Yoko Wu, Jacop Yip, and their kids Jaden (5) and Olive (3) Yip; Grandma and Grandpa Wu; Bunny Wu, Polly Au and their kids May (8) and Tom (13); as well as friends Hardy Lam, Catherine Lee, and their son Sum Foon Lam (6).
The Yips spent six days in Taiwan over the Easter break; they traveled with part of their extended family and their friends, the Lams. They planned their own trip and flew to Taipei via Hong Kong with Dragonair. They stayed at Flying Cow Ranch (www.flyingcow.com.tw/en) in Miaoli County, Toucheng Leisure Farm (www.tcfarm.com.tw/en) in Yilan County, and the Grand Hyatt Taipei in Taipei.
The Yi family paid RMB 12,000 for roundtrip plane tickets and RMB 3,000 for the car rental. Accommodations cost RMB 1,000 per night at Flying Cow Ranch, RMB 1,250 per night at Toucheng Leisure Farm, and RMB 1,000 per night at the Grand Hyatt Taipei.
The Best Part
Seeing fireflies for the first time at Toucheng Leisure Farm was an unforgettable experience. One must-do activity in Yilan County (where Toucheng is located) is making “flying lanterns.” Visitors can write their wishes or draw pictures on the lantern, then light the bottom and watch it fly away in the night sky.
Overall, the trip was very fun and educational. The kids got to feed lambs, rabbits, and ducks on the farm. They also got to milk a cow, make their own baked treats, go on nature walks, construct bird flutes, sample street food, and take the ferry to rural Bali District.
The Worst Part
The families had planned to go cycling on their last day in Taipei, but unfortunately it was raining. They managed to do some cycling towards the end because the weather abated, but it still wasn’t the experience they wanted.
Learning how to bake sweet potatoes the traditional way went beyond expectations and was lots of fun for both kids and adults. The most challenging part is the first step: building a spherical stone mound. Then, you dig a hole underneath and build a fire out of bamboo shoots to heat the stones. Once the stones turn red, you break the mound so that it collapses on the fire. Next, you insert the sweet potatoes and cover the whole thing with sand. After two hours, the sweet potatoes are ready to eat.
Because the Yips stayed on agri-tourism farms and hotels, bathrooms and other facilities were always clean. The room at Toucheng Leisure Farm was simple but tidy, while the one at Flying Cow Farm was a duplex and could accommodate two families. Food isn’t a problem – as long as you like Chinese food. The kids loved it and even tried street food like beef jerky. The family recommends the seafood at Toucheng Leisure Farm and notes that Japanese food was quite popular in Taipei.
• Yoko recommends going in May or June to avoid the rainy season and see the fireflies. Taiwan in April is generally rainy, but the family was lucky to have sunshine for most of their stay. They were comfortable in light layers, like long-sleeved shirts and thin jackets.
• If they had more time, the families would have liked to go whale-watching on Guishan Island near Taocheng Farm.
• Special immunizations aren’t needed and no one got sick during the trip.
• The Yips were traveling with smaller children, but they think the trip would be good for teenagers as well. However, they think that Toucheng Leisure Farm is more suitable for older kids while Flying Cow Farm is better for younger children.
• The Yips speak Mandarin, but English guides are available.