The Taipei Jianguo Jade and Flower Markets (建國假日玉花市) are a must-see for anyone in Taiwan. Located next to each other on Jianguo South Road, the two markets stretch for nearly a kilometer (1/2 a mile) under the elevated highway. They are only open on weekends and can make for a wonderful escape from Taipei’s often dreary rain. But even on a sunny day, the Jade and Flower Markets (along with the adjacent Daan Forest Park) make for a nice afternoon walk for tourists and locals alike.
The Jade Market
The Taipei Jianguo Jade Market starts just south of the intersection at Zhongxiao East Road and Jianguo South Road. It is one of the biggest jade markets in all of Asia and many great deals can be found. The jade comes in many styles and colors. From hundred dollar trinkets to multi-thousand dollar sculptures, just about any kind of semi-precious stone art can be found here.
The friendly vendors seemed to be accustom to tourists, but few seemed to speak English, so if you’re really there to bargain, it might be best to take someone who speaks mandarin.
The Flower Market
Just south of the Jade Market and across Renai Road is The Taipei Jianguo Flower Market. A vast array of flowers, tropical plants, bonsai trees, cacti and garden supplies can be found here at unbelievable prices. It’s one stop shopping for all you flora needs and quite a contrast to the concrete laden city.
But what the market is best know for is its incredible variety of orchids. Blossoms of white, lavender, and pink are around every corner. Small pots with a few blossoms can be found here for only NTD$100. That’s about US$3 for flowers that cost $15-20 in the US!
Open only on weekends, the Flower Market can get quite crowded, especially on rainy days. But fear not! I noticed a very strange socialistic happening here: People seem to be really happy when they are buying flowers! Everywhere I looked, I saw happy people with big smiles on their faces. Apparently, getting great deals on beautiful flowers can be an uplifting experience!
The Artist Market
Just south of the Flower Market is yet another market… This one is the Taipei Jianguo Artist Market. It’s a bit smaller than its two more famous neighbors, but the Artist Market has some very interesting handi-crafts. Here you can see artist hand paint traditional Chinese paper lamps, blow glass figurines, write in traditional calligraphy, or hand carve furniture for your home. They also often have local street performers playing songs and have a few food carts around so you can eat some local Taiwanese snacks.
The Jade, Flower and Artist Markets are found under the Jianguo over pass on Jianguo South Road. The most northern point is the Jade Market just south of Zhongxiao Road. It is best accessed by walking east from the Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT stop and then south on Jianguo until you come to the entrance. The Flower Market is located between Renai East Road and Xinsheng East Road. The Artist market is just south of the Xinyi East Road and Jinaguo South Road intersection. This end of the three markets can be accessed from the Daan MRT stop by walking west on Xinyi East Road.