Saturday, May 07, 2011

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Fengjia Night Market Madness!

5/07/2011 Taiwan Explorer
Read my Fengjia Night Market review here>>

I'm pretty experienced when it comes to night markets (or so I thought). Before I visited Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市 in Taichung, I've been to over 20 night markets, mostly in Northern Taiwan. When I saw the huge crowds in Luodong, Taiwan's most crowded night market in the north, I have never ever dreamed that there can be a night market as crowded as that one. But I was so wrong. The Fengjia Night Market in Taichung on the evening of April 3rd completely overwhelmed me. I have never seen so many people at one place in Taiwan and it was the first time I really feared for my life. I kid you not: I was scared! I will tell you why.

The Fengjia Night Market in Taichung is the biggest night market in Taiwan and after my own experience, I can completely sign that statement. I haven't seen any night market in Taiwan comparable in size and the number of people. It was like on a rock concert. It was surreal. Of course we made a big mistake by visiting the night market before the Tomb Sweeping Day, a national holiday. The roads in Taichung were completely clogged with cars, buses and scooters and I've never seen such a big traffic jam in my life.

We needed 1h and 30min from Taichung Station to Fengjia Night Market by bus. And we had to stand. The traffic was so slow, even the bus driver has never seen something like that and kept apologizing.

Once we reached the area, we were let out, the driver said we'll be faster by foot.

Once we reached the night market, the crowds were ridiculously huge.

This is the video I made while walking 2m per minute.

Once we were stuck inside, we hoped that later the crowds will be less. We were so wrong! We kept walking and walking and there were more and more people. At one point we were stuck and couldn't move into any direction.

This was the worst and the scariest part. I told my wife not to go in the center.

I pulled her on the side and we tried this popular snack, the only one we had chance to.

A banana dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with peanuts: Really delicious.

And then it got scary. We started to walk, but couldn't move, because near the stalls people were waiting for food, so we had to go in the central part. But once there, people pushed more and more and I got worried, especially for the wellbeing of my wife. At one point I was literally being squashed by many people at the same time and totally lost control of my body. I became worried for my wife, who was walking in front of me, I didn't want her to get hurt. If she fell down, she could've possibly been trampled to death. The situation reminded me of the stampede in Duisburg (Germany), where 19 people were trampled to death on a concert in 2010. So I tried to steer my wife to the right side, near the stalls and I think it was a good idea. We found small holes and made it to the part, that was less crowded.

I was so relieved, when I saw this area.

This experience shocked me. I couldn't enjoy the food and the atmosphere, I just wasted time and money and had great concern for my wife's life. This was probably the worse night market experience I had so far.

Nevertheless, I want to return here one day. I was advised to go during the week, where the crowds are less big. Fengjia Night Market has some of the best food in Taiwan, it's truly something I can't miss, if I want to call myself a serious "Night Market Blogger". It's just that I'm so busy lately, I have time to go so far out from Taipei. Those of you, who do have time, better don't go there on weekends and especially not before holidays. I'm not a big fan of Taichung. I like the good weather and friendly people, but that's about it. I have a good friend there and that's the only reason that makes me return to this city. The population density is so big, but there's no subway. It's really a disastrous situation. For a spoiled Taipeier like me, Taichung would be very inconvenient to live, even if I had a car.

My 2011 CENTRAL TAIWAN Tour - NEXT: The tour ends here.

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