Just another day and a little post on Tamsui -in pinyin pronounced Danshui- which is located at the northern tip of Taiwan where the Tamsui river meets the sea. It’s easy to reach by MRT (end of the red line) in 40-60 minutes depending on where you stay in Taipei. Or a fabulous bike ride along the river! So very accessible as a day trip, and especially popular with locals during the weekend. I’ve experienced it on a weekday and on a Saturday and both have their merits. More relaxed during the week however, but on weekends there are concerts and street artists and pretty much everything is open.
Besides sunsets, a promenade along the wharf, a lively night market, great soup dumplings, and good seafood, Tamsui is home to a variety of western colonial, Japanese, southern Fujianese, and native Taiwanese cultural and architectural attractions. So I hear… admittedly, I haven’t really explored this feature further yet. But plan to next time. 🙂 One nice thing about being here longer is knowing I’ll visit more than once.
When I was first looking for accommodation in Taipei, Kaya suggested Tamsui and I liked the look of it, but wanted to really experience Taipei and have shorter travel times. Finally visiting I understand why she suggested it. My girl knows me well. It’s a great place to live if you’re just starting your stay in Taiwan and don’t want to be overwhelmed by busy Taipei. Close enough to attractions in the city but a bit more laid back, with access to great sunset spots and beaches. And a fabulous bike path along the river. The section between Beitou and Tamsui is particularly nice. And the wharf and night market entertaining. On the outskirts, city and countryside merge – rice and vegetable fields contrast modern high-rises. I’m enjoying the scenery and images of Vancouver keep popping up – the sunsets and ‘nature pure’ of the Pacific Northwest are hard to beat! Ah, the comparing mind…
I cycle to Tamsui in the afternoon after my morning trip to Yangmingshan. It takes me about two hours from my place, but could definitely be done faster. I stop a lot for photos and get lost a bit where the rivers and pathways merge. As I find out later, there are plenty of sites describing the cycle route, but sometimes I just want to explore, get lost and figure it out myself.
What I enjoy along the way are the changing face of the rivers and neighbourhoods; cityscapes, people in parks exercising, playing music, fishing; industrial areas merging into nature parks; art parks, glimpses of busy city streets; temples, the ever changing sky… Shezi Island beyond the span of the Keelung river; Tamsui River mangrove reserve; fields and silver grass contrasting with high-rises; Guandu Temple, which I want to visit another time. It looks amazing and is described as a large temple complex with many distinct halls, gardens, a cave and other beautiful features.
I consider renting a place for the month of February, which prompted my second visit. For now this plan is on hold, but if I want quick access to the beach or a beautiful bike trip I know where to go. And there are temples to visit and architecture to explore. See you soon, Tamsui!
Guide to Taipei has some more info if you want to know more. Zai jian (good bye) for now. I have started a Contemporary Chinese course and it’s frying my brain! More on that another time. Next post will be on our Alishan trip – here’s a teaser. 🙂