Taipei is surprisingly nice for such a huge city. The people are warm and friendly, and the footpaths and public spaces are populated with smiling, happy people talking and laughing. It’s wonderful, although somedays you just need some space, some quiet, and some trees - unfortunately, so does everyone else!
You'll likely not find an empty park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A cold, wet afternoon is far more likely to provide it. If you live in Taipei you probably own an umbrella, so it’s time to open yourself up to the charming, albeit slightly damp, joys of avoiding the crowds in a very crowded city.
I’ve listed a few places that I always enjoy, but you will eventually find your own space. Exploring your new home is one of the joys of living abroad so don’t be afraid to venture out and see what you can find.
Fuyang Eco Park
In much the same way a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly, a military base was transformed into a paradise for insect enthusiasts. Generally a bit too busy for a long stay, a stroll through this centrally-located jungle can give you some much needed breathing space. It’s a short walk from Linguang MRT. Note: Eco tours and family outings make this place quite hectic on weekends.
Only a short walk from Fuyang Eco Park, Fuzhoushan is like Elephant Mountain’s quiet, geeky twin. You get the same view of Taipei’s skyline, the same Instagram-worthy shots of Taipei 101, and the same general ‘jungle in the city’ vibe, but it’s just less popular with the cool kids. It isn’t deserted, but if you avoid it at sunset you’ll only be sharing it with seniors, a few families, and people walking their dogs.
The journey may be overcrowded but, provided you time it properly, the reward is worth the trauma. Just outside Xinbeitou MRT is a huge, leafy park, complete with seats, water features, tortoises and enough space for all to find a quiet place to chill out. It’ll never be so crowded that you regret going.
Tamsui MRT Park
If you wander out of Exit 1 of Tamsui MRT station on a sunny day you’ll be greeted with bustling crowds and the numerous sights and sounds of Tamsui Old Street. The same place on a rainy day gives you a lovely park, a great view of Tamsui river (and Bali island), and utter solitude. It’s amazing how quickly everyone disappears when the raindrops start, but you will have the place more or less to yourself until the sun returns.
The park near your house
There is probably a small park near your home. It’ll be paved, but there will be flowers, shrubs, seats, and maybe a little gazebo. It’ll probably be busy but that can be a good thing. Grab a coffee and watch the seniors doing Tai Chi in the morning. Introduce yourself to the local dogs. Smile at kids learning how to ride tricycles. Sometimes the need to be alone is really just the need to be around familiar faces. The local park can be a nice place to meet your neighbours and feel a little more connected to your community.
Written by: 'Allie Allanson' (a version of this article originally appeared in the Shane English School Taiwan Teachers' Newsletter October 2019 edition)
Published by: Head Office