Try a Vacation "Made in Taiwan" –
Ten Family Things To Do ( Plus Three Insider Tips!)
Taiwan is a small island with large vacation potential for families that want culture and nature with all the modern comforts. Kids can be exposed to the Japanese and Chinese influences as well as Taiwanese ways.
Transportation is efficient; first-rate accommodations and food are prevalent; English is spoken most places, and the people are a pleasure.
Below are ten of the many family-friendly activities you'll find in Taiwan:
> Don a hardhat and go through the tunnels of a gold mine, then touch a real, large bar of gold in the Museum of Gold at the Gold Ecological Park, Linguashi in northern Taiwan. The views are also spectacular.
> Spend a day at the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village – home of five themed amusement parks with rides, a fun gondola ascent, and an entertainment center with indigenous dances and shows. It’s not Disneyland, but offers an intriguing combination of entertainment, supporting diverse cultures and tourism.
> Enjoy a mini-water park with slides and mineral baths in your hotel at Fleur de Chine –something fun for the kids and adults. The resort is located on the beautiful and historic Sun Moon Lake, which offers boat rides to islands and temples.
> See how traditional paper lanterns are made by three generations of a lantern-making family. You can have your name or favorite saying painted in Taiwanese script on a folk lantern you choose while you watch. Or you can place your order and enjoy other delights on Old Street in Lugang, then return for your unique souvenir or gift.
> Shoot up, up, and up to the top of Taipei 101, designed to resemble a bamboo shoot. Its Observatory is on top of one of the world's tallest buildings with one of the world’s fastest elevators. Children under 115cm (a little over 3 feet 9 inches) are free in the Observatory. The views from the top are stellar, but bring a jacket for the wind, and leave the chewing gum below. (It’s not allowed.) Find out the secrets of the “Damper Baby.”
> Visit the colorful Dragon and Tiger Pagodas set in a kind of imaginative outdoor architectural park on and around Lotus Lake in Kaochsiung, a great city for biking and a boat ride on the “Love River.”
> Explore dramatic (and photographic) rock formations at the seaside of Yeliu Geopark, a geological wonder realm with open spaces and pathways good for kids. The Queen’s Head and some abstract shapes seem to defy gravity; others look like they mushroomed from the earth.
> Join hundreds of Taiwanese school kids on their field trips at the Tainan Confucian Temple, also known as the Scholarly Temple, which was first built in 1665. Tai Chi may be underway in its courtyard with newcomers welcome, and unusual musical instruments are one of the fascinating displays in the hallways.
> Sip “Bubble Tea,” a fad in parts of the United States, after being invented in creative Taiwan. You can create your own flavor combos at corner stands and restaurants, then sip the bubbles and textures through a straw – which may conjure giggles.
For “small eats” in a friendly place and some of the best dumplings on earth, you can take your family to Din Tai Fung in Taipei.
Three Insider Tips for Traveling to Taiwan with your kids:
>Bring a blank book to collect imprinted stamps. Throughout Taiwan, major sites have machines that press in inked images of the site to create a tourist's passport of memories. While you are enjoying the incredible pieces in Taiwan’s National Palace Museum, your children can see who can collect the most images.
>Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off and sturdy socks for the kids if you plan to visit some of Taiwan’s outstanding temples. You can also brief the children in advance of about temple manners and respect for other people’s religions.
>In our quickly changing world, it’s good to check in advance with any trip overseas about possible health and safety issues in the country. Here’s a link to a convenient universal list of pre-trip resources provided by http://www.WorldTouristBureau.com/resources.html
How to get there:
*Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei – great location, food and staff, ask for views of Taipei 101 http://www.taipei.grand.hyatt.com
The Fleur de Chine on Sun Moon Lake had Japanese baths in the rooms, balconies above the lake and the water-theme park with mineral baths in the hotel. http://www.fleurdechinehotel.com
Ambassador Hotel is on the Love River in Kaohsiung, a bustling exciting port city bigger than Seattle and San Francisco. http://www.ambassadorhotel.com.tw/
Links to help:
For more information to plan a Taiwan trip: http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/pda/m1.aspx
Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village: http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/pda/m1.aspx?sNo=0011367&id=R2&jid=138
Taipei 101 Observatory & “Damper Baby” games:
Gold Ecological Park: http://www.gep
National Palace Museum: http://www.npm.gov.tw/en/home.htm
A Yellowstone Grizz ambles near Lake Yellowstone. ( Photo (C) Lynn O'Rourke Hayes )
Unspoiled natural places, authentic cultural experiences and distinctive communities draw travelers from around the world to America’s “last best place”; Montana.
Jump start your plan to visit Big Sky country here:
Visit your National Parks.
With Yellowstone to the south and Glacier National Park on the northern border, this Big Sky state offers the perfect launching point to explore two of our national treasures. Visit stops along the Lewis and Clark trail while you’re at it.
Take a stroll back in time as you observe remarkable living history demonstrations, dine in century-old structures, enjoy ice cream in an old-fashioned parlor, and ponder tales of ghosts said to drift along the boarded sidewalks in Virginia City and Nevada City. City tours via fire engine trolley, carriage rides and a follies stage show make for a vintage flavored getaway.
Helena, the state’s capital city with a rich mining history, is designated one of the country’s best small arts towns. The Montana Historical Society, founded in 1865, houses one of the country's most important collections of Charles M. Russell art as well as the work of noted frontier photographer F. Jay Haynes. Don’t miss the Archie Bray Foundation, established in 1951 on the site of a brick factory. Tour the studios and grounds of this unique endeavor in the ceramic arts that attracts artists from around the world. Ask about summer programs for adults and children.
Big Sky bonanza.
Nestled in meadows and surrounded by forestland, Big Sky is an outdoor lover’s paradise. A year round playground, this mountain town is home to Big Sky and Moonlight Basin ski resorts as well as fishing, mountain biking, golf, and rafting just to get the list started. Hiking is popular in the nearby Lee Metcalf Spanish Peaks Wilderness.
Attend a rodeo, stay at a guest ranch, participate in a round up. Ride horses into the hills, visit a stock yards. Throughout Montana, you’ll enjoy the chance to see real cowboys at work and learn about the rich culture that provides a time tested and colorful strand in our national tapestry.
Find out more: www.VisitMT.com.
Diving boards and the deep end have been replaced by slippery slides, raging waterfalls and lazy rivers. Today’s resort pools and water parks offer enough excitement to keep the kids engaged for a weekend or longer. Here are a few cool pools worth the plunge:
Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii.This island haven may be most famous for its beaches, but don’t pass up the chance to explore what this resort has to offer. The whole family will be eager to check out the 25,700 square foot area that includes nine free form pools. Travel via a “river” to check out the slides, waterfalls, caves, water elevator, swim up bar, rope swing and more that are part of this water wonderland. The tropical 40 acre resort also includes an infant pool.(800)888-6100;www.GrandWailea.com
Fairmont Scottsdale. Scottsdale, AZ. With the magnificent McDowell Mountains as a backdrop, families relish this oasis in the desert. By day, keep cool within the 6000 square foot Sonoran Splash complex, featuring a zero deck area for the youngest set. Kids wade right into the water, just like at the beach. Nearby a large sandbox with Tonka trucks and a bounty of beach toys beckon, keeping the kids entertained. Have fun slipping down two of Arizona’s largest slides. Come nightfall, enjoy dive-in movies from deck chairs or while floating on your raft. Contact: 1(866) 540-4495; www.Fairmont.com
Atlantis Resort. Paradise Island, Bahamas. With more than 141 acres of water rides and pools, who has time to hit the beach? From the Mayan Temple to the ominous Power Tower to fun-filled Splashers Island, water play lovers will find 18 adrenaline-pulsing slides for kids of all ages. Ride the waves and rapids in the Current. Lounge around your choice of 11 different pools. Twist and turn through tunnels and emerge in an acrylic tube deep within a shark-filled lagoon. The thrills never end in this water-filled fantasy park. Contact: 1-888-877-7525; www.Atlantis.com.
Marriott World Center, Orlando, FL. Think 1,000,000 gallons of cool water. That’s what you’ll find at this Orlando resort where indoor pools, outdoor pools, whirlpools, waterfalls and a 106 foot slide make for an enticing recreation area. Pool side fun includes sidewalk chalk, ping pong and pool tables, limbo contests and scavenger hunts. Lounge on deck or join in a game of water volleyball. Contact:(800) 380-7931; www.marriottworldcenter.com
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, San Antonio, TX. Float through the resort’s beautifully landscaped grounds aboard a trusty inner tube, making your way 950 feet along the Ramblin’ River. Stop by the activity pool and join in a game of water volley ball or basketball. Or make it a beach day and settle on the private, sandy man-made beach. Lounge on the sundeck before heading to the golf course or an afternoon at the spa. Grown-ups can enjoy the Texas-shaped adults only pool, while the kids take advantage of Camp Hyatt activities or teen-focused Underground events. Contact: 1-888-591-1234; hillcountry.hyatt.com.