Taiwan’s diverse culture, idyllic beaches and rugged scenery make it an increasingly popular option for an action-packed, family-friendly holiday in Asia. Parents from Japan and Hong Kong regularly take their children on the short hop over to this busy island, and the high-speed train running the length of the country makes it quick and easy to get around.
Though many families head straight for the sunny beaches on the east coast, or for some serious trekking in the stunning Taroko Gorge National Park, there is plenty to keep kids interested in the capital (Taipei).
Several theme parks and museums are easily accessible from the city centre, and even the sullenest teenager will be impressed with a trip to the top of Taipei 101. This striking structure stands over ½ a kilometre high and the view over the city from the observation deck is breathtaking.
Taiwan has many tempting night markets, each with a slightly different atmosphere, which make great shopping excursions for families with older children and teens. There are several in Taipei, including Raohe St where you can sample a dizzying array of street snacks, Huaxi St which is famous for selling snakes, and the Ximending district where you can get pretty much anything. The market stalls and surrounding buildings look truly spectacular – each street lit up in vivid neon colour, which will appeal to even the tiniest tots (just as long as they can stay awake!).
Wherever you go, you can’t escape the island’s love for kawaii culture, especially Hello Kitty. Apart from being able to buy her image on everything, there are several themed cafés, a Hello Kitty train that runs from Taipei to Taitung, and even a fleet of Hello Kitty planes! Both actual kids and the young at heart will enjoy the novelty of this hyper-cute national obsession.
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