Both marketing and publicity play an extremely important role in tourism and I think these are some areas that Taiwan Tourism Bureau can do a better job. Most of my friends do not consider Taiwan as their top choice when it comes to holidays and more often than not, they are usually very amazed when they learnt that I could spend more than 10 days in Taiwan. They are even more surprised when they realize that my itinerary has at least one day in a theme park. Not many people know that there are theme parks in Taiwan, it seems. ◕ิ‿◕ิ
There are actually quite a few theme parks in Taiwan and in fact, there is a pretty good one (Leofoo theme park / 六福村) near Taipei, which is about 1.5 hours away from Taipei train station. The park is located in Hsinchu area and you can hop onto an e-go bus to get to Leofoo. The bus would depart Songshan airport to Zhongxiao Dunhua (忠孝敦化) MRT station to Jingan (景安) MRT station and then finally to Leofoo theme park. You can board the bus from any of the stops mentioned and we chose to board from Jingan MRT as I reckoned that MRT is faster than bus. Thus we should reach our destination faster and probably more comfortably too, as compared if we take the bus directly from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station. If you follow our route, the e-go bus stop is just outside Jingan MRT station; no need to cross any roads. You can check the e-go bus schedule here.
The bus will make a brief stop at 龍潭總站 where you make payment for the bus fare. The journey from Jingan MRT to Leofoo was about 1 hour, if my memory serves me right.
Before you go to Leofoo, you may want to do some homework first. 😉 Firstly, check the e-go website for the bus schedule as it’s not very frequent. Secondly, the admission to Leofoo theme park is NT$890 per adult if you get the tickets at the park entrance. However, if you buy the tickets from ibon machines (found in major 7-11 stores) beforehand, each ticket is less than NT$700, depending on whether it’s adult or child ticket. If you are more diligent, you can also check with Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Singapore before your departure as their goodies bags sometimes include free admission passes to theme parks.
If I say Leofoo Village is the Disneyland of Taiwan, I bet a lot of people will raise their eyebrows. But if I say Leofoo is a Disneyland wannabe, I think more will agree. The park is similar to Disneyland, both in terms of themes, layout and even mascots. Whether Leofoo is of Disneyland’s standard or not is actually immaterial cos the kids will have a great time anyway. 😉
The park is suitable for all ages, I would say. It has some thrilling rides and some kiddy ones too. The most exciting ride should be the the Screaming Condor (笑傲飞鹰) which goes up high in the sky in almost 90° and then drag you down. You can check Leofoo’s website for more information on the various rides. I am sorry that this blog entry will be on the kiddy stuff as this day was promised to be theirs, i.e. my 2 girls. Thus please do not be mistaken that Leofoo is only for kids. I don’t want to do any injustice to Leofoo Village. 😉
The first thing we did was to catch the 飛行部落 show, which is inside the Wild West zone, at 11am. If you have seen the shows in Singapore Bird Park, you can skip this if you like (as it’s about the same). But for us, shows are part of the fun of a theme park and we will usually try to catch one or two shows, if possible.
As with most shows, there were some interactions with the audience and we were pleasantly surprised when our 6-year-old volunteered to participate one of the activities. I think our little one has grown up. 😉
There are four main zones in Leofoo, namely “Wild West”, “South Pacific”, “Arabian Kingdom” and “African Safari”. I think most of the kiddy rides are in the “Wild West” zone.
Another sign that my little Clarissa has grown up – She finally mustered her courage and took the very first roller coaster ride of her life !
After her maiden roller coaster ride, Clarissa was more confident and tried almost all the rides. She was fine and cheery until this one – Deep Sea Adventure. She cried when she was half way through the ride as she was tossed in all directions, including upside down. ;-(
If you are into parade of the mascots, be sure to gather around the central water fountain area at around 1.30pm to catch the only live parade. Maybe it was a weekday, there wasn’t many people watching the live parade. However, the performers were very professional and they put up a fantastic song and dance nevertheless.
As mentioned earlier, there are four main zones in Leofoo and each zone has its own attractions and shows. Personally, I enjoyed the “African Safari” the most as it gave the children the opportunity to get real close to the animals. Take for example in the “Zulu Petting Zoo”, domesticated animals such as goats and horses roam freely and you are free to touch them if you wish.
There are three activities that are highly recommended and if time does not permit, just go for the “Nairobi Express”. You won’t regret this decision. 😉
- Feed the goats. The kids will have a great time when the goats lick their palms
- Take the “Monkey Trail”, which is a slow cycling trail above the ground. You will get to see the various species of monkeys from high vantage points
- Take the “Nairobi Express”, which will bring you close to some magnificent animals such as American Bison and White Rhinoceros
I think the Nairobi Express ride took about 20 minutes and by the time we were done, the sky was getting dark. Since we had to catch the bus back to Taipei (another 1.5 hour journey), we didn’t have enough time to explore the rest of the park. Below are some photos that we quickly snapped before we left the park.
On the whole, we had an enjoyable day at the park. If you are planning a trip to Taipei with kids, Leofoo Village is definitely a must-do!
Useful Information – Leofoo Village:
- 09:00-17:00 weekdays, 09:00-19:00 weekends and public holidays
- MRT to 景安 Station
- Take e-go bus to Leofoo Village. The bus-stop is just outside the MRT station; no need to cross any road