[quote=“seattle”]We’re in Taipei in 3 weeks. Today is my hit-the-wall day, my oh-what-am-I-doing day.
What do I do when I get there and my husband goes to work. I get to be a stay at home Mom, and I’ve NO idea where to start (other than the swimming pool at the hotel) when we get there. Can I just hop on the bus with the kids and get to Yangmingshan? Museums, THE memorial. Is it going to be totally overwhelming just to walk around the block when we get there?
How about this? Does anyone have any good adventure stories about their arrival in Taipei. I’ve lost every visual I had and have gone completely blank. I’ve a 2 year old boy and a 5 year old girl who just wants to dance- they are outside creatures. We really want to love it there![/quote]
Yes, you can just get on a bus and zip off to Yangmingshan (or anywhere) and then go for a walk. No problem. Buses are numbered and signed in English now. And there are many resource books (Lonely Planet and the locally produced Taipei Day Trips I and II) which take you by the hand and tell you what bus to take, where to get off, and what to do once you are there. Birding in Taipei is a good resource book also.
The weather is warming up and you will be able to take them to the beach in under an hour. Lots of day trips to take to places close to Taipei.
There are 100 km of bike paths along the river. Lots of places for kids to run around and play. A great walk is to get off the MRT at Hungshulin and then walk along the boardwalk to Danshui. You pass through a mangrove swamp. The kids will love looking at all the life sprouting up and zipping about.
Where I live in the southern part of the city near the zoo is excellent for kids. The zoo is good but there are lush forests with clear wide trails and a few clean small streams for them to splash about in. Also, in another month or two the fireflies will be out. Don’t let them miss that.
At every MRT station there are booklettes in English telling you about hiking and bikign trails you can get to from MRT stops. There are many, most just pleasant strolls of an hour or two. The maps are detailled and there are little posts along the trails so you can’t get lost.
There is a lovely trail called the Fairy Footprint which isn’t well known by the foreign community but is a wonderful little oasis in the city. It’s a five minute walk from an MRT station to the trailhead. Then it’s up a safe, clean tral to a lookout over the city. In spring butterflies and dragonflies abound. Perfect place to take kids up on a nice afternoon to run around and explore nature.
Look, Taipei is really, really easy to get around. All the streets and alleys are signed in English. So are the buses. The MRT is all in English, too. With any map you will be fine. And anywhere you want to go will be listed in a guide book telling you how to get there. The Taipei Day Trips books I mentioned above are especially great.
And if you get lost just show a taxi driver your hotel card and he will take you back. That’s what I used to do when I first arrived. I explored freely and then if I found myself lost took a taxi back home. Simple.
The city is very safe. There are almost no “bad” neighborhoods to accidentally wander into.