Posts Tagged ‘Dakeng Scenic Area’

News: JoB’s 2010 in review

January 3, 2011

I am being very lazy and posting the summary below that kindly put together for me. First post for the first week of 2011 down! No, I will try to put together one more post for this week and I did actually think this info was interesting.

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads, “This blog is on fire!”

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2010. That’s about 12 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 40 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 59 posts. There were 223 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 93mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was March 22nd with 152 views. The most popular post that day was critique: is taichung soulless?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for taichung jazz festival 2010, taichung jazz festival, jar of buttons, cardboard furniture, and sea turtle.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


critique: is taichung soulless? March 2010


write up: waterfall, 2009 summer issue function February 2010


write up: match cafe March 2010


write up: viewpoints and viewing points – 2009 asian art biennale January 2010


JoB likes: DAKENG SCENIC AREA January 2010

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Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

write up: the refuge

May 6, 2010

Peace and love is alive and well in Taichung. The city has it’s very own commune complete with militant hippies and music makers, The Refuge.

We visited The Refuge on Sunday, up in the Dakeng mountains, for Scott Cook’s Hobo Happiness, who played with a number of other bands. It started at 2 pm but we got there at about 4 pm. The place is literally a huge old mansion that the current residents took over about 10 years ago. It seems as though it was once a gated community for the rich, but apparently everyone moved out when the big 1999 earthquake struck. There was a lot of damage done to the Dakeng area and people got scared.

The Refuge describe themselves on Facebook as a place that “provides Creative Outlets for both seasoned and budding Artists, Musicians, Bohemians & Truth Seekers to come explore, create and make new connections with others.”

The party was in the backyard, which has it’s own bar and lots of homemade seating and tables. There was a BBQ going on down the back and what looked like the old living room had been made into a stage, open to the backyard. There weren’t too many people there when we arrived and we managed to find a great posy in the trees near the bar. It was a beautiful warm day, perfect for drinking beer in dappled shade and chilling to some rocky blues.

We stayed for a couple of hours, leaving when the music changed from blues to country western. Country music is really not my thing and I gave it a go but ended up having to depart to preserve my ears and dignity. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other chilled Sunday events at this place. Generally I vie away from such 60s revival scenes, but I’ve decided this place will have to be an exception to my rule.

The Refuge hosts a ton of events throughout the year and also organises a number of festivals at other locations. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. Contact them here for address details.

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critique: is taichung soulless?

March 22, 2010

Can we really say that Taichung is a soulless city? Well, I kinda think yes.

A recent article is doing the rounds of all the English language newspapers in Taiwan. It discusses the possibility that Taichung is a soulless city, a city searching for it’s identity. After having lived here for a year, I must say that I think it is. It seems that there was once potential for it to become a culturally active city, but I feel that it has let those opportunities pass, or hasn’t promoted what it already has.

Stock 20

Being an inland, centrally positioned city often has its disadvantages and Taichung is not quite near the coast and not quite near the mountains. While the Dakeng Scenic Area is only a short scooter drive from Taichung’s Beitun District and is a really nice hiking trail area, the coastal areas near Taichung Port are underdeveloped and lacking promotion. In the same regard, central Taichung (the area around Taichung Train Station) has fallen into disrepair: “it would take at least five to six years to complete urban regeneration of the downtown area, the city’s earliest developed region which has lost its luster after business activities had moved elsewhere as Taichung developed into a multi-core city.”

Art Street

The article in the China Post goes into more detail regarding the past, present and future-planned developments of Taichung so I’ll let you read it for yourself here.

There are really only a handful of great places to eat, drink, view art and listen to music but overall, I feel there is a slim picking of cultural events, particularly public cultural events, to choose from each year. Perhaps I feel this way because I can’t access information in Chinese but I feel that after living here for a year and a bit I would know about at least the big events.

Sunday movies at Cat Lair

Of course, I don’t think the city is completely without soul. Here’s a quick list of my cultural, soul-growing spots and events:

Cat Lair (I just discovered that on Sundays they play movies outdoors just after the sun sets)
Stock 20
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
Art Street – particularly the shop Hukurou
Taiyuan Flea Market
Taichung Jazz Festival
Taichung International Food and Music Festival

Let me know if you know of any other eateries, bars, galleries or events by leaving a comment. I’d LOVE to learn more about the city. Prove Taichung’s soul to me!

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January 3, 2010

I have been holed up in my apartment for two days suffering from an awful cold. I had had enough of watching movies, putting on the washing, hanging out the washing, wearing my dressing gown, washing the dishes, eating soup… and today decided I needed to hit the bush (or jungle in Taiwan, I guess).

So, I worked out how to catch the bus to Dakeng Scenic Area. I caught the 15 on Beitun Road near where it crosses Wenxin Road and the 21 back to roughly the same spot. And it only takes about 15  minutes by bus to get into the mountains. I can’t believe how close lush rainforest is to the city.

We didn’t look at any travel brochures before we went and I really believed the trails would consist of leisurely strolls through manicured shrubbery. So I dressed accordingly – wearing a silk dress, white cardy and black leather boots.

Here’s a picture of the actual trail.

It was truly a hike and I was constantly in fear of slipping over. But, I hitched up my skirt and dug in and we got to the top of the trail and came across a Buddhist temple complex sprawling over the top of the mountain. The views were wonderful, even through the smog.

Thankfully, as the temple sat atop the mountain, the walk back was pretty much all downhill. We stomped down and strolled past a river, home to tons of tadpoles, a flock of geese and one of those white crane-like birds you see everywhere in Taiwan. It was just lovely.

We then wandered around the township at the base of the trail. There seemed to be one shop that was super popular with all the visitors but we couldn’t work out what was being sold. Possibly a soup of some kind.

We also stumbled across a tourist attraction which housed a DIY shop called Carton King with an attached museum exhibiting, yep, many different kinds of cardboard containers.

Most of the merchandise was pretty average, stuff I’ve seen before and don’t really like, but there was a whole lot of cardboard furniture that was pretty cool and I really liked these cardboard bags.

But the best thing about this tourist attraction was the Honey Museum which wasn’t actually a museum at all but a shop selling locally produced honey products. Among these products was this honey ice cream.

I can with all honesty say it was the yummiest ice cream I have tried in ages. Creamy with no icey bits and just a subtle honey flavour that mixed beautifully with the vanilla. And it only cost NT$90 for two tubs.

Dakeng Township seems to have a weird fascination with toy windmills, the ones that as a kid you would run around with on the end of a stick and blow it to make it twirl. They’re everywhere. I’m not sure if they’re up all over town for some kind of festival or if they’re always there. Anyway, they made for great photos.

After looking at windmills and eating our fill of sublime ice cream we jumped on the number 21 bus and rode it back to Wenxin Road.

When we got back to our apartment I looked up the area on Google maps and saw that there are a ton of trails to explore and a million other things to see. So I’m going back, more suitably attired, in the weekends to come.

All up, for two people, the trip cost us NT$170. NT$80 return for the bus and $90 for the two tubs of ice cream.

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Copyright © 2010. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.