VIEW THIS PAGE Yesterday saw the official opening of the 2009 Yangmingshan Flower Festival (陽明山花季), though over the past week there has been a buildup of visitors to check out the cherry blossoms that have turned Yangming Park (陽明公園) and other areas in Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園) into flower gardens of pink and red. Over the following weeks the cherry blossom will be followed by the blooming of various kinds of rhododendron and azalea.
Lavish floral arrangements welcome visitors at such focal points of the festival as Yangmingshan Flower Clock (陽明山花鐘) and fountain pond outside Yangming Park, but for the rest, nature puts on the best show. Even from the roadside, there are delightful vistas in which white, pink and red seem to have been splashed haphazardly across the green slopes of Yangmingshan.
For those who want to take something back home, local nurseries have set up roadside stands in which you can pick up a cherry tree, camellia or other plant for relocation to your balcony or garden for just a couple of hundred NT dollars.
Sitting on a wobbly plastic chair sipping over-priced fruit tea can be made quite appealing if the location is in a blooming cherry grove, the ground strewn with petals. Just put the smell of fried stinky tofu from the roadside stand out of your mind, and sit back to enjoy the colors and the breeze. If you listen carefully, you can hear the hoards of digital cameras clicking away as tens of thousands of images are captured for posterity.
The cherry blossoms are centered on Yangming Park, along Hushan Road (湖山路) from the Multistory Parking Lot of Yangmingshan National Park (立體停車場) in the direction of Shilin (士林), and in the gardens near the 2nd Yangmingshan National Park Parking Lot (第二停車場). There are six types of cherry blossom blooming at slightly different times, which make up the subtly different backdrops that are so cherished by amateur photographers and their significant others.
Careful planning is advised for those making the trip, because the massive crowds can make flower appreciation something of a logistical nightmare. On Thursday, despite the fact that the event had not yet officially begun, the Taipei City Government estimated that 1.5 million people visited the park. Starting this weekend, and on subsequent Saturdays and Sundays through March 21 and March 22, access controls will be imposed on Yangde Boulevard (仰德大道), the main route into the Yangmingshan area. Private cars without a permit will not be permitted to use the road to enter the park between 6am and 4pm, or use it to exit the park from 2pm to 6pm, when access controls are in force. There are a large number of alternate routes for those who don’t mind circuitous drives along narrow mountain roads, but the best way to visit the park, either on weekdays or weekends, is to make use of the shuttle bus services provided by Taipei City Government that depart from Jiantan (劍潭), Shilin, Xinbeitou (新北投), Yuanshan (圓山), Shipai (石牌), and Taipei Main Station MRT stations. Shuttle buses between the main locations where flowers are on display are also available.VIEW THIS PAGE