Sunday, January 21, 2018

NEW

Tianyuan Palace.  One of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Taiwan.  For the past two years, the sakuras here opened their buds every February.  It was so surprising to find them blooming in January and I got very excited about the news.  Knowing that the flowers will only last seven to ten days before they start to fall on the ground, I did not waste any time just to see their beauty.   



Like what I did in my past visits, I boarded the Taipei MRT via the Red line and alighted at Tamsui Station.    I then transferred to Bus 875 which took its passengers to Tianyuan Temple.   I knew that I was in my destination when most of the locals get off the bus.  They were also in search of Taiwan's precious cherry blossoms!




There are two kinds of sakuras here in Tianyuan Palace and they blossom at different times.  The tri-color sakura which blossoms in late January to the first half of February and the yoshino sakura which appears in March or worst in April after a “hot” winter. 






Up to now, I’m confused about the difference of the Fuji sakura in Pingjing Street to the tri-color sakura of Tianyuan Palace.   They looked almost the same but the name “tri-color” suggest a combination of three colors for the flowers.   


  

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At first, I thought of it as the flowers having a mixture of three hues within its petals.  After this visit, I realized that the name “tri-color” refers to the three possible colors of the flowers.   There is a white one, a pink one and reddish-violet color for the blossoms.   Pretty weird and amazing as well. 



Three in one! The diversity of the flowers of the tri-color sakura makes visiting Tianyuan Palace something to remember every spring.  

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How to get here:  MRT Taipei -> get off at Tamsui Station -> Transfer to Bus 866,875,876,877 or F103.  The bus terminal is just outside the MRT Tamsui Station and waiting time for the vehicles is shown on a TV screen.  -> Get off the bus at Tianyuan Temple stop -> Walk towards the backside of the temple.   You will know that you are in the right place when you see visitors going crazy for a sakura forest.  

Status of flowering: 50%

Taiwan Cherry Blossoms - 2018 Sakura Series [Travel in Taiwan Wow lineup 180121: Tianyuan Palace backyard]

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018


An unexpected news! The early appearance of the cherry blossoms in Xinyi District caught many by surprise.   Located near to the MRT Taipei City Hall Station is a group of sakura trees, they were standing there without leaves until the news spread like wildfire.



Whether the flowers are many or just a few blossoms became my task, so I went immediately to the intersection of Songgao Road and Songzhi Road to check them.  A tall tree can be seen with its flowers wide open with a few buds that are just waiting for the right time.  Not far from where the trees are planted is Taipei 101, Taiwan’s top attraction in the city.



For the past two years, it was always cloudy here in Xinyi District when the flowers are in full bloom.  But with the sunny sky above Xinyi, it was a perfect day for cherry blossom viewing.  It was very rare to see the flowers in their pink color while being illuminated by the light of the sun.



I was expecting to see the flowers in February.  Last year, they blossomed late.  This was probably due to the delayed arrival of the northeast monsoon.   In order for the flowers to open, the cherry blossoms need a cold weather aside from other factors like soil pH, wind direction, and sunlight.    Without the right conditions, the flowers would stay as buds until the right time comes.



Their early blossoming in January means one thing.  The winter season for 2017-2018 was colder than the previous year and the sakura trees in the city and in the mountains of Yangmingshan will produce more flowers than the past two years.



I will be monitoring the situation of the cherry blossoms in Xinyi District until they approach their peak period.  The trees here plus the ones beside Taipei City Hall are worth to see.  Once they come out at the same time, they will be a visual treat for everyone to enjoy. 

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How to get here:  Board the Taipei MRT to Taipei City Hall Station.   Go to Exit 2 via the escalators and get out of the Taipei City Hall Bus Station into the direction of Taipei 101.  The cherry blossoms are located at the intersection of Songgao Road and Songzhi Road. 

GPS: 25.038798, 121.565714


Taiwan Cherry Blossoms - 2018 Sakura Series [Travel in Taiwan Wow lineup 180117: Taipei 101 - The first flowers]

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018


How to get here:  Board the Taipei MRT and alight at Shilin Station and walk 300 meters to reach the gate of the Shilin Official Residence.   The plum blossom trees are located in the rose garden area.

GPS:  25.092979, 121.530510

Notes:  The meihua trees here are newly planted so they are not tall compared to the ones in Zhicheng Park.  The flowers though look good.  Under the clear sky, they sprout on the branches like barbeque.   It will take years before they become huge trees with broad branches.










Plum Blossom Series [Travel in Taiwan Wow lineup 180115: Shilin Official Residence]

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Monday, January 15, 2018


While visitors in Taipei are so excited to see the cherry blossoms in Pingjing St. Lane 42, locals had been gathering around tall trees in a park in Shilin District.  Busy with their cameras, I was with them taking nice photos of these flowers called the plum blossoms.



Known in Taiwan as "meihua", the plum blossoms appear during the winter season.  The more the temperature drops, the more the flowers bloom.   It has a deep meaning in the Chinese-speaking world as it symbolizes perseverance and hope during the harshest times of life.   Flowers appearing during the icy and cold winter season.   Got it?




In Taipei, the plum blossoms are not that many but there are certain parks that people can go to enjoy their beauty.  One of these places is the Zhicheng Park.  How to get here?  Board the Taipei MRT and alight at Shilin Station.  Walk towards the Shilin Official Residence and cross the road to get to the park.





It is the best place to see the meihua in the capital.  There are a few trees but their trunks are tall enough to reach the sky.  I was lucky to see the flowers on a sunny day.  The sky was blue and making the petals shine against the bluish color of the heavens.    





Most visitors took photos of the plum blossoms with their bulky cameras.   I even saw one woman with toys in her bag.   She used it as props with the meihua flowers as the background.   Taiwanese usually do this kind of thing like using dolls to take good pictures instead of taking selfies.  






If you are in Taipei and you want to see these flowers, then hurry.  I already saw some leaves on the branches.  Soon all the flowers will fall to the ground as rain and strong wind can easily blow them away.   Such a short life for these flowers! So we should love them just like the sakuras.  See you in the next post of the Plum Blossom Series.


Plum Blossom Series [Travel in Taiwan Wow lineup 180115: Zhicheng Park]

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