For those of you who’ve never been, Taipei is bustling city that is famous for its night markets and one of Asia’s largest shopping meccas that attracts people from all over the world to visit or to learn mandarin. When I first came to Taipei in 2011, I fell in love with this city and ever since, I always came back no matter where I am and where life takes me.
This is the one place that I always come home to.
This recent winter, it has been extremely rainy and sunlight was scarce. You would be so lucky to even catch one sunny day a week! So this time, I decided to really make the best out of each sunny day and do something “outdoorsy” and I managed to go to places I’ve never been before. The first place I discovered (drum rolls) was the parks in Taipei.
You must be thinking, what’s so special about a park? Well, I couldn’t care less for one if I haven’t been to this particular one, which got me on a mission to visit the rest of the parks in the city and really enjoy every trip thoroughly whenever the sun is out.
So one of my favorite parks out of all of them and also one of the largest one, is the magnificent Dahu Park. (which literally translates to Big Lake Park)
It is tucked away from the central area of Taipei in Neihu. What I really love about Dahu Park is that, it encompass a few different areas to sight see, picnic, hiking trails, or carry out fishing activities respectively. There is a beautiful Moon bridge and a Pavilion that is the Park’s most prominent monument to remember it by cause usually parks in general are pretty similar one way or another.
I was probably really lucky that my first trip to the park was during an absolutely beautiful sunny day in a twenty degrees weather. You really get to enjoy the best of it if you pick the right day to go. There are plenty of laughing children running around, playing all sorts of games and sports in the large fields, people bringing their happy dogs out to enjoy this day with them.
Best part of it was getting to feed the ducks! There were so many different gorgeous breed and variety of them and they were just swimming in its full grace in the waters, only coming up for food and sunshine to dry off. And also, if you love fishing, it is the perfect place for you. There are plenty of corner areas to set up your spot and you can have your own “privacy” to do your fishing in a peaceful and quiet setting under your shady umbrella or not. You could choose to bask in the sunlight if you wish.
So anyway, I really love this park and you could probably spend a few good hours over here to take long walks and catch up on a book in one of those stone benches or lay a mat and have a picnic with friends or family. The early mornings would probably be the best time to catch some good light and do pick a good sunny day to make this trip.
So the second spot I’ve chosen, is the Elephant Mountain. I went there specifically in the evening to try catch the sunset. And I did. It was a really spectacular sight to witness the sun setting in its bright orange glory. I literally stopped in my tracks to take it all in. So most people would attempt to take a hike up on this mountain in order to get the “best view” of Taipei as it oversees the iconic tallest Taipei 101 Building and the popular Xinyi District.
Also known as the Nangang District hiking trail, the hike takes a total of around 20 minutes to get to the top and along the way up, there are narrow rest stops for you to sit down to rest or take in the view and also vendors selling drinks & small snacks.
So you need not worry that you can’t make it up there. It is after all just a short hike compared to one of those really huge mountains. It is popular because of its strategic location and it is best to take your hikes in the evenings if you would like to stay longer for the night view too after the sun sets.
Last but not least, it is a very peculiar restaurant I visited that’s called the Five Dime Boathouse Restaurant. That is not too far away from the Dahu Park which is a perfect place to visit after that.
It is also close to one of the iconic shopping mall, Miramar Entertainment Park which has a rooftop ferries wheel and a large IMAX theatre housing several popular giant brand names in the department stores.
So just a little interesting fun fact and history behind this quirky restaurant that at first glance, you would think it was some sort of museum.
This is an interview extracted from an article I have read before I visited the place.
“I am a loner,” self-taught architect Xie Li Xiang says of herself, whose mind was always brimming with one creative thought after another. She wanted to design and build a house of her own but with little finances she had no choice but to be resourceful. Adversity often does wonders in bringing out one’s potential as she managed to construct a building from a daydream.
Brick by brick, plank by plank, she built her first house in the same way that she had played with building blocks as a little girl. Strapped for cash, she turned her first construction project into a restaurant to earn money for further projects. Having never attended a single architecture class, she has learned to design and build completely on her own.
Driven solely by passion and creativity, she has come to design some of the most spectacular restaurants in all of Taiwan. Xie came up with a creative name for her restaurant the “Five-Dime Boathouse”
So I have picked my top 3 choices for today and in my next post I will elaborate and talk about some of the museums, art galleries and places of interests I have visited and often visit over again on all my trips.
I could probably write volumes and volumes of entries on Taipei if I were to really begin telling you each and every one of the places that I have experienced my great share of wonderful memories. There are just too many things I love about it and this is just the icing on the cake.
There are famous hot springs, old streets and traditional street food and cultures I could write books about! I will save it for a next time.
Anyhow, I will end it here on a “sweet” note with one of Taiwan’s famous sweet treat.
Also known as “muah chee” it is basically made up of steamed glutinous rice flour handmade, coated with a generous portion of crushed fine peanut and a variation of black sesame and red bean filling too. Sometimes modified a little to have a “milkier” creamier taste that melts in your mouth along with its light fragrant chewy texture.