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.

bike way along the river

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. 🙂

Alishan morning light in the high mountain tea fields, Shizhao area

8 thoughts on “Tamsui

  1. Another interesting post Surati. This sounds exactly like something I’d like to do. I can see why you’d want to stay a while out this way. It seems more laid back that being right in Taipei. What on earth is that four-legged chicken thing?!! Creepy.
    Couple of nights ago we watched a doc on Taiwan: Knowledge Network – The Island Diaries III – Taiwan. Talking about the hours they spend studying and in school (from a very young age) and the hours they work it sounds so intense, and we were both giving thanks for having been raised/lived in more reasonable/balanced cultures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, kids spend a lot of time studying in school and after school – plus everyone is on their smartphones pretty much all the time. There’s no weekend, well maybe Sunday off for anyone working or studying in school, public service, banks, administration, etc. Everything else seems to be on a 24/7 schedule. Some places open early, others late, some never close… that’s Taipei. One reason Kaya got out of teaching… high expectations on the time you spend on prepping classes, extra work on Saturdays, etc. Countryside is a bit more relaxed. It’s all very different from our relatively relaxed lifestyle with paid sick leave and vacation and labour laws… Don’t know enough to say more. The work and service ethic is generally high. I’m currently on a little island Xiao Liu Qiu or Lambei Island – very slow pace especially off season. Taking a few days to chill here and hopefully swim with turtles. 🙂
      xo Surati

      Liked by 1 person

    2. oh, forgot about the four-legged chicken… there was a venue where one could view curious anomalies – like the four-legged chicken. I didn’t go in, just snapped a photo of this one as I walked by. Reminded me of the “really old days” when places like this were very popular.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Surati,

    Here I am sitting in my Los Angeles home listening to Lava telling me that you are visiting my homeland, Taiwan. And most amazingly Tamsui is my birth place and where I grew up. My mom and brother and my side of the family still live there. My uncle and his sons are still running their family business of making fish ball and crispy fish sticks daily fresh on the most famous and the only main street there. I go back to visit them twice a year before the pandemic. Yes, it is one of the most lovely places and I miss the days watching sunset every day.

    I shall organize a The Work retreat some day there. Do also visit the Grand Hotel on the way to Taipei and let me know if you would agree that might be a great site for a 9-day School some day.

    Natalie Wen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Natalie,
      Thanks for your comment. I was just at the Grand Hotel for lunch the other day – beautiful place, that’s for sure. And the food was delicious. Wishing you peaceful days in the city of angels.



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