When in Taipei, we were just in time for the city's biggest event ever held, the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition! Spreading over 4 park areas and hosting 8 themed pavilions, the expo is the results of 4 years of sweat and blood planning by the city government.
One of the first things that greeted us from the Yuanshan entrance was a magnificent sea of red and white, painstakingly planted by hands of gardeners and replaced entirely every 3 months. Simply breathtaking.
Within each park area, it is further broken down into gardens and sections, like how we stumbled upon this fruit garden..
And a section illustrating the scenes in a old Shanghainese neighbourhood. I just loved how much details they put into the chess players, right down to their eyes!
To be frank, I am never a fan of flowers. But the sheer volume and species of them in the expo is unbelievable, overwhelming, and just way too pretty to ignore!
There are also exhibits from different countries, such as the ones from Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines.
And this, is downright disappointing. If I didn't show you that its from Singapore, you probably won't even take a second glance at it.
I might be wrong as i didn't do a 100% check, but the visible efforts (if any) I saw from our country was just that cheap red thing and this cluster of faunas that I genuinely mistaken for random roadside plantation. And we called ourselves a garden city with so much pride in our Vanda Miss Joaquim (which by the way, missing in action here). Sheesh.
One of the amazing things about the expo is how it wasn't entirely built from scratch, but incorporating existing infrastructures (stadiums and playgrounds), as well as shifting historical buildings from elsewhere into the parks, like these stone and brick villages. Pretty clouds eh?
I regret to say that out of the 8 pavilions, I only managed to visit Pavilion of Future which talks about incorporating greenery into our modern houses, as well as an amazing collection of cactus plants. Spot that sea turtle?
And more of them!
Cool, spiky dudes eh?
The Pavilion of Future also has rooftop access which besides holding huge solar panels, also offers a good view of the expo grounds and a clear sight of Taiwan's first 5-star hotel, the Grand Hotel (圆山大饭店).
Before I bore you with all the inedible stuffs, foodies will be glad to know that there is a food village to satisfy your growling tummies!
You will get to taste many representative snacks hailing from different parts of Taiwan, prepared by brands that are well-known among locals. Prices are slightly steeper than outside food, but still reasonable in my opinion.
The ever present 鲁肉饭, Meatball Soup, Fried Beehoon, Mee Sua
Good to go in a group so that you can try more things!
My only bowl of their famous noodles for the entire Taiwan trip. Clear, hearty stock with tender beef shin and al dente noodles. I'm satisfied!
Though a lot more smaller than the Shanghai World Expo, the flora expo grounds is still too vast to cover in my half day schedule and will probably require two full days for a good thorough tour. If you are banking on pavilions, do go really early and queue for the pre-allocated tickets to Pavilion of Dreams, which is dubbed as the most awesome pavilion among all. They don't accept walk-in for this one, strictly by appointments only!
The expo was definitely a visual treat with such beautiful landscaping and vibrant colours. If you are planning to visit Taipei soon, do set aside some time for this awesome event as it will run till April 25th this year. Not to be missed at all!
2010台北国际花卉博览会 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition Click here for official website
Admission Price: Adult - NT300 Student - NT200 Group discount available
Directions: There are a few entrances to the expo, but the most convenient one will be at the doorsteps of Yuanshan station (圆山站) along the red MRT line.