|This month City543 explores Flora & Fauna, Latin for the collective plant and animal life respectively of any particular region or time, with pieces about the lifeforms human beings have the pleasure of sharing this earth with.|
Soft grass, brilliant sunshine, the aroma of delicate pastries, colorful refreshments—picnic season is finally upon us! Picnics—a simple pleasure, springtime sweetness—are the perfect way to celebrate the coming of spring and Earth Day on April 22. There may be many patches of green in the city, but we’re really looking forward to spreading our mats at the following places in Taipei this year.
The sprawling 26-hectare park in the heart of the busy city is known as the “lungs of Taipei” for its wealth of greenery. Though the “forest” in the title may be a little overstated, the grassland, flowers and interesting mix of trees will no doubt thrill nature lovers, providing the perfect shaded canopy for picnicking. Like many of the other great urban parks of the world, such as Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London, the best thing to do in Daan Park is nothing at all. Bring a picnic basket, find a quiet patch, breathe in the scent of nearby camphor trees and soak up the peace and quiet.
image via Le Jen Jian
An expansive patch of grass plus numerous boats along the Keelung River give Dajia Riverside Park an A when it comes to a scenic picnic. Besides its spaciousness, convenient parking and beautiful scenery, there are numerous sporting facilities nearby from a basketball court and bike path. It’s a wonderfully relaxing spot with lovely views across river—aircraft landing at and taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport, the Miramar Ferris Wheel, as well as the soaring Taipei 101 tower in the distance. You know you can’t go wrong at the location of not one but two TLC Taipei Picnic Days.
image via 玄史生
Taipei’s newest patch of green is in the heart of the city; the expansive and artistic green space Huashan Grassland offers an ideal get away from the city without actually having to do so. Tucked into Huashan 1914 Creative Park, you might forget you’re smack in the middle of the jam-packed metropolis. A hot spot for the artistic crowd and the Taipei Picnic Club, this vast grassland also hosts many cultural events and music festival and acts as the venue of the annual Taipei White Picnic Party. The weekend creative markets and food booths near by offer plenty of grub for you to supplement your picnic with, and if the weather fails—as it sometimes does in Taipei—simply nip inside Huashan’s numerous cafes, exhibition halls or even the film theatre.
image via Taipei Picnic Club
Just a 30 minute drive from Taipei Main Station, this picturesque mountainside lea in the Yangmingshan National Park is encircled by the mountains of the Yangmingshan area. Its elevation makes it great for flying kites, throwing frisbees or even the general silliness—such as rolling down the slopes. Lie down on your picnic rug and take in the peaceful skyline while enjoying your homemade turkey wrap. After picnicking, take quiet stroll, hike up to Qixingshan or relax at the hot springs nearby.
image via linno chou
“Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze,”—such happiness is not only for Wordsworth, but all in Taipei City. Located in Neihu District, the humble Dahu Park is best known for its 13-hectare lake, traditional Chinese bridges and pavilions. Stroll along the tranquil lake beneath the shadow of the willows and enjoy the rippling lights on the lake before you take to your picnic in the quiet park—no sports or events here—one of the few places in Taipei where you can fish.
image via 陶 澤中
We’ll admit: Sometimes our perfect picnic plans are instantly erased at the thought of preparation; sometimes packing a picnic feels like more work than it’s worth. But we’ve found the perfect solutions at the following places below.
If you don’t have a garden or front lawn, visit Yannick Dream Village, which was transformed from the housing for the US to a Southern style cafe in Yangmingshan. The café has a large backyard, with picnic tables as well as expanses of greenery for that nice basket, blanket and classic picnic treats from traditional American country pies and French quiche to salads, sandwiches and “Coca-coffee”—all provided by the café to save you the trouble. Afterwards, be sure to walk around the cafe, which has conserved its 1950s Southern decor down to its vintage decor, from the centennial music box to the ‘50s pay phone.
image via Yannick Dream Village
Sonnnetor Cafe makes everything easier for picnickers. Located near many popular picnic spots such as Tianmu and Xinsheng South Road, this picnic savior offers everything you will need for your open-air feast, from fresh baked baguette to quiche, appetisers to desserts, juice to freshly-brewed coffee, as well as a couple of meal sets. For an extra NT$10, you can have a set bamboo cutlery for your moveable feast. Now all you need to do is pick up, pack up and picnic on any lawn you fancy.
image via *Sonnentor Cafe
feature image © Lian Cho for City543