Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Warm Up in Winter to the Wind of Revving Engines

... at Songshan Airport in the heart of Taipei!

That's right! There's an airport in the middle of densely populated Taipei!

It's funny because there are all the usual tourist attractions in Taipei but this one rarely gets mentioned. I think it should be right there at the top of the list!

Basically you can stand at the end of the runway, just meters from the end, and watch the incoming planes land. It's a real rush! Besides you're sure to see planes. One lands practically every 5 minutes!

Only one book, 'Mapping the Culture of Taipei', published by Taipei City, mentions this attraction. It may well be because it's isolated and hard to get to. If you ride a scooter it's great. If not you're in for a little walk.

Also, it may not be mentioned because it's just plain dangerous. On busy days, many watchers stand near the busy street that passes right beside the end of the runway. The only thing between the watchers and the airfield is a simple fence too.

I can't say it's very developed either. It's actually fairly dumpy with small farmers fields spread around the area. Don't stray too far to the side either! There's a military airbase entrance there complete with armed security. They don't like visitors.

One last thing not mentioned is that this is a great thing to do in the winter. But don't go for the planes landing. Go for the planes taking off (from the same runway). They rev up at the viewing end and the audience is bathed (lightly) in the heat of the engines. There's a load of wind too so be prepared. It's the perfect cool date for a cold winter day or evening. Try it!
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