It's cherry blossom season in Northern Taiwan. Yangmingshan, reliably a favorite spot each year, is already playing host to crowds attracted by the sight of the first cream and pink blossoms.
For a quieter alternative to Taipei's flower mecca, consider Neihu District's Bihu Park, which is populated by small cherry blossom trees that bear fuchsia blossoms.
Songzhih Park, next to Taipei 101, is the unlikely home of 12 cherry blossoms under the care of power wire manufacturer Walsin Lihwa.
Between Feb 5 and Feb 18, the flowers are expected to bloom at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. This Taipei landmark offers a cluster of 11 varietals including the yoshino, considered one of the most beautiful.
Meanwhile, New Taipei City has announced the start of its cherry blossom season, touting a total of 15,000 cherry blossom trees, over 10,000 of which are concentrated in Zhonghe District. Other notable viewing locations include Shuangxi's Cherry Blossom Avenue and Sanzhi.
Main varietals in New Taipei City are the hardy indigenous Formosa Cherry, the lush yaezakura and the yoshino.
In Tamsui District, Tien Yuan Temple has a great view featuring 30 Fuji cherry blossoms, a gorgeous varietal that carries three colors on each blossom: white, pink and deep red.
Fujis bloom early in the year and are expected to begin this week and peak a for duration of seven to 10 days. For an up-to-date forecast, visit https://zh-tw.facebook.com/weberec
Wulai Scenic Area offers hot springs, the Wulai Atayal Museum and the Wulai Old Street, which is lined with food hawkers and cherry blossoms. Visit http://wulai.mmhot.tw for more information.
For more sighting locations in northern Taiwan, visit http://flowers.taipei and http://www.cherry-blossoms-ntpc.com.