Other than the world-renowned Taipei Metro, the dazzling array of scrumptious night market treats, and the environmentally-driven paid-per-bag trash disposal policy, the bustling city has something else going for her, something that delights your olfactory sense. While the rest of the world considers Taipei a tea town, an interesting article on SmarterTravel may help you appreciate the city in a new light.
Residents in the Old Town had enjoyed the protection of a divine dragon; they chalked up the peace, the prosperity, and the cultural glory that defined their community to the auspices of the majestic deity. But the boom was short-lived: politicians of the time followed only the dollar sign and in their greed, they sold out to a road-widening project that had promised tremendous profit. The project was to ostensibly open up the Old Town and drive investments in.
Washes of golden, autumnal sunlight gild the lush mountaintop, dappling the wheels of the cyclists as they glide along the trails that hug the walls of the cliffs overgrown with lush ferns. At times, they pause to take a drink of water and wipe the sweat off their foreheads, feasting their eyes on the portrait-ready panorama. A short break later, the cyclists press on, neither hurried nor slow-moving.
Everywhere you turn, you are met with cacophonous Chinese orchestra music played by ensembles of plucked and bowed stringed instruments, flutes, and various cymbals, gongs, and drums. There are the sprightly dragon and lion dances. Red-color paper-cuts, couplets, vibrantly decorated paper firecrackers. Traditional markets are awash with shoppers waiting to pick up food items. Revelers literally paint the town red in February.
Experience Taipei only by day and you get just half of the picture.
Despite the ostensible quiet in the streets, Taipei is electrified with a buzzing network of suave nightclubs, chic bars, and homely street vendors during the afterhours. Couples gyrate to the thumping beat on the dance floor, while others relax into the clinking glasses and laughter, unwinding after a long day at work. Bar-hopping has been a universal language of nine-to-fivers from around the world to let their hair down after the night cloaks the sky.
Imagine setting foot in the muddy, yielding soil, the water barely reaching your ankle. Freshwater is the lifeline of these tender shoots of the saplings; they grow taller by the day, reaching for the blue skies to be ready for harvest in a few months. The fountainhead murmurs its greetings to you as you wriggle your toes into the soft earth. It is time to dig out your itinerary, and block out a time dedicated to some rustic fun. Taiwanlook celebrates the beginning of spring to agricultural tourism, a new crowd-pleaser with a bucolic spin. Read on.
Farm villages in the Chinese communities worldwide operate like clockwork: farmers set out to work at sunrise, and call it a day at sunset. The day has a definitive beginning and end. In spring, they plant saplings; the arrival of summer signals a time for ploughing and weeding; when the trees turn gloriously red in autumn, the peasants commence the harvest; as the bleak wintertime sets in, they warehouse their harvest with utmost care. The four seasons are also marked by distinct farming projects. The result is that bowl of rice you have in your hands, where the white, plump, pearly grains lay, emitting a fragrance so appetizing that you just have to tuck right in. That bowl of rice represents the culmination of the hard work of those unsung heroes in the rice paddies.
Rice is the staple food crop in the Chinese community. It underpins Taiwan's history, culture, language, as well as its cuisine. Taiwan's cutting-edge rice farming technologies and production have not been challenged in years, and are simulated and studied by agricultural scholars and experts worldwide. Rice farmers on the island have an uncanny insight into pairing the best-quality rice species to produce even better cereal grains. The technological refinements in Taiwan's agriculture have done the country proud.
Tired of the corporate rat race in the city, many office workers have ditched high-paying jobs to succumb to the gentle calling of a rustic lifestyle. Farming becomes an envied vocation, and the previously unthinkable has taken place: Agricultural tourism has blossomed across Taiwan, and brought in needed income for traditional farming villages. So loosen your tie, or slip off those heels: it takes just an hour in the car to leave the restlessness in downtown Taipei to the undulating seas of rice in Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, and Taichung. Your rice pilgrimage has begun.