A few weeks ago, I got some me time! For a busy hands-on mom, you know how major this is! Thanks to Jeron Travel, I had a small escape for the weekend to visit the country of Taiwan, a booming tourist destination that has the best of shopping, sights, and tastes.
Taiwan is an East Asian country that is influenced largely by China, Japan, and Korea. Its capital city is bustling Taipei, a booming area which combines traditional and modern businesses in its various districts.
Jeron Travel is one of the best local travel agencies that will make booking any trip so much easier. It’s run by a fellow mom Chal Chang Lontoc-Del Rosario. Fun fact: Chal’s mom is actually Taiwanese! When her mom passed, Chal wanted to promote Taiwan, fulfilling a promise because this is what her mom always wanted.
We flew with Eva Air for this quick getaway! I want to take a minute to thank them for the warm hospitality and the yummy food on the plane. They also had a breastfeeding area in their Taiwan lounge, which is perfect for moms like me. These small things made the journey fly by (no pun intended) with no hassle. Someday, I hope to ride the Hello Kitty jet; it’s my dream to ride it with my baby girls!
Our group was a good mix of people: there were moms like me, lifestyle journalists, travel junkies, and more. It was great for me to get to know them, as we really had a good time during our three days in Taiwan.
Our itinerary was pretty packed! Our group had a chance to experience quite a lot, including a glimpse into Taiwan’s culture and heritage.
Fun Taipei is the effort of Taiwan’s local government to promote tourism in other countries. They are helping local businesses that are deeply rooted in Taiwan’s culture by inviting various media and influencers to the country. This way, they get a chance to glimpse Taipei in a unique way and share it with larger audiences. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.
Staying at Amba Hotels
This Taiwan excursion was also sponsored by Amba Hotels, which was our home base for two days. Amba has several locations all over Taiwan. While I had a room all to myself (yay!), it’s reasonably priced and great for families. I was already thinking about how convenient it would be to stay at Amba the next time I visit Taiwan with Aria, Ezra, and Elvis. Since I have young kids, I loved that they have laundry facilities and lockers.
Each Amba location is conveniently located near the popular tourist spots. Their Taipei Ximending location is a stone’s throw away from all the great shopping and food spots. The Songshan location, on the other hand, has stunning views of Taipei, including the famed Taipei 101 tower, which I loved! As a former banker, seeing the Taipei 101, which is basically Taiwan’s Stock Exchange tower, was a great treat.
Trying out Taiwanese food
Let me tell you, some of my favorite moments from this trip were food-related! Taiwan’s cuisine is incredibly mouthwatering. On our first night, we had dinner at this place called Mala Hotpot, which is near our hotel in Ximending. Our meal was incredibly satisfying as we tried some of the most amazing marbled meat and seafood!
Taipei Eats took us on a fun food tour as well, to sample some of the traditional food of Taiwan. We also had your typical Taiwan street food like qua pao (my favorite!), spring onion pancakes, and xiao long bao. I didn’t have the guts to try the stinky tofu, or the shark. But I tried betel nut and the other things, like spices, and desserts. There are legit so many places for you to dine at, whether in restaurants or food stalls at night markets.
Going into 7-Eleven
I really have to mention this, but the 7-Eleven in Taiwan is amazing! More than just a convenience store, people come here to pay bills, print documents, or call a cab. This is where I discovered the delicious Milk Puff and Choco Puff! There are so many products in their 7-Eleven branches, including interesting food, tea, clothing, vegetables… the list goes on!
Exploring Taiwan’s culture
Part of our itinerary was exploring the areas of Songshan and Dadaocheng, which are some of the older districts in the city. Here, we got to meander through streets selling traditional Taiwanese handicrafts and foodstuff. We got to go to museums, like the Kuo Yuan Ye Museum and The Sing Hong Choon Tea Museum.
We also took a double-decker bus to tour the city. This was a great, easy way to familiarize ourselves with the various districts in Taipei. I would recommend doing this at the start of your trip so that you have an idea where you want to go and its approximate proximity to other places of interest in the city.
There were a lot of things I learned about Taiwan, and they really went against what I thought I knew about the country. First off, the people there are so friendly. Sure, there are a few cultural differences, but they really are warm towards tourists. I would liken Taiwan to Japan more than any other country, as they have a similar way of incorporating the traditional with the modern.
And of course, even if I really needed to have a bit of me time, I was already thinking about how I can tweak our three-day itinerary to better fit the needs of my family. I’m thankful to Jeron Travel, Eva Air, and the tourism board of Taiwan for giving us this opportunity to explore a new country. I honestly can’t wait to come back to Taiwan with Elvis, Aria, and Ezra because there are a lot more shopping and food-tasting that I need to do! 🙂