What was the best sand castle you created as a child? I’m willing to bet it didn’t look anything like these:
Every summer, international sand sculptors congregate to create stunning sand masterpieces on the northern coast of Taiwan for the International Sand Sculpture Festival. Selective artists from around the world are invited to Fulong Beach, where they are given a heap of golden sand from which to create their masterpieces.
This year’s chosen theme was ‘Childhood Memories’. The creativity that goes into these works of art is truly astonishing, not to mention the detail, depth and feeling achieved from such a simple resource. When the sculptures are finished, they are sprayed with a biodegradable, non-toxic glue to keep the sand safe from the wind and rain so prevalent in Taiwan. At the end of the festival, the local sand used to create the masterpieces is leveled back down, returning to its natural state. Quite a sustainable way to boost tourism and promote the arts.
Two sculptures were easily our favorite, and they happened to be the judges’ picks as well. Casey’s favorite (second place) was named Through the Eyes of Babes, portraying what all crazy adults must look like when they oogle and google at infants. Dan’s top choice (first prize) was named Dragon Reality and depicted a child sketching a dragon, vividly coming to life as the viewer revolves around the sculpture.
Technically, access to the sand sculptures is free; however, you must pay $100NT to enter Fulong Beach (the most popular beach in Northern Taiwan). The weekends are insanely crowded with Taiwanese tourists elbowing for prime photo ops with the ‘castles’, so try to time your visit with a weekday. There is an area of the beach to sunbathe after enjoying the sand sculptures, just remember you’ll be sharing it with swarms of people. The swimming area is partitioned to an extremely small area of the ocean.
To reach the International Sand Sculpture Festival: Take the train to Fulong Train Station. Go straight until you hit the main road, take a left, and you will soon stumble upon the parking lot for Fulong Beach. The walk should only take about five minutes. All else failing, follow the crowds.