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Taoyuan-City of Ponds
photos courtesy of Guanyin Township

imageA complete transportation network of railways and roads puts Taoyuan firmly on the map. Driving is the best way to go sightseeing; riding a bicycle comes a close second for viewing the countryside dotted with beautiful gardens and ponds. Another boon for tourists is the terrific sunset seen from the seashores and the tasty seafood sampled at the ports.

Recreational Farms- Experience rural pleasures

Taoyuan is famous for its recreational farms. Each farm has its own unique features. Newcomers should take their first trip to places the Weichuan Pu-Hsin Farm, the Wu-tsuo-yang-jia-jhuan Recreational Ranch and Farm, the Spring Farm, or Ta Shee Blooming Oasis. The Weichuan Pu-Hsin Farm and the Wu-tsuo-yang-jia-jhuan Recreational Ranch and Farm offer a superb pastoral experience and sell yummy dairy products. The former is also famous for its well-equipped and integrated camping facilities. If you're in the mood for colorful flowers and plants, visit the flower nurseries, or the herbal delicacies at Spring Farm and Ta Shee Blooming Oasis.

Besides, some farms provide both local residents and tourists with educational and recreational areas-such as the bucolic pleasures of picking fruits or growing vegetables.

Lotus Garden-Fields of floral art and beauty

The lotus gardens in Guanyin and Sinwu Township of Taoyuan County are the biggest and most popular lotus attractions in northern Taiwan, especially from June to September. The gardens boast good photo opportunities, tasty cuisine and a varied choice of entertainment. A versatile plant, the lotus has high economic and medicinal value: tea brews, medical treatments and cooking ingredients.

Tourists not only sample the delicacies, but also take away a better understanding of the lotus plant. Tourists can go flower picking; cook sweet potatoes in their very own clay ovens, and fish for loach. Tourists are invited to tuck into the delicious lotus-based cuisine, which is eaten in traditional mansions like the ancient villagers used to do.

Beside lotus fantasylands, tour the nurseries with their beautiful and grand landscapes of flowers. Don't forget Siangyang Recreational Farm, with its sunflower-themed 360,000 sq feet (10,000 ping), where you will enjoy sunflower-related delicacies and desserts.

After the flower shows, why not cycle through the rural landscapes in Taoyuan? Bicycles are available between Poliao Bridge and Hefarm Lotus Garden for a one-day bicycle-ride, enough time to take in the green fields and revel in the gentle breeze in the Taoyuan countryside. Short-term rental services are also available at some lotus gardens.

Enjoy Taoyuan's beauty and fresh seafood

Besides the Shimen Reservoir, Jhuwei Fishing Port and Sinwu Fishing Port are also famous for their fresh fish. In winter, expensive fishes such as small squids (小卷), mullet, white pomfret (白鯧), barred Spanish mackerel (鰆魚), and silver striped round herring (吻仔魚) abound. Witness the street stalls selling fish porridges, and rows of fishing-lovers angling along the embankment. It is necessary to book a fishing trip in advance with the recreational fishing company. Who knows? You might catch prized fishes such as white-spotted reef-cod (石斑), black porgy (黑鯛) and Threadfin Perch(午魚,又稱順風), or return flushed with excitement at the prospect.

Besides, Taoyuan has vast sandy beaches from where to appreciate the powerful grandeur of the sea. The recreational facilities, which often include swimming pools for water sports, are popular with city people. Not only are they suitable for families, but also for lovers who seek the magic of the splendid sunsets and coastal scenery.

Jhuwei Fishing Port

Jhuwei is located in the Dayuan Township near Bali Township in Taipei County. Because of its beauty, it has become one of the top recreational areas for Taipei residents. Tourists go there for the glorious sunset and the grand splashing of the waves against the northern bank.

The Jhuwei Tourism Fish Market, the most famous and the biggest fish market in northern Taoyuan, opens all-year round. It has an area of more than 25,000 sq feet (700 ping) and packs 77 stalls. Tourists can buy fresh seafood on the first floor or eat seafood on the second floor. The chefs on the second floor are more than happy to cook the seafood bought on the first floor.

After eating, you can walk to the second biggest crossover bridge in Taiwan, the Niouersyun Arch Bridge. On the bridge, there is a pedestrian pathway and eight semicircular viewing platforms. Visitors can either enjoy the romance of watching the fishing boats return to port at sunset, or become enchanted at the rainbow lights dancing on Nankang stream below.

Yongan Fishing Port

The two famous landmarks in Yongan are the lobster-shaped fish market and the splendid Yongan Rainbow Bridge. Inside the former, on the first floor, there is a fresh fish market and restaurants that cater for gourmets. The coffee shop and parking lots are on the second floor. The open-air platform on the third floor guarantees you a superb view of the sea, from a vantage point that is shaped like a naval vessel. The view from the Rainbow Bridge is also fabulous, making it a famous photo opportunity. The sparkling lights reflecting on the river surface have mesmerized endless numbers of tourists.

You can also walk along the 300-meter breakwater (防波堤) that flanks the coast. It is a place which captures the majesty of the roaring waves splashing against the shores.

Green Tunnel-Enjoy the forest path and bike tour

Yongan's beach recreational area is divided into north and south parts. The northern part is in the Sinwu Stream zone, the so-called mangrove and dike area (紅樹林矮堤區). In that area, visitors can see fiddler crabs (招潮蟹) and other wetland creatures. There are ecological boards with pictures that give brief descriptions of the creatures living along the path.

In the southern part, there are thick and lush windbreak forests on both sides of the path, extending from Yongan Fishing Port to Keker Port. There are several bicycle rental shops, offering one-hour round-trips. The bikeway starts from the parking lot in the south of the fishing port via the 4km-long bank through to the small Guanhai pavilion. In summer, you can ride under a canopy of white blossom trees. As you cycle alongside the beautiful flowers and plants, the gentle breeze coming from the seashore will keep you cool.