We spent our three days in Taiwan almost exclusively within central Taipei, but we did spend an evening to see a place in the immediate vicinity. Tamsui (or Danshui) is a city on the northern end of Taiwan, just 30 minutes away from the Taipei main station. Though a city in its own right, Tamsui still forms part of the New Taipei metropolitan area, and travelling there is still very convenient. This is the last stop of the MRT’s Tamsui Line, and the Easycard can still be used for buses around the area.
Tamsui is a coastal city located where the Tamsui river meets the sea. It was historically a fishing village, but now it has become known for beautiful sunsets – however the weather was so bad throughout our stay, we never even saw the sun at all. Still, Tamsui was a worthwhile visit. It was far from being a genuine countryside, and the center of Tamsui is a bustling urban area, but the vibe there is already different from central Taipei half an hour away.
Perhaps Tamsui’s most famous landmark, apart from the supposed sunset, is an artistic looking pedestrian bridge. Called, a bit uncreatively but perhaps appropriately, as the Lover’s Bridge, it would make a good backdrop for a romantic movie scene.
Located at an area called the Fisherman’s Wharf, the bridge is quite some distance away from the Tamsui MRT station, and therefore a bit out of the way from the usual tourist route. I had expected the area to be bit touristy, but surprisingly it was the opposite when we went there – it was in fact a bit…desolate. It would have been perfect for romantic couples, as the bridge’s name suggests.
The Fisherman’s Wharf was a port for fishing boats – and it still is – but it now also houses some private yachts and has a high end hotel in the complex. The whole area seems to still be undergoing development into a full fledged recreational area, and I don’t expect it to stay as “quiet” as it is, for long. Dining options at this time are still limited though, so better plan to eat elsewhere if you are visiting soon. However, even though the place seems isolated, there is a freqeunt bus service to and from the MRT station.
The Fisherman’s Wharf can be reached through bus R26 from the Tamsui MRT.
The area around the Tamsui Station is alive and bustling with commercial activity even late in the evening – not in the form of trading pleasure or liquor, but rather, genuine mercantilism – trading goods and most especially, food. Even if you’re not buying anything, the streets around the station are worthy of a stroll, a bit of window shopping, and the occasional bite here and there. It is actually a good side-trip for people with curious and adventureous tastes, with hawkers selling food of various kinds, from fresh fruit, bowls of soup, small meat pies, to stuff I couldn’t describe. Like nearby Taipei, the streets of Tamsui are an adventure for the eyes and the ears, and the taste buds as well.
* We were at Tamsui last April 2012. All photos taken using Olympus E420 with Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5.