Fanglan Mansion and Yifang Mansion

Fanglan Mansion

Built in 1806, Fanglan Mansion [芳蘭大厝] was the Chen family’s first home when they immigrated to Taiwan from Anxi, Quanzhou County, Fujian Province.
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Taipei Lantern Festival 2008

My Personal Favorite

The 2008 Taipei Lantern Festival runs until Sunday, February 24. If you plan to go, be sure to get out before the weekend hits to avoid too big of a crowd. The festival has an English website that includes a map of the different attractions.

For more pictures, check out my Flickr set or the work of others.

Zhuzi Lake

Sweet Potato Soup

Ginger and Sweet Potato Soup [薑汁番薯湯]

We left the flower show in the early afternoon and took a bus to Zhuzi Lake [竹子湖]. By the time we arrived it was raining fairly hard so we took shelter at one of the nearby restaurants for a late lunch and to wait for the rain to lighten up a bit.
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Yangmingshan Flower Festival and Datun Falls


I spent most of Chinese New Year in Nantou eating and playing Mahjong. On Saturday, Cathy and I came back to Taipei to be greeted by the same weather that has plagued Taipei for 5 weeks: rainy and cold.
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Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Garden

Giant Banyan
Grandfather Banyan Tree [榕樹老公公 ]

After my rainy adventure to the prehistoric site, I made my way to the Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Garden [芝山文化生態綠園 (one funny thing about the website is that it has a tab for English but clicking it takes you to the Chinese page)]. Admission is only $50NT [$30NT for students]. Before I entered a bird enthusiast showed me through his telescope a magnificent Crested Goshawk [Accipiter trivirgatus] that was perched atop a tree 100 or so yards away.
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Chih-Shan Yen Prehistoric Site

Chih Shan-Yen Prehistoric Site 芝山岩遺址

I finally got around to returning to the Chih-Shan Yen Prehistoric Site [芝山岩遺址]. The previous time I visited, it was closed. This archaeological excavation revealed details of an advanced Austronesian population that lived in Taiwan. Radiocarbon dating places this layer in the strata between 3,600 to 3,000 BCE [Wikipedia article (CH)]. Besides an introductory Chinese/English plaque outside, there is really no information inside except for a small brochure about Chih-Shan Park. The volunteer was helpful and knowledgeable, but anyone who doesn’t understand Chinese may not get much out of a visit.
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Dihua St. – Shopping for Chinese New Year


Yesterday, we checked out the action on Dihua St. [迪化街] of people doing their shopping for Chinese New Year. We didn’t do much buying, but we did partake in a lot of sampling.
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Chih Shan-Yen Gate and Huiji Temple

Chih Shan-Yen Gate

I had some time to kill before work yesterday so I decided to check out a few places I had been meaning to visit for a while. The Chih Shan-Yen Gate [芝山岩隘門] is on the stairway up to Huiji Temple [惠濟宮].
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Historical Sites in Taipei I & II

Historical Sites in Taipei

I picked up Historical Sites in Taipei I & II the other day at Eslite Bookstore. The two books cost $200 NT each and serve as a directory of Taipei’s 133 historical sites. The sites are organized by district:

  • Book I covers Beitou [北投區], Datong [大同區], Neihu [內湖區], Shilin [士林區], Songshan [松山區], Wanhua [萬華區], and Zhongshan [中山區]
  • Book II covers Daan [大安區], Nangang [南港區], Wenshan [文山區], Xinyi [信義區], and Zhongzheng [中正區]

Each section has a street map of the district’s sites. All the street names are written in Chinese and English. Each site lists their date of completion, class, category, and address. There is a brief paragraph or more description of each site. The descriptions [along with everything else written in the books] are in both English and Chinese. Each site also has at least one picture. Only one site [the Grass Mountain Royal Guest House] has an old picture, it would be nice if they used older pictures on more sites to reveal how they changed [or remained] over time.

The Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government, and Artist Publishing Co. created these great books as an easy reference for anyone interested in Taipei’s history. The only drawbacks I see to them are that bus and MRT stations aren’t marked on the maps and my minor gripe about the lack of old photographs.