HAVE NOT SEEN YUAN ZAI (圓仔)
Taipei Zoo (臺北市立動物園) is open every day of the holiday except Thursday. Judging by Yuan Zai’s three weeks so far in the limelight, though, it is probable that she’ll be asleep during your stay. This simply means more quality time for you to spend with Little Mai (小麥) — the baby giraffe — or the zoo’s three new joeys. Born on July 24, Little Mai is now six months old. Like all newborn giraffes, she endured a drop at birth of 1.5m from mother Chang Hsiao (長宵). Not at all daunted, Little Mai got right back up and is now ready to face the public. The three baby kangaroos can be seen, too, as they protrude from their mothers’ pouches. Earlier this month, one was observed collecting nutritional supplements of its mother’s feces.
At the Taipei Zoo, the staff is also keeping busy. To mark the New Year, there’s a lion dance on Friday and Journey to the East (西遊記) puppet shows by the Ki Li Gan Puppet Show troupe (唭哩岸布袋戲團) from Friday to Feb. 4 between 1pm and 2pm at the entrance of the zoo’s Education Center (教育中心). Inside the center, there’s a special Year of the Horse exhibition dedicated to equines, a family that includes horses, zebras, donkeys and subspecies like Przewalski’s horse that have nearly been extinct due to poaching and human encroachment on their habitats. This show uses skulls and other specimen to tell the story of the animal’s evolution, their relationship with humans and conservation efforts, according to zoo spokesman Chang Ming-hsiung (張明雄).
What: Taipei Zoo
When: Starting Friday from 9am to 5pm
Where: 30, Xinguang Rd Sec 2, Taipei (臺北市文山區新光路2段30號)
Cost: NT$60 (regular admission)
WERE BORN IN the YEAR OF THE HORSE
Green World (綠世界), a 70-hectare ecological farm in Hsinchu County, is offering free admission to guests born in the year of the horse. This accredited wildlife preserve is fascinating and slightly more commercial than the zoo, featuring close-up experiences with animals, a rainforest thundershower simulation, a shop of butterfly specimen and a breathtaking outdoor toilet with stone urinals. The holiday offer is good with ID starting Friday. For more information, www.green-world.com.tw.
What: Green World
When: Starting Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm
Where: 20, Neighborhood 3, Dahu Village, Dapu Township, Hsinchu County (新竹縣北埔鄉大湖村7鄰20號)
Cost: Free for select guests, NT$350 (regular admission)
On the down side, if your sign is the horse, it is your turn this year to clash with the Tai Sui. According to Taoist teachings, persons with an offensive sign can mitigate their bad luck by going to a temple and lighting a Tai Sui lamp (太歲燈), which is offered at most major temples. Dalongdong Baoan Temple (大龍峒保安宮) at 16 Hami St, Taipei City (台北市哈密街61號) is open throughout the holidays and will mark the New Year with a symbolic 108 bell chimes starting at 11pm on Thursday. Xingtian Temple (行天宮) at 109 Minquan E Rd Sec 2, Taipei (台北市民權西路二段109號) is also open daily and offers free spring couplets from 9am to 8pm.
WANT SOMETHING LOUD
Troupes from the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Greater Tainan to put on five days of modern and traditional percussion compositions. The 2014 Tainan International Drumming Festival (台南國際鼓樂節) has booked Ten Drum (十鼓), Cross Metal (手合鐵鼓樂團) from Taiwan; Japan’s T-E-A-M, Nobushi and Maidaiko Aska-Gumi; SLAP from South Korea; and NADI Singapura.
What: 2014 Tainan International Drumming Festival
When: Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, from 10am to 4:30pm
Where: Eternal Golden Castle (億載金城) at 3 Guangzhou Rd, Anping District, Tainan City (台南市安平區光州路3號)
Cost: NT$100 per show
WANT TO WIN THE LOTTERY
Got a wish about personal finances? Consider a trip to Pingxi. This year, New Taipei City’s Tourism and Travel Department (新北市觀光局) has scheduled the first release of wish lanterns for 6pm on Feb. 3, the eve of the Money God’s (財神) birthday, in order to boost the chance of him noticing. You could improve your luck even further by picking a lantern shaped like an ingot — they’re new to this year’s event. The second and third launches of Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (平溪天燈節) are scheduled for Feb. 8 and Feb. 14. The latter is a Valentine’s Day special that will send off 1,550 traditional lanterns and 200 lanterns shaped like hearts. To reserve one, visit www.pingxiskylantern.tw/2014/.
What: Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
When: Feb. 3 at 6pm
Where:Jingtong Elementary School (菁桐國小), 45 Jingtong St, Pingxi Dist, New Taipei City (新北市平溪區菁桐街45號)
When: Feb. 8 at 6pm
Where: Pingxi Junior High School (平溪國中), 92 Shidi St, Pingxi Dist, New Taipei City (新北市平溪區石底街92號)
When: Feb. 14 at 6pm
Where: Shifen Sky Lantern Square (十分廣場), 136 Nanshanping, Pingxi Dist, New Taipei City (新北市平溪區南山坪136號)
WANT A HEART-HEALTHY HOLIDAY
Taipei’s first major road run is the whimsically named 2014 Ting Teng Hsiao Yeah Run (2014頂燈宵Yeah跑), and it starts on Feb. 8 from Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園). This non-competitive event offers three options — 2km, 5km and 7km routes — and awards a bag of biscuits and other treats for completing any one. Runners in the 5km and 7km routes also get a soft hat in the shape of a tangyuan (湯圓), a glutinous rice ball. The headgear is affixed with LED lights that break out into a little light show when you pass checkpoints on the road, which are named for benedictions like “May You Rise to Eminence”(步步高升) and “May a River of Gold Flow into Your Pockets” (財源廣進). To register, visit www.run8.com.tw.
What: 2014 Ting Teng Hsiao Yeah Run (2014頂燈宵Yeah跑)
When: Feb. 8. Registration begins at 3pm, 7km run starts at 5:30pm, 2km starts at 5:45, 5km starts at 6pm.
Where: Dajia Riverside Park
Cost: NT$180 for 2km, NT$600 for 5km and 7km