Bitan is a scenic and recreational riverfront park popular amongst the locals for a respite from city life. The name of the area Bitan literally means Green Lake, where the Xindian River widens to a lake.
A quick 30mins train ride from Ximen Station on the Taipei Metro Green Line, you will arrive at the Xindian Station (新店), which is the last station of the green line.
A left turn and a short stroll out from Xindian Station will bring you to the refreshing breath of fresh air at Bitan where there are a host of activities, park amenities and good selection of restaurants and shops to keep you and your companions entertained.
SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES
The picturesque surroundings of Bitan can be leisurely enjoyed while peddling the swan boats on the calm turquoise waters of the Xindian river. These swan boats are readily available in abundance along the river side beneath the suspension bridge. There are a variety of options available for the different capacities and these vendors view safety very highly hence every guest must wear a life jacket when in the lake.
Getting a little leg workout might not be something to appeals to you yet you want to enjoy the serene ride on the lake?
Recently added to the fleet of swan boats, there is the motor powered option in which you can indulge in the scenery without breaking into a sweat. This motor powered swan boat can be seen in the picture above, where there is a comfortable sitting area around a center table, so bring on the snacks and the drinks while you cruise through the lake!
BITAN SUSPENSION BRIDGE
The Bitan Suspension bridge is an iconic landmark of Bitan and it is one of the things that you will spot once you are in Bitan. Bitan Suspension bridge connects the east and west banks over a 200m stretch and it has history since 1936.
The Bitan Suspension bridge sways a little from side to side depending on the crowd and the breeze and it offers a panaromic view of the scenic Bitan area and also a great spot to watch the swan boat paddle by. With its parrellel cable lines, it is a place to get some nice insta-worthy shots but patience is key to getting that picture perfect moment as when I there on a Sunday, the place was teeming with visitors both locals and foreign.
Crossing over from the east bank to the west bank brings you to another face of Bitan, where you will welcomed by lush green landscape of steep cliffs, huge boulders, historical temples and walking trails. Also on the west bank, you will be able to enjoy traditional local delicacies like Aiyu jelly, Taiwan sausage and the popular favourite dessert, shaved peanut ice cream, which is a must try here.
A well-kept secret amongst the locals is that on the west banks of Bitan, the area is teeming with fireflies between mid April and end May and if you happen to be in Taipei during that period, you should not miss the opportunity to see these fireflies as their occurrence are becoming more rare due to their shrinking habitat due to deforestation and pollution.
During this period, the locals and nature enthusiasts will arrange guided walking tours to bring you into the trails to view the fireflies and the best thing is that these tours are entirely free of charge as they are doing it out of interest and the love for the beauty and nature of their homeland. Isn’t that great?
For more information on the fireflies tour, LIKE the facebook page here.
There are no shortage of activities in Bitan and when you need to take a break and recharge, heading to Waterfront Restaurant along the east bank of Bitan is one which I would highly recommend.
Set in a comfortable setting of colourful cushion sofas and white rattan furnishing, the Waterfront Restarant seeks inspiration from the chill and relaxing vibes of Bali bringing a comfortable environment to rest and relax while you overlook the bustling activities on the waterfront, sipping on your refreshing drink.
Waterfront Restaurant serves up many mouthwatering Western dishes with great food presentation too. The open concept kitchen also allows patrons and passerby see and smell all the delicious food being prepared.
EXCLUSIVE FREE GIFT
Waterfront Restaurant is offering my readers a bottle of wine when you dine in their premise and all you have to do is inform the staff that you got to know Waterfront Restaurant through this post and you will get this bottle of wine.
I would recommend that you visit Bitan in the afternoon and by the time you are done with the activities, it is around evening and time for dinner at Waterfront Restaurant and this bottle of wine would be the perfect accompaniment to your delicious meal.
On certain evenings, you could also catch the musical fountain light show!
Bitan is easily accessible via public transportation.
- Get on the Songshan-Xindian Line (Green Line) and head in the direction of Xindian.
- Take the train to the last station Xindian
- Alight at Xindian and turn left after the gantry
- See the signage to Bitan in less than 2minutes
TRAVEL INFO & TIPS
Don’t forget to plan a trip to Wulai when you head to Xindian.
See the things to do in Wulai here.