This travel post is written by Adeline from Growing with the Tans. She visited Taiwan in March this year with her petite traveller Noah (2 years), and found it to be a memorable and very family-friendly destination.
Read on to hear her experience...
Ever since our first trip together, C and I never bothered with package tours. He prefers to do his own research online, and plans all our trips himself, which makes me very happy, because all I have to do is pack my own luggage, and let him handle everything else. We try not to pack our itineraries with too many things, because the whole point of going on holiday is to relax, and C also aims to make each trip more unique, by incorporating experiences such as cooking lessons, rather than go sightseeing and shopping only.
After Noah came along, we decided that we will always bring Noah (and any other children we may have in the future) along with us on our trips, as we feel that there will come a time when he/they won’t want to travel with us (because they are too cool to be seen with their parents), so until that happens, we will travel as a family.
We first went to Taiwan for our babymoon, and because I was advised by my gynae to walk less, we kept our trip simple, and only visited Taipei. This time round, C’s friend told him that the drive along the east coast of Taiwan was really beautiful, and similar to the Great Ocean Road drive in Melbourne, and the Pacific Highway Coast in California. That piqued his interest, and he did some research, intending to do a self-drive trip. He chanced upon Juhu Villa on TripAdvisor, and was so impressed by all the excellent reviews that he decided to book a “package” with them, which included accommodation, sightseeing, and meals. The Lais assured us that they would customize our sightseeing according to our preferences, which also made us more comfortable with the idea of not doing a free and easy trip.
Our holiday began in Taipei, where we spent our first two days there at playgrounds and parks, because we weren’t keen on doing much sightseeing or shopping. Noah absolutely loved the huge playground at Daan Park, and thoroughly enjoyed running around in the large, beautiful park. You can read more about our first leg in this post.
On the morning of our third day in Taiwan, we travelled via train to Yuli, where Juhu Villa is located, and thus began the most interesting part of our Taiwan adventure.
Juhu Villa is located high up in the mountains, where we were truly able to get up close and personal with nature. We encountered plenty of different insects, listened to the frogs singing from their pond that was a few steps away from our doorstep, did some stargazing, and watched flying squirrels glide from tree to tree during our dinner. This was something that we could never do back in Singapore, and it made us very happy to be able to provide Noah with such a unique experience.
Honestly, we were surprised that Noah was so comfortable around creepy-crawlies, given that he hasn’t really had the opportunity to see so many different species of them before. When Mr Lai brought us trekking in the forest, he caught a lizard, with his bare hands too, if I may add, and offered to let us hold it by its tail. I rejected his kind offer as politely as I could, but Noah immediately said that he wanted to hold it, and held it as casually as he would a toy car. The scaredy-cat in me wanted to scream and run away as quickly as possible, but I refrained from showing my fear, as I didn’t want Noah to be negatively influenced by my reaction.
Over the course of the next few days, Mr Lai brought us to many gorgeous places, and Noah got to climb a lily flower (jin zhen hua) plantation, see a padi field, pick stones from the pebbled beach at San Xian Tai, examine sharks at the fish market, and fed animals at Chu Lu Mu Chang. Mr Lai ensured that the sightseeing was well-balanced between looking at the scenery, and having hands-on activities, which kept both the adults and children happy.
Back at Juhu Villa, we were treated to Mrs Lai’s excellent cooking skills, and given a wide variety of food for our daily breakfasts and dinners. Lunch was usually at a restaurant somewhere else, in between our sightseeing destinations.
Another highlight of our stay at Juhu Villa was the opportunity to try out one of the swings that Mr Lai built. He has a total of five swings scattered around his land, and often brings guests up to try them. We were awed by the amazing scenery, and terrified by the dizzying heights to which the swing could take us. How scary can a ride on a swing get, you ask?
For more details and photos of our second leg in Taiwan, do check out my blogpost here.
Many of my friends often say that they come back feeling more exhausted than before, after a holiday with their children, but I beg to differ. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to being Noah’s primary caregiver 24/7, so going on a holiday means that C shares the parenting duties with me, but perhaps it’s also because we keep our itineraries simple, and don’t try to cover too many things. We also take taxis if we have to, especially in places like Taipei, where taxis are rather affordable, and save our energy for running after Noah in parks, and sometimes, erm, shopping centres.
Traveling with Noah has been wonderful so far, and we explore places that we normally wouldn’t consider if we didn’t have a child with us, but that, to us, is the fun part about going on holidays as a family. The joy on his face when he experiences something for the first time is priceless, and we hope to continue bringing him on such adventures.
What an awesome family destination that offers a good mix of fun and adventure, and healthy food and relaxation! Thanks for this guest post, Adeline!
Do check out our other posts on Taiwan too for more recommendations and tips on this wonderful travel destination:
10 Must-Eat Foods In Taiwan