Wednesday, 24 June 2015

10 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Taipei

I will miss the rain when we leave Taiwan. There is nothing quite like a tropical downpour. Large, heavy, endless drops of warm water, more dense and powerful than a power shower. But Taiwan is in a typhoon corridor, and when the rainy months are upon us we sometimes struggle to find things to do.

I've compiled a list of the rainy day escapes we've discovered.

1. Trampolining at Flipout

Bouncy fun at trampolining centre, Flipout

Flipout is at B2, No. 45, Lane 59, Zhongshan North Road Section 2 (台北市中山區中山北路二段59巷45號B2). The nearest MRT stations are Shuanglian and Zhongshan on the Red Line, and Flipout is 10 minutes' walk from either station. At NT$400 for two hours, Flipout isn't cheap, but it's two hours of exhausting, healthy fun. 

2. Science and Astronomy Museums

The science and astronomy museums are must-visit places in Taipei, so you might as well make use of the rainy weather to spend a day between these two closely sited buildings. The closest MRT Station is Shilin on the red line, and both museums are 15 to 20 minutes walk away. The National Taiwan Science Education Center website gives directions and bus details.

Taipei Science Museum
Taipei Astronomy Museum
The science museum is the larger of the two and contains a cinema which shows 3-D films while the audience sit in chairs that move and vibrate to match the action in the films.

3. LazerTreks 

A less cerebral activity for those with plenty of energy to burn off is a game of lazer tag at LazerTreks. Located near Zhongshan Elementary School MRT station on the yellow line, the center offers games for walk-in customers as well as the usual birthday parties and other special events. You can play with friends or strangers, depending on the number in your party.

4. Baby Boss  

This is one for the slightly younger children. Baby Boss is a dressing up and pretending experience. Young visitors choose from a wide range of jobs, including airline pilot or flight attendant, archaeologist, TV crew, construction worker, police officer, surgeon and carpenter. In return for their work, the children receive tokens that they can spend in a shop on their way out. You can buy tickets via the internet or just turn up, but be warned, Baby Boss gets very busy at weekends and other popular times. Baby Boss is located at 7th floor, 138, Bade Road Section 4, Songshan District.

5. National Museum of Marine Science and Technology

If rain is forecast for the whole day, a train trip and bus ride to the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology is one way to make sure the day isn't wasted.

A darkened exhibit at the NMMST

The NMMST is in Jilong (Keelung), which is on the coast to the northeast of Taipei. Take any train heading out there from Taipei Main Station. You can swipe through the barriers with an Easycard. At Jilong station, take the 1051 or 791 bus from just opposite the station. It takes about half an hour to get to the NMMST, and the bus stops are displayed in English inside the bus, so it's easy to see your stop.

The NMMST is seriously big, but you're given a map. Make sure to get there early if you want to see everything. We only managed the main building.

6. Taipei Sports Centres

Most districts in Taipei have one or more sports centres that are easily accessible. 
Rock climbing at Neihu Sports Centre, Taipei
At many you can walk in and do something without giving any notice, though of course some activities may be fully booked. Our local sports centre has a swimming pool, running machines, table tennis tables and a gym. It also has an indoor play area for younger children.

Another centre we've explored is Neihu Sports Centre, which has the tallest rock climbing wall in Taipei. This is outdoors, but there's a smaller wall for young children indoors.

7. Yoyo's Kid Castle 

An indoor playground for children aged 0 - 6, Yoyo's Kid Castle provides a safe, clean environment for toddlers and pre-schoolers to play and exercise, whatever the weather. The address is 16, Fu Shan St, Zhong Shan District, and the opening hours are 10.00 am to 8.00 p.m.

8. Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The best thing about Taipei Fine Arts Museum is that the exhibits are always changing, so you can go back every few weeks and find something new to see.
Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The Museum is ten minutes' walk from Yuanshan MRT Station on the Red Line, so it's very easy to get to. Next door is a history of technological innovation in Taiwan, which is also very interesting.

9. Jianguo Flower Market

If your rainy day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you're in luck, because you have the perfect excuse to spend a day wandering up and down the Jianguo Flower Market. Just outside Da'an Park MRT Station, under the overhead freeway, the market spans several hundred feet and includes fruit and vegetables as well as other nibbles.

The bulb lady at Jiangguo Flower Market

On the opposite side of the freeway is the Jade Market, which does a brisk trade in jade  - priced for tourists, I've heard - and general bric a brac.

10. Bopiliao Old Street

Bopiliao Old Street is a carefully preserved vestige of old Taipei. At 101 Guangzhou St, Wanhua, near Longshan Temple MRT Station, Bopiliao Old Street is part of the Heritage and Culture Education Center, but it provides as much fun as education, with old-fashioned toys for children to play with as well as interesting exhibits from the past.

These are just a few of the rainy day activities we've discovered. If you know of more, feel free to leave a comment to share with other readers.

More rainy day activities in and around Taipei.

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