Great Any Time of Year - Fulong Beach

A few weeks ago, the kids and I spent a cloudy day at Fulong Beach area.  Originally, I thought we would just take the train there and back, but the kids had a great time, and we spent the whole afternoon in the area.

How to get to Fulong Beach:
Take a train to Fulong (福隆) station.  It's easy!  Just go to a train station (Panchiao, Taipei Main, Sungshan, or any others on the line) and ask for a ticket to Fulong Beach.  Or, try out the English-language internet booking service. Even the fastest train will cost you only a little over $100 per seat. It takes about an hour on the faster trains. And this time of year, it's lovely to sit on the train and watch the scenery from the comfort of a cabin.

Taiwan Railway Admin Site is here.

At the Station:

Come out and turn left to enjoy the clean toilets and appreciate the artwork made out of train scraps, by Railway staff.  Walk out to the road, cross it, and walk along the right side of the carpark, until you come to the walkway that will take you South, away from the big bridge on the beach. 

This nature walk is free, enjoyable, and takes you to the Fu Bar!  The Fu Bar is run by a lovely South African couple.  It is totally child-friendly, and has a park right in front so the kids can play while you watch them from the outdoor tables.  The food at the Fu Bar is amazing!  (They open from 12 noon this time of year, on weekends only.  If you are on a mission to visit the restaurant, it's best to call to let them know you are coming during the winter/spring months. Tel: 0955 496 175; 02-2499 1380.)  The artwork in the restaurant is bright and cheery, and you can enjoy Rooibos or a South African beer, too.

View of the Fu Bar from the park.  It's actually only just across a little lane, it's just the angle of the shot making it look so far away.  Isn't the place adorable?

If you ever get away from the bar, you can walk down to watch people fishing, see the temple, hire a bike to ride around, or cross the big carpark to visit the information center.

The information center is a lovely place to take children.  The second floor is dedicated to children.  The day we visited, they had a maze set up with stamps inside.  You get a passport from the front counter and then go find the stamps.  Once you have the set, you can get a little prize (tattoo stickers).  The map is in Chinese but it doesn't matter what order you put the stamps on, so it's a fun little challenge for young children.  The coffee shop out front of the center has quite good coffee if you feel the need.

Now, coming from New Zealand where most beaches I know are still open to the public, I am always saddened to see beaches blocked off by private corporations.  I refuse to pay the $90 per person the hotel/7-11 group ask for entry to the beach area, especially this time of year when we won't be actually entering the water.  I might pay $30 to help with cleaning if they actually do any, but to have that guy refuse to let us enter a beach n a  rainy day in November really didn't make me happy.  So, naturally I will say, skip the beach next to the information center.  But, in reality it's up to you and I know many people do enjoy the sand on that part of the beach.

The weekend we visited, there was a flower festival running up in the mountains.  You can take a bus from the information center directly to the festival.  I think it runs until mid-December.  You can also go on the CaoLing trail, which is absolutely beautiful.  We did that a few years ago with my son in a backpack, but we will have to wait until the kids can walk a bit longer on their own to do it again, now that they are too big to carry.

Flora Expo Guided Tours - Contact Your Travel Agent

Whilst this kind of tour is not my "thing", if you are too busy to arrange your own trips, and would like your kids to get the most out of the expo experience, you could take a look at some of the tours available through travel agents.  I just happened to come across this tour, being run through Lion Travel.  At between $5,000 and $6,500 per person for two days and one night, it's not that "cheap", but you do get to stay in a nice hotel and enjoy a lot of different activities.

If you are looking for this kind of tour, you could also contact hotels to see what they are offering. My friends sometimes take part in tours run by the Brother Hotel. 


Dec 11, 2010: Free Improv Comedy Show for Kids (Taichung)

Taichung Improv presents: Improv Comedy for Kids!

For this very special show we’ll make every kid’s imagination come to life!
Tailor made for young kids age 5-12 (Whole family welcome!)
Improv comedy uses audience suggestions and participation to create fun, high-energy and highly imaginative scenes on stage.
Fairy tales, cartoons, books, movies or whatever the suggestion might be we’ll do it and everyone will have the best time ever!
Place: Stock 20 Theater (By Taichung train station – back entrance on Fuxing Rd)
401 台中市復興路四段37巷6-1號

Date: December 11th, 2010
Time: 14:00-15:00
Free admission

For more info: taichungimprov@gmail.com

or call Josh 091212 9654
Website: http://www.taichungimprov.com/
(They have an event for adults in the evening, too.)

German-style Christmas Fair at Bethany Elementary School

Bethany Elementary School is holding a two-day event this weekend (Dec 3-4).  The school is near Gongguan MRT station, behind the Gongguan market/opposite Tri-Services hospital on Ting Zhou Road.  It's within walking distance of the Taipei Water Museum, too, so you can go to the museum and then head to the early-evening event if you have the time.

The market will have food, games, activities, and live music.
Date: Dec. 3-4, 2010

Time: 5:00-8:30pm

Place: Bethany School

#97, Section 3, Ting Zhou Road

Tel: 02-2365-9691


2010 Nov 21 - Snakes of Taiwan Presentation

German ophidiophile Hans Breuer will teach your kids in Chinese about the snakes of Taiwan through a slide show, reinforced by a number of show-and-tell props such as shed snake skins, snake eggs, and four real live (non-venomous and very docile) snakes.


More info:

English: http://www.snakesoftaiwan.com/schooltalks.html

Chinese: http://www.snakesoftaiwan.com/schooltalks_ch.html

Time : Sunday, November 21 · 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Location: Dream Community Theater, No. 90-3, MínZú 2nd St, Xizhi, Taipei County


2010 Nov 27 - Taipei European School Christmas Bazaar

I took my children to this Christmas Bazaar last year, and they had a great time.  Actually, so did I.  This bazaar caters for the whole family.  There are many games for the children to play, handicrafts for sale, international food tables, and raffles to take part in, all in a large, child-friendly space where parents can relax while their children play.

Run by the Parents Support Council, part of the proceeds go to charity.  This makes the event a nice way for you to have fun and to give something for Christmas, too.

Bazaar date and time:  Saturday Nov 27th, 10am-4pm.
Venue: Taipei European School (727 Wenlin Road, Shilin, by ZhiShan MRT station)

Song Song Song Children's & Puppet Theatre - Pingdong, Jiayi, Panchiao Performances

Song Song Song Children's and Puppet Theatre (九歌兒童戲團) have shows in three more towns before the year end.

1. 11/27/2010 - Ping Dong Cultural Center (Hoping Rd No. 427), 2:30&7:30pm
2. 12/04/2010 - Jia Yi Cultural Center (Ming Shung Area, Jian Guo Rd Sec 2, No. 265), 12:30&7:30pm
3. 12/24,25/2010 - Pan Chiao Cultural Center, 7:30pm Friday, 2:30&7:30pm Saturday

Show Title "飛吧!小飛飛" Fly! Little "Fly Fly" - story of a seagull learning to fly, talking about opening your own wings and flying.
60 min show, for ages 3 and up
Tickets from 300 to 1000 (purchase at 7-11 using i-bon, or go onto the site (http://www.9s.org.tw/)
From their site (English version):
Nine Songs, a classic southern Chinese ceremonial play, has its origins in a set of ancient rituals that incorporated music, dance, and poetry. Song Song Song Children's & Puppet Theatre (SSSCPT) adopted its name, which in Chinese literally means "nine songs",to symbolize its commitment to promoting Chinese folk culture and to helping children enjoy happy, meaningful childhoods. By presenting classic folktales with songs, dancing, and puppets, SSSCPT aims to make itself a vital part of contemporary children's life.

SSSCPT was established on September 28, 1987, by Calvin Teng and a crew who loved children's theater. It stages seasonal productions and special performances, which depict a wide range of Chinese folklore, classical children's literature, and contemporary topics. There have been 66 SSSCPT productions in all, which have been performed more than 2,100 times in front of audiences totaling 1,900,000. From cities to countrysides to off-island areas, SSSCPT has brought joy everywhere in Taiwan.

Additionally, SSSCPT has been dedicated to exploring international exchanges in children's theater since its genesis. Sponsored by the Council for Cultural Affairs of the Republic of China on Taiwan, SSSCPT made its first tour in Europe in 1988, participating or performing in puppet and children's theater festivals. SSSCPT has since visited numerous countries, including Austria, Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Czech, Slovakia, the United States, Canada, Singapore,Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, China, and Ukraine, etc. It has also invited excellent foreign groups and performers, like Kiev State Puppet Theater from Ukraine, MOKI Children's Theater, and Trittbrettl Theater from Austria, Varna State Theatre from Bulgaria, Antidote Theatre from Cyprus to perform and give workshop seminars in Taiwan.

Furthermore, in order to promote its belief that children's theater is a learning experience, SSSCPT conducts drama workshops for children, teachers, and other interested people. It also participates in planning and executing the seminars on children's theater held by educational organizations around Taiwan. SSSCPT's professional efforts to help expand children's understanding of theatrical expression have gradually gained prevalent recognition and support, especially in the field of children's education in Taiwan.


Taipei City Playgroup's Rummage Sale Nov 28, 2010

Get ready to rummage, at the 2010 Fall/Winter Charity Rummage Sale on Sunday, November 28, 2010, at 1F #80 Tianxiang Road in Taipei City, 10 AM to 1 PM. (台北市中山區天祥路80號1F)*

This has become a semi-annual event organized by Parent Pages & Taipei City Playgroup. Twice a year, we encourage members of both communities to declutter their homes of children's outgrown clothes, toys, books, shoes, videos, and other baby/child/maternity gear, as well as solicit donations of the same from our friends.

We've received some incredibly generous donations, including infant and toddler car seats, strollers, highchairs, playpens, maternity clothes, baby carriers, and more! Last sale, we raised over $70,000, which is amazing when you consider how little things are sold for. And it is a great social event for families, too.

What's the cost of admission? It's FREE!

Is the money donated to charity? Yes! This rummage sale, we will donate the proceeds to Mustard Seed Mission.

What about all the things that are left over? All unsold goods will be donated to charity too! They are picked up at the end of the day, for distribution to aboriginal families in need.

Can I get a table to sell things myself? We have a small number of "private tables" available. (NT500/table.  The $500 goes to the charity, and you keep any proceeds from your sales.) It’s “first-in-first-served” so email us at crescentcitytaiwan at gmail dot com to see if there are any available.

How can I help? First, you can donate some of your child's outgrown clothing, toys and other gear! Consider keeping a box or bag handy, and throughout the day as you pick up and put away toys, books, laundry, declutter all the outgrown items. Don't wait--put it right into the box! (Or you'll forget!!) See just how much you can declutter up until the week of the sale, then give us a call to arrange pick-up.

Second, consider volunteering. You can help us sort the night before the sale (about 7:00 - 9:00 pm), sort and price the morning of the sale (7:00 - 9:30 am), or (wo)man one of our tables for an hour.

Finally, come to the sale! Even if rummage sales don't interest you, consider coming to meet some new friends, and buy a snack from the lemonade stand (staffed by some of our playgroup children).

Can I deliver my donation(s)? We usually don't receive donations at the venue until the day before the sale, however, if you are leaving Taiwan and have something you would really like to donate ahead of time, we might be able to make special arrangements. Please contact one of the coordinators to discuss this.

What condition should my donations be in? All clothing should be in either like-new or gently-worn condition. All clothing should also be clean and free of rips or permanent stains. Check books to be sure there aren't any pages missing or torn. Check toys with multiple pieces to see that they're complete, or at least with enough pieces that a child can still get enjoyment from it.

What about things like pajamas, onesies, burp cloths, and bibs that might have milkstains? These are okay as long as they're not ripped.

Venue: Once again, we are lucky to have use of the same community's meeting area.
1F, #80 Tianxiang Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City (near Minquan West and Zhongshan North Roads)

Receiving Charity: This sale, proceeds will go to MustardSeed Mission. Here is the description of their work from their site, and you can click the link to read more.

In 1952, while everything was waiting to be revived in Taiwan, the missionary Lillian Dickson started Mustard Seed Mission. It includes: aiding small business, helping the lepers, fundraising for caring orphans, widows, prisoners, poor and ill public, and distributing clothes and flour from charity. Mustard Seed Mission later established orphanages, youth homes, vocational schools for Native Taiwanese to provide job skills on babysitting, nursing, carpentering and auto mechanizing. It also helped develop aiding ministry in South Asia.

Who to contact if you have donations to be picked up/dropped off:
Katrina Brown (Keelung (Jilong)/Xizhi/Nankang (Nangang)/Muzha/Taipei City/help with finding someone in another area) Tel 0928059020 - please leave a message if I don't answer! Or send a PM/ email crescentcitytaiwan at gmail dot com.

Angie Chang (Neihu/Taipei City) - daytime pickups only, thanks. Tel 0975266833

Kelly Manske (Taipei Area between Nov 11 and 27) Tel 0916-641-144/email kelmanske at yahoo dot com

Jennifer Chau (dropoff point, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 2) Tel 0954057757
**We need a volunteer to be pick up or be a dropoff point in Tianmu. If you can do this, please contact me.

**One or two more volunteers to pick up would also be great.

Still have questions? Join the discussion at the Family Forum!



English (well some) children's site about nature in Taiwan - activities and games

Still on my search for the elusive animal I spotted, I came across this siteThe Digital Museum of Children is not a site full of children, but rather, a Taiwan-based nature site for children. There are some games and activities in English, and some in Chinese, so you will have to click around to find your language of choice.  I like how it covers plants and animals we can see in Taiwan.