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One-day Springtime Tour Itinerary: Exploring Taipei’s Film Locations

One-day Springtime Tour Itinerary: Exploring Taipei’s Film LocationsOver the past few years, Taiwanese movies and idol dramas have become all the rage. In addition to creating strong box office sales, film locations have become gathering places for fans intent on following the stars. This especially holds true for those depicted in romantic films and love stories. Fans seek to follow in the footsteps of their favorite leading actors and actresses, recapturing memories of heart wrenching dialogues by placing themselves in an identical setting. Lingering in the same atmosphere, it is possible to imagine the emotional twists and turns of the main characters.

This has led to the creation of a new travel trend. Rich in cultural diversity, a number of places have been spotted by directors as well-suited to their scripts, and thus have been used as film locations. Taking advantage of the warmer weather that comes with spring, the sights visited by movie lovers can be explored. The fictional stories portrayed on the silver screen can be transformed into a real-life romantic one-day getaway for two. Hand in hand, follow the stars!

The overall architectural detail of the Beitou Museum makes it a representative example of Japanese-style woodenarchitecture.9:00~12:30
Visit Taiwan’s Version of Hollywood – Follow in the Footsteps of Movie Fans in Beitou

Around the 1960s, when Taiwanese-language films were popular, Beitou (北投), a hot springs resort area, served as a natural filming location. It was often selected by directors as a filming site for films such as for The Guitar of Hot Spring Township (溫泉鄉的吉他) and Brother Liu and Brother Wang on the Roads in Taiwan (王哥柳哥遊台灣). At one time, it possessed the highest concentration of film crews in Taiwan and was called the “Hollywood of Taiwanese cinema”.

Forever Love (阿嬤的夢中情人) pays tribute to the golden age of Taiwanese films. In the movie, Mei-Yue (美月) sits on the back of Chi-Sheng (奇生)’s motorcycle, riding past one of the scenic spots of Beitou–Hell Valley (地獄谷). However, this is not Geothermal Valley (地熱谷), also known by its former name of Hell Valley. It is Lihuang (Sulfur) Valley (硫磺谷), located a short distance from urban areas. It is famed for its terrain, which is a mix of pyroclastic rock and sedimentary rock. The entire hillside appears to be a steaming kettle year-round. Towering clouds of steam spew out from cracks and geysers, making it seem like a fog-filled version of a barren desert. One can imagine the scene in which the female lead Amber An (安心亞) is on the back of the male lead Blue Lan (藍正龍)’s motorcycle as they ride through thick fog. It is indeed filled with adventurous romance.

Heading back to the center of Beitou, the atmosphere of this hundred-year-old hot springs area is quiet and pleasant. In the movie, The Killer Who Never Kills (殺手歐陽盆栽), this is where the gangster, who goes by the nickname Tricky, has a heart-to-heart talk with his protege. In the TV drama Skip-Beat! (華麗的挑戰), Korean superstar Lee Dong Hae and female lead Ivy Chen (陳意涵) grew up in this area of hot springs hotels, and filming was done at the vintage Beitou Museum (北投文物館). The predecessor of this museum was the Kazan Hotel (佳 山旅館) which was constructed in 1921. At that time, it was the finest hot springs resort in Beitou. During its renovation, special care was taken to retain its original appearance, down to the finest details, such as the doors, windows and staircases. In addition, the garden landscapes were completely preserved. The result is a very attractive site that can be considered a representative example of Japanese-style wooden architecture in Taiwan.

Geothermal Valley can be easily reached. All year round it is shrouded in steam and fog, creating a fantasyland setting.Welcome to The Happy Days (五星級魚干女) is part of the Metro of Love (台北愛情捷運) film series, and it is scheduled to hit movie screens in March. Also filmed in Beitou, the gentle and refined direction of Gavin Lin (林孝謙) is a perfect complement to the healing style of the hot springs area. A historic hot springs hotel is facing closure, and a young woman, drab in appearance, is filled with determination to help her grandmother revive the hotel. A stylish young American man arrives in Taiwan who then takes the MRT to Beitou and searches for an opportunity to work in exchange for room and board. What kind of story will unfold as they unite to save this hotel? Beitou’s secret and not-so-secret scenic attractions are revealed through the eyes of this director. These sites include the Beitou Branch of the Taipei Public Library (台北市立圖書館北投分館), Geothermal Valley, Beitou Park (北投公園) and Beitou Market (北投市場). Visiting the filming locations of Beitou is a profound journey for perceiving the local warmth, and it provides the opportunity to see anew the unique charm and beauty of this place.

Beitou Park has become famous due to its appearance in a recent film, an adaptation of a work by graphic artist Jimmy Liao (幾米), entitled Turn Left, Turn Right (向左走向右走). Although the main characters, played by Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武) and Gigi Leung (梁詠琪), live in the same building, they never seem to meet. The first time they set eyes on each other is at a fountain in Beitou Park. A manuscript that Leung’s character is working on is blown into the fountain by a strong gust of wind, and Kaneshiro’s character jumps into the water to rescue it. Sparks immediately fly between the two, but a sudden storm separates them. The ensuing rain makes their telephone numbers written on slips of paper for one another illegible. What follows is a beautiful, yet melancholy, period of longing, and it becomes a mustvisit sacred place for Jimmy Liao. In the highly popular Taiwanese drama, In Time With You (我可能不會愛你), the main characters Cheng You-Qing (程又青) and Lee Da-Ren (李大仁) are seen squabbling at school, and this scene was filmed at Taipei Municipal Fuxing Senior High School (復興高中). This campus has long been a part of this area, known as the “Hollywood of Taiwanese cinema” and its star status has not waned. It has provided inspiration for generations of filmmakers, and a relaxed stroll here is sure to be a fulfilling experience.

Explore Muzha’s Cafe. Waiting.Love and Recall Moments from Our Times

It almost seems as if a rich aroma of coffee is wafting from the screen in the movie Cafe.Waiting.Love.In 2014, the film Cafe.Waiting. Love (等一個人咖啡) earned more than NT$100 million at the box office in just six short days. With the release of this film, Taipei City, which was already filled with the fragrant aroma of coffee, experienced another wave of “coffee addiction”. In this film, a coffee shop appears in a small lane across from Taipei Jingmei Girls High School (景美女中). This is an actual, operating coffee shop, and it retains the same furnishings and decorations as in the film. Many fans come to pay their respects to the female main character Siying (思螢) and Abusi (阿不思), the barista who can blend any type of coffee to order, as well as the mysterious and beautiful owner and the main male characters A-tuo (曾元拓) and Zeyu (楊澤于). Here, fans imagine this unforgettable line from the movie: “Everyone is waiting for someone, waiting for that one person who will see that you are different from everyone else.” The coffee, therefore, takes on a different flavor from that of every other coffee.

The creative menu is an extension of the movie. Fans adore ordering strange sounding coffee concoctions with unique flavors, such as those of the Cafe.Waiting.Love series. Examples include “Coffee for Real Man”, “In Love, the Mistress is the One Who is Unloved” and “Overwhelming Sadness of Duel on the Huashan Mountain”. It is just like experiencing the extraordinary coffee brewing talents of Abusi, and they can be paired with the “Girls’ Friend Red Bean” waffle, the “Courage is Needed to Express Your Feelings” brunch set, the smoked salmon sandwich or the Greek salami panini. It is said that this is a place where people who have been hiding their feelings for a special someone are filled with the courage to reveal them! After finishing your coffee, the next stop on your movie itinerary should be a trip to Muzha Park (木柵公園). The skating rink in this park is the setting for a classic romantic scene from the movie Our Times (我的少女時代). Muzha Park was constructed in 1980, and it includes a lakeside loop trail, pavilions, a children’s playground, and a skating rink. It is a community park with a comprehensive set of facilities. In this film, Hsu Tai-yu (徐太宇) brings Truly Lin (林真心) to this park at night to teach her how to skate. As Lin listens to a recording that Hsu give her, she looks up at the star-filled sky, thinking of Hsu who almost seems to be beside her. These scenes were filmed here, and during the filming, the production team installed lighting to create the effect of twinkling stars and an air of romance. Although these lights have been removed, it is still possible to walk around the skating rink and create your own version of the Our Times romance.

Search for Lee Da-Ren and Cheng You-Qing

From Jiannan Mountain, there are views of a slowly revolving, colorful Ferris wheel under enchanting moonlight.Cold comes early in the evening and brings with it a fine drizzle. However, that does not keep away the crowds of people on Jiannan Mountain (劍南山) in Dazhi. The visitors are mostly fans of the TV drama In Time With You and have come to visit one of its filming locations. Visitors can head up the mountain from Jiannan Road to Jiannan Butterfly Garden (劍南蝶園), and then, continue their ascent to where the nightscapes become more and more vivid. This is where Lee Da-Ren and Cheng You-Qing came to drink beer and admire the nighttime views. In the dark of night, the slowly revolving, colorful Ferris wheel and moonlight above, as well as the flowing lights of the traffic along Tiding Boulevard, are gorgeous sights to behold. Many people have said that it was only after seeing this TV drama that they discovered that there is such a beautiful spot from which to view Taipei at night, other than Yangmingshan and Maokong. Moreover, Jiannan Mountain is within walking distance of the MRT Jianan Road Station (捷運劍南路站), which makes it an even friendlier and more accessible destination for night views.

Beitou Museum 北投文物館 No. 32, Youya Road
Beitou Park 北投公園 No. 2, Zhongshan Road
Taipei Municipal Fuxing Senior High School 復興高中 No. 70, Fuxing 4th Road (02)2891-4131
Café.Waiting.Love 等一個人咖啡 No. 1, Ln. 44, Yishou Street (02)2936-0596
Muzha Park 木柵公園 No. 50, Sec. 4, Xinlong Road

Visitors can seize the opportunity to experience bright and beautiful springtime scenes, stroll through parks, sip coffee and admire nighttime city views, just like in the movies. On your travel map, just mark those places that are most moving to you and go there to make your own fond memories

Source: TAIPEI Quarterly