Fri, Jul 02, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Jinshan a developing hot spot for waves, sun, sand and biendangs


Dudes, where's the waves? Sun and surf at Jinshan beach in Taipei County.


Weekend getaways to Thailand or Bali are an ocean away, but a similar beach experience with an enjoyably distinctive Taiwanese twist is just a 45-minute drive from Taipei.

Jinshan (金山) is a quaint beachside community on the northeast coast of Taiwan that has remained one of Taipei County's best-kept secrets.

Anyone under the impression that the Taiwanese do not like the beach, or swimming, are in for a shock at Jinshan.

As a testament to a growing beach culture on the island, over the weekend one might find anywhere between 100 and 300 people at the Taipei County hotspot.

You may encounter a terrifying one-piece bathing suit or Spandex eyesore, but bikini-clad bunnies and bronzed surfers represent a growing population along the country's coastline, bobbing offshore, tossing Frisbees, riding waves or simply basking in the sun.

With five surf clubs in a 200m radius, Jinshan has the necessary resources (surfboards for rent and sale) and qualified instructors.

Johnny Hu (胡兆祥), the proprietor of the 120-member Johnny Rose Surf Club, provides a variety of services from half-day lessons to two-day surfing trips.

A Toshiba engineer during the week, Hu says, "This is a very convenient and clean beach. Since I arrived less than a year ago, I've seen a lot more people everyday."

There are local variations on the world's stereotypical beach scene -- swim caps, biendangs (lunchboxes) and excessive littering -- but the scene is developing into the international norm.

There are an increasing number of eateries and coffee shops under construction to satisfy the crowds frequenting the shoreline.

Another shop owner, who calls himself Kevin (小傳) offers volleyballs, footballs, cooled refreshments and other beach essentials.

His store, Surfing Shop, also offers aspiring surfers a modestly priced daily rental fee for boards, with a complimentary lesson included.

"You won't find overly competitive shop keepers or unfriendly surfers in the water, we just want people to have a good time," Kevin said.

The stores are located on either side of the beach entrance, others less than a block away, marked by economical hand painted signs.

Bring a full bottle of sunscreen, a pair of sandals and a big towel for a day off in the sun.

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