Monday, June 07, 2010

Taoyuan City, Taiwan

6/07/2010 Taiwan Explorer
Taiwan's airport city

Taoyuan City 桃園市 (also Taoyuen City means "Peach garden city") is one of Taiwan's biggest cities. It's located in the northeastern part of Taiwan, very close to Taipei City. Taiwan's International Airport is located near Taoyuan (in Taoyuan county) as well as the headquarters of EVA Air, Taiwan's biggest airways. The city (together with suburbs Luzhu and Guishan) has around 687.000 inhabitants (source) and is currently the 5th biggest urban area in Taiwan.

My personal impression of Taoyuan is not so good. I don't know why, but Xinzhu appealed much more to me. It's similar in size, but it has a completely different feel to it. Sure, Xinzhu is one of the cities with the wealthiest people in Taiwan. It's clean and full of parks. Taoyuan on the other hand is an industrial city. When you step out of the main railway station, you see two big shopping mall buildings in front of you, but also a very old and ugly railway station building behind you.There are many foreign workers in Taoyuan, mostly Filipinos, Vietnamese and Indonesians, who live in certain areas, where you can see their shops and restaurants and they're allowed to use their own languages. I even saw some shops announcing "We also serve in Tagalog".

The underpass, that leads to the other side of the railway station is full of homeless people, which is a sad indicator, that not everyone is a winner of Taiwan's economic success in the recent 3 decades. The modern and rich neighborhoods are located in the new northern part of the city. There are also many foreign English teachers, who work in numerous schools that are located in the area. I must say I haven't seen a lot of Taoyuan. I've been three times in the city. The first time I went from the railway station to north, walked a long way, passed by the impressive Ying Fu temple (桃園景福宮) and then drove to Luzhu township. Another time I walked from the railway station to St. Paul's Hospital, which is located in the southern part. And the third time I went on the tour below. You can check my photos. This is Taoyuan City through my lens:

Shing Kong Mitsukoshi Shopping mall on the left.

FE 21' on the right.

A road like many others in Taoyuan.

There's many shops that sell watches here.

A small market street, reserved for pedestrians.

The Ying Fu temple (桃園景福宮) in the central part of Taoyuan.

I didn't manage to get a good shot of the temple, you can see a better one here (photo by Albert).

A lovely dragon above a pond with koi fish.

The temple from inside. Thanks to my girlfriend, who took these photos.

Another dragon on top of the temple.

I must say that besides this temple, I haven't seen any other tourist attractions. I think Xinzhu is way more interesting than Taoyuan, but you need a bit longer by train, if you're going there from Taipei City. Taoyuan has few decent restaurants and shopping malls. Maybe you can get a good watch here. Apart from that, I have no idea, what a tourist could do in Taoyuan. If you have any, please let me know by dropping a comment here.

[Taiwan][All photos by MKL, 2010]