Dahu & Bihu Park
On a sunny day Dahu and Bihu park are two of favourite places to go to relax in Taipei. During the weeks days, it's normally pretty quiet and surprisingly unspoiled or noisy. During spring and autumn, when the weather starts to cool down, there is normally a nice breeze coming off the lakes. The raised pagoda in the middle of Dahu Park is especially nice for relaxing on.
Weekends are a different story though, if the weather is vaguely nice, Dahu is guaranteed to be full of families picnicking or large groups people enjoying the greenery. I can't blame them for wanted to be outside and enjoy the fresh air, but personally I prefer to try and get away from crowded noisy spaces if I want to go hiking or relax outside. Dahu has a nice bonus of being very close to a short little mountain hike if you fancy a little stroll. The route around the park is fairly nice, and has some interesting views and smallish mountains surrounding the lake.
Sunsets here are impressive if you get lucky with the weather. The clouds around Neihu tend to catch the sunsets nicely though, and they provide nice dramatic compositions. I should also point out it's a very easy location to get to. It's close to the end of the brown line loop. It's a little out of the way, but it's fairly easy to just hop on the MRT and chill out. There's no waiting around for buses or traffic to deal with, which is nice.
Another interesting aspect of the Dahu and Bihu Park is the wildlife you'll see dotted around the place. It can be goo practice if you want to practice some bird photography. There are quite a few different species of ducks and herons nesting around the edges of the lakes. If you have a long lens you can get some nice close up shots of birds in pre-flight, and ducks being ducks in general. I'm not animal expert, but I do enjoy the challenge or trying to get good pictures of true wildlife as apposed to something like the zoo. When you are able to get a nice photo it feels a lot more satisfying I feel.
The hike right next to Dahu only takes about 30 mins to get to the top. It's a nice easy path to the top, that most people could complete quite easily. It's a bit like Elephant mountain in terms of length, but less vertical I would say. At the highest point, you are treated to a nice view of the airport and the Neihu area. If the sky is clear enough, sunset faces the peak perfectly, which means you get a great angle for some golden hour pictures at from the top of the mountain. Sadly last time I hiked there I only took my phone, so the photos were not great quality!
You can either follow the path back the same way to Dahu Park station or follow the path down the opposite side of the mountain to the next MRT station. It's a nice relaxing hike to do if the weather is decent and you fancy going out to enjoy the fresh air!
Just one MRT in front of Dahu Park is Wende, here you can find Bihu Park. Although smaller than Dahu, Bihu has some nice little features that make for some great black and white pictures. The reflections in the lake here lend themselves nicely to long exposure shots I think. There are some traditional style walkways and buildings dotted around the edge of the lake which provide interesting contrast to the surrounding area. Also as you walk to the lake from the MRT, be on the look out for some interesting graffiti. I saw some pretty interesting grungy looking pictures that stood out quite bit!
One of my favourite characteristics of Bihu Park is the unique looking birds there. I thought they seemed look fairly grumpy, and just kind of funny to look at. The placement of them all sitting and waiting right next to the older fishermen at the park, was a funny juxtaposition I though! They all seemed to be waiting in one spot together, as if there was some sort of unspoken pact between the two.
All in all I recommend Dahu & Bihu Parks for anyone wanted to get a taste of the outdoors, but sticking close to home. If you don't fancy driving or hiking up a huge mountain, these two locations can be nice in between options if you are at a loss of places to go. If you can make time during the week, it's a great place to come and relax after a long stressful day working for example. On weekends be prepared for large crowds though!
I hope you found this vaguely useful! :) let me know if there is anything else I should add to these guides!
Until next time!
Sy Edbrooke ^^