Paradise Within the Urban Jungle
Nature lovers do not need to go far in Taipei to visit a secluded green building, shop for healthy, seasonal produce at a farmer’s market, and relax while watching the sunset from a hiking trail before quietly admiring the nightscape. In Taipei, a green lifestyle is right beside you; you just need to take the first step in exploring all that is beautiful.
Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch – Diamond-Class Green Building
Walking through Beitou Park (北投公園), you will see a rich green space complemented by a babbling brook, public outdoor hot-spring pools, the Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館), and other attractions. In addition, an old stone bridge has been preserved since the Japanese era. Added to this is the faint odor of sulfur in the air. There is an unavoidable feeling of stepping back in time, as if experiencing this hot-springs enclave as it was 100 years ago. Blending new and old elements, the Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch, which was completed in 2006, does not appear at all out of place. Looking as if it has long been here, it blends in well with the surrounding scenery.
From the initiation of the design process, environmental conservation has been the starting point for the Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch, including the use of construction materials, structure, and layout. On the roof are solar panels, and there is copious use of glass to allow in natural light. A rainwater collection and recycling system has been installed, and on the roof is grass cover. Each detail builds on the use of natural power, leading to reduction in energy use and harm to the environment. This has resulted in designation as Taiwan’s first diamond-class green building, and a US-based website has also named this one of the world’s 25 most beautiful public libraries.
Taipei Expo Farmer’s Market – Great Place for Purchasing Healthy Ingredients
If you are concerned about food safety, and would like to buy the healthiest ingredients directly from the farmers who produce them, visit the Taipei Expo Farmer’s Market ( 台北花博農民市集), held every Saturday and Sunday, to search for food treasures.
Taipei Expo Park (花博公園) is located next to MRT Yuanshan Station (捷運圓山站). Every weekend it becomes a platform for exchanges between city residents and farmers from all over Taiwan. The farmers that set up stalls here have all been recommended by the farmers’ association in the city or county in which they live. Products sold here are safe, grown with non-toxic methods. They also come with a complete traceability and testing report to ensure consumers’ peace of mind. Zhang Shuisheng (張水勝), who represents the Changhua Coffee Production and Marketing Group (彰化咖啡產銷班), brings coffee beans grown on Baguashan (Mt. Bagua; 八卦山), and shares their aroma and taste with visitors to his stall. He says that, “Our coffee is mild, and not excessively stimulating.
With each sip, the sweet harmony of flavors lasts for a long time.” He adds that the coffee from his production and marketing group has been certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) for three consecutive years, its high quality bringing the coffee top marks. In addition, promotional events related to seasonal vegetables and fruits are held, such as for Shetou (社頭) guava, Miaoli (苗栗) sand pears, and Tainan (台南) mangoes. These are the best-tasting fruits during the hot-weather months. Visit the Taipei Expo Farmer’s Market and experience Taiwan’s rich diversity of farm produce for yourself.
Neishuangxi Nature Center – Premier Nature Classroom
Just to the north of the Neishuangxi Nature Center (內雙溪自然中心) is Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園). On its east are Wanli (萬里) and Xizhi (汐止). To the south, crossing Daluntoushan (Mt. Daluntou; 大崙頭山) and Dalunweishan (Mt. Dalunwei; 大崙尾山), is Neihu (內湖). Covering an area of 104 hectares, this park possesses tropical, subtropical, and temperate broadleaf forest. Rich in resources, including wildlife, plant life, and geological features, it is a precious forest area along the outskirts of Taipei City. Within the park are forest and geology classrooms, a medicinal-plant garden, Bixi Nature Trail (碧溪自然步道), and the Daluntoushan Trail Group (大崙頭山步道群).
The former Xi-Shan Nursery ( 溪山苗圃) is now an education center. According to the Geotechnical Engineering Office of the Public Works Department, Taipei City Government, partial renovation work is currently being carried out. However, visitors can still view the medicinal-plant garden, and sign up for environmental-education guided tours providing in-depth exploration of a diversity of seasonal plants, such as wishbone flower, star cluster, mint, and sweet chrysanthemum. At the same time, they can enjoy a natural forest symphony of the songs and calls of the Latouche’s frog, katydid, and Formosan blue magpie.
Jiantan Mountain Hiking Trail – Taipei Nightscape Views
Standing on the Old Place Plane- Spotting Platform (老地方觀機平台), along the Jiantan Mountain Hiking Trail (劍潭山登山步道), off to the left is Taipei 101, for a time the tallest building in the world. To the right is the Shin Kong Life Tower (新光大樓), once Taipei’s tallest building. Directly ahead you can see airplanes taking off and landing at Taipei Songshan Airport (台北松山機場). It is difficult not to feel moved, as from this vantage point Taipei is a picture of beauty. Jiantan Mountain Hiking Trail is of “lightweight grade.” The tallest peak is at an elevation of just 153 meters. Along this trail are many scenic spots; in addition to what is called the area’s “Eighth Beauty” (八美), the Old Place, there is the “Seventh Beauty” (七美), where you can watch the sunset over Tamsui (淡水). If you have not yet walked too far, after the sunset return to the Old Place to wait for the night view, when myriad twinkling lights will appear before your eyes.
Locally Produced Food Tastes Best: SheMe To Go
SheMe To Go combines three brands, Beitou’s SheMe House (拾米屋), 55th Street Craft Brewery (55街精釀啤 酒), and Shang Qing Restaurant (上清料理) to create this fine-food restaurant and bar. It makes use of healthy, fresh ingredients to produce natural cuisine. Products include roasted coffee beans, domestic and imported natural foods, and homemade desserts. Su Yifan ( 蘇怡帆), the chef, says that all of the items on the menu, without exception, are handmade with ingredients produced in a friendly environment. For example, the eggs used to make the homemade desserts are from farms that allow their chickens to roam freely under the sun (free-range eggs). In addition, the spices in the curry are ground and mixed by hand. The owner insists on the concept of delicious ingredients and friendly land use in the making of the dishes, providing diners with the best tastes of Taiwan. Find the information of SheMe To Go at www.facebook.com/shemetogo (Chinese).
Source: TAIPEI quarterly