We’re Going to Taiwan!

passports

 

Today was the first sunny, non-freezing Saturday in a long time. And we had no scheduled activities. So you’d think we’d spend some quality family together time, doing something fun and outdoorsy, right?

Well, we had lots of family together time. Two and a-half hours worth… sitting in a stuffy government office watching scratchy VHS tapes of old Disney movies while babies cried and phlegmatic old people coughed all around us. Oh, and did I mention the piles of paperwork and the hundreds of dollars we had to fork over when they finally called our number? The kids wanted to leave after about ten minutes. And HapaPapa was even saying we should just come back next week. Like it would be any easier on another day!

Don’t worry, we aren’t in any kind of legal bind.

We are however… going to Taiwan!

Yes, we finally decided that with the kids now out of diapers and not yet old enough to drive off without us, now is the time to make this trip. They’ve never been to Taiwan before. I’ve only been there twice before, myself. My brother and I were much younger than my kids the first time our parents took us back to Taiwan. Which may explain why they didn’t take us back again until we were adults.

We have our work cut out for us, though. Sure, we applied for the kids’ passports. We need to research good prices on plane tickets, get updated on our shots, narrow down the places we want to visit. And brush up on our Mandarin Chinese skills, too. Or for my kids, learn some, period. Anything else I’m missing? I’m a little worried about bringing my picky eaters to “Sweet Potato Island”, where has been colonized by McDonald’s and Pizza Hut — but who wants to eat burgers and breadsticks when there’s hot soybean milk every morning and stinky tofu every night? We have a few things to work on.

 

Have you travelled to Taiwan or other parts of Asia with your kids? How did you prepare? What did you do? Any advice? 

 

 

Comments

  1. Susannah says

    Too bad about the passport office nightmare! It will all be worth it though, to be able to go to Taiwan! One way to get the kids excited might be to get a Taiwan guidebook and let each kid choose a place he wants to go when you’re there (in the area where you’ll be staying, of course). That way they’ll have something special that they chose, to look forward to.

  2. says

    Oh wow! So great! I went to Taiwan last year. My friend got married there. I made the crazy trip and only literally went for a day, but got to visit Taipei 101 and the National Palace Museum. My friend had an entire tour course planned out for her guests, which looked amazing! But I missed it all. Oh, but I did get to go to a night market and eat the food there, which was delicious! Hope you have a great time planning!

  3. says

    Definitely go to the National Palace Museum and Taipei 101. Have shaved ice! Don’t forget the night market and the high-speed train. We did a 5-day private tour around the island with Edison Tours (www.edison.com.tw), which has English-speaking guides, and went to Sun Moon Lake, KaoHsiung, Kenting, and Taroko Gorge. Beautiful!

  4. says

    Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover” was in Taipei last night … must watch! The kids will have plenty of authentic & yummy food to eat at the street markets!

    Our daughter’s school here in Minnesota has many teachers from Taiwan – and they’re all really nice – but little did I realize the whole island is like that. The outgoing and friendly nature of the people there + the fusion of cultures through colonization & commerce make it feel much more “American” (for lack of a better metaphor) than the PRC does. It’s a great place to take the kids to start their lifelong exposure to Greater China…

    • says

      I’ll have to find that episode. Although I hope Bourdain is kid-friendly ;) Taiwan is quite different in culture than China. Some people say the culture is more like what China was like before the revolution, but I think it’s just a different place altogether. Like you mentioned, Taiwan is influenced by many different cultures.

  5. says

    I’ve not been to Taiwan but we took Isaac to Singapore and Indonesia when he was about 14 months. It was challenging to say the least and if I had known, I probably would have waited until he was older, or gone with family members who could help.

    I concentrated so much on preparing for the journey that I wasn’t quite prepared for how Isaac was going to react to the heat and humidity and jet lag once we got there. That being said, we had a good time. Isaac mostly ate what we ate except for street food but I did pack/buy foods he was familiar with just in case. I made sure he had enough liquids to keep from getting dehydrated and tried to stay out in the sun and keep him active to help all of us get over jetlag quickly.

    With your kids being older, I’m sure it’ll be a lot easier. One thing about food, as much as I want Isaac to have a global palate I’m realizing that if he doesn’t want to eat something I think is tasty he’ll have the rest of his life to develop a taste for good food. So don’t be disappointed if your kids don’t take to soybean milk and stinky tofu!

    Stay flexible and have fun!

  6. says

    Exciting! I would love to do the National Palace Museum and drive into the mountains again sometime; I’ll be interested in hearing what you guys decide to do.

  7. says

    We’ve taken my daughter back 3 times. Once at 11 months, once at 23 months, and once at 4.5yo. It helps so much to travel with family when they’re tiny, but your kiddos should be fine. And real Taiwanese food is so irresistible, with any luck they’ll fall in love!

  8. says

    How exciting. I only went twice when I was a child too and last time I was 12. I’ve been wanting to take my kids to China, but weve been waiting until they were older. Recently I have been thinking about visiting Taiwan first since that’s where my parents are from. Let me know how it goes. Lately I’ve been stressing about the teaching them Mandarin thing and think they would really benefit from being exposed to the language more.

    • says

      I know about the stressing about teaching them Mandarin. We stopped after three years of tears and fighting, and I have to say our lives are much more peaceful since then. But I hope I’m not short changing them. Time for a crash course in language immersion. I think traveling overseas can really leave an impact on kids as well as adults. I’ll be posting more about this when the time comes…

  9. says

    I remember going to Taiwan as a young kid for the first time and being completely shocked by the heat, the bugs, and the “run down-ess” (we were visiting southern/mid Taiwan). But after a few days, and after our entire trip, I didn’t want to leave! I LOVED it! Your kids might need some time adjusting, but they’ll be fine. Just keep happy :). And oh, fresh soy milk, man tou, and you tiao. YUM. I’ll pass the stinky tofu to my hubs.No advice from me since we’ve yet to take the trip with our son.

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