Yilan Children's Folklore Festival - is it worth going to for tourist to Taiwan?

Hi, I was hoping that this might be the best place to ask this question.
I’m an Australian living in Tokyo with my Japanese husband and our 9 year old daughter. We got a great cheap airfare and hotel package, so we will be visiting Taiwan for 3 days from July 23 to July 26.

We are staying in Taipei fairly close to Ximending (have I got that right? I’m trying to go from the Japanese to the Chinese to the English:D)
The first 2 days (1 1/2 days actually) I thought we would stay in Taipei - sightseeing and going to night markets. I’m also thinking of going to Tansui (Dansui?) We have a half day city tour booked.

The last day I thought that maybe we could go somewhere for a day trip. I found information about the Childrens Folklore festival when I looked up summer festivals on the Taiwan tourist information website.

As the first 2 days are really for the adults, I thought it would be nice to do a kid friendly activity for the 3rd day. Especially if it involves water and an escape from the heat:D

I do have some questions and concerns - so if anyone has any idea about the festival or the Yilan area it would really help.

For a non- Chinese speaking child, would it be possible to enjoy activities? ( she is English/ Japanese bilingual )

We would be going during the week not the weekend, but how crowded is it likely to be?
(My daughter is not keen on places that are that crowded. We live in Tokyo though, so we are used to a certain level of crowding- There are some places and festivals here we will no longer go to though because it gets so crowded it’s just horrible)

How easy is it to get tickets or do things there? Should we get tickets in advance or just get then on the day?

I’ve checked information about how to get there. It seems that a high speed train and a taxi is the best option. Is that right? How easy is it to get there?

I am interested in also going to the traditional culture museum and then a night market. Would that be possible/ enjoyable in one day?

And - as a tourist to Taiwan, do you think this would be an interesting thing to do?

Also if you can give me any other suggestions for our trip that would be much appreciated:)

To be honest, I’ve never heard of this festival, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

If you haven’t seen it already, here’s an English site about the 宜蘭國際童玩藝術節 festival (http://www.yicfff.tw/2013/en/story.php). I looked through it and I think she’ll enjoy herself.

My experience has been that festivals on weekends can be horrendously crowded, so even if it seems somewhat crowded during the week, comparatively speaking it’s always much better to do these kinds of activities on a weekday. Also, the ticket price is cheaper during the week. I doubt tickets for this kind of event sell out so I think you should be fine getting tickets at the venue.

There are no high speed trains to Yilan. The above website has directions. Basically, take a train from Taipei, get off at Luodong station, then take a regular bus, tourist shuttle bus, or a taxi.

Enjoy your time in Taiwan!

It was a very popular festival years ago and had lots of foreign performers so language shouldn’t be an issue. However when the KMT gained control of Yilan they cancelled it and it’s only recently gotten back on its feet so no idea how it is now. I went years ago and it was fun but I spent 10 hours in traffic coming home (no exaggeration).

I think you will find it hard to get train tickets but there are also buses from Taipei Main Station and the new City Hall Bus station. I imagine from Ilan station there will be shuttle buses (that is usual in these kinds of events). To get to the Trad Art Centre catch the tourism shuttle buses:


Don’t go on a weekend.

Oh and drop the city tour. You don’t need it. The MRT goes everywhere now and the city tours are boring. Martyrs Shrine? Yawn.

Your daughter will surely love the miniatures museum near Songjiang Nanjing MRT.

Danshui is excellent. Get off at Hongshulin MRT and walk the last 40 minutes along the mangroves to spot crabs and birds.

If your daughter is active you guys can rent bikes at Xindian and ride along the river paths.

Taipei Story House usually has exhibits that appeal to kids (such as comics or candy).

Formosa Vintage Cafe has so many antiques and weird collectibles.

Red House in Ximending has a whole section of young designer studios. Most of the stuff is very cute and appealing to young girls.

Almost all kids love the gondola up to Maokong.

The Land Bank Museum has a great dinosaur display and also you can go right into the old bank vault which is very cool.

Huashan 1914 is a really cool part of the city. An old wine factory turned into a culture park, with lots of restaurants, and unique shops.

Thank you so much for the help and information:)

I knew I was asking the right people for advice and help.

Thank you for the website and the information about the festival.

Good to hear also from someone who has been - even if it was years ago. It really does sound a lot like What happens in Japan. If the return traffic is likely to be that bad, I suppose it would be better to travel home by train rather than by bus.

And thank you so much for the advice about Taipei:)
Yes i am not usually into city tours and usually just prefer to explore by myself, but my husband has already booked it and really feels it’s a good idea…

Thank you for that great list of places and things to do that would be interesting for us and our daughter. She’s not really that active, but loves cute things and science - so there’s definitely a few things for her.

Thank you for a

Thank you for the tourist shuttle site. It looks like it goes to the Water Park too.

I went to it around nine years ago but I was living in Yilan at the time. It was well worth going to. I went with a group of friends during the weekend then back on my own during the week. There were more people during the weekend(always is) but it wasn’t too crowded compared to other places I’ve been to in Taiwan.

I forgot about the difficulty of getting train tickets, but you may be able to get tickets on a weekday. You can order train tickets online 2 weeks in advance, but you have to pay for them within 24 hours of ordering, which I think (??) you can do by credit card if you’re not in Taiwan. Anyway, you can always take a bus as Muzha Man said. I second his suggestion for Huashan 1914 Creative Park if you like unique artsy stuff.

I have two children (7 and 9), and this is one of my favorite ever events. I have written about our experiences a few times on my blog (http://www.kidzone-tw.blogspot.tw/2013/06/july-6-aug-26-2013-yilan-international.html). The weekends are CRAZY, but the weekdays are OK. A lot of people, but you can take part in the activities. When we went a couple of years ago, most introductions were in Chinese and English, and we watched some wonderful international performances. You can take a boat on the DongShan River, walk over the swing bridge, go to the Performing Arts Center across the river… we spent over 12 hours at the event one day. Take swimwear, a change of clothes, and sun protection.

If you want to stay around Taipei, The Taipei Children’s Art Festival is also on during that time. There is a TON of stuff going on around the city. Many visiting artists doing workshops and activities. There are many free concerts and some cool exhibits, too. Official website: http://www.taipeicaf.org/Index.aspx

In Taipei, the National Palace Museum is not that exciting for my kids (even though they are big fans of museums). They do like the cafe, the new children’s area in the basement, and the adjacent park. (This is a link to the museums of North Taiwan we have been to over the years: http://www.kidzone-tw.blogspot.tw/search/label/Museums%20North%20Taiwan) Taipei has many large and small museums, so it’s a matter of taking your pick according to what you and your daughter like. My children’s favorites: Children’s art museum, Jilong Oceanic Museum, National Museum of History (I mean, 10nt entrance, and this summer lots of animated free films at 3:30pm Tuesday-Friday, 2pm and 3:30pm Sat/Sun July 17-Aug11), JuMing Museum (Jinshan), Museum of World Religions (Yunghe), and Bopiliao Historical Block. You can read my reviews, with kids in mind, if you scroll down the page I linked to in this paragraph.

What can you see at the Jilong Museum?

Oh wow! Thankyou for such incredibly helpful responses. I really appreciate the time and effort that you’ve gone to.

We will definitely go to the festival. It’s sounds like it is as good as I was hoping it would be. And it is good to know that there should be enough English that my daughter will be able to enjoy it just fine.
It sounds like there is actually a fair amount of English in Taiwan, compared to Japan - so it sounds like it will be pretty easy to get around and access stuff. And the non simplified characters makes things easier to read.

I’ve told my daughter that we will be doing it and she is thrilled - she’s been to water parks in Australia, now she will go to one in Taiwan!
It also sounds easy to visit the Performing Arts Centre there - so I think we might do that if time and interest allow… And go home via the Luodong night market.

Thanks for all the transport information. It’s all swirling around my head right now, but I’ve bookmarked the bus and train sites and will sort it out soon.

And thank you for all the information about Taipei. I wish we were staying longer so we could do everything.
The museums look good. My daughter would love the science museum - she’s already been to Tokyo’s 3 science museums numerous times.

Not to go too far off topic, but if you and your daughter are ever in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend visiting the Exploratorium. It’s a super-cool science museum without absolutely no “No Touching” signs in sight–in fact, you’re encouraged to touch and play with everything! Part of the complex is the Tactile Dome, which is a physical journey through total darkness where you navigate your way entirely by touch—sometimes walking, sometimes crawling or even sliding.

Anyway, have fun at the festival.

I went to the Loudong night market just before the recent Western new year. Maybe it was just the time of year but was incredibly crowded. The town itself is quite spacious. With a child, the sports park might be a worth a look if you can get there during the daytime.

We visited the Luodong Night Market recently. My kids HATED it. My husband (a food-loving local) was disappointed with the food. It was so crowded we couldn’t see each other. The kids were pushed constantly, much more than say the night market in Jilong or Raohe in Taipei City, and my daughter was in tears for most of the hour we were there. We ended up getting drinks at the convenience store at the entrance to the market and some onion pancakes (which, honestly, were nothing different from something you can get in Taipei), and leaving for home.

Mucha Man,
The Yang Ming Oceanic Museum is next to the Jilong Railway Station. There is actually an entrance directly from the station. It is an educational museum designed for children. You can learn about the history of Jilong, about caring for the ocean, and about the shipping industry. There is a simulator that you can use to steer a ship out of the harbor. You can also fill up a container with goods and "ship’ it out to the country of your choice. I wrote an article about it for Centered on Taipei last year. If you google “Centered on Taipei Yang Ming Museum” or similar, it should come up. Anyway, it’s worth visiting if you are going to Jilong to visit the night market, the Ghost Month Museum, or to see the Yellow Duck when it finally lands.

Often overlooked but well-worth a visit is the Discovery Center in Hsin-Yi District. It’s free. There are quite a few things that are “hands-on”, and enough to keep both kids and parents interested while they learn about the history and culture of Taipei City.

The Luodong night market is one of Taiwan’s biggest and most popular but it is extremely crowded, we also abandoned our foray into it with young children in tow.

Asiababy, HeadHoncho, Matchstick man and everyone -Thank you, thank you for the feedback about the Luodong night market!!
It sounds absolutely horrendous and I know my daughter would absolutely hate it. I will definitely give it a miss.
I have a good idea of that level of crowding from some festivals in Tokyo - it ends up being a horrible experience and is just not worth it.
I did read about a much smaller night market in the area - The Dongmen Night Market in Yilan City. Would that be worth a visit?

I’m also wondering about some night markets on our first day in Taipei.

We are arriving in the afternoon , so once we get to our hotel I was hoping to stay around the area. Our hotel is in the Wang Hua district - between XenMing station and Longshan Temple station.

We were going to explore the Xenminding area a bit -( which I understand is a bit like Harajuku or Shibuya) … Thanks for the information on the Red House - that looks great.

I also want to go to the Longshan Temple.
It would make sense for us to go to the night markets in that area.
My question is about the 4 night markets in the Longshan Temple area.
As I understand it - the 2 big ones are Huaxi Street night market and Guangzhou night market.
And Xichang street market and Wuzhou street market are smaller.

I’m really not interested in visiting Huaxi street night market with the snakes and all that, but I was wondering about the others. As I understand it, the area used to be pretty seedy and a red light area, but has since been cleaned up.
I’m not at all a prude myself, but travelling with a child I want to make sure it is okay for her. I saw pictures of sex toys for sale… but for me that would depend on how obvious they are to a child.
Would you take your kids to any of those markets?