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The old town of Tamsui is located to the northwest of the Taipei Basin. Its special historical background has given it a unique foreign flavor and international character, and here you can visit historic and cultural sites such as Longshan Temple, the Maritime Museum, Fort San Domingo, Huwei Fortress, Qingshui Temple, Fuyou Temple, Yinshan Temple, and the Presbyterian Church. The town's mouth-watering snacks are also a powerful attraction for tourists, who come for their delicious flavors and cheap prices.
The biggest concentration of snack vendors in Tamsui is found around the ferry wharf, where they purvey an endless variety of goodies including fish balls, fish cakes, "iron eggs," won tons, and jumbo ice-cream cones. There are also numerous restaurants here serving seafood and charcoal grilled food. On the old streets of Tamsui you can see old shop signs naming old cake shops that still use the traditional methods to turn out coconut cookies, tomato cakes, sesame cookies, and other delicacies rich in local flavor. If you're looking for antiques you can make your way to Zhongzheng Road, where there are more than 10 stores specializing in antiques and handicrafts. Here you will find, in addition to antiques, paintings and calligraphy, stone carvings, Buddha images, ancient clothing, ceramics, and other treasures.
You can also board the ferry and go across to Bali on the opposite shore of the Tamsui River, where you can sample such delicacies as peacock clams and fresh, fat fish. While you are dining, you can enjoy the coastal scenery around you.
After you have had your fill of the local delicacies in Tamsui, you can go a short way down the MRT line to the Mangrove Nature Preserve and enjoy the natural ecology there at your leisure. The intertidal swamps here are where river water and seawater mix, and besides observing the mangroves and other swamp vegetation you will also have a fine opportunity to watch birds.