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New Taipei offers blooming great time as tung flowers bloom

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- “Tung flowers are blossoming all over New Taipei City.”This was the message yesterday from Pong Huey-yuan (彭惠圓), New Taipei's Hakka Affairs commissioner, who added that there are 19 trails offering scenic tung flower viewing throughout the city's 10 districts.

The 2013 Hakka Tung Blossom Festival (客家桐花祭) kicked off recently, with 80 percent of tung flower trees already blossoming. The New Taipei City Government is encouraging people to visit Hakka towns and enjoy the extraordinary views of blossoming tung flowers.

New Taipei's Tucheng (土城), Shenkeng (深坑), Ruifang (瑞芳), Sanzhi (三芝) and Sanxia (三峽) districts have mapped out various scenic trails and Hakka cultural experiences for tourists to celebrate the Tung Blossom Festival.

Tucheng Executive Chiu Wu-chuan (邱武全) said the district will hold firefly viewing events along with the festival on the evenings of April 27 and 28 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Tung Flower Park (桐花公園).

Ecological guides will be on hand to explain the characteristics and life cycle of the firefly. He suggested tourists bring their own flashlights as there is little or no lighting along most of the trails.

Ruifang is promoting tung flower viewing at a historical fort, with the district office offering a free shuttle service between Ruifang Train Station and the scenic trail entrance on April 28 between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Every district will provide shuttle services. The city government suggests visitors who want to explore the trails between April 27 and 28 take public transportation to avoid possible weekend traffic jams.

Pong said that apart from enjoying the tremendous tung blossom season, the districts also hold Hakka cultural events and arrange stalls selling traditional Hakka toys, clothes and food. Among the events is the Hakka paper doll event in Tucheng District on April 27. Food and souvenirs not to be missed include tung flower green-bean cakes and handmade wind bells with tung flower patterns.

Pong said there will be tung flower painting exhibition at Tucheng Chincheng Gallery (金城藝廊) until May 15, adding that the entire Tung Blossom Festival will last until the middle of May.

Visit http://tung.hakka.gov.tw for more information.

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This undated photo shows tung flower petals on the ground in New Taipei City. There is a saying in Taiwan that “Tung flowers blossom in April, white flower snow in May,” because when tung flowers scatter on the ground, it looks like snow.

(Courtesy to New Taipei City Government)

Enlarge Photo

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