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2019-03-08

[HARBORS AND BEYOND] Next Port of Call: Keelung


Things to Do on a Flying Visit to Northern Taiwan

TEXT & PHOTOS: VISION, NORTH COAST & GUANYINSHAN NATIONAL SCENIC AREA

In 2018, a total of 173 cruise liners made a stop at Keelung Harbor in northern Taiwan. That is almost one huge tourist-carrying vessel every two days. Sometimes you can even see two of these ocean-going giants in the narrow harbor at the same time. For some of these ships the mountain-ringed city of Keelung is the start/end point of a cruise; for others it’s a port of call. For those cruise tourists who decide to become temporary landlubbers while their vessel is docked at Keelung, here are some suggestions on where to go and how to get there from the harbor.

Keelung

While Keelung is a harbor city with a distinct blue-collar character, in recent years it has been significantly modernized, made most evident to visitors by the new railway station just off the harbor and a shopping mall close to the pier where the cruise liners berth. For foodies, the place to go and sample local street food is Miaokou Night Market, where vendors start serving customers in the afternoon.

Getting there: The night market is on Ren 3rd Rd., a 15-min. walk south from the cruise-liner pier.

  • Keelung

    Keelung

  • Jiufen

    Jiufen

Jiufen

If you head east of Keelung, nestled along a mountain ridge overlooking the sea is another Taiwan tourist favorite, the town of Jiufen. This one-time mining center is today best known for its narrow Old Street and breathtaking views of the coast, which are especially beautiful as the sun sets.

Getting there: Take a taxi or take bus No. 788 (the bus stop is on Zhong 1st Rd., across the street from the harborside Ocean Plaza).

Heping Island

Taiwan’s North Coast and Northeast Coast areas are famous for fascinating rock formations. The closest location to the harbor where one can marvel at some of the beautiful rock formations sculpted by wind and water is Heping Island, just a short taxi or bus ride away.

Getting there: Take a taxi or take bus No. T99 (Keelung Shuttle Bus East Line) of the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle network. The bus stop is in front of the Keelung Visitor Center, by the old Keelung Railway Station building.

  • Heping Island

    Heping Island

  • Pingxi

    Pingxi

Pingxi

Inland southeast of Keelung, and requiring a combination of bus and train rides, is the Pingxi Valley. The valley is home to a number of small old towns and villages, also former mining centers, that are surrounded by verdant mountains. The most scenic attraction in the area is picturesque Shifen Waterfall, a 15-min. walk from the Shifen Railway Station.

Getting there: Take a taxi or take bus No. 788 to Ruifang Railway Station and transfer to a train headed to the town of Jingtong (the terminal station on the Pingxi Branch Line). Alternatively, take bus No. 791 to Badouzi Railway Station and take the train headed to Jingtong from there.

Yehliu Geopark

Follow the coast northwest of Keelung and you’ll come to one of the hottest tourist attractions in northern Taiwan, Yehliu Geopark, a wonderland of strangely shaped natural stone sculptures, the most iconic of which is named Queen’s Head. Close-by Guihou Fishing Harbor is an excellent place to try some of the fresh seafood for which Taiwan is famous.

Getting there: Take a taxi or take bus No. T99 (Keelung Shuttle West East Line) of the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle network from the Keelung Visitor Center.

  • Yehliu

    Yehliu

  • Longshan Temple

    Longshan Temple

Taipei

If what interests you most is getting to know Taiwan’s capital, note that taking the train from Keelung to Taipei Main Station takes just 50 minutes. From there, the MRT (Taipei Metro) system transports you in no time to such attractions as Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Longshan Temple, and the National Palace Museum (additional short bus ride required). Just outside Taipei Main Station, on Zhongxiao West Road, you’ll also find the bus stop for the Taipei Sightseeing Bus, a service that takes you on a quick tour around downtown Taipei (two different routes available).

Getting there: Take a Local Train from Keelung Railway Station to Taipei Main Station. Alternatively, take a Kuo Kuang Motor Co. bus from the bus stop in front of the old Keelung Railway Station to Taipei; get off at the National Taipei University of Technology bus stop (at the MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station) or the Taipei Bus Station.

Info

For more information about places to visit in and around Keelung and in other parts of Taiwan, go to the Keelung Visitor Center, located beside the old Keelung Railway Station building.

English and Chinese

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂
Heping Island 和平島
Guihou Fishing Harbor 龜吼漁港
Jiufen 九份
Miaokou Night Market 廟口夜市
National Palace Museum 故宮博物院
Ocean Plaza 海洋廣場
Pingxi 平溪
Shifen Waterfall 十分瀑布
Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

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