Taipei on two wheels – Riverside Park

April 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

If you ever considered biking on the streets of Taipei, you may be bombarded with scary riding stories from locals. Most of Taipei do not have marked bicycle lanes or signals. The easy, relaxed atmosphere that bikers enjoy in Amsterdam or Copenhagen is basically nonexistent. The streets of Taipei resemble something of a battlefield, with its army of scooters, manic taxi drivers and monster buses at every turn. It’s a feat that can be daunting for bikers who aren’t comfortable riding in chaotic conditions.

The Riverside Park is the answer to that. Bike lovers can enjoy a beautiful bike lanes while seeing a different side of Taipei. Though never mentioned in popular guidebooks, hunting out bite-size adventures at the Riverside Park is by far one of my favorite pastimes. Riverside Park (河濱公園) is a city-established parkway that wraps itself around the whole Taipei city, running along the Danshui and Keelong River. It’s a quick way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without leaving the city, with extensive bike paths that can take you from southern Taipei (Xindian) all the way to the northernmost part of the city (Danshui). In addition to wide bike lanes, you will also stumble upon an assortment of parks and recreational facilities such as tennis courts, basketball courts, dog parks and more. It’s a refreshingly new way to see Taipei, as it exposes you to different facets of daily life. There are many different parks, entrances and bike rental stations scattered around the city, so it is worth checking out the full map to know which parts of the riverside you want to be exploring.

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Beautiful view of the New Taipei Bridge and the Beitou Incinerator

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The other side of Grand Hotel Taipei in Yuanshan

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Did not know skating rinks even existed in Taipei

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The merry-go-round at 兒童樂園 (Taipei Children’s Recreation Center)

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Clean public restrooms

One of my favorite spots is the dog park @迎風河濱公園 where you can shamelessly pet other people’s dogs without being a creep about it.

Puppy on the left can’t even right now

 There are also designated graffiti walls for people to tag around the park. The walls are painted white periodically, so it’s a good place to get your spray practice on.

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Graffiti wall

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Another section of the wall

Bikes can be rented at stations around the river for around NT. 60/hour. You have to provide a government issued ID or a NT. 2000 deposit if you don’t have an ID. Many people prefer renting UBikes (map), Taipei’s bike sharing service. The first 30 mins is free and then NT.10 per 30 mins for up to 4 hours. There are different rates for 4 hours or more, so be wary of long bike rides. You’ll need an Easycard and a functioning Taiwan phone number for the 1-time registration.

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A UBike kiosk

And of course the delicious food trucks and coffee stands that are available everywhere!

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Delicious!

Have you ever biked around Taipei? Feel free to leave your stories in the comments!

5 Ways to Experience Bangkok

June 23, 2013 § 5 Comments

5. Marvel at the big picture

Like the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Grand Palace is the one must-see sight while visiting Bangkok. Once you set eyes on the palace, you wouldn’t question why it was so recommended. It’s magnificent, breathtaking and a visual feast.

Grand Palace @Bangkok

Magnificent!

Grand Palace @Bangkok

Gold is clearly their favorite color

4. Look closely at the details

The detail of the ornate decorations may often get overlooked by the grand architectural structures. There is a lot to look at when you visit the temples and it can be overwhelming (especially in the heat!) but it is worth taking a few closer looks at the wall. You’d be amazed by the variations of colors and patterns covering the temples. The titles of each section are vivid, beautiful and different.

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The tiles and the border don’t look like they should go together but they totally do

Could people from the past create such beautiful work if they have the attention span of a modern person?

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These tiles have a Chinese feel to them

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Beautiful royal blue mosaic tiles

It’s not just the tiles though. The wall murals depicted scenes for epic stories. Even if you are unfamiliar with Thai folklore, you can easily figure out what is going on. The stories need no explanation.

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Alligators have always been hungry and deadly

It’s worth paying attention to details everywhere you go. As a tourist, it’s easier to pick up details since you are actively drinking in the new sights. If you apply a tourist-filter to your daily life at home, you often spot gems that you have never noticed before.

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Observing Europe – Part I (Belgium)

February 12, 2012 § 7 Comments

 

I forgot what it’s like being in a place where I have difficulty reading the menus
Giving long blank stares to anyone that attempts to speak to me
And that feeling of hearing something but not being able to process it at all

That almost sums up my whole trip to Europe.

Confused, lost, bewildered but also unbelievably giddy, happy and being in constant awe.

Taking advantage of the 9-day Chinese New Year break, I took this rare opportunity to finally pay a visit to my parents. My parents moved to Brussels about half a year ago and I’ve been dying to go explore and frolick around the old world. The fast-paced and stressful lifestyle of Asia made me crave for the laid-back European lifestyle. It sounded like heaven; a place where people take the time to taste their food and enjoy the company of others. When getting off at five and having dinner with family is the norm and not a rare occasion. Well dressed and groomed gentlemen.

And don’t even get me started on the food.

I fell in love with macarons (Pierre Marcolini macarons!)

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Year of the Rabbit by Benji Davies & Jim Field | Happy Chinese New Year!

February 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

Chinese New Year started 2 days ago, on February 5th. I’ve been celebrating this joyous occasion by happily by stuffing myself silly with the ridiculous amounts of food around me and saying positive words and phrases that tie into prosperity and good fortune. Lots of family time and embracing the hopes for a better year. Celebrations last for about 2 weeks and traditionally there are special customs for each day. I love Chinese New Year :]

Here’s an awesome short called “Year of the Rabbit” by Benji Davies & Jim Field:

The minimalistic black and white style is fantastic and I love how that car got owned by the fluffy rabbit.

Happy New Year everyone!

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