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“Jump in for Taipei” City Tour for the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade Experience the Resplendent Old Taipei City with Lonely Planet Writers

A trip to Taipei is not complete without a visit to the old Taipei City area. This August prestigious guests from all over the world will gather in Taipei, witnessing the tourism carnival spawned by 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade. In response, Taipei City Government has the city sightseeing tours all well prepared and invites Lonely Planet writer Joshua Samuel, American travel writer Stephanie Huffman, Australian personal trainer Nathan Ray and Spanish dancer Krishna Arforem to Dadaocheng (大稻埕), a place where old meets the new, and savor the perfect blend of old streets and cultural-creative art.
Five score years ago, long before xiaolongbao (小籠包) hit gourmands’ dining table, what gentries ate was still not so different from what we consider to be commonplace foods nowadays. Back then, neighboring Tamsui River, Dadaocheng was flourishing thanks to the tea industry and international trading as Taiwan’s oolong tea took the world by storm. The intertwined buildings in imitation of baroque style and Fujian two-courtyard street-house gave the neighborhood its unique visual style.
Having experienced long decline, in recent years, however, through city government’s effort in preserving the historic block and the trend of renovating old buildings with new creative touch, many special stores and cultural-creative shops have made numerous old houses their new homes. They have proven that old dogs can learn new tricks and have become one of the tourists’ top choices.
Visitors can complement their ramble in Dadaocheng with tea-savoring. The elegant fragrance is redolent of the glorious time in the pass and you can almost hear the hustle and bustle on the street corner with your eyes closed. There are also many cultural-creative goods to choose from, be it tea sets in the shape of xiaolongbao, vintage papercutting coasters, placemat with imprints of the snack in the past, etc, giving visitors a sense of treasure hunting and no one leaves with empty hands.
The writer of “Lonely Planet Taiwan,” Joshua Samuel Brown, is more than familiar with Taipei. After participating in the Dadoacheng tour, however, he was refueled with curiosity by the in-depth guided tour of the venerable buildings of Dihua Street, reintroducing him to the history of Taipei and the once prosperous past of Dadaocheng. He said that Dadaocheng used to be an utterly internationalized area as a trading district, making it worth a visit for foreign visitors. Apart from the impact of the Fujian culture from China, there are also progenies of Japanese, Dutch and Spanish cultures, with which tourists from Europe and America alike can strike a chord through discovering related historic roots. Therefore, he found the historic and architectural tour the most fruitful of this trip.
On the other hand, Travel writer Stephanie Huffman, who is also from the States, took great interest in artistic and cultural aspects; thus, she anticipated the DIY course of inBlooom (印花樂) the most. She particularly praised the daily necessities stamped with Taiwanese snacks as both practical and adorable, reminding her of the memorable stinky tofu-tasting experience in the night market.
Nathan Ray from Australia enjoyed the atmosphere of sipping refined Taiwanese tea in the century-old tea house the most. Lacking related experience, he was awed when introduced to more than ten discrete aromas of different kinds Taiwanese tea and that it can be sorted into so many categories. Later on at Chen-Wey Tea House (The Lin Wuhu House), the Spanish member of the focus group Krishna Arforem studied the tea-brewing ceremony in this oldest Fujian street-house in Dihua Street. She also received the calligraphy written by the owner, rounding up this informative and splendid trip perfectly.
All the aforementioned attractions are included in the “Jump in for Taipei” city tour of the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade.
According to the Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei will soon host the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade in August, which is the largest sports event of highest level in the history of Taiwan. Taipei City Government has drawn up a series of exquisite touring routes for the highly regard guests, media, referees, contestants and spectators from around the globe, hoping that every participant will be able to indulge themselves in the world-class scenic spots and multi-cultural environment from the intense schedule of the tournament.
There are twelve routes provided free for the prestigious guests of the Universiade and people can experience the 25 guided tours throughout Taiwan at a discount with tickets of related sports events. No matter you are looking for an in-depth guided tour or DIY experience (tea-savoring, oil-paper umbrella, Hakka blue-dye technique), Taipei has it all. If further information is needed, please visit our official website at https://www.travels-en.2017.taipei/.
Personal Profile of the Members of the Foreign Focus Group
Joshua Samuel Brown (USA): Being one of the contributors of Lonely Planet Taiwan 7th and 8th edition and the author of many Taiwan-related publications, including “Vignettes of Taiwan” and “Formosa Moon”, Joshua, who has stayed in Taiwan for 15 years, possesses a profound and objective outlook over Taiwan’s culture.
Stephanie Huffman (USA): Both a travel writer and photographer, Stephanie is also the co-author of “Formosa Moon” with Joshua.
Nathan Ray (AUS): As a personal trainer Nathan identifies with players’ traveling preferences and habits. The traveling zealot, who has lodged in Taiwan for a year, enjoys Taiwan with his own twist.
Krishna Arforem (ESP): The vivacious Spanish dancer exuberant with verve no less than Universiade contestants has traveled and lived in Europe, America and Asia. Listen to Krishna’s feedback of travel experience in Taiwan from her European point of view.