SINGAPORE – Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has assembled a list of hotels in Taipei that are offering special deals during the annual Dragon Boat Festival, one of the most colorful and rousing events on the calendar. This year it will be held on June 8 & 9.
As with many similar festivals in Asia, its history is long and complex. The most popular origin story says that during China’s Warring States Period (475-221 BC) there lived a statesman and poet named Cyu Yuan who was an advisor to the Chu King. After jealous rivals turned the King against Cyu Yuan, he was exiled. Later, when the Chu Kingdom was invaded, Cyu Yuan drowned himself in symbolic protest against the corruption of the system and to show allegiance to the empire. Hearing the terrible news, people organized search parties on the river, banging drums to scare spirits away and throwing rice into the water to distract hungry fish from eating his body. The ceremony also takes inspiration from annual water and agricultural rituals in China going back over 2,500 years, of which boat racing is only a small part.
Over the years, the event in Taiwan has evolved into a tremendously competitive race attended by teams from around the world who are cheered on by thousands lining the banks of the Keelung River. Teams consist of between 19 and 28 people who propel a long narrow boat decorated to resemble a dragon down a stretch of water. While the teams row their hearts out, the drummer – sitting at the front of the boat – sets the pace with drum beats and call-outs, while the sweep – who steers the boat in the rear – controls its direction. At the front of the boat sits a flag puller, whose job it is to lean out over the front of the boat and grab a flag at the finish line, and the first team to grab the flag wins. It’s an incredibly well-choreographed event – the noise, the drum beats, the crowds, and the eruption of cheers when a team wins make for a thrilling experience.
As one may expect, there is much more to see and do than just the races. Traditional rice snacks, called zongzih, are served in various flavors and styles, while Taiwan’s famous food, music, dance, and shopping are all celebrated with equal gusto. A trip to Taipei to see this dense and exciting cultural event is well worth it, and the hotel deals below can make the trip even easier.
To connect with Agoda.com for special deals on hotels worldwide, please visit www.agoda.com. Like Agoda.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/agoda or follow Agoda.com on Google+ at http://plus.google.com/+agoda
S. aura Hotel 4*
Stay for a minimum of 2 nights and enjoy 25% off. Expires August 31, 2013.
Mulan Villa Spa Motel 4*
Enjoy 25% off. Expires June 30, 2013.
Green World Hotel Song Jiang 4*
Enjoy 30% off. Expires June 30, 2013.
The Landis Taipei Hotel 5*
Stay for a minimum of 2 nights and enjoy 42% off. Expires August 31, 2013.
City Suites – Taipei Nandong 5*
Early bird special! Book at least 14 days in advance and enjoy 15% off. Expires December 30, 2013.
Sato Castle Motel 4*
Early bird special! Book at least 14 days in advance and enjoy 32% off. Expires December 30, 2013.
Imperial Hotel 5*
Enjoy 35% off. Expires June 30, 2013.
Santos Hotel 4*
Enjoy 30% off. Expires December 30, 2013.
Grand Victoria Hotel 5*
Stay a minimum of 2 nights and enjoy 15% off. Expires December 30, 2013.
Wego Boutique Hotel-Dazhi 3.5*
Special rate – save USD $37! Expires December 30, 2013.