2 nights in each one. I’ll cover these in more detail below too.

2 Week Taiwan Itinerary with Kids

With 2 weeks, it becomes more feasible to travel all the way around Taiwan with your kids. This is how I would map it out (based on traveling to all of these places multiple times with my kids).

I’ve actually made it a little longer than two weeks, so you can pick and choose spots according to how many days you’ve got. If you’ve got more than two weeks, then I’ve included some extra ideas for even more possible stops at the end.

Days 1-3: Taipei

Grand Hyatt, one of the best luxury hotels in Taipei
My daughter viewing Taipei 101 from Grand Hyatt, one of the most kid-friendly hotels in Taipei

After arriving and checking in on your first day, spend a few days exploring this fascinating, bustling metropolis with your kids. Use my Taipei with kids article and Taipei 2 day or 3 day itineraries to plan your trip. I’ve listed even more ideas in my guide to the best things to do in Taipei.

If you want to spend one of those days at the beach, check out my complete guide to the best beaches near Taipei. Also don’t miss my super detailed guides to the best night markets in Taipei, in which I point out the best ones for kids, and the top Taipei temples.

Visiting hot springs in Taiwan with kids
Kid-friendly hot spring spa in Jiaoxi

You should use one of these days to do a day trip from Taipei. Several of the most famous spots are included in this popular day tour from Taipei. With kids, it may be more convenient to hire a driver to take you to them. Leofoo Village, the most famous amusement park in Taiwan, can be done as a day trip from Taipei.

While Jiufen is extremely popular, it’s not the easiest to visit with kids. The old street is built on the side of a mountain, so you have to walk up a lot of stairs when visiting. It can also become extremely crowded, even on weekdays, and especially on weekends. If you have a driver, ask them to drop you at the top, then you can walk downhill through the village. Here’s my guide to Jiufen and how to get there on your own.

Another option for a day trip is to explore the many family friendly places to visit in Yilan County, including several kid-friendly hot springs at Jiaoxi. If you’re family is into hot springs, I have a section in this article on the best kid-friendly hot springs in Taiwan.

Family Friendly Hotels in Taipei

Grаnd Нуаtt Таіреі (ѕее оn Аgоdа / Вооkіng / ТrірАdvіѕоr) Тhе Нуаtt fеаturеѕ Таіреі 101 vіеwѕ, аn оutdооr рооl, kіdѕ рlау rооm, аnd а buffеt thаt оur kіdѕ lоvеd. See pics and read about our experience staying at Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Green World Zhonghua (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) This is one of the few hotels in Taipei that has some connecting rooms, which can be great for bigger families. It is conveniently located near Taipei Main Station and Ximending.

City Inn Hotel Branch III (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) is another choice conveniently located near Zhongshan and Taipei Main Station. They’ve got family rooms, with the option to add a cot.

See even more of my Taipei hotel recommendations here.

Days 4-5: Hualien and Taroko Gorge with Kids

Taroko Gorge with kids
My sister with Sage at the entrance to Taroko Gorge, Taiwan most impressive scenic attraction

2024 Update: Taroko Gorge is expected to remain closed for around one year following the devastating 2024 Hualien Earthquake. Here’s my newest guide to things to do in Hualien besides Taroko Gorge.

Taroko Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of Taiwan,” is arguably the country’s most dramatic natural attraction. It is an absolute must-see, and nobody leaves disappointed. See here for my guide to Taroko Gorge, other things to do in Hualien, and how to plan your Hualien itinerary.

Only regular (TRA) trains go to Hualien, not the HSR. But there are different types of train, with the fastest (express) ones taking only 2 hours, but reserving is a must. Slower ones take 3-4 hours. You can also take this flight from Taipei to Hualien, which departs from the Songshan airport right in Taipei City.

Before you buy your train tickets, you’ll need to decide whether you want to stay right inside Taroko Gorge, in Xincheng (the nearest town, but limited amenities), or Hualien City (30 min away, but more things to see and do). If you stay in Taroko or Xincheng, you can book your train to Xincheng station.

Is Taroko Gorge suitable for kids? Yes! We’ve taken ours twice now. All the major stops in Taroko Gorge only require a little walking, so even if you’ve got a baby in a carrier, it’s quite doable. Even some of the hikes, like Shakadang Trail and Baiyang Trail, are easy enough for kids.

The safest and easiest option with kids is to charter a private car for the day. That way you can pick the most suitable spots for kids, and stay at each for as long or as short as you’d like. You can also join a mini-bus tour, but then you’d have to follow their schedule. Taking the infrequent local bus severely limits how much you can see and do.  

If you are brave enough to take your kids by scooter like we did, you can rent scooters at Xincheng or Hualien train stations for around NT400/day, license required.

Riding a scooter in Taroko Gorge Taiwan with toddlers
Emily at the front with Lavender in a carrier, and Sage standing at the front of my scooter.
My daughter Lavender on Qixingtan beach, Hualien, Taiwan
Lavender on Qixingtan Pebble Beach near Taroko Gorge
Hiking in Taroko Gorge with kids
Emily with both kids on the Shakadang Trail, an easy but very scenic walk in Taroko Gorge

Family friendly hotels in Hualien

The best hotel for kids right in Taroko Gorge is Silks Place Resort (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor), a luxurious hotel with a swimming pool. Taroko Village Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is a more humble choice with cabins and aboriginal buffet on the site of a real aboriginal village.

In Xincheng, the town closest to Taroko Gorge, I recommend Taroko Liiko Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor).

In Hualien City, Happy Hualien B&B (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) has family rooms with slides inside, and children’s playing areas with ball pool and lots of toys. It is close to the train station.

Farglory Hualien Resort (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is the best resort in Hualien. It has a seaside location, famous aquarium nearby, and swimming pool. It is located just south of the city.

Day 6 to 7: Taitung with Kids

Rice paddies in Taitung with kids
Checking out the rice paddies (Lavender wanted to eat go eat rice noodles after this…)

For a taste of rural Taiwan, your next stop will be somewhere in Taitung County, the remotest corner of Taiwan and the country’s bread rice basket.

The gorgeous East Rift Valley, through which the train and Highway 9 passes, is covered with rice paddies and pineapple farms. The small towns of Chishang, Guanshan and Luye are all good choices for experiencing Taitung. Taitung city itself doesn’t have much to see or do, but you’ll have to pass through it if doing a loop around Taiwan.

We’ve been to all three, but with kids, I would choose Chishang as the best place to stay in Taitung with kids. Chishang is one of Taiwan’s most famous cycling destinations. Visitors flock there because an EVA airlines commercial starring a handsome actor was filmed there in the rice paddies. It’s good for kids because they hire out family-sized electric bicycles, which my kids loved riding around. The cycling route is called “Brown Boulevard”.

Find all the details in my guide to cycling with kids in Chishang. Also find more fun things to do in Taitung.

Two kids on an electric bicycle in Chishang Taitung
Electric bike riding with my kids in Chishang

Guanshan and Luye are two other options for spending the night. Both towns are also on the train line. Guanshan is also a cycling destination, but not as popular as it used to be and totally surpassed by Chisghang. If you prefer to get off the beaten track, it’s a good option. There’s a cycling route that does a full circle around the town, with rice paddy scenery, but not quite as stunning as Chishang. See my article on Guanshan for Travel in Taiwan magazine.  

If you’re traveling through Taitung by car, make sure to read my Hualien to Kenting road trip guide.  

A family bicycle on the Guanshan bicycle path, Taitung, Taiwan
Family bicycle on the Guanshan Town Circuit Bicycle Path
Getting to Luye Highland
Riding a scooter up the Luye Highland

Luye is a third option for spending the night in Taitung, but this mostly rural township is spread out and not walkable, so I would only choose here if you are willing to explore the area by scooter/car/bicycle, or just get picked up by your hotel and spend most of your time relaxing there.

If you happen to be visiting in summer, the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival, which takes place on the Luye Highland 20 minutes drive uphill from town, is an awesome activity for kids. See here for my full article on our recent trip to Luye and the Hot Air Balloon Festival. Luye is 1h50min to 3h from Hualien by train.

When traveling from any of these small towns in Taitung on to your next stop (Kaohsiung), there are some direct trains, but you’ll find even more if you buy a ticket from Chishang/Guanshan/Luye to Taitung city, and then a second ticket from Taitung on to Kaohsiung.

Taitung International Balloon Fiesta in Luye, Taiwan
Watching balloons taking off at the Taitung International Hot Air Balloon Festival
My kids watching the awesome display of hot air balloons, Luye highland, Taitung
Super close-up spots for the show

If you’re driving down the east coast, then you will have the option of driving down Highway 9, including the places I mentioned above. Or you will have the option of driving down the coastal Highway 11.

If you take the coastal Highway 11, Dulan is the best place to stay. Here’s my full article on Dulan beach town. You can also drive between the two highways, but be careful, because some roads between them are fast, and some are very slow. There are no trains running along the coast.

North of Dulan, Sanxiantai is one of the coolest spots along the coast. For more info, see my guide to road tripping down the East Coast of Taiwan.

Dulan Beach, Taiwan
My kids playing on Dulan Beach. We were some of the few people there…

Family Friendly Hotels in Taitung

In Chishang, we enjoyed Good Harvest B&B (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor). This very local-style guesthouse was close to the Brown Boulevard cycling path and had a view of the rice paddies. There were lots of cats there, which the kids loved. Papago International (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is a more upscale option with a swimming pool.

In Guanshan, there are several minsu (guesthouse) options in modern local houses, such as this one or this one.

In Luye, the Luminous Hot Spring Resort & Spa (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is the only larger hotel option and place with a pool in town. They offer pick-up, and you can sometimes see hot air balloons going by right from the rooms. They’ve got a pool and hot spring, but the hotel is getting a little old. See my Luye article for other B&B options and info for renting a scooter in town.

In Dulan, we stayed at the Song of Eagle B&B (see on Booking / Agoda),  but you would need your own transportation to get here. There are several other hostels and B&Bs in and around town; see my Dulan article for more hotels for kids in Taitung. 

Song of Eagle guesthouse, one of the best places to stay in Dulan, Taiwan
Lavender at Song of Eagle guesthouse

Day 8 and 9: Kaohsiung with Kids

A hand holding up a green ice cream come with gray ice cream and a dinosaur cookie on it
Dinosaur ice cream at Pier 2 in Kaohsiung

I think that Kaohsiung, Southern Taiwan’s largest city, justifies a spot on your Taiwan itinerary with kids. There are several kidf-friendly things to do in Taiwan’s second largest city.

One fun spot to explore is Pier 2 Art Center, which includes several docks that are filled with public art. While there, don’t miss the kids playcenter at Wooderful Life and the amazing model trains and mini train rides at Hamasan Railway Museum.

Our kids also enjoyed Kaohsiung Zoo on Shoushan (Shou Mountain) next to the city. Unlike Taipei’s zoo, it has a petting zoo, water fountains the kids can play in, and little cars they can drive. It is also possible (well, pretty much guaranteed, if you go to the right spots) to see wild macaques on Shoushan and connecting Chaishan. The guards at the zoo even shoot them with paintballs to prevent them from sneaking into the zoo, which surprised my son a lot!

Kids' cars at the Kaohsiung Zoo
My son at Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung

One of the best things to do in Kaohsiung with kids is visit Suzuka Circuit Park (formerly called “Taroko Park”). This is one of the newest and best theme parks in Taiwan, especially for younger kids. Besides the rides, there’s a kid-friendly department store on site. One of the upper floors has kids bowling, arcades, toy stores, playcenters, VR center, and more. In another building, there’s also bowling and a trampoline park.

For older kids, there’s also a full-sized go-kart track there modeled on a real race track in Japan, hence the name “Suzuka Circuit Park”. See my article for Travel in Taiwan magazine on Suzuka Circuit Park for all the details, including where to find the mini bowling alley. You can get there by riding the KMRT to Caoya Station.

There is another huge and very popular theme park in Kaohsiung called E-Da Theme Park. You can get a big discount by ordering your tickets online here.

For even more ideas, here are my 50 recommended things to do in Kaohsiung and guide to Kaohsiung’s night markets. I recommend Liuhe Night Market for visitors with kids – it is the least crowded and is traffic-free, so it’s safer to visit.

If you spend more time in Kaohsiung with kids, you could consider making a half-day trip to the incredible Foguangshan Monastery and Buddha Memorial, the largest Buddha statue in Taiwan and one of the country’s most famous landmarks.

Also don’t miss the beautiful Lotus Lake, which is near the HSR station (Zuoying) in Kaohsiung.

Children's bowling at Taroko Park in Kaohsiung
Bowling for kids at Taroko Park in Kaohsiung

Family Friendly Hotels in Kaohsiung

Harbour 10 Hotel (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) is a nice hotel in Kaohsiung with family rooms and beautiful river views. However, it’s about 15 minutes walk to the nearest MRT station.

Hotel Yam Lagom (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) is conveniently located near Pier 2, Yanchengpu MRT, and the ferry to Qijin Island. There are port/sea views from the higher floors.

Optional Side Trip 1: Xiaoliuqiu

Three people snorkelling above a giant sea turtle on Xiaoliuqiu
Me and my kids snorkeling with sea turtles on Xiaoliuqiu

If you can find the time in your itinerary, there are a few side trips that you may want to make from Kaohsiung. The first is the beautiful, tropical island Xiaoliuqiu. This island is most famous for its giant sea turtles, which you can go snorkeling with any month of the year.

It is possible to do Xiaoliuqiu as a day trip from Kaohsiung, but spending a night or two there is a decision you won’t regret. Renting a scooter when you arrive is ideal, but it’s possible to visit and snorkel without one.

Find out everything you need to know in my guide to Xiaoliuqiu.

Two kids sitting on a scooter parked on the coast of Xiaoliuqiu
My kids recommend riding a scooter around Xiaoliuqiu!

Optional Side Trip 2: Kenting National Park

A beach and palm trees in Kenting national park taiwan
Beautiful beaches in Kenting

Kenting has the best beaches on the mainland of Taiwan. For more info than I’ll provide here, read my Kenting guide and list of fun things to do in Kenting.

It’s a very popular place for people to spend the long weekend. You can go swimming/sun bathing, play water activities, or visit the famous Kenting Aquarium in Hengchun, the largest town in the area. You can even take care of penguins or spend the night inside the aquarium, but this experience needs to be booked well in advance.

There are three main beaches in Kenting where you can consider staying. South Bay (Nanwan) is a lovely beach with just a handful of hotels along the highway. The area around Kenting Night Market, also called Kenting village or Kenting Main Street, has the largest collection of hotels, restaurants, and food stalls in Kenting, so this is where most people stay. Swimming is not technically allowed at the beach here.

The third and furthest option is Sail Rock Beach (船帆石小沙灘), which also has a small collection of hotels.

Other activities in Kenting include watersports, go karting, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, and swimming with capybaras (find more capybara attractions in Taiwan here).

It takes 2-3 hours to get to Kenting by bus. Taxi drivers can get you there for a negotiated price, or you can hire a driver for the day. There’s also this Kenting day tour from Kaohsiung.

If you you want to be efficient with your travel time, you can Kenting on the way from Taitung to Kaohsiung by transiting at Fangliao train station, from where you can catch the Kenting-bound bus.

Family Friendly Hotels in Kenting

Read my guide to the best hotels and resorts in Kenting to decide what’s best for your family. Here are some of the top choices with kids:

There are many seaside B&Bs and resorts to choose from in Kenting. In South Bay, Nanwan Station (see on Booking / Agoda) has family-friendly rooms.

Around Kenting village, Caesar Park Kenting (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is one of the most popular family-friendly resorts, with swimming pool and all kinds of fun activities on offer. Howard Beach Resort (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is another large resort with themed rooms, spray park, pool, and private beach access.

Fullon Resort Kenting (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is the best family-friendly resort at Sailrock Beach, which waterslides suitable for both younger and older kids.

Day 10: Tainan City

A public artificial pond in Tainan called the Spring
Kids can play in water at The Spring in Tainan

Tainan city is the original capital of Taiwan. Thus, most things to see there are old temples and forts, which may not necessarily appeal to young kids. It’s also not the easiest city to get around, with no MRT. Some families even give Tainan a miss. But if you do decide to include Tainan in your itinerary, there are a few kid-friendly things to do there.

The Spring is a large shallow pool of water (see above photo) in the center of the city. It’s perfect for cooling off in summer and kids love playing in it. It only has water in summer though.

Other things to do in Tainan (but that aren’t necessarily kid-friendly) are touring Tainan’s amazing temples, going night market hopping in Tainan, Sicao Green Tunnel, snacking on Anping Old Street, and Anping Treehouse (the last one would be especially cool for kids). Anping is a district outside of the city center, though, so you need to budget about an hour to get there.

For all the info you need, see my guide to the best things to do in Tainan.

My kids really enjoyed Qigu Salt Mountain and Jingzijiao Salt Fields (pictured below). These two spots are quite off-the-beaten-track, so you’ll need more time to get to them.

Two kids standing beside the salt fields in Tainan Taiwan
Our kids loves playing on the 200-year-old salt fields in Tainan

Family-Friendly Hotels in Tainan

Hotel Cozzi (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is an excellent kid-friendly hotel in Tainan recommended by my readers.It has themed rooms, playing kitchen, ball pool, sand boxes, train tracks, and playing area on the roof, and it is centrally located.

Day 11: Fenqihu or Shizhuo

Now, it’s time to get off the super developed west coast and enjoy a more natural experience with your kids as you make your way for Alishan National Scenic Area, Taiwan’s most famous mountain resort, in the Central Mountain Range.

Instead of rushing to Alishan, I recommend spending one night in Fenqihu or Shizhuo on the way there. These small villages are less touristy than Alishan and have very beautiful scenery. This can also break up your trip to Alishan – the road is very winding, so kids often get carsick on the way to Alishan. These two villages are just over half way to Alishan from Chiayi. You can buy car sickness medicine at any pharmacy in Taiwan. Ask for 暈車藥 (yun che yao).

The transportation for getting from Kaohsiung to Chiayi, then Chiayi to Shizhuo or Fenqihu is a little complicated, with some different options. I don’t want to explain it all here, so you should check out my guide to getting to Alishan for all the info and bus/train times.

No matter how you go, you can get from Kaohsiung to Shizhuo or Fenqihu in a few hours. For all the details about these two places and for planning the Alishan part of your trip, please read my Alishan guide.

My kids at the Fenqihu Raiway Museum near Alishan
Alishan railway museum at Fenqihu

Fenqihu (also spelled Fenchihu) is a very small mountain village with a cure Old Street. There is a small train museum and some hiking trails around the village through bamboo forest, but not much else to do in town. If you spend the night, you can usually see some fireflies. You can get from Chiayi to Fenqihu by riding the Alishan Forest Railway (slower and only 1-2 per day, so needs to be reserved) or by bus (no reservation needed, can swipe EasyCard.

Shizhuo (also spelled Shizhao) is another small village near Fenqihu. There’s no train to here, but it has more buses from Chiayi because every bus from Chiayi to Alishan stops there. Shizhuo is most famous for its beautiful tea farms and sunsets. In March, you can also see cherry blossoms there. Some guesthouse owners in Shizhuo on tea farms are willing to pick you up from the bus stop in Shizhuo or the train station in Fenqihu.

Fenqihu Hotel bath
Miniature bathtub in our room at Fenqihu Hotel

Family-Friendly Hotels in Fenqihu and Shizhuo

Fenqihu Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is one of the only hotels in Fenqihu. It is right beside the train station and the only 7-11 in town. They have cute little wooden bathtubs (see me in one above!)

Cuiti Guesthouse (see on Booking / TripAdvisor) is a guesthouse on a tea farm that we stayed at. It is in a remote location, but the owner was willing to pick us up from the train station in Fenqihu.

See my Alishan article for even more hotel recommendations in Fenqihu and Shizhuo.

Visiting an Alishan tea farm with kids
Tea farm near our guesthouse in Shizhuo.
Hiking in Taiwan with kids
An easy hike from the tea farm where we stayed to another one

Day 12: Alishan with Kids

Riding the Alishan Forest Railway with kids
A real live choo-choo train!

Visiting Alishan (Mount Ali) with kids on our recent round-Taiwan father-son-daughter trip was probably our most challenging but also most rewarding stop. The bus ride up was rough, and visiting the area involves lots of walking, but the kids loved it and so did I.

I think the most exciting part of Alishan for the kids was riding the small sections of the Alishan Forest Railway (a real “choo choo train”) that are still operating within the Alishan National Scenic Area. The trains seem to appear out of the mist that often engulfs Alishan. Some cars are made entirely of wood and smell wonderful inside. 

Don’t worry if you didn’t take the train from Chiayi to Fenqihu. The three train lines inside the park are even more fun!

My son Sage on the Alishan Forest Railway
Sage looking out into the Alishan mist
My son riding the Alishan Forest Railway from Alishan to Zhaoping (Chaoping) Station. See here for the Alishan Forest Railway times (Alishan train times)
Sage on the train at Alishan Station
My daughte Lavender on the Alishan Forest Railway
Lavender too!
Wooden car on the Alishan Forest Railway, the best way to get around Alishan!
Visiting Alishan with kids on the wonderfully scented wooden Alishan train car

The main hiking trails through ancient, spooky forests in Alishan were easy enough for my kids (I had to carry Lavender sometimes), even with the light rain that we experienced some of the time.

We didn’t do the sunrise, something which most tourists do when they visit Alishan. I don’t think my kids would have cared enough to justify waking them up that area, and often the sunrises are not even visible at Alishan.

Make sure to bring warm clothes (even in summer), as it can get quite chilly at this elevation, and rain gear. They do sell kids’ jackets, other winter gear, and ponchos there if you forgot them like we did.

Make sure to read my Alishan guide for all the details about hiking in Alishan with your kids. I also suggest picking up a map of the local trails from the Alishan Visitor’s Center, as some people get a little lost on the trails there.

Getting some rain while hiking in Alishan, with Shouzhen temple behind.
We came unprepared, but bought these hoodies and rain jackets at Alishan.
Hiking in Alishan with kids
She looks like a trooper, but I carried her half the time…

Family Friendly Hotels in Alishan

Hotels in Alishan are mostly old, run down, and overpriced for what you get. Most of them are located on a curving road at the side of the tourist village.

Because Alishan is so popular, and the number of hotels there is limited, it is very common for all hotels in Alishan to sell out weeks or months in advance, especially during long weekends, Chinese New Year, and cherry blossom season (March to April). For this reason, I often tell people not to worry too much about which hotel, and just book anything while you can!

When we went, we just chose the cheapest one, Mei Li Ya (Maria Hotel) (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor). It was run down, but the clerk was really friendly, the beds had heated sheets, and the room had a huge dehumidifier, which dried all our wet clothes and shoes in no time.

If we went again, I would choose a hotel that offers free pick up from the bus station, such as Shermuh (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor), which was right next door to ours. (You’ll need to confirm whether they are still offering this). It was quite a walk from the bus station to our hotel carrying our luggage and dragging my two kids, in the rain of course.

The nicest hotel in the scenic area is Alishan Hotel (Alishan House) (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor). It is located away from the tourist village but closer to the walking trails. They also offer free pickup and the location is more scenic, but you also lose easy access to the 7-11 and other amenities in the tourist village. This is where tour groups usually stay, so it is often full. Even this hotel is a little old, though.

Here is a 2-day Alishan tour that includes a stay at Alishan House.

Day 13-14: Sun Moon Lake with Kids

Riding the Sun Moon Lake ropeway with kids
Riding the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

Sun Moon Lake is one of Taiwan’s three major scenic attractions, along with Taroko Gorge and Alishan. I took my kids there on a father-kids trip a few years ago. Lavender wasn’t even 1 yet and Sage was 3. It is a very special memory for us that we still talk about today – Lavender doesn’t remember, but the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway is one of Sage’s earliest memories.

Our kids on the shore of Sun Moon Lake, Nantou, Taiwan
When you finally get to the main attraction and one kid falls asleep…

Sun Moon Lake can feel quite touristy at times, and if you are coming from North America or Europe, you may find that the lake doesn’t really compare. Still, almost every visitor to Taiwan stops here, so I can’t not include it.

If you’re following this itinerary, the best way to get from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake is the minibus. There’s only 1 per day departing Alishan at 1 PM and arriving at SML at 4 PM. It’s a winding drive at the start.

Arriving at SML at 4 PM doesn’t give you much time there. That’s why I recommend spending 2 nights at Sun Moon Lake in this itinerary.

Playing on the docks at Itathao, Sun Moon Lake
My kids loved running around the docks at Itashao
On the docks at Itashao, Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan
On the docks at Itashao

There are two main villages at SML. Shuishe is where the buses arrive and depart, so it is most convenient. Itathao is my preferred one. It is an actual aboriginal village and has a great day and night market with lots of local food stalls. You can travel between the two villages by bus or by boat. Find all the details and info in my Sun Moon Lake guide.

The best things to do at Sun Moon Lake are riding the boat across the lake and riding the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. There are actually 2 connected cable cars. The first goes to the top of the mountain, with views of Sun Moon Lake. The second one goes from the top and down the back side of the mountain to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Museum. This is an aboriginal museum, with songs and dance performances, and an amusement park. But it is not one of the best amusement parks in Taiwan.

Also see my articles about deciding whether to get the Sun Moon Lake pass and the best Sun Moon Lake tours.

Riding the Sun Moon Lake cable car
The ropeway section between the top and Formosan Aboriginal Village
Formosan Aboriginal Culture Museum, Sun Moon Lake
Ride at the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Family Friendly Hotels at Sun Moon Lake

A great Sun Moon Lake hotel for kids
We loved this cabin right by Sun Moon Lake

Some of the best family-friendly hotels and resorts are around Shuishe Village, the main village at Sun Moon Lake. Fleur de Chine (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) near Shuishe is the most luxurious choice, with a pool, spa, and gorgeous views from the lake-facing rooms.

Right in Shuishe near the bus stop and pier, Blue Sky Bay B&B (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is the best B&B in town, while Sun Moon Lake Loft Inn (see on Booking / Agoda) is a cheaper hotel with family rooms – some even have cute children’s bunk beds.

In Ita Thao village, which we like more than Shuishe, we loved staying in these Wooden Cabins (see on Booking), which were just a 5-minute walk up a small forest road from Itashao Village and bus stop.

Right in Ita Thao village, we also considered Shuiyang Boatel Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor). It has incredible lake views and is in a quiet corner of Itashao. Shuian Lakeside Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is a similar but more popular one that has a prime spot right on the main market street and dock of Itashao.

Day 15-16: Taichung with Kids

Visiting the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung with kids
The National Museum of Science in Taichung, which has the best dinosaurs exhibit in Taiwan

After visiting Sun Moon Lake, you will need to travel to Taichung (90 minutes by bus) to get back to Taipei. If you don’t have time, you can take the Sun Moon Lake shuttle bus to the Taichung High Speed Rail for connecting directly to Taoyuan International Airport or to Taipei. Buy your discounted HSR tickets here.

If you have time, it’s worth spending 1 to 2 nights in Taichung, as the city has a few kid-friendly attractions. Here is my guide to Taichung and recommended Taichung itinerary.

The first great stop with kids in Taichung is the National Museum of Science. it has the best dinosaur exhibit in all of Taiwan. The dinosaurs are super lifelike and they actually move and growl!

Another cool attraction in Taichung is the Rainbow Village. Here, an elderly Chinese man has painted his entire home with bright, cartoonish colors to save it from destruction. However, the attraction was unfortunately vandalized in 2022 and closed for some time. It’s now reopen but smaller than before. You can still meet the man there – he turned 100 in 2023! Read about whether Rainbow Village is still worth visiting today.

Yet another is Gaomei Wetlands, where kids can walk out on a long boardwalk on the sea. There are tons of crabs and other sea creatures to spot along the way, plus the kids can play in the shallow water at the end. Our kids loved it! The easiest way to go is by half-day tour from the Taichung city center, and the best time to go is just before sunset.

If you have time, Lihpao Land, north of the Taichung city center, is one of the best and newest amusement parks and waterparks in Taiwan. It has the country’s tallest Ferris wheel and a beautiful Italian-themed outlet mall. You can get discount tickets here, go by day tour from Taichung, or spend the night there.

Taichung is also known for its night markets, especially Feng Chia Night Market.

Rainbow Village Taichung with kids
Rainbow Village is a bit out of the way, but worth the stop with kids if you’ve got the time!

Family-Friendly Hotels in Taichung

There are some pretty cool options for kid-friendly hotels in Taichung.

Your kids will love the slide into the lobby at RedDot Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor), my top recommended hotel in Taichung for families.

Day 17: Back to Taipei or Taoyuan Airport

Riding the HSR in Taiwan with a baby
Heading back home to Taipei

From Taichung, you can ride the HSR to Taoyuan Station and connect to the Airport MRT for getting to the airport. There are also regular shuttle buses from Taichung bus station (just north of the train station) to Taoyuan Airport.

Or you can take the HSR (1 hr), regular train (2 hrs), or bus (2 hrs) back to Taipei.

More Cool Places for Kids in Taiwan (if you have extra time)

If you have even more time, or perhaps you live in Taiwan with your kids, here are some more off-the-beaten track ideas for things to do in Taiwan with kids.

These all take a little extra time to get to, so they don’t fit easily into most travelers’ travel itinerary, but I include them for people who have extra time and need more ideas. And for some visiting families, these places are actually the focus of their trip, instead of the usual popular places like Taroko Gorge, Alishan, and Sun Moon Lake.

Cingjing Farm

Cingjing Farm, one of the best places to visit in Taiwan
High mountain farm at Cingjing

One alternative to Sun Moon lake (or you can do both!) is Cingjing Farm. This is a high-elevation, European-style farm in Nantou county. It has stunning mountain views, sunrises/sunsets, real farm animals, and some excellent guesthouses.

Just like Sun Moon Lake, the best way to get there is from Taichung. Buses takes 2.5 hours (via Puli, which has a few interesting possible stops). With kids, you might want to get there faster with this private transfer or shared transfer. The road going there is winding, but luckily it’s not as bad (or as far) as the road to Alishan.

See my guide to Cingjing farm, how to get there, and why I don’t think it’s the best leisure farm in Taiwan.

Miaoli: Strawberries, Flying Cow Ranch, Hobbit Houses

Two kids picking strawberries in Dahu, Taiwan

Miaoli is a more off-the-beaten track county between Taichung and Taipei. It has lots of family-friendly places to visit and great minsu (guesthouses). However, public transportation isn’t as good there, so it takes more time to travel. Renting a car is best here.

Picking strawberries at one of the many strawberry farms in Dahu is a very popular activity in winter in Taiwan. There’s also Dahu Wineland Resort, a strawberry themed park with loads of strawberry-flavored foods (even sausages and noodles!) and strawberry beer and wine for mom and dad. Here’s my guide to visiting a strawberry farm in Dahu with kids.

After picking strawberries, you can spend the night at nearby Tai’an hot spring. With kids, we highly recommend this family-friendly hot spring hotel (pictured below).

Other popular family activities in Miaoli include glamping, Flying Cow Ranch, which is one of the most popular leisure farms in Taiwan (you can also spend the night there!), seeing cute animals and Hobbit Houses at Hobbit Valley, and more Hobbit houses and Harry Potter scenery at Grimms Fantasy Forest.

A more off-the-beaten-track place to visit in Miaoli is Nanzhuang Old Street and Lion’s Head Mountain, where I slept in a temple with my kids!

A yong girl sitting on a statue by a hot spring pool in Taian Taiwan
Lavender at Tai’an hot spring

Xitou Monster Village

Xitou Monster Village, Nantou
The Monster Village is a quirky site for kids if you’ve willing to make the journey

Xitou Monster Village is a traditional Japanese-style village up in the mountains of Nantou near Xitou and Shanlinxi Forest Recreation Areas. This quirky park has become a tourist hot spot for local families. It takes a while to get too, so it’s best to visit by car and possible to combine with a trip to Sun Moon Lake, but there are some local buses that go up there.

Expect lots of weird monsters, spooky snacks, and some kid-focused activities.

Taking a Mud Hot Spring Bath at Guanziling

Woman and girl in mud hot spring at Kings Garden Villa in Guanziling
My wife and daughter at Guanziling Mud Hot Spring

One of the most unique hot springs in Taiwan is Guanziling mud hot spring in Tainan county. You can soak in muddy hot spring water or even run thermal mud on your body. It us supposedly very good for your skin!

Plus, it’s also kid-friendly! Here’s my full guide to Guanziling hot spring.

Even though Guanziling is in Tainan, it’s actually closer to Chiayi city center than Tainan city center. So consider going as a day trip or overnight trip from Chiayi before of after visiting Alishan.

Penghu with Kids

A girl walking on white sand Pengpeng Beach in Penghu with a boat on the side and very clear water
The most beautiful beaches in Taiwan are in Penghu

Of the many small islands in Taiwan, Penghu is probably the best one for visiting with kids. Penghu is actually a chain of islands, with four big main islands connected by bridges. One reason it’s a top choice is because you can easily fly there from the Songshan airport in Taipei’s city center.

Some awesome things to do in with kids in Penghu are beach activties, island hopping boat tours, snorkeling, Penghu Aquarium, eating purple cactus ice cream, and the amazing Penghu Fireworks Festival. You only want to avoid visiting Penghu in winter, when it is extremely windy.

Find all the details and info in my guide to Penghu!

Well, that sums up my guide to traveling in Taiwan with kids. I hope you’ve found more than enough information and ideas here for planning your trip. If you have any questions, please comment below or join my free Taiwan Travel Planning group on Facebook!

42 thoughts on “Taiwan with Kids: How to Plan a Round-Island Trip”

  1. Great and very thorough post. Thanks for sharing. I really want to visit Taroko Gorge one day. My girls are a bit older than this but you’ve done quite a few things I haven’t heard of before and would love to see. I had no idea Taiwan had a hot air balloon festival.

    Reply
  2. I never would have thought of Taiwan for kids but between the Hello Kitty check in, the trains and all the sites it sounds amazing. I want to go to the hot air balloon festival!

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    • I don’t think I would have thought of it as a destination for kids either, except that mine were born here, so we try to make the best of it! 🙂

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  3. When I saw how young your children were, I wasn’t sure it could be easy to travel with them anywhere, but then you convinced me. Lots of surprises in your article, actually. I had no idea you could book train tickets at 7-11’s or that strangers would be so generous with your children. Thanks for all the tips and important details, too.

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  4. Wow Nick, this was one of the most informative well written blog posts on a destination i’ve ever read. Awesome. I also loved learning about the benefits of traveling this beautiful country with kids, and how friendly the locals are to you guys. Makes me smile!

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    • Well, that’s great to hear! My kids are my life, and they were born and raised in Taiwan, so this article is massively important to me because it basically represents my life!

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  5. First of all, your kids are adorable!! Second, it’s great to learn about a country that is so kind and helpful towards families! I think a lot of families don’t travel or hesitate to travel because they think it will be too difficult, but this post proves that it is doable. Especially when transit systems, hotels, and the people in general are so helpful.

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  6. Wow! What a thorough post! I love all the information that you share! And while I do not have children myself – you’ve convinced me to travel to Taiwan if/when I do! Haha 🙂 I absolutely love that the people are friendlier when you’ve got kids, that is just awesome. And I can’t decide whether I love the Hello Kitty check-in counter or the little wooden bath tub more! P.S Your kids are ADORABLE!!

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  7. What a wonderful and thorough post. I love that you experience everything (and have photos to prove it). I think what I am going to remember is the Taiwan is the land of convenience and the 7-11 even sells rail tickets.

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  8. I’ve heard only good things about Taiwan and reading this article confirms that. It’s so wonderful to see how easy it is to get around and the services available for parents. It’s easy to see why you love living there. It’s my goal to visit Taiwan soon and I’m looking forward to it!

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  9. I keep hearing Taiwan is amazing (both to visit and to live). I don’t have kids but this would still be an appealing itinerary for me — especially nice that the public transit is so easy to use. One question on the scooter/motorbikes — do you drive them in Taipei too, or did you rent them when you were out in the more rural areas like the Taroko Gorge? I’m not a super experienced motorbike drive and am fine in remote places, but don’t love urban traffic.

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  10. Let me begin by saying – your kids are adorable! I found your post interesting for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t know anyone who has been to Taiwan and I haven’t read a lot about it either so it was quite helpful for me as an introduction to a country I don’t have much knowledge about. Secondly, I hadn’t heard of cities beyond Taipei and I loved reading what kind of places there are to see and things to do! I don’t have kids but even as an adult, I think Taiwan makes for a god off-beat travel plan. Thanks for this!

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  11. This was great reading and gave me loads of information I needed. We (my wife , myself and our two daughters) have planned a 2 week trip to Taiwan for July. We have roughly planned the places we would like to visit but are not sure yet of how to get there. Hiring a car is an option, probably an expensive one, but we prefer the convenience of public transport. However reading your story trains seem really busy, so is taking a coach a good alternative? what type of transport would be your recommendation. Do you know if there are any festivals during this period.
    Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Hi Faith, and thanks for your message! Could you tell me which places you plan to visit, as that will really affect the answer. As far as I know there aren’t any festivals at that time, but you should also be aware that the weather will be extremely hot and humid, which can be a challenge for traveling with kids, depending on what kind of weather you are used to. Even though it can be crowded, the public transportation in Taiwan is really great (and air conditioned), but again it depends entirely on where you are going.

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      • Hi Nick,
        Thanks for the quick reply. I appreciate the weather warning. Unfortunately July would be, at least for the moment, the only time we could travel as it is our school holidays then. However a year and a half ago
        (also in July) we took the girls with us to Singapore and Malaysia to visit family and they loved it.
        Anyway the flights are booked and we are really excited. We would like to spend a few days in and around Taipei and maybe visit places like Beitou, Wulai and Jiufen. Then travel to Hualien and visit Taroko Gorge then make our way to Kenting and possibly if enough time visit Taitung. Then travel to Tainan and Sun Moon and maybe Lukang.
        Not sure if we are trying to squeeze in too much, what do you think and if so what is best to leave out?

        Once again thank you for your advice

        Eddie

        Reply
        • Hey again,
          I would day for your time in Taipei, definitely you can do that very easily and comfortably by public transportation. The hassle alone of trying to find parking in those place could make it difficult. For your remaining plans, it does sound like a lot to squeeze into your trip, especially considering you will spend at least a few days of your two weeks in Taipei.
          For your round island trip, certainly having the car would make it easier. If I were you, I’d consider taking the train to Hualien then renting your car there. The train can be faster, and you can skip the hassel of trying to drive out of Taipei, and the coastal route from Suao to Hualien that some consider a dangerous road to drive along.

          You said “Taitung if we have enough time” but you would literally have to drive through Taitung to get to Kenting. If I were you, I’d spend a night or two in Taroko/Hualien, then drive down to Taitung and spend a night there. After that, I’d consider skipping Kenting altogether. I mean the beaches are decent, but not amazing compared to many other countries in Asia, and it’s quite a ways off the main route around the island. Tainan has lots of history and temples, but I wouldn’t really consider a must with kids. My kids wouldn’t be old enough to appreciate it. I think once you map out your route, you can use Google to figure out the number of driving hours for each day between cities. You don’t want to spend too much of your trip in a car. I remember the first (and only) time we drove down the east coast in a car (with my parents), we were surprised at how the distances seemed short, but the drive felt much longer, perhaps because the roads can be really winding and slow moving.

          Reply
          • You have given us plenty of good advice and stuff to consider over the coming weekend. Thank you so much for your time

          • Hello again Nick,

            Not long before our trip. the route is planned and accommodation booked (yes we are skipping Kenting). We are as you suggested taking a train from Taipei to Hualien. Just have to wait a few more days until the tickets become available. Anyway I was wondering would you recommend going by car around Taroko gorge or by scooter (or locomotive as I believe the locals call it) as it might be easier to park it when you want to go for a walk, or enjoy the scenery.
            Thanks again

          • Hey Eddie, glad to hear your plans have all been mapped out. As narrow as Taroko Gorge is, loads of buses squeeze through it, so you can easily visit all the main sights in a car, and there is usually room for parking. Riding a scooter (they say scooter here) I guess would just be a little more exhilarating, and it might be a little easier to make sudden stops at the side if you want to take a picture or something. Note that there are often landslides in Taroko, especially after heavy rain, so riding a scooter or cycling does come with a bit of risk, and some local tour operators no longer recommend doing either.

          • Hi Nick, sorry to bother you again. Hopefully for the last time.
            I am planning to get the unlimited fun pass for myself and my wife but as my daughters are 7 &9 I am not sure if this is worth it for them. If not, would I still need to queue up to purchase their tickets? As I have heard it can be quite a queue for the 101 or the National Palace Museum.
            thanks again
            Eddie

          • Hi Eddie, no worries!
            According to my understanding, yes, the unlimited fun pass is not really worth it for the kids, as they get free/discounted entrance at most places.
            Also, I don’t think the pass allows you to skip the lines at 101 or the museum. The line at 101 can indeed be long (I’ve waited 40 minutes once, but only 10 minutes another time). I think the only way to skip the line is with the Taipei 101 priority pass, which is quite a bit more expensive. I don’t think there’s any skip the lines pass for the national palace museum, but in my experience the lines there weren’t bad at all.
            Best of luck, and if you don’t mind, please use the Klook link from my site when you book anything. Any Klook link from my site will leave a 30 day cookie on your browser and give me a tiny commissions for anything you book on their website, no extra cost to you of course. Same thing with booking.com for hotels, but there’s no cookie, it only works for one session, even if you choose a different hotel than they one I link to. Thanks so much, and don’t hesitate if you have any other questions!

  12. Great article! we are thinking of visiting next month, one thing I didn’t see here: Beaches! My kids love beaches and tide pools and I was hoping to find a place for us to explore and find some interesting creatures.

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hey Brian! There are plenty of beaches in Taiwan, although not quite as many as you would expect for an island country. If you want to do a day trip from Taipei, Baishawan, Fulong, or Wai Ao are the best. On most of the east coast, you can’t swim because the currents are too strong, while the West coast is mostly industrialized. But I did mention Dulan in this post, on the southeast coast, which is a surf town but also swimming and beach of course. Kenting, the national park on the southern tip of of Taiwan, has several beaches, with more of a resort feel to it, so you could consider going down; it’s about 2 hours by bus from Kaohsiung, but it’s off the main train line around Taiwan. The best beaches in Taiwan are actually on the offshore islands, such as Penghu and Green Island, which you can reach by ferry (or by air to Penghu). You mentioned tide pools; Green Island in particular had lots of those, and probably the best snorkeling/scuba in Taiwan. I hope this helps! I didn’t focus so much on beaches in the article because Taiwan is not really famous for its beaches. They are mostly decent but can’t quite compare to those in Thailand, Philippines, etc.

      Reply
  13. Thanks for the thoughts. We are going to pass this time as we only have a few days.. but I’m certainly thinking of a longer trip!

    Reply
    • I can’t say 100% for sure, but in my experience, under 6 are free for pretty much all transportation in Taiwan. Generally the rule seems to be free if they are sitting on your lap. If you want a seat for your kid though (no matter the age), you usually have to pay half or full price for it.

      Reply
  14. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for all the info on your site. It’s helping me try to decide what to do in my short (one week!) trip I’ll be taking with my family in early June. I have a 3 and a 1 year old. Is Hualien really best experienced when the kids are older? It seems like it’s a lot of (beautiful) hiking which my 3 year old will last all of 1 mile.

    Additionally, if we do decide to go to Hualien, it seems that the quickest (least nauseating) approach would be the train, but I wanted to ask you what happens after that. As in, once we arrive in Hualien, how do you get around? Is there a bus? Do you take taxis, rent a car?

    Reply
    • Hi Jenny,
      I would say that yes, Taroko is still worth it even if you can’t walk that far. Just driving up the valley is quite beautiful, and the main stops like Swallow’s Grove and Eternal Shrine involve very little walking. Bus is the least convenient option. I would recommend joining a small tour or, if it can fit in your budget, hire a care with driver for the day. If you see my Taroko Gorge article (linked to in the Taroko section above), I’ve got links to my recommended tour companies and private car drivers.

      Reply
  15. Hi Nick
    What’s your view on travelling around Taiwan with a pram? My kids ages are 2.5 and 1 year and need naps during the day. In terms of spaciousness, would bringing a pram limit what types of public transport we can use, and what restaurants and attractions we can get into?
    Thanks in advance.
    Karen

    Reply
    • Hi Karen,
      At that age, I think bringing one is a great idea. Taiwan can be very hot, you might have to do a lot of walking, and kids can get tired quickly. They are also great because you can store some of your things on/in them. Taipei is quite stroller friendly, but you may have to wait in lines for the elevator. Outside of the Taipei city center, many streets and sidewalks are not great for them though, like big bumps, lack of sidewalks, or narrow spaces to push through, but overall, I think it’s still worth it for the benefit you get. Don’t bring one to a night market though lol. All long distance buses and trains have space that you can put things like that, so transport between cities is not a problem. I took my kids on a few small trips within Taiwan just me and the two of them around that age, and I used to have my pack on my back, the one year old in a carrier on my chest, and push the 2.5 year old in a smaller stroller that was easier to move around or lift if necessary. It’s definitely doable.

      Reply
  16. Hi Nick,
    Really love your article on Round Island Taiwan Trip with Kids! It has helped me greatly in planning for my upcoming Taiwan trip in November.

    Would like to seek your advice if my following itinerary is feasible. I’ll be travelling with 3 kids, and the youngest is 4 years old. We’ll have a driver with us throughout Day 1 and 2. I am wondering if i am squeezing in too much of a drive/walk in 2 days/1 night, considering I’ll be having young kids with me.

    Day 1: Depart Cingjing grassland for Alishan. Stay one night in Shizhuo
    Day 2:Drive up for a walk in Alishan forest. Driver will drop us off in Chiayi and we’ll take a HSR to Kaoshiung for a night’s stay.

    Reply
    • Hi Joy,
      I don’t think it’s too much. If you leave Qingjing early enough, you’ll still have time to enjoy Shizhuo. There isn’t really anything to do in Shizhuo, besides going for a walk around whichever place you are staying to see the tea fields. Find out if your hotel has dinner; the one I stayed at didn’t, and there were no restaurants nearby, so we brought food to cook. The only thing you could have trouble with is the long, winding drives. Qingjing to Shizhuo is 3 hours, and much of the road is very winding. If you kids get car sick, this could be tough. Shizhuo to Alishan is also super winding, but only 1 hour, and then Alishan back down to Chiayi again will be very winding, but will be faster than the drive going up. Besides that, your schedule seems fine!

      Reply
  17. Hi Nick,

    Your articles are invaluable. We are going with our nearly 4 year old in a few weeks. Did you get any unusual vaccinations for your children? I’m also slightly concerned about dengue fever. Did you use mosquito repellent with DEET in it on your kids.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Sara and thank you so much!
      My kids were born and raised, so they’ve got all the usual vaccinations that all people in Taiwan get, but I’m sorry that I don’t remember what all of them are, and we are in the middle of moving across the world to Canada, so I can’t easily check them! We’ve heard of cases of Dengue in Taiwan, but it’s quite rare, so we’ve never really thought much about it. Mosquitoes only seem to be bad at certain times in Taiwan, and other times there are none. We’ve never used deet spray, but used to use other ways to keep them out of our house. Sorry I don’t have any great advice for you on what to do in general, but hopefully someone else can!

      Reply
  18. Hi Nick and the kids,

    I just google whether Taiwan is a child friendly or not and I found you here. You have totally did a great job and inspired me to go there with my kids. Such an informative blog with the beautiful pics ever. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  19. Hi Nick,

    Beautiful kids you have there and thank you for your tips.

    Will be travelling with my family this year end to Taiwan with 2 kids.

    Just wondering, what’s the present legislation for children travelling on public transportation in Taiwan? Do local city buses and taxi take children without carseat requirement?

    Reply
    • Thank you! Buses and taxis are considered public transportation in Taiwan, which means kids don’t need car seats. If you ride in a private car (like rental or hired driver), then the kids do need them. As for Uber, it’s a gray area – I’m not sure whether it will be considered like a taxi (not needed) or private car (needed), but it’s unlikely that you would face any issue if you ride an Uber without one.

      Reply
  20. Wow. I’m planning a trip with my family to Taiwan soon, and your site is blowing my mind. Thank you so much for all this information — so much thought and time has gone into it. Now I’m thinking we should go for a year or two, ha!

    Reply

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