As I mentioned in my last post, the beau, the bean, and I were super eager to pack our bags to get out of Hong Kong for a little while before our big trip home to the US. We decided on a location that we had previously visited before but didn’t get to spend enough time in – Taipei, Taiwan. The last time I was in Taipei was in September 2019 and was only for just 24 hours. This time I wanted to see more of what Taipei had to offer, especially with my precious bean coming along for the adventure. So we packed our bags, loaded my carry-on suitcase with formula and lots of baby toys, and off we went to Taiwan.
Taipei is an easy destination for us with it being only an hour flight from Hong Kong. I felt this was the perfect opportunity to kick off our summer travels as well as introduce the bean to flying and international travel. For our first family vacation, Taipei proved to be an excellent starting point. Not only was it wonderful getting to visit the city again, it was great getting to explore new sites as well. Even with three days in Taipei, we still didn’t get to see and do everything we wanted to because there’s just so much to explore.
For our one hour flight to Taipei, the bean was an absolute angel. Granted she probably had no idea she was on an airplane or what exactly was going on as she was just 6 months old at the time, but she seemed to enjoy her first flying adventure. It took me a second to realize that I was on an airplane for the first time in nearly 3 years. I was so focused on my daughter that it didn’t really hit me what we were actually doing – traveling again! This had been a moment I had been waiting for for so long and here I was not even able to process it. That’s a good thing though, since I have a long history of flying anxiety. Taking my daughter up into the clouds was something I had envisioned even before she was conceived because I couldn’t wait to show her the world. This would be just the first of many adventures.
It was hot and sunny when we landed in Taipei in the early afternoon, which made me happy because summer weather can always be a bit unpredictable in humid climates. Immediately after retrieving our bags, and after baby bean received her first stamp in her passport, we were greeted by a man dressed in a red suit ready to take us to our hotel, the Shangri-La Far Eastern. They were kind enough to provide a car seat for the journey, however we had brought our own because we knew we would be hopping in Uber rides during our visit to explore the city. But in case you didn’t feel like bringing your own car seat, the hotel is happy to provide one. The bean quickly fell asleep for a nice long nap for the one hour drive to the hotel just on the outskirts of the center of the city.
Our hotel: Shangri-La Far Eastern
Standing tall in the heart of the Da’an District, there’s no better place to get an unparalleled and unobstructed view of Taipei than the Shangri-La Far Eastern. While it’s true that a lot tourists tend to flock to Xinyi District, there’s something extra special about not being in the center of it all. The Da’an District is full of parks, temples, and rising award-winning restaurants set amongst a quaint residential area. It made it the perfect spot to travel with a baby with so much at our fingertips all around us. If we wanted to head into the heart of Taipei, it was just a 5-10 minute car ride away (or the MRT for those of you who are like us and enjoy taking the train). We stayed in a Premier Room with a clear view of the Taipei 101. This view was absolutely stunning 24/7. The sun would rise behind the Taipei 101 and set behind us, illuminating the tower in a golden glow before lighting up the night sky. Since we were traveling with a baby, the hotel kindly provided a crib beside our bed and a baby bath in the bathroom. There was SO MUCH SPACE for baby bean to crawl and roll around, and she giggled with glee every time she was placed on the comfy king-sized bed. Our room also gave us access to the Horizon Club, which serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and happy hour daily while overlooking the expanse of the city.
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Not long after arriving to our room, it was time for baby bean’s last afternoon nap. We settled her into the comfortable crib that the hotel provided and put on our travel white noise machine to drown out the sounds of the beau and I unpacking. After unpacking, which felt like a lot of stuff but I guess that’s normal now when traveling with a little one, we got ready for happy hour that we were looking forward to enjoy once baby bean was awake. After her hour-long nap, we dressed baby bean in a matching dress before making our way up to the top floors of the Shangri-La Far Eastern for happy hour at the Marco Polo Lounge.
Adjacent to the Marco Polo restaurant, the Marco Polo Lounge gives arguably the best view of Taipei. We timed our arrival to be just before sunset so we could see Taipei illuminated in hues of yellow, orange, and red as the sun went down. We lucked out because this ended up being the only clear day of our visit (spring and summer are notorious for rain showers and thunderstorms) and we had the most incredible view. Even baby bean squealed at the cars and people below as her mama and daddy sipped on cocktails and Sauvignon Blanc. The bar menu also featured truffle parmesan fries, which of course had my name written all over it!
By 6:30 pm, we were back in our room to begin baby bean’s bedtime routine. Even when traveling we strictly stick to the same routine for baby bean so it’s easiest for her to adjust to her new settings as well as sleep well. After a lovely bath together at sunset overlooking the city and sweet cuddles as she enjoyed her last bottle, it was time for sleep. While baby bean enjoyed her zzz’s in her crib across the room, the beau and I ordered room service and had a lovely little intimate dinner together before we hopped into bed to catch some zzz’s of our own.
The next morning was a bit grey and foggy, but that didn’t stop us from still being able to enjoy such a marvelous view from breakfast at the Horizon Club. Our room allowed us access to the high floor club, which provides breakfast, afternoon tea, and happy hour each day. Breakfast consists of to-order items as well as a buffet. I enjoyed a delicious dish of eggs Benedict and breakfast tea while the beau enjoyed a more local and traditional dish of beef noodles.
Lunch at Ibuki
Lunch was a really special treat as we got to enjoy Japanese omakase at the Shangri-La’s Ibuki restaurant. With baby bean having an early bedtime, which limits our evening activities since it was just us on this trip, we decided a big lunch was a perfect idea. From beef hot pot to bento boxes to garlic beef and seasoned cod to sushi, we devoured everything we could. Our eyes were a bit bigger than our stomachs, but the fish was fresh, the dishes were creative, and the atmosphere was perfect. We had a small private dining area to ourselves for the meal, which ended up being a great idea due to the fact that baby bean fell asleep for her nap just before dessert.
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After lunch and baby bean’s first afternoon nap, it was time to hit the rooftop pool. Even though the skies were not particularly clear for our pool day, that did not stop us from enjoying the water. Baby bean has been participating in swimming lessons every week for the last 2 months, so she was eager to get in the water and apply what she has learned (her little kicks are so cute!). This tired mama enjoyed the warm jacuzzi and then jumping into the cooler water to shock my muscles and boost my immune system.
After two glorious days at the Shangri-La Far Eastern, it was time to say goodbye to Taipei and head back home to Hong Kong. From the moment we arrived, we were treated like old friends and everyone went above and beyond to accommodate anything for baby bean’s needs. It helped make our first trip as a family go very smoothly, and our stay will certainly always be a memorable one. It was a comfortable home away from home especially when traveling with a baby.
If you are looking for ideas on where to stay for our next visit to Taipei, whether it’s a family trip or a romantic adventure, the Shangri-La Far Eastern is the perfect choice. The location is just right whether you’ve got plans to explore sights in the city center or branch out to explore other parts of greater Taipei. We loved every second of our stay and are already looking forward to when we can visit again with baby bean.