I’ve been in Taiwan for almost 5 years now and I’ve never been to the Dragon Boat races, in part because every time I’ve mentioned the idea of watching to a Taiwanese friend they’ve always said it’s too hot (maybe) and they watched it as a child (probably a lie).
Anyway, I often bicycle on the riverside bike paths between 6 and 7 am, and for the past few weeks I’ve enjoyed watching the preparations for the race (on the river behind the Songshan Airport). Teams have been practicing paddling the boats for weeks. As race date nears, preparations have increased and the parking lot is now full of cars at that early hour, of the participants who jog together in packs beside the river and paddle in their giant boats. Even without a race, it is fun watching the boats cut through the still water, casting a giant wake behind them, seeing the paddlers mostly in unison by now, and seeing one fat guy lounging in the bow and one in the stern of each boat, enjoying the free ride.
So, having watched them practice for a few weeks now, I’m thinking I might check out the race/s. Sure it will be hot, but they’ve got a whole bunch of tent roofs set up in the spectator area (although they’ll probably be insufficient), or I could just wear a hat.
Has anyone seen the races?
They have races down at my place. A lot smaller that the Taipei City ones but a bit more down-home and funky. I don’t generally go of course, in case I’m mistaken for an unsophisticated mouthbreather.
The races are fun. People make a day of it if the weather is good. A few of the Trade Offices and Chambers of Commerce usually enter some foreign teams as well. The only downside is the odor from the river; especially if it’s a scorcher.
[quote]The only downside is the odor from the river; especially if it’s a scorcher.
Another reason to choose Bitan.
Where exactly is the spectator area?
I’m just amazed that people are brave enough to go near the river they use in Tainan. Its odour is almost unbearable in cold weather.
Now that Sandman has mentioned other dragonboat races, I confess I don’t know if this is the location for the Taipei races, but it looks pretty big and fancy with new tents and outhouses installed. It is behind the Songshan airport, just a short walk in the opposite direction from the Grand Hotel (if you’re there you will know what I’m talking about as the hotel looms over the river). If you look across the river you’ll see the Grand Hotel on the left and Neihu on the right.
If you’ve never been to the biking/walking/jogging paths, soccer/baseball/kite flying fields, roller hockey rinks, etc., down by the river, this might be a good chance to check it out. As I’ve said before, when I first discovered the area I was amazed. It’s a whole different side of Taipei, with lots of green grass and people having a good time.
The other poster is correct that the river stinks, but in my mind it’s worth enduring the stench for the beautiful (by Taipei standards) scenery and exercise.
The river’s not so bad if you’re a spectator; the one’s hit the hardest are the rowers. But, from what I hear, they work up their courage with more than a little beeru before the races begin. Good fun! Check it out.
The Taipei City ones are the ones you’re talking about, while the ones at Bitan are organized by Taipei County.
Does anyone know when the races get started? Or at what time they end?
Last year, in Taipei, a very drunk local jumped in the river. He appeared to not dissolve or explode. I thnk he was to far gone with the beer to notice the persistent itching and sloughing away of his skin :loco:
Damn, the Fu-Jen team looks hot. I’ll be at the stretch of river near the Grand Hotel with my camera and a bunch of friends. I’ll likely hang out in the South African tent too.
I don’t know pinyin but it’s something like Da-zhr Bridge. Dz. Dzee. Whatever.
I just participated in the races with our company’s dragon boat team yesterday in the Taipei City races, and it was quite a bit of fun. I’ve been there before as a spectator, and that is also fun.
The river didn’t smell at all, and no, I hadn’t had any beers beforehand. As MT said, the races are at the Dajia park just north of the Songshan airport. The races started yesterday, and will continue through Sunday.
We actually won a race yesterday, and lost two races. Unfortunately, the race we won was by forfeit.
The wife & boy I went down to Kaoshiung friday afternoon. We stayed at the Kingdom Hotel which is very close to Love River and the Dragon Boar Races and festivities.
It is a very good time watching the races there and walking the river on both sides.
Many food booths and other neat items offered for sale.
My 1st time in Kaoshiung for this and I highly reccomend both the Kingdom hotel and the Dragon Boat races there.