Tag Archives: Shimen

富貴角燈塔 Fuguijiao Lighthouse @ Taiwan’s Northern Tip!

Only 12 km up the road from St. John’s University is the northern tip of Taiwan, easily accessible by bus and then a 15-minute walk, which leads to the Fuguijiao Lighthouse 富貴角燈塔 .

The original lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1897, apparently the first one built in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era ~ this one was put up in 1962. On the lighthouse compound are unused lookout posts, pillbox-style and the lighthouse is right next to an army base, but the grounds have been open to the public since 2015. It’s famous for its foghorn, much in use during winter. On a sunny day, it’s pretty spectacular – these photos were taken a few days ago, just after 4:00 pm – check out the lighthouse sundial.

Just wishing every winter day on Taiwan’s northern coast could have weather like this!

Taiwan’s North Coast Kite Festival 2017 @ Baishawan Beach 白沙灣, Shimen District ~ YES!


Privileged to live so close to one of northern Taiwan’s best beaches, and today is THE day!  Every year we have a kite festival on Baishawan Beach 白沙灣 in Shimen District 石門, with thousands of people, hundreds of kites, lots of sun and hopefully lots of wind.  This is the scene this afternoon, with the lighthouse on Taiwan’s northern tip in the far distance…


Last year’s blog post about the kite festival 2016 is here.  This year’s kite festival is a bit different.  Although it’s being held all this weekend, in fact yesterday was a working day for most people in Taiwan, in lieu of Monday October 9, to make next weekend a 4-day weekend.  So yesterday at Baishawan was really quiet – in terms of people.  But there was tons and tons of wind.  It was so hot, but the wind was strong, and there were lots of windsurfers and kite-surfers there too.


Today, there’s tons of people. Lots of kites, lots of sun (it’s even hotter than yesterday – 36°C plus) – but hardly any wind!  There’s not a windsurfer in sight, just surfers today.  Of course there’s always a little sea breeze, fine for the smaller and lighter kites but for the bigger ones, they can’t get them off the ground.  This is the best it’s gets…


And the other thing that’s different from last year is that on June 2 this year we had a massive rain storm that washed away the boardwalk and the footbridge at Baishawan. Not yet repaired.  It also changed the course of the river flowing into the sea at that point. This is the scene now….

Our students have been volunteering all weekend, and some of our students have part-time jobs in the restaurants there.   It’s hot, hot, hot.


But there’s some fun kites, a large rooster…..


Cartoon characters, some struggling to get off the ground…

A Taiwan flag….


And plenty more….

And when it gets too hot, there’s a museum about the Baishawan scenery and nature – (with air-conditioning!)…

I missed the opening ceremony with the mayor of New Taipei City this morning, plus lots of dancing and singing performances, plus there’s lots of DIY activities for making your own kite, and tonight there’ll be fireworks.

Y’know, all-in-all it’s a great event – ah, I just love kites!

Happy Children’s Day 兒童節 in Laomei Village 石門鄉老梅!

Laomei Elementary School 老梅國小 is in Shimen Township on Taiwan’s northern tip, and on a sunny day in spring and summer it’s beautiful.  The rest of the time, sadly it is not. The rain lashes down in buckets, the wind blows in great big gusts, and the children are well-used to spending endless days indoors.   But surprise, surprise, after a very wet weekend, suddenly yesterday was beautiful, the sun was out and it was warm!

Laomei Beach is famous for its Algal Reef 老梅綠色石槽, formed from wave-cut volcanic lava and every year covered in bright green algae, especially in April – May, and best seen at low tide.

Yesterday morning was not low tide, but the algal reef was really starting to look very green! Great!

The village was also looking quite cheerful with the sun out.  Many of the residents are elderly, but the people are tough, and very committed to their village. It’s in the danger zone for the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant, so there are notices all over. The centre of village life is the old people’s activity centre, located on the ground floor of the temple….

It so happened I was spending the morning at Laomei School…

The children were enjoying the weather….

In honour of Children’s Day, celebrated in Taiwan on April 4, we were learning a little about children around the world.  We used an excellent You Tube Video, Scenes From Schools Around the World and we learned the song, Hello to all the Children in the World – a great way to introduce the subject.  At the end we made some cut-out children with the greetings in different languages written on them, and got each class together for a group photo….

See how the declining birth rate is affecting Laomei School?  A few years ago, the top classes had 30+ children, now down to less than 20, and the younger classes have less than 10…. they are all so lovely, of course!

Happy Children’s Day to all the children of Laomei ~ and to all the children of the world!

Ah, a sunny day, at last!

Finally the rain has stopped, and yippee, today’s been bright and sunny ~ YES!  It started with an early morning rainbow over Sanzhi ~ I love rainbows.  I’m sure that’s my house at the end of the rainbow, but sadly there was no pot of gold waiting when I got home ha ha!


And then this afternoon, the whole world was out and about, mostly at the beach – or in the car driving to and from the beach.  You gotta have a lot of stamina to live in such a small country with so many people who all go out at the same time on the same roads!

This was Shimen Arch this afternoon, a natural stone arch right up near the northern tip of Taiwan, and Shimen Town…..


Y’know living in a major tourist area is fun ~ ‘n it only takes me 5 minutes on the bus to get there and back ~ whereas the poor people on their way back to Taipei tonight will take 2 or more hours.  Ah yes, I love Taiwan’s Northern Coast!

Taiwan’s North Coast Kite Festival 2016 @ Baishawan Beach 白沙灣, Shimen District ~ YES!

Kites, kites and more kites ~ amazing kites, beautiful kites, fun kites, crazy kites, stunt kites, home-made kites, kites of every kind and from every where ~ and all on show at Taiwan’s annual North Coast Kite Festival, held ever year since the year 2000 at Baishawan Beach in Shimen, just near Taiwan’s northernmost point and lighthouse. Happens also to be only 5 minutes on a bus from where I live ~ YES!


Last year, this last weekend of September was Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, and also a big typhoon was on its way, so although it was nice and windy and cool, it was grey, grey, grey! This year though ~ what a contrast!  Yesterday was all blue skies and blue seas to match. But another typhoon is on its way, so it was wildly windy, but oh so sunny.  Perfect!


There were zillions of people everywhere ~ including the Mayor of New Taipei City, Eric Chu 朱立倫 who came for the opening ceremony at 2:00 pm along with lots of other VIPs. We had dancing and singing from the Beinan (Puyuma) 卑南族 Tribe, greetings from all the VIPs, and then a tour down to the beach where Mayor Chu launched a kite, and then walked around shaking hands, mine too.  As I was in hat and sunglasses, don’t suppose he’ll recognise me again ha ha!  Here he is shaking the hands of the people next to me…


There were displays by all different kite teams from all over the world.  All amazing!

The kite display teams did a great show, each had their own kite, and somehow even in the huge winds, they would control them to fly in formation and do all sorts of shapes – and even form words.   And there were parachuting sweets that fell out of a bag sent up on one of the kites!

No time to attend the evening show of kites that were all lit up. And today the skies are grey, so the 400 photos I took yesterday will have to do!

Yep, I love kites ~ they are such fun!

North Coast Kite Festival 2015 @ Baishawan 白沙灣 !

It’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival today, one of the most important festivals of the year, celebrated with barbecues and moon-gazing, visits home and moon cakes.  We even have a day off on Monday to make the most of it all.   Yippee!

IMG_6015It’s also the weekend of Taiwan’s annual North Coast Kite Festival at Baishawan Beach 白沙灣 just a mile or so up the road from here.  Must-go!

Ah yes, and to top it all, we have a typhoon on the way! Hopefully the last of the season. Typhoons mean rain and wind, and certainly no moon-gazing, but the wind is of course ideal for kites and the grey skies mean it’s a very pleasant temperature…

So this was the scene yesterday afternoon at Baishawan – millions of people and zillions of kites.  You can just spot the lighthouse at the northern tip of Taiwan in the far distance….


A great atmosphere!  The beach was cordoned off, and the whole area dedicated to kite flying and kite-surfing displays.  Beautiful!  The photos are, well, a bit grey, but hey those kites were huge and pretty amazing!

I just love kites!