Also known as the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn festival is traditionally a time to celebrate a successful harvest with barbecue, beer and of course, the traditional holiday snack of Mooncakes beneath the light of the autumn moon.
As with most traditional Chinese holidays, the Moon Festival is rooted in ancient myth and legend, most notably that of Chang’e, AKA The Moon Goddess of Immortality, whose celestial domain includes not just the physical manifestation of the moon but also menstruation, pregnancy and renewal.
The Mid-Autumn festival is a joyous occasion, a time when friends and family get together in Taiwan for nighttime partying, and if you happen to be visiting Taipei during the festival, you may find yourself being invited by strangers to drink beer and eat barbecue (and mooncakes) while wandering through various riverside parks in Taiwan (many of which have the rules prohibiting open fire cooking waived for the duration of the festival).
However, if wandering around mooching off well-meaning strangers isn’t your thing (and hey, if it is, we are definitely not judging), here are three alternative activities for the 2017 Moon Festival, which this year will happen on the night of Wednesday, October 4th.
1.Midweek Bar Hopping!
Alright, let’s get this one out of the way first. Taiwan prides itself on being a moderate nation in all things, including the imbibing of alcoholic spirits midweek. But the moon follows its own cycles, and if since the Moon Festival falls this year on a Wednesday, who are we to complain? Whether it’s bar-hopping with friends in Taipei to drink, celebrate and people watch, this is a great night to do it. Expect Wednesday night crowds, and don’t forget to hit the streets every once in a while to check out the full moon.
(Read more: Finding Local Flavor at Taipei’s Beer Cafes)
2.Night hike up Elephant Mountain
City lights make for stunning ambiance and great photographs, but they don’t exactly provide optimum lighting for stargazing (or even moon-gazing, for that matter). Your best bet for getting the best view of the night sky without leaving the city is by taking a night hike up Elephant Mountain (象山). The path from bottom to top takes around 20 minutes, and includes plenty of stairs. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the city, including iconic Taipei 101 and of course, the heavenly manifestation of Chang’e in all her glory. The viewing area is a popular spot for locals to hang and drink beer, but the nearest 7-11 is at the bottom of the hill, so if imbibing is your plan best to carry your own in (and bring your litter back down with you).
Want to experience the evening Elephant Mountain Hike as part of a bigger event? The hike is just one of the stops on the MyTaiwanTour Taipei Bicycle Metro & Walking Summertime Tour, which also includes a gourmet food walk and cycling tour around the city.
(Read more: A Perfect Day in Taipei’s Xinyi District)
3.Moonlight Movable Feast
Though Taipei’s night markets are lively pretty much any night of the year, on the night of the Mid-Autumn festival visitors will find them at full swing. Hang out with locals as they consume every conceivable night market item from dumplings to traditional barbecue alongside endless mooncakes (and the more-than-occasional shot of rice wine) in an atmosphere of great joviality. If you’ve got the constitution for it, try to hit Taipei’s top three night markets in a single night, starting with Shilin before heading to Raohe and ending up at the Ningxia market (after which it’s a not half-bad stumble to the DaDaCheng wharf to meet up with the witching hour revelers on the waterfront).
Want to get serious about exploring Taipei’s fantastic culinary scene? Join MyTaiwanTour’s Taipei Culinary Experience Tour and enjoy a dozen (at least!) tantalizing Taiwanese dishes as we roam from traditional market to restaurant to night market.
(Read more: Seven Taiwan Night Markets Everyone Needs to Visit)
4.2019 Nuit Blanche Taipei
Looking for something awesome to do in Taipei on the night of Saturday, October 7? Click here to check out the 2019 Nuit Blanche Taipei, and all night art, music and culture party spanning an entire Taipei District!