Jan 2, 2009

Shezi Peninsula-A Contrasting Rural Area in Taipei City

地理101陳俊明 Jim 497231357

One day, when I was looking at a map of Taipei City, I found a place which is very flat and surrounded by two rivers. This place is Shezi Peninsula(社子島). I was curious about it and, in addition, I like to travel around Taipei at my leisure to observe and understand more about the city I live in. Therefore, I decided to go there by bus and take a look. As a result, I was surprised that there is such a rural landscape in Taipei City. I really enjoyed the natural scenery and the calm atmosphere. That’s why I chose Shezi as my topic.

The Shezi Peninsula is located in the Shilin District(士林區), the northwest part of Taipei City. In Chinese, local people are still used to calling it “Shezi Island,” since it was truly an island several decades ago, but it becomes a peninsula now. Here, at the end of the peninsula, the Keelung River(基隆河) flows into the Danshui River(淡水河). Therefore, there’s an ecological area full of mangrove and wild birds. For those who love nature, this underdeveloped area is definitely a good place to visit.

Because Shezi Peninsula is surrounded by two rivers, and the ground is very flat, it is a place where rivers may flow through and floods may occurs very frequently. As a result, this area is underdeveloped, and a huge part of the land is for agricultural use. That’s why we have such country-like scenery in the busy Taipei City.
In the recent years, the dikes along the riversides have been built up. This is the reason why Shezi turned into a peninsula from an island. Consequently, floods are not that frequent anymore. Some small communities and small factories emerged. This area starts to develop gradually.

If you go by bus, after the bus arrives at the terminal stop, you can walk for a while to reach the dike. Climb up, and the beautiful natural scenery comes into sight. We can see the exact end of the Shezi Peninsula, the converging point of the two rivers, and a huge mangrove protected wetland, where is a habitat for many birds. Across the Keelung River is the Guandu(關渡) area of Taipei City. Across the Danshui River is Wugu Township and Lujhou City(五股鄉、蘆洲市) of Taipei County. If we look around, the bright red Guandu Bridge(關渡大橋), the magnificent Guandu Temple(關渡宮), the high-standing Beitou Incineration Plant(北投焚化爐), and the misty Yangming Mountain(陽明山) all come into sight. In addition, outside the dike, a plaza was built. It’s quite a good place to go in leisure time.
Another attraction is on the way to come. The major road leading to Shezi is the Yanping North Road(延平北路), from section 6 to section 9. But after section 7, the road narrows a lot, and the houses look low and antique. I could feel that I am in a rural countryside, but actually I’m still in Taipei City. It’s quite an interesting contrast!

Since buses run fast, and we can’t randomly stop it, another recommended way to discover Shezi is to ride a bike. There’s a riverside bicycle trail around the whole peninsula. We can choose to ride on the right bank of Danshui River, or the left bank of Keelung River. The two rivers bring you two different views. It’s very comfortable to feel the breeze as you ride along the riverside to admire the beautiful scenery. The bicycle trail stretches all the way to the city center. If you ride along it, you can experience the different atmosphere of rural area and urban area.

The most convenient and easiest way to get to Shezi is to take bus Red 10 from MRT Jiantan Station(劍潭站), till the terminal stop: Taipei College of Maritime Technology(台北海院). It takes about 30 minutes. There’s no specific parking lot and the road is quite narrow, so suggested ways to get there are by bus, by bike, or by scooter. Especially by bike, you can also ride along the bicycle trails, enjoying different views.

At the first time I visited Shezi, I was impressed by its rural scenery: the low, ancient-looking houses, and the narrow road. The natural scenery, including rivers, mountains, and mangrove, is also very beautiful. It’s quite difficult to find such a rural area in the hustle and bustle Taipei City nowadays. It has been kept underdeveloped, so if you want to experience the rural atmosphere just in Taipei City, Shezi is a good place. Taipei is a special basin with both mountains and rivers surrounding it. For leisure, besides going to the mountains, the river view of Shezi is another choice. After busy weekdays, get a bike and enjoy the slow and natural atmosphere through a comfortable cycling!

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