Despite Taipei’s blistering summer heat, we set off on an adventure to visit two of Taipei’s most famous temples, the weekend farmer’s market at the Expo Park, and finally cycle through the riverside park along the Keelung river towards the Rainbow Bridge and Raohe night market.
Confucius Temple & Bao’an Temple
Visiting the Confucius Temple has surpassed all my expectations: it provides a calm and quiet oasis amidst the city centre of Taipei! The entrance is free and we slowly made our way through the vast and vividly coloured temple grounds.
Something I love about Taipei in general is all the Banyan trees around, not only providing shade but also a sense of tropical tranquility.
Just across the street from Taipei’s Confucius Temple is the Bao’an Temple – how convenient! Our visit started with a typical introduction that happens whenever we get approached by friendly locals who want to make small talk:
“Where are you from?”
(After a moment of hesitance over how to explain our situation in one sentence) “From Germany and the UK.”
“Ohhhhhhh Germany! I love German cars/products/cities etc. / I traveled to Germany last year / I have a niece/sister/cousin who lives in Germany!”
Why does nobody care about the UK in Asia? We are still trying to find out but think it’s due to the high amount of German companies and German expats living in Asia.
Anyway! Bao’an Temple turned out as a great place to chat with locals in a mix of Mandarin and English and we were impressed when we found that the temple provides a relaxation hall, clean toilets, free wifi and drinking water. Feel like a break in Taipei’s bustling city centre?! Go visit a temple!
Local Farmer’s Market at Taipei Expo
We were lucky to visit the Expo Park on the weekend and see the local farmers market! Picture an abundance of tropical fruits, Taiwanese snacks and specialty teas. Wonderful!
A mango juice, pink dragon fruit and a Taiwanese hamburger later, we finally got on our YouBikes (bikes that you can rent and drop off across the city with your metro card) to cycle through Dajia & Yingfen Riverside park.
Cycling East along Keelung River
We picked up our bikes behind Taipei Expo and started cycling through the botanical garden to reach Dajia Riverside Park which stretches out with a proper cycling path and water parks along the way, all the way along the river. The riverside parks change names as you keep cycling east. We really took our time here, partially due to the extreme heat, but also to take in a bit of culture and just watch the locals enjoying themselves in the park, with great mountainous scenery and monuments in the background.
About three quarters of the way toward the Rainbow Bridge, we started seeing Taipei’s skyline…. and then it wasn’t long until we had already reached our final destination.
You can actually walk along the Rainbow Bridge – it’s a nice view from up there!
Although we had reached our final stop and dropped off our bikes, there was one more thing: Taipei’s famous Raohe night market. Despite being pretty tired, we dragged ourselves along the night market and even though we spent an hour walking along both sides, we didn’t even manage to get to see everything! The night market has everything you can imagine – stinky tofu, watermelon juice, fake clothes, … – and the crowded craziness took us back to good old China days.
We hope that this blog post inspired you to visit Taipei and cycle along the Keelung River.
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