Lunar New Year Traditions at Bao An Temple (保安宮) and Taipei Confucius Temple (台北孔廟)

Happiest Lunar New Year to my readers! To celebrate the first day of the lunar calendar, why not ring in some blessings, and spend time observing the wonderful temple traditions. Here I am at the UNESCO Cultural Heritage listed Dalongdong Bao An Temple (大龍峒保安宮), probably at its busiest and most vivacious during this time of the year.

First day of the Lunar New Year (初一) is dedicated to family, and families will gather in temples to start the year auspiciously – with good thoughts and well-wishes that comes with praying to ancestors and the gods. A visit here at Bao An though, is not complete without a customary side trip to the nearby Confucius Temple (台北孔廟), and savouring favourite street eats down the road!

Just like for me, I hope this year will bring you to new roads and kingdoms, and satiate some of your relentless curiosities!

Happy Year of the Playful Dog!

A Mini Mosey Guide to Central Zhongshan District (中山區)

There’s much to love about central Zhongshan, and it isn’t just because it once was Taipei’s centre for business and pleasure. Glamorous hotels, international dining, and large shopping centres may still grace the district, but it is the winding alleys full of boutique stalls and cafes that make this place perfect for a day of moseying about. From Japanese sites of yesteryear, to hidden hubs of art and entertainment, Zhongshan can cater to all interests. Here’s my top 10 alternative spots of areas predominantly west of Zhongshan and Shuanglian MRT station.

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Orchid Island (蘭嶼) – Island of Sunsets and Goats

July 2017 saw me return to Taiwan for a week of island hopping and scuba-diving. Starting in Houbihu near Kenting (後壁湖,墾丁), I boarded a boat to Orchid Island (蘭嶼). It was a beautifully bright and hot day, but setting my eyes on the island, I felt somewhat cool. To say Lanyu is green is really an understatement. Mountains covered in lush vegetation against a backdrop of the bluest of blue seas. I couldn’t help but felt immediately revitalised.

I was fortunate to have close encounters with the island’s numerous residents – a goat spent an hour relaxing with me and my partner under a shaded pavillion. The photo I took of its eye and the vivid scarlet sunset on the beach are two of my favourite shots.

Back in Taipei, I found myself admiring Jiantan MRT Station (捷運劍潭站), but unfortunately I had little time to people-watch and shoot at the same time. Next time, perhaps.