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Landmark ruling on holiday in term could push up the price for childless travellers as well as lowering cost of going away during school breaks

  • FairFX found that family package holidays to popular destinations currently cost as much as double their normal price if taken during school break
  • Experts say if parents are allowed to take children during term time, the demand for holidays would be spread and prices more likely to even out

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Travel experts predicted last night that the High Court ruling could be a double-edged sword. If families can take children out of school without fear of fines, the surges in demand which allow travel firms to increase their prices during school holidays will level out. This could lead to holidays becoming cheaper during peak periods but could also push up prices during off-peak, term time.

FairFX found that family package holidays to popular destinations currently cost as much as double their normal price if taken during school break

A recent survey by travel money firm FairFX found that family package holidays to popular destinations currently cost as much as double their normal price if taken after schools break up for summer. Only yesterday its figures showed that prices rocket by more than 100 per cent in Spanish and Portuguese resorts. Air fares, in particular, can more than triple during school Discount Holidays © holiday periods leaving a family of four facing a bill of around 2,000 just for flights to Spain, Greece or Italy on a budget airline. In the UK, dedicated family Discount Holidays © holiday operators such as Center Parcs have been criticised for charging 700 for just three nights during half term. But airlines and tour operators insist they have always used complex and sophisticated technology to ensure prices reflect demand.

The systems are likely to increase off-peak fares to meet growing demand at these times. Ian-Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of FairFX, said: Now we ve had the High Court say it s essentially not lawful for parents to be fined for taking their kids out of school during term time provided they secure regular attendance on the whole we could see cheaper family holidays all year round, not just during term time.

It s a case of supply and demand and if parents are prepared to take their children out of school then demand for holidays could be spread more evenly across the year. A spokesman for ABTA, the UK s largest travel association, said it had been campaigning for the education system to stagger school Discount Holidays © holiday dates by area or region.

She said: This system already works well on the continent. This would help to flatten out the extreme spikes caused by increases in demand, particularly in July and August. The court ruling comes at a difficult time for the travel industry amid a slowdown in tourists caused by fears about terrorism.

Attacks over the past year in Paris, Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt have reduced demand for flights and holidays, damaging the profits of some of the biggest travel firms, including EasyJet and Thomas Cook.

Cool things to do in Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Dear Taipei,

You know that List of Stuff I Want To Do In Taipei that is fed almost daily? Yeah, that one that seems to have more added to it regularly than crossed off? Well, this is the month to get cross happy. I just started my month off between school terms (please don t hate me), and I have an excessive amount of time to do nothing and everything. It s too tempting just to do nothing, so I m going to try and aim for the latter.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Yesterday I crossed off one of the items that s been there for a while- A visit to Taipei Zoo. To be honest, I never considered a visit to Taipei Zoo a must do before I leave Taipei . It was more one of those items that I thought would be fun to check out, but if I don t go it wouldn t be a loss. There are many more places, experiences and sensations that I hold as much more critical to do. Plus, not to brag, but my hometown Sydney s Taronga Zoo is without a doubt one of the best in the world Although you won t have a chance to see the gorgeous Formosan Black Bear!

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei ZooFormosan Black Bear

But yesterday, drowning in free time, I asked a friend if he d like to go for kicks. I must admit I was quite excited when he said yes- I was suddenly filled with anticipation as memories of childhood visits and more recent ones bubbled in my mind. Arriving at quarter to one, the entrance was startlingly packed. Still a public holiday, I expected it to be crowded, but I didn t envision it to reach the extent it was.

Inside was worse. But while I would normally grumble at the need to battle the crowds, the sight of so many different people- children gleaming with curiosity and excitement, lovers hand-in-hand, friends four-in-a-line, all having such a good day out somewhat added to the fun.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

We made our way around the whole zoo at an excessively leisurely pace. We both agreed that there was no need to rush- if we wanted to stare at the monkeys for an hour, we damn well could! I think that s the way to go with zoos- slow it down a bit, savour the experience of watching an animal do their thing for a bit and rinse and repeat.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

I m sure my friend would attest that the whole day I was swept up in a childlike excitement. I truly was captivated by the habits of the elephants, the innocence of the panda joyfully chewing on his bamboo, the utter cuteness of the penguins.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

I admired the beauty of the cheetah s spots, envied the intelligence of the monkeys and laughed at the antics of the baboons. I really did feel transformed- if for just a day- back to a time when I was knee-high and bouncing from enclosure to enclosure, mouth agape and eyes widened.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

The zoo is surprisingly large- something which only dawned on us once we d realised we d already spent an hour exploring roughly 20% of the zoo. For some reason I mistakenly thought it would be small and quaint- perhaps it was the ridiculously cheap NT$60 entrance fee that fooled me. It in fact has a combined area is 165 hectares, with 90 hectares being open to the public.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

The zoo is divided into different exhibition buildings (the Education Center, the Penguin House, the Koala House, the Amphibian and Reptile House and the Insectarium). I was overjoyed to see my favourite animals- penguins- just in time before the 5:00 closing time. I stood there transfixed laughing at their antics until my friend had to practically drag me away.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

There are also many exhibition areas (the Formosan Animal Area, the Children s Zoo, the Asian Tropical Rainforest Animal Area, the Desert Animal Area, the Australian Animal Area, the African Animal Area, Bird World and the Temperate Zone Animal Area). There is also an outdoor nature observation area, a wetland park, and a special exhibit house (Taipei Zoo1).

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

If you go early enough, in the morning there are a handful of shows to enjoy. You might even want to line up to catch the Zoo Train that takes you from one exhibit area to another (it looks like fun for the kid-at-heart, but we didn t get the chance because the line was too long). Arriving early may make the waiting time to bask in the glory of the lovable panda more bearable. As you see, we only got a glimpse through the crowd!

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

One thing that I m always wary about with zoos is the treatment of the animals. My friend and I agreed that especially by Asian standards, the zoo is fairly well maintained and the animals generally seems quite well taken care of. Most of the enclosures are reasonably sized and there is a good degree of distance between visitors and the animals. However, there were a few animals that seemed to sport some minor sores (although I m no expert in this regard). Another observation that made us both quite sad was that quite a few animals seemed to be living alone. Overall, there are of course areas for improvement, but overall I think the animals seem to be cared for quite well.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

So, is Taipei Zoo worth the trip? Well, if you re short on time on a trip here, unless you have a particular reason you d want to check out Taipei Zoo (perhaps to see the Taipei Bear?), then skip it and visit those must sees .

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

If however, you ve got a half day to spare and are looking for a relaxing, cheap and enjoyable time, sure, check it out! I d say the same goes for expats like me living here- if you re short on plans but want to get out of the house, then why not pay a visit for a couple of hours?

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

You know, I m really glad I crossed Visiting Taipei Zoo off my list. It was way more impressive and fun than I had assumed it would be- and at $60, I think it s quite a steal of a day out. Especially if you get a chance to see this weird and rare creature

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Although don t hold your breath- I ll probably be trying to conquer that never ending list.

-TTT

What s the greatest zoo you have visited? What animal do you always look forward to seeing? What s on your Taipei Bucket List ? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂

Taipei Zoo

Where? No.

30, Section 2, Xinguang Road, Taipei.
116 ‘ 30
Opening hours:
Open year round ever day (except for Chinese New Year s eve).
Zoo Hours: 9:00 a.m.

5:00 p.m. (no entry after 4:00 p.m.)
Animals Exhibit: 9:00 a.m.

4:30 p.m. (indoor and outdoor exhibits)
Indoor Exhibits are closed on Monday by turns, so please check the website before visiting
Cost: Adults $60.
Discount tickets available in limited circumstances, see website for further details.
Nearest MRT:
Taipei Zoo Station (this is without a doubt the simplest way to access the zoo)
More details:
Taipei Zoo Website2

Tips:
1) Bring your own lunch or eat beforehand. The variety of food in the zoo is lacking, and most of it is fried fast food and overpriced. At least when we went, there were ridiculously long queues.

There were also a couple of convenience stores, but the lines were even longer, and many of the shelves were already cleared out.
2) Wear comfortable shoes- there s a bit of walking between the exhibit areas.
3) Make sure you have an Easy Card (MRT card) to save lining up and enter the park directly.
4) If you re feeling energetic, you can combine the trip with a visit to Makong- the entrance is right next door!

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References

  1. ^ Taipei Zoo (english.zoo.gov.taipei)
  2. ^ Taipei Zoo Website (english.zoo.gov.taipei)