Taiwan Day 7 & 8 – Taipei, Taoyuan
Day 7 – Beitou (Ketagalan Museum, Beitou Hot Springs Museum, Thermal Valley), Danshui (Old Street, Chocolate Wonderland), Ningxia Night Market, Wellcome Supermarket
We initially planned to visit Yangmingshan, but being too tired, we skipped it and went straight to Beitou instead.
Our first stop at Beitou area was the Ketagalan Museum (free entry) where visitors could check out exhibits from 16 aboriginal tribes in Taiwan.
Perhaps due to limited space, the permanent exhibits weren’t very comprehensive (and most explanations were in Mandarin), but what I liked was the special exhibition at the basement.
It featured photos of Aboriginal culture taken by a Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryuzo who took 4 trips to Taiwan to study and document the Aboriginal tribes from 1896 onwards, one year after the Japanese took over Taiwan in 1895.
Must-go: 3.5/5 only because of the special exhibition
Beitou Hot Springs Museum
The most impressive part about this museum is its story of how it was a public bath built by the Japanese, subsequently abandoned, rediscovered by a group of teachers and students from Beitou Elementary School and saved by a petition from being demolished.
The film screened could have given more information on the museum’s and Beitou’s industrial history, rather than a walkthrough of what to expect inside the museum.
Danshui Old Street
Ignore the touristy goods, most are marked up anyway. Just enjoy the food.
My favourite is the soya beancurd and fried mushroom. The stall below uses an air fryer to fry the mushrooms.
World Chocolate Wonderland
From Danshui MRT, take bus R26 from exit 2 and alight at Fisherman’s Wharf. Take the staircase to the second floor. You have to carry your prams up.
World Chocolate Wonderland is a place for those with young kids who haven’t reached puberty.
Tickets can be purchased for NT500 which includes admission and a DIY workshop.
You may enjoy taking pictures of your kids with a huge chocolate car, carriage and 3D floor sticker.
You also get 3 gold coins you can exchange for chocolate-covered marshmallows and other goodies inside the wonderland.
Take a triple photo with your family and scan the QR code using your phone to download the soft copy.
The highlight of this place is the DIY workshop where you can make your own chocolate lollipops, and a short talk and quiz by a staff who will distribute bookmarks to participants who give the correct answer.
There’s a store and café at the end of the wonderland, but we didn’t stay long.
Must-go: 3.5/5 only if you can be bothered to go all the way there with your kids and spend the money. Check out the nearby Tamsui Lover’s Bridge if you’ve time.
Ningxia Night Market
This is a small night market with 75% food, 15% roadside games and 10% shopping.
We tried the spicy cabbage soup with a smelly beancurd, because it stinks but you never know how bad it smells till you’ve eaten it.
It was like a food factor challenge for myself, to try food which I don’t like the smell and taste of. I managed to get through half the damn beancurd before I gave up.
Must-go: 2.5/5 it’s just another night market
We then walked to the nearby Wellcome Supermarket to stock up on local food products before going home to Singapore the next day.
Why pay so much at touristy places when you can get more variety at a value from the local supermarket?
We also bought Kyoho grapes for dessert at NT99, yum!
Must-go: 4.5/5 to get your essentials, fruits and affordable local products for family and friends
For our last breakfast in Taiwan for this trip, we walked to Yonghe Beancurd, famous for their salty beancurd but we prefer the sweet beancurd milk anyway.
We also ordered a pork bun (disappointing amount of filling) and a pork floss egg roll.
Must-go: 3.5/5 because you Singaporean readers like brand names and I like their egg roll.
Amazing Toy Store 東東玩具百貨
I have never been blown away by a toy store before, not even Toys R’ Us which I think is overpriced and too plasticky.
But this hidden gem really takes the cake. Check out its location here.
This toy store stuffs a motherload of different toys in 2 storeys with a single shop front space on the first floor.
On the first floor (for older children and adults), you can find:
On the second floor (for parents with babies to pre-teens), you can find:
>practice books for ABC, 123
>handpainting, fingerpainting, arts & crafts
>flashcards and stickers
>crayons, color pencils etc
>brands like Fisher Price
>hands-on toys, soft books
>Basketball countertop game
>Impressive selection for preschoolers and special needs and not too expensive like the Melissa & Doug selection in Singapore (a medium sized toy costs less than S$15)
-IQ and science sets
>For the geek in you
If you have a kid, you should totally check this place out. But be mindful of your airline’s hand-carry weight limit, we almost exceeded our 7kg/person limit.
Yam Swiss Roll Shop 香帥蛋糕 誠品站前店
Unfortunately because we had already bought a lot of things, we couldn’t buy our favourite yam roll from this shop.
But if you have extra weight capacity, please buy this back, it’s really good and cheap.
After a good trip around Taiwan, we finally made our way by bus 1819 to Taoyuan Airport.
I will miss Taiwan very much, but I will be back again!!!
Also published on Medium.