Taipei

Asia's First Mass Same-Sex Wedding (凱道同婚宴)

On May 24th, 2017, the Constitutional Court (司法院), Taiwan’s version of the Supreme Court, ruled that the right to equality and freedom of marriage under the constitution of the Republic of China must also be guaranteed to same-sex couples.

The ruling, “Judicial Yuan Interpretation No 748” (釋字第748號) became a hot topic of public debate throughout the country and would result in a couple of referendums opposing changes to the definition of marriage. The decision made by the High Court however wouldn’t be reversed, so the government had two years to come up with a solution that would bring marriage laws in compliance with the ruling. 

Instead of being proactive, the government procrastinated and pushed the topic aside for as long as it could. The ruling of the Constitutional Court however demanded that action be taken before the deadline of May 24th, 2019 when registration of same-sex marriages would automatically come into effect.

In February 2019, with time running out and pressure from both sides mounting, the cabinet introduced a draft bill to the Legislative Yuan (立法院) titled the “Enforcement Act of the Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748” (司法院釋字748號解釋施行法) for consideration. Likewise, opposing parties also introduced their own draft bills to be debated in the legislature.

The draft bill introduced by the cabinet granted same-sex couples all the rights available to heterosexual couples under the Civil Code, with the exception of certain adoption rights and the inability for certain transnational couples (those couples where one partner is from a country that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage) to wed in Taiwan. 

The government used its majority in the legislature to push through their bill and with little time to spare, it was passed on May 17th, 2019 (the last possible day under the courts ruling). It was then promptly sent to President Tsai Ying-Wen who signed it and passed it into law on May 22nd.  

You might be reading this and thinking that Taiwan’s road to marriage-equality was a short one, but indeed it was more than three decades in the making. Historians often look back to 1986, when the Legislature first debated marriage-equality initiated by LGBTQ rights pioneer Chi Chia-Wei (祁家威) who filed a petition with the government to revise the law.

It would take well over 10,000 days since Chi first started his crusade, but the persistence and hard work of so many dedicated people throughout the country ensured that Taiwan’s LGBTQ community would finally have the right to marry - and on May 25th, 2019, over 526 couples did just that.

This is the short version of Taiwan’s road to marriage equality. Now if you’ll indulge me for a few moments, I’d like to talk about myself. 

I’ll surely lose my blogger membership card if I don’t talk about myself for a bit.

If you’ve been following any of my social media or know me in person, it should be fairly obvious that I’m a vocal ally, and always have been.

I don’t often talk about this stuff but while growing up I had to deal with a fair amount of bullying during my junior and high school years.

When I wasn’t getting shoved, tripped or hit, I’d often hear the words “faggot” shouted in my direction. These kinds of things generally have a damaging effect on a young person’s self-esteem but truthfully I always had a bit of a hard time understanding the point of it all.

Sure, I realized that the word “faggot” was meant to be demeaning, but what I could never understand was what was so wrong with being gay.

One of my best friends was gay - He did however do an exceptional job of keeping himself in the closet - despite his love of Celine Dion, Cher and Paula Abdul.

He was an inspirational person - He was kind to everyone, respectful, polite and good looking. He was the kind of kid that you’d bring home and your parents would automatically approve of. You were a better person by just hanging out with him.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with him. He wasn’t weird; He wasn’t different.  

This kind of put things in perspective for me - The bullying was meant to hurt, but physical violence was really the only leverage they had over me. Calling me a fag? That didn’t hurt. I’d much rather be gay than someone “cool” in the eyes of ignorant kids like that.  

Upon graduation my friend and I ended up being accepted to the same university.

This was around the same time that Canada started to take the issue of marriage-equality seriously and was also the time when my friend was finally confident enough to come out of the closet and introduced us to his first boyfriend.

As one generally does in university, I soon started attending meetings and protests and eventually became much more vocal in my support for marriage equality. I strongly felt the situation was similar to that of the Civil Rights movement in America and if I simply stood by and let my gay friends protest for their rights, then I’d be doing them a disservice. I felt it was my responsibility as an ally (and for all the other allies) to stand up and use my own voice to achieve the change that was necessary.

My involvement caused quite a few arguments with my parents who were (at the time) opposed to changes to the definition of marriage - and despite the fact that I always had I girlfriend were probably worried that I was going to come out.

During one Christmas Eve dinner we got into one of our typical political arguments while we were all sitting around the table and in frustration I angrily exclaimed that I wouldn’t marry until my friends had the same privileges that I have.

They told me I was being dramatic. It was my only leverage though. I’m the only male in my family and it would seem that ‘carrying on the name’ is my responsibility. (Children…. Eww..)

When same-sex marriage finally became the law of the land in Canada in 2005, we heard some of the typical comments that you hear when this kind of thing happens: “Its the end of society as we know it”, “I guess we’re all going to be gay now.”, “What’s next? Human’s marrying their pets?”, etc.   

It was nauseating.

But Mr. Chi is cute.

But these things have been said so many times in so many different countries and yet none of them have actually come true.

My parents, I’m sure like a lot of people at that time, started to discover that many of the people in their social circles (who had been living in the closet) were finally free to come out and get married. They suddenly realized that they had friends like I had and they started receiving invites to weddings. 

In retrospect, I’m sure they’d rather forget about their opposition to marriage equality but I’m glad to know now that they’ve come around. 

They would later sarcastically tell me that now that same-sex marriage was legal that I would have to fulfill my promise and find someone to get married to.

That scared me, so that same year I hopped on a plane and moved to Taiwan.  

When I arrived here, I assumed I didn’t really have to worry that much.

Taiwan was home to Asia’s largest Pride Parade and it seemed like LGBTQ members of society here were generally much more accepted than other places in Asia.

There were also large and very active civic groups that skillfully lobbied the government, planned protests and generally did a great job of advocating for marriage-equality. 

I wrongfully assumed participation wasn’t really as necessary as it was back home. I thought I could continue to be an ally but I wouldn’t have to be as active as I was before. I could just sit back and let the people of Taiwan do their thing.

I was wrong.

Fast forward to the referendums of 2018 when the government (ambiguously) allowed a couple of (really ignorant) questions regarding marriage-equality to be put to popular vote.

In the months leading up to the referendums I was unhappy with what was happening. Others felt optimistic - But I’ve seen how ignorance and discrimination rears its ugly head.

I’m of course a fan of democracy, but we’ve had recent experience with good people being fooled into voting against their own interests. (Cough.. Cough.. Brexit..)

I was also convinced that the rights of a minority should never be put to a popular vote - Human rights are something that need to be protected at the highest level of governance. 

While marriage equality advocates and LGBTQ groups were doing a great job mobilizing the youth vote there were also extremely well-funded religious groups spreading messages of hate, discrimination and the damnation of society if such a thing were to come to fruition in Taiwan.

Messages like this were damning, especially in what is still considered a semi-conservative traditional Confucian society.  

When the crushing results of the referendums came in, like many I was heartbroken.  

The Taiwan that I loved suddenly wasn’t the same anymore. 

Cheers! 乾杯

You should be well aware by now though that even though the results of the referendums were a set-back for marriage-equality in Taiwan, this story isn’t a sad one - It does have a happy ending. 

The reason for this, as I mentioned above is that the Council of Grand Justices gave the government a deadline of May 24th, 2019 to legalize same-sex marriage. The results of the referendums couldn’t change the constitutional decision made by the judges, so it was up to the government to come up with legislation that would allow same-sex couples to wed.  

With the May 24th deadline quickly approaching, the various political parties came up with their own plans for legalization and it became a heated issue. Fortunately, the DPP-led legislature led by President Tsai Ying-Wen bravely used their legislative majority to push through the best possible compromise to make the dream of marriage equality a reality. 

Was the final result a perfect victory?

No, not at all.

There is still a lot of work to do to realize full marriage equality rights in Taiwan, but for now, same-sex marriage is legal in Taiwan and as scheduled, on May 24th, lines started forming at Household Registration Offices around the country with the full attention of the world’s media.  

Taiwan was finally the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.   

And to celebrate, LGBTQ groups planned a grand wedding banquet to be held on Ketagalan Road (凱達格蘭大道) in the shadow of the Presidential Palace. 

The massive wedding banquet was organized by TAPCPR (台灣伴侶權益推動聯盟), otherwise known as the “Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights” which was one of the groups at the forefront pushing for marriage equality.

Held on Ketagalan Boulevard with the Presidential Palace as the backdrop, the banquet was a basic Taiwanese “Bandoh” (辦桌) outdoor wedding banquet with over 160 tables, a full course menu and lots of entertainment - including messages of support from some of Taiwan’s top celebrities.   

If you’ve lived in Taiwan for any length of time you might think that this kind of traditional wedding banquet certainly isn’t the “fabulous” kind of same-sex marriage banquet that you’d expect. There were tables covered in plastic, traditional Taiwanese dishes, lots of local liquor, an “electric flower car” (電子花車), an MC and local entertainment.

It was something similar to what you’d see while driving through the countryside or the mountains.

It was extremely basic and I think that was the point - These people have waited all their lives for the opportunity to marry and even though they’re gay, they’re not different, they’re just like the rest of us.

The wedding banquet was everything that you’d expect from a traditional celebration in Taiwan and the media was there to show the world - and of course those in Taiwan who aren’t yet convinced - that the love and commitment these people share with each other is no different to the love that straight couples share with each other.

With 160 tables and over 1000 people formally in attendance, the atmosphere was an exciting one. People were eating good food, drinking and sharing their happiness and excitement with their families and those closest to them.

Attendance at the banquet turned out to be one of the hottest tickets in Taipei and those who couldn’t get in decided instead to take part and show their support in their own way by having picnics around the perimeter of the banquet in order to be a part of the historic evening.

Chi Chia-Wei - Taiwan’s Superman.

I wanted to be a part of that historic night, so I figured I’d have to have a picnic of my own.

Fortunately, a few days before the banquet was to be held I received an email from the editor at Goldthread in Hong Kong enquiring whether or not I was free on Saturday to take photos for them.

When I read the email, I could hardly contain my excitement.

I’d be receiving a media pass and would be able to walk around, take photos and soak up every minute of this historic evening. I’d also get to meet some of the heroes of the marriage equality movement in Taiwan.

I was paired up with talented journalist, William Yang, someone I’ve known for quite a while through social media. William has made quite a name for himself in recent years for his work as the East Asia Correspondent for Deutsche Welle News and as a contributor to several other publications.

Our mission was simple - Interview a few of the couples, take some photos of the banquet and enjoy ourselves. It was an ideal opportunity.

The article had a tight deadline though and I had to work quickly to get the photos ready to be published. 

I had lots of fun at the banquet, but once I got home and loaded the photos onto my computer I started feeling a bit stressed - I put a lot of pressure on myself to capture the magic of this historic evening and didn’t want to fail all those people who waited so long for such an opportunity.  

It was relieving to hear from both William and the editor at Goldthread that the photos were great.

Later that day when the article started picking up and was being shared all over social media I received a lot of appreciation for the photos which made me feel a bit better.   

Link: In Pictures: Taiwan’s First Mass Gay Wedding (Goldthread)

Taipei Popcorn

I’ve gone on for a bit here and as I’m not particularly known for my writing skills, I’d like to share with you some related articles that I think you should read to help you understand the situation a little more clearly. I’ll likely add a few more articles in the coming days and weeks, but for now, here are some that I think really capture the magic of the battle and the victory celebration.

Two Days of Celebrations in Taiwan With Historic First Gay Marriages in Asia (New Bloom) 

Gay Marriage Legalized in Taiwan, but Challenges Remain for Full Equality (New Bloom) 

The 30-Year Crusade behind Taiwan’s Same-Sex Marriage Law (Commonwealth)  

What’s Next for LGBTQ Rights in Taiwan? (Ketagalan Media)  

My closing thought here is something that I think will stick with me for as long as I live. I’m not the kind of person who gets all emotional at weddings, but on this occasion I couldn’t help it.

Imagine standing there with your eyes in the viewfinder of your camera looking directly at a happy couple preparing to put rings on each others fingers.

This is a couple whose love has had to endure almost indescribable pressure from a society that would prefer for them to just be “normal.” - Yet they’ve endured.

They’re a couple who for their entire lives have never imagined that it would be possible that they would be able to be standing where they are at this moment in time with the opportunity to express their love and commitment to each other and also have it recognized by law.

They’re a couple that are now recognized as equal members of society, just like you and me. But unlike most of us, they’ve had to fight for their human rights. They won’t take this victory for granted.

As I watched them with tears in their eyes sliding the rings on each others finger, hug and then share a kiss, I couldn’t help to feel emotional. This is what marriage is all about. Its about love.

And as the saying goes, 愛最大.

Congratulations Taiwan.


Bishan Temple (碧山巖開漳聖王廟)

For most people in the west, when we think about temples here in Asia, what often comes to mind is what we’ve seen in movies - The Shaolin Temple or secluded monasteries high in the mountains in Tibet.

Here in Taiwan the majority of the temples you’ll come across won’t have monks practicing martial arts or Lamas reciting humming mantras - They are actually a lot different than what you probably expected but are still wonderfully mysterious and extremely interesting. 

Temples in Taiwan come in all shapes and sizes - They can be large and extravagant or modest shrines on the side of the road. They can either be quiet, contemplative places for meditation and reflection or loud, extremely busy and exciting places of worship.

The great thing about temples here is that no matter what you believe - You are always welcome! You’re going to be pressured into anything, you won’t have to pay an admission fee and no one is going to ask you to donate your hard earned money.

Sometimes though, you will come across those types of temples that you’ve seen in the movies - Those places of worship in the mountains where you’re able to enjoy a bit of “Zen” - and of course the scenery. 

Bishan Temple in Taipei’s Neihu District is pretty much what you’ve imagined.

The large temple, which has become a tourist attraction in recent years, is nestled on the side of a mountain and was constructed in a way that allows it to blend in beautifully with the natural environment that surrounds it.

The temple also offers one of the best views of the city that you’re going to find.

Disclaimer: If you’re here only looking for information about the cityscape views and how to get to the temple you may want to skip the next few sections!  

Bishan Temple (碧山巖開漳聖王廟) 

Located on Bishan Mountain (碧山巖) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖區), Bishan Temple has a long history and is the largest temple in Taiwan dedicated to the folk-religion deity known as Kaizhang Sheng Wang (開漳聖王).

Dating back to 1751, the temple was originally just a simple stone shrine located near the peak of Bishan Mountain. Thanks to a bit of legend and some ‘good luck’ the temple has had the ability to attract its fair share of followers, and of course that means wads and wads of cash.

The legend is a bit convoluted but it more or less goes like this: A long time ago some guy belonging to the Huang family came to Taiwan and had the odd habit of placing amulets in auspicious locations. One day he was walking on Bishan Mountain and placed one of his amulets in a small hole in the side of a mountain (possibly a cave).

Years later, a group of bandits who were planning to rob the farmers who had settled on the mountain were suddenly cast away by a massive rock slide when they tried to make their way up the mountain.

The rock slide was said to have originated from the location of the amulet.

One of the rocks that cast away the bandit later split into three pieces which was interpreted as a supernatural message from the folk deity Kaizhang and his two generals.

(I’m assuming this is because the amulet was from a Kaizhang temple in China and not completely random.)  

Praying outside of the main shrine

To express their gratitude, the people living on the mountain constructed a small shrine in honour of Kaizhang and from there the legend grew and worshippers started making pilgrimages to the area to seek the protection of the folk deity.

Soon enough the number of people visiting the small stone shrine was more than could be accommodated, so in 1861 the first iteration of Bishan Temple was constructed.

Since then the temple has been renovated, repaired and expanded upon on several occasions - most notably in 1913, 1971 and 2016 with the final product becoming the beautiful temple that we see today.

The front of the temple

With the completion of the most recent expansion in 2017, the temple has become a massive multi-floor complex. Not every level of the temple is open to the public though - So far only the top floor (where the temple is located) and the floor below it are accessible. 

The floor below the temple is currently home to a coffee shop and an art space run by the organization that controls the temple. The coffee shop is open from Tuesday to Sunday until 5:00pm and is a great spot to enjoy a drink and the views of the city.

Despite its size (and its obvious wealth), Bishan Temple is actually very simple in its design.

It doesn’t come across as flamboyant or ornate as many of other Taiwan’s places of worship which I think allows it to blend in more serenely with the natural mountain environment that surrounds it. 

However, due to the necessity for expansion and the temple being located on the side of a mountain, it is obvious that the designers had to take a bit of liberty with its design - Especially with regard to the structural stability of the complex and traditional architectural styles.

An Instagram hot spot - The beautiful stairs that lead up to the original shrine.

The main part of the temple is designed in the traditional ‘two-hall and two-passage-way’ style (兩殿兩廊式) - This means that the front of the temple has a Temple Gate (廟門) with passages on either side,  a court yard in the middle and the Main Hall (主殿) to the rear.

There are however two sets of stairs on either side of the Main Hall that transport visitors up the hill to the original stone shrine constructed in 1801.

This is the internet though, I’m fully aware that people like to argue, so if you wanted to say that the design is actually the ‘three-hall and two passage-way’ (狹長形三殿) style you’d also be correct.

Rarely though is the rear hall elevated on a hill above the main hall, nor is the actual entrance to the temple separate from the Temple Gate. This stuff can definitely become a bit confusing at times.

The main temple gate - oddly on the side of the temple.

What is considerably easier to understand is that the beauty of Bishan Temple lies not in the display of extravagance and wealth that you see at other temples but its simplicity and careful consideration of the natural environment that surrounds it.

One thing you’ll notice when visiting the temple is the distinct lack of bright colours on the interior - There is an obvious focus on red lanterns which blend well with the dark-grey tones of the stone carvings found on the walls throughout the complex.

The stone-craftsmanship at this temple is absolutely beautiful and its obvious that no expense was spared in hiring skilled artisans to create the beautiful murals and dragon pillars throughout the complex. As the temple was crafted on the side of a mountain, I’m sure you can imagine that the focus on the stonework was meant to give visitors the feeling that the temple was carved out of the mountain itself.

If you visit, you’ll want to make sure you take a walk up one of the two passage-ways to the rear which are extremely picturesque and are full of beautiful stone murals and beautifully hand-painted wooden pillars.

Main Hall (主殿)

The interior of the main hall

The main hall in the temple consists of five separate shrines: 

The shrine to the far left is dedicated to the Jade Emperor (玉皇上帝) and the Tai Sui Generals (太歲星君) - The Jade Emperor is pretty much the ‘godfather’ of Taoism and the Tai Sui generally represent the Chinese Zodiac. Both are represented by spirit plaques on either side of a statue of the Goddess Doumo (斗母元君).

The shrine to the far right is a simple one dedicated to the God of Literature (文昌帝君), an important deity for anything to do with scholarly study. Students often visit one of the many shrines dedicated to the God of Literature throughout Taiwan to pray for a bit of spiritual help with their studies.

The Main Shrine of the temple consists of three separate shrines:

  1. The shrine on the left is dedicated to the Earth God (福德正神) one of Taiwan’s most popular deities.

  2. The shrine in the middle is dedicated to Kaizhang Sheng Wang (開漳聖王) and his court, which includes his two generals General Lee (李將軍) and General Ma (馬將軍).

  3. The shrine on the right is dedicated to the ‘Martial’ representation of Kaizhang Sheng Wang (武身聖王).

Something that confused me while doing research for this blog was that there was little information readily available for a god named “武身聖王”. I did lots of searching through Chinese-language sites for an answer but came up with very little.

So, I took another trip to the temple to solve the mystery and after a short discussion with the lovely people at the information desk I learned something new:

The god in the main shrine is considered a “文” (Wen) representation meaning that he is ‘scholarly’ and ‘compassionate’ and is useful for attracting good fortune and blessings.

The shrine to the right is the “武“ (Wu) representation that depicts Kaizhang’s “martial” nature as a former military leader. This is a common thing that happens with representations of historical figures in Chinese folk religion. The martial representation has the power to help ward off evil spirits and bad influences. 

Likewise, every temple in Taiwan will have Door Gods” or “Menshen (門神) on the front doors which act as guardians for the building with one always appearing as a ‘martial’ (武) deity and the other a ‘scholar’ (文) 

Kaizhang King (開漳聖王)

Kaizhang Sheng Wang (開漳聖王)

As mentioned above, Bishan Temple is the largest of its kind in Taiwan dedicated to the folk-religion deity known as Kaizhang Sheng Wang (開漳聖王).

In most cases when you encounter a folk-religion deity in Taiwan, their worship is likely to have been brought here along with the Hokkien people (閩南人) of Fujian (福建) hundreds of years ago.

The Hokkien’s ended up bringing with them not only their language but their culture, cuisine and beliefs and helped to shape Taiwan into the land that it is today. 

Kaizhang” was a historical figure named Chen Yuan-Guang (陳元光) who lived during the Tang Dynasty (唐朝). He was a famous general who was credited with the development and prosperity of the Zhangzhou (漳州) region of Fujian Province.

After his death both Chen and his top two aides were deified becoming known as the patron saints of the people due to the fact that in life they were known for unifying people through ‘respect’ rather than the heavy-handed approach which was usually taken by the governors of that time. 

Coincidentally Chen’s defied name “Kaizhang” (開漳) is directly related to his efforts to develop or “open” (開) the Zhangzhou (漳州) area. So you get the name “開” (open) and “漳” (Zhangzhou). 

Today ‘Kaizhang Sheng Wang’ is a popular folk-deity worshipped by the Hokkien people of Taiwan, China’s Fujian Province, Singapore and Malaysia.

Link: Tan Goan-Kong 

City Views

Enjoy the haze.

I gather that most of you aren’t actually here to learn about the temple, its design or its history.

You’re probably here looking for information about the great views!

It’s okay, I understand. Not everyone shares the same enthusiasm for Taiwan’s temples as I do.

This temple is not only a popular place of worship for locals but it has also become a tourist attraction, especially with photographers thanks to the spectacular views it offers of the city.

While most temples in Taiwan close their doors around 9:00pm, this one stays open a bit later to accommodate those who come to see the beautiful night views of the city.

The front of the temple offers two large viewing platforms to guests who get to enjoy a panoramic view of the Taipei Basin, Taipei City as well as the mountains that surround the temple.

The upper platform on the main floor of the temple has a large protection barrier that may partially block some of your views. It does however allow you a much wider perspective than the platform on the lower coffee shop level. 

A rainy sunset in Taipei

I’m going to have to add a bit of a disclaimer here in order to save myself from angry emails:

The views at the temple are not always great.

You’re going to want to make sure that you visit on a day when the weather forecast is looking good and the skies are clear - This of course can be a bit difficult if you are a tourist and are on a tight schedule and don’t have a lot of time in the country.

As you can see from some of the photos I’m sharing here, I was both lucky on one occasion and extremely unlucky on another. Not only is the weather an important factor, but so is air quality -  If you visit on a day when the weather is fine, you may still not have great views due to the haze caused by pollution.

Link: Air Pollution in Taiwan: Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map

The temple and the viewing platform are free of charge for visitors and is open until 10:00pm.

If you can’t show up until later, you may want to consider a night climb of nearby Jinmian Mountain.

Getting There

 

The best way to get to the temple is to use Taipei’s excellent public transportation network.

If you have your own means of transportation, you could always drive up the mountain, but then you’d have to find a parking spot for your car and on weekend that could be relatively difficult.

The bus that goes up the hill is inexpensive ($15NT), fast and comes at regular intervals, so you won’t have to wait very long for service.

To get to the bus first take the MRT Brown Line (文湖線) to Neihu Station (內湖站) and from Exit 1 walk to the rear of the building (where the MRT station is located).

There are two options for the bus stop - The closest is a simple right turn from the back of the MRT building. It is possible though that you won’t get a seat on the bus if you board from there. The expert thing to do would be to turn left from the back of the building and then walk down the road until you reach #452 Neihu Road Section 2. The bus stop is easily spotted as it is located a little bit past a small Earth God Shrine (梘頭福德祠) that blocks part of the sidewalk.

From there you’ll just have to wait for the “小2” bus which will bring you up the hill.

Link: 小2 Bus Schedule 

When you arrive at the entrance to the temple all you’ll have to do is get off the bus and walk up the long set of stairs to the entrance. You’ll easily know when you’re at the temple stop as pretty much everyone will get off the bus at the same time. 

The temple roof from the mountain above.

Whether you’re visiting Bishan Mountain for the historic temple or just for checking out the cityscape - There is a variety of other activities and things that you can see and do while up on the mountain. There are various hiking trails, strawberry fields, temples, a beautiful suspension bridge, parks as well as restaurants and tea shops to keep you busy for an entire day. The area is also extremely popular between February and March every year when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

If you’re looking to take a day-trip but don’t really feel like leaving Taipei, you might want to consider taking in some of the recreational activities available on the mountain.

Its definitely a great way to escape the city and who doesn’t want to sit on a mountain drinking tea?