Colors from the Walls
A day before I left Taiwan, I decided to explore some artwork in Taipei. Colors spread on walls often trigger my own eyes to marvel and appreciate the modern, non-traditional form of art. In some small streets within Taipei, the graffiti art screams like visual explosions, showing visitors and locals that this art movement thrives to add color to the community.
Such colorful display can be seen around the Wanhua District near Taipei Cinema Park. To get to the park by MRT, get off at Ximen Station, turn right for Hanzhong Street, then left for Emei Street. Hanzhong transforms at night as Ximen Night Market. At Emei Street, walk a few blocks to reach the corner of Kangding Road where the Taipei Cinema Park is located.
In that area, you get to see these amazing artworks:
Godzilla and the painted crate
The park was the former location of Taiwan Gas Co. during the Japanese colonial period. In their website, the objective of the park development is not only to create a leisure park filled with artwork and culture but also to preserve the old factory building, its chimney and other parts. It also aims to integrate in the area the multi-entertainment media such as movies, coffee places and youth recreation.
Graffiti art is a huge crowd drawer in Taipei Cinema Park. This artform also extends to the backstreet and side lanes. Tourists and locals often visit the area and explore the streets for photo opps. It is a popular spot for the local youth, especially on weekends as it transforms into skateboarding park as well.
Try to walk around Taipei Cinema Park, there are several interesting places to visit such as the Red House Theatre, an octagonal building which was built in 1908, the Jinde Temple, The Modern Toilet Restaurant and of course the movie houses.
The Rainbow Bridge
Crossing the Keelung River at Songshan District is the 167m-long Rainbow Bridge. Initially, my plan was just to experience Raohe Night Market but I arrived at Songshan hours before nightfall so I decided to walk the length of Raohe and made a turn towards the Rainbow Bridge.
It is a red-painted arched foot bridge. People can also walk across with their bikes. It is a growing tourist attraction because of its proximity to the Raohe Night Market.
Raohe Night Market
I’ve visited a lot of night markets in Taipei for the last couple of days. It wouldn’t hurt if I visit one more night market. I’ve checked out Ximending, Shilin and Ningxia Night Markets. Time to explore Raohe Night Market this time. It’s near the terminal station of Songshan on the Green line.
Songshan Ciyou Temple
East end of Raohe St. Night Market
Just along the Section 4, Bade Road, beside the east end of Raohe Street is the Songshan Ciyou Temple. This is a mid-18th century temple dedicated to the Goddess Mazu. It is a beautiful temple with heavy ornamental details. The roofs are elaborately decorated with dragons and immortals.
Prayers to Goddess Mazu
Roahe Street Night Market is one of the oldest in Songshan. The market is about 600m long and is filled with night street food, souvenir shops, stalls selling all sorts of merchandise and some carnival games. Raohe is one of those night markets for people who wants to buy stuff at discounted prices.
Sky full of lanterns
Hu Jiao Bing
Not to missed is the Hu Jiao Bing or the Black Pepper Buns. This stall near the east end of the street often has a long queue. The Hu Jiao Bing are buns filled with minced meat and vegetable and of course, pepper. The buns are baked fresh in brick ovens and are served hot.
I bought several boxes of pineapple tarts, mochi and other fruit filled cakes. I walked the entire length of Raohe Street and back just to find the stall with the biggest discount to offer. The market is not as packed as Shilin or busy as Ximending, a perfect option for a less stressful souvenir shopping.
Souvenir shopping done, this trip to Taiwan is coming to an end. I say again, 5 days is not enough to explore this country. It’s likely that another visit must be planned. Beyond temples, beyond monuments and beyond food, there’s more to Taiwan than we could ever imagine.