Daan Park: The Green Lungs of Taipei

Located in the bustling heart of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei Daan Park is a much-loved and much-visited green space that offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Spread out over 82 hectares (200 acres), this is the largest urban park in Taipei, and it’s home to a wide variety of plants, trees, and flowers, as well as a number of recreational facilities and attractions.

Situated in the urban center, Taipei Daan Park officially opened in 1994 and is bordered by Jianguo South Rd. in the east, Xinsheng South Road in the west, Heping East Road in the south, and Xinyi Road in the north. Covered in grasslands, trees, flowers and foliage plants, the park is a green world unto itself. There is a Buddha Statue and a bamboo forest in the north, an open-air theatre for art performances in the center, and an accessible recreational area surrounding it that attracts many park visitors. Known as the “lungs of Taipei City,” the park is equipped with a wide range of recreational facilities, including a public square, public bicycles, open-air music stage, children’s playground, kiosks, and more, providing Taipei’s citizens with a valuable green space and the best venue for exercise and recreation.

A Brief History of Taipei Daan Park

The land that would become Taipei Daan Park was designated urban parkland in 1932 by Japanese authorities as Park Number Seven. The Republic of China government used these areas to build military dependents’ villages, and the International House of Taipei was also constructed on the land. At its peak, the area housed several thousand people, many of them refugees of the Chinese Civil War.

Daan Park looked very different 30 years ago. Source : 黃大洲《一座公園的誕生》

In 1989, the Taipei City Government planned to build a park on the land, after a previous decision to construct a stadium met with opposition from environmentalists. After a long legal battle, 12,000 squatters were evicted from an informal settlement in April 1992, allowing the construction of Taipei Daan Park to proceed.

Prior to the park’s formal opening to the public on March 29th, 1994, a 1985 statue of Guanyin created by Yuyu Yang became a subject of controversy. Former residents of the area wanted it removed, but were opposed by several prominent Buddhist leaders. The municipal government eventually agreed to retain the statue as public art, as long as it was not used for religious purposes.

Despite opening to the public in March 1994, the park’s facilities were not fully operational and construction was still underway, leading to the nickname “Mud Park.”

Taipei Daan Park was intended to play a similar role as other major city parks such as New York City’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park, acting as the “lungs of Taipei city” and as respite for residents from the bustle of life in Taipei. Today, the park is surrounded by high price luxury condominiums that fetch a premium due to their desirable views, with some units reaching the price of $400 million New Taiwan dollars (approximately $14 million US dollars) in 2012.

What to Do and See at Taipei Daan Park

There’s plenty to do and see at Taipei Daan Park, making it a great destination for a leisurely afternoon or a full day out. Some of the highlights include:

  • The children’s playground, which features a number of fun and challenging play structures that are perfect for kids of all ages.
  • The outdoor fitness area, which is equipped with a range of exercise equipment that’s suitable for people of all fitness levels.
  • The lake, which is home to a number of different species of fish and birds.
  • The crossing skybridge at the intersection of Heping East Road and Xinsheng South Road at the south-east corner of the park offers a nice spot for pictures.

In addition to these attractions, Taipei Daan Park is also home to a number of walking and biking trails, as well as several restaurants in the surrounding neighborhoods, making it a great place to grab a snack or a meal while enjoying the outdoors.

As mentioned, Taipei Daan Park is a valuable resource for preserving water resources. In addition to providing various recreational functions to the public, the park is a place where priceless water resources are nourished. The Water Resources Agency, Ministry of Economic Affairs, hopes to educate citizens, through formative influences, to cherish the limited water resources. To do this, the agency has installed water saving apparatus inside the park, as well as a public toilet demo system and a water purification plant experiment. The goal is to make Taipei Daan Park the best showcase of water preservation.

The best Louisa Cafe in all Taiwan

Louisa Cafe is an immensely popular Taiwanese coffee chain known for its delightful coffee at affordable prices, as compared to fancy hipster coffee shops or international brands such as Starbucks. The cafe also offers simple food and a variety of other beverages such as teas and smoothies.

In my opinion, the best Louisa Cafe can be found just outside the Daan Park MRT station. This particular outlet boasts of a plethora of outdoor seats and tables, a rarity in Taiwan, and provides a breathtaking view of the beautiful Daan Park and surrounding skyscrapers. For those who enjoy the Taiwanese heat without air conditioning, this is the perfect spot to visit!

How to Get to Taipei Daan Park

Taipei Daan Park is conveniently located in the heart of the city, and it’s easy to get there by public transportation. The park has its own Metro station on the red line called “Daan Park”.

If you’re driving, there are several paid parking lots available near the park.

Final Thoughts

Taipei Daan Park is a must-visit destination for anyone spending time in the city. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, or you want to take part in one of the many recreational activities on offer, you’re sure to find something to suit your interests at this beautiful and well-maintained urban park. Its rich history and central location make it a unique and fascinating destination, and a visit to Taipei Daan Park is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Taipei.

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