Whiling away the winter
By Jason GerockTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Well, it comes as no surprise that once again Taiwan can't seem to figure out what season it is. One day the weatherman tells you to button up and the next day it's shorts and flip-flops.
December 29, 2012, 12:07 am TWN
But lets assume that it's colder than not here in the lovely R.O.C., and taking a bike trip up to Tamsui is out of the question. So what kind of fun stuff is there to do when the sun barely peeks out from the clouds and you have to wear your fuzzy socks?
I figure the best way to tackle the cold is to embrace it. So on a decidedly cold day, why not head over to the W Hotel in Taipei's Xinyi District for some elegant ice-skating? In a pretty brilliant move, the hotel's WET Bar has converted their pool into a “200-square-meter custom shaped hybrid-ice rink” called CHILL. For NT$880 a person you can get a couple hours on the ice, plus rental skates and a drink. Since you're in Taiwan it's probably been a while since you've been on the ice, so if you're going to fall on your butt, you should at least do it stylishly at the W.
For many though, the bumps and bruises that come along with (in my case very) amateur ice-skating don't exactly make for winter fun. No worries, because there are some out there that are so good at twirling around in the rink that you'd pay to watch them do it.
Coming soon to Taipei Arena, Disney on Ice is sure to be a breath of fresh, chilled air. And while yes, it's Disney, it's not just for the kids. These Olympic-quality skaters are truly thrilling to behold as they jump and twist and fly across the ice at breathtaking speeds. Yes, the hero- and princess-themed show is designed with kids in mind, but it delivers the kind of romance that only Disney can deliver and it's perfect for couples as well. Don't forget, it's chilly in there, a perfect excuse to get a little closer. Tickets for the show are going to run you anywhere between NT$250 and NT$2,000, but come on, when was the last time you saw a man in tights flying around on ice skates faster than you drive while killing a dragon and saving a princess?
If you're looking to get both chilled and warmed to your bones on the same trip head over to Beitou and then to Yangmingshan. There's hiking trails and hot springs all over the area, so after you get all tuckered out climbing to one of Yangmingshan's misty peaks, you can head back down and let soak your tired muscles in a private or public hot spring bath. Keep in mind that spring is not too far off, and that means cherry blossom season on the mountain too.
Yangmingshan is just 10-15 minutes drive from the city, so if you've got your own transport use it. There's also plenty of buses going there that you can chose from. Bus 230 leaves regularly from Beitou MRT Station to the park. Go to http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw and click the “Plan your trip” tab for more options.
Just because it's cool outside doesn't mean you have to stick to the house. So when the ladies start pairing their miniskirts with fur-lined Eskimo parkas and insulated boots, and you don a windbreaker or maybe a long-sleeve sweater, why not hit the ice, or maybe go watch a dragon or two? Taiwan may not be a winter wonderland, but it's a fair bet you can always find something fun just around the corner.