Taiwan is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in the world. It's cheap, the food is good and it has a rich culture. And it is the perfect holiday destination for adventurous families! However, there are a few things you need to know before you head off. Here's what I have learnt from visiting Taiwan:
The mosquitoes are vicious
Watch out for the mosquitoes and small black flies! The black fly bites leave considerable swelling and are very itchy and slow to heal (I'm have the scars to prove it). For children this can be particularly bothersome. The secret is to cover up as much as possible, particularly your cuff areas at your wrists and ankles. And always use an insect repellent. If you use a good insect repellent you have nothing to worry about.
I used the SoPure Mosquito Spray on Lexi and she wasn't bitten. SoPure Mosquito Spray is a natural, non-toxic, pesticide-free, citronella-free, aromatherapy oil-free mosquito repellent, perfect for children and even newborn babies. And the vanilla fragrance is wonderful!
They don't flush toilet paper
Many newcomers to Taiwan are puzzled to find the nation’s bathrooms stocked with one extra piece of equipment: a small bin that can be found next to nearly every toilet throughout the country. This puzzlement oftentimes turns into shock when these newcomers are told that they are under no circumstances to dump their toilet paper into the toilet, but are instead to dispose of it in this very trash bin.
Fortunately Taiwan is ready to change their toilet habits as they are upgrading their plumbing!
Most public toilets are squat toilets
Taiwan is fantastic for toilets. Free and usually spotlessly clean facilities are available in parks, transport stations, shopping malls, public offices, museums, temples and rest areas. While most public toilets are the squat style, there are usually at least one or two stalls with Western-style sit-down toilets.
When given the choice I always use the squat toilet. Once you have the hang of it it is far more hygienic as there's no need to touch anything (you flush with your foot). This is useful when travelling with children.
You have to take your garbage out to the truck yourself
One of the first things most people learn about Taiwan is that they have musical garbage trucks. Traditionally garbage trucks used to play Fur Elise but in recent years the tune has changed to Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska's “A Maiden's Prayer”.
But do you know why garbage trucks play music? They alert residents to the fact that the garbage truck is coming so that they can bring out their garbage and deposit it in the truck themselves.
The Taiwanese are big on recycling and know their stuff. Don't mix up your garbage! The garbage truck driver will make you dig through the garbage and remove offending items.
For children this is amusing and presents a great opportunity for teaching about environmental issues. Here are some of the ways we "think green" while travelling.
Not all tech products are cheaper
Stores like Nova can be overwhelming! If you're planning to buy tech products in Taiwan know exactly what you are looking for and know your prices. Not all items are cheaper in Taiwan. We went in search of a Raspberry Pi and found that it was only a few dollars cheaper than in South Africa.
It can also be a nightmare going into stores like that with children, so it's best for one parent to stay behind with the children.