Of Linux, Programming, and Singaporean Ramblings

Day Four in Taipei

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 11:29PM +0800


  1. Check out Wedding Shop
  2. Danshui Old Street (淡水老街)
  3. Fishermen’s Wharf (渔人码头)
  4. Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)

We were greeted with a clear sky this morning. Our destination for the day was the northern part of Taipei, basically the Fishermen’s Wharf (渔人码头), Danshui Old Street (淡水老街), and the Shilin Night Market (士林夜市).

Before starting on the tour proper though, we wanted to check out a shop selling wedding items recommended by a friend.

Interior of the Wedding Favour Shop, Kute
Interior of the Wedding Favour Shop, Kute
[kute] Wedding Favors & Invitation
[kute] Wedding Favors & Invitation

We made the first stop for the day the wedding item shop. As my girlfriend and I had wedding plans, her friend recommended that we check out this shop while in Taipei.

The shop was clearly not a retail store as it is in an office building among other offices. Nevertheless, the layout was simple and elegant. The items were cute and all; we browsed through the shelves of the shop and found nothing particularly fanciful. With that we made our way back to the MRT station.

We needed to reach Danshui MRT station by transferring to the Danshui Line (red line). The station is right at the end of the line. It is also the direction to take when trying to get to Beitou (北投) for hot spring baths.

The street market at Danshui is right next to the station. But as soon as we alighted, we were drawn to the scenery of the hill across the bay.

View along the Pier at Danshui
View along the Pier at Danshui
Scenery outside of Danshui MRT
Scenery outside of Danshui MRT

Before we got to the “official” Danshui Old Street, we strolled by the coast to take a look at the tourist shops lined along it. The shops occupy quite a distance before we cover them all. The coast is linked to Danshui Old Street at nearly every part of the way. Traversing the street brought us back to the station. We had bought some biscuits from a shop. Fortunately we had the foresight to place the biscuits with the shop before we started our journey to Fishermen’s Wharf. The journey by foot to the tourist spot is tiring enough as it is; I cannot imagine having an extra load on hand.

We decided to walk to the tourist spot as we thought we’d be able to get more of the local culture by foot instead of taking the bus. Along the way, we passed by a church and we saw two parties of people taking photographs at the place. The church and its surroundings were made of red bricks. We were not sure whether the subjects were models or real couples. I’d feel sorry for them if they are actual couples taking their pre-wedding shots as the rainy weather is sure to dampen (get it? haha, yeah…) their moods.

An Alley along Danshui Street
An Alley along Danshui Street
Red Bricks Church
Red Bricks Church

The distance to the wharf is significant and if you’re not used to walking, I do not recommend it. The journey is made all the more arduous by the cold weather, the camera stand and the incessant raining. We made a pit stop halfway through the trip to rest our feet and refill our near empty stomachs. This is why we want to make the journey on foot – we can discover treasure spots like this cafe.

We rested for about half an hour and restarted the journey. Along the way. we passed Fort San Tiago (红毛城) and decided to skip it.

The rest of the journey took probably 20 minutes or so. We concluded that the trip to Fisherman’s Wharf should be done by bicycles if not motorised transport. Nevertheless, we were able to get in more sights.

We were glad when we spotted tour buses heading in the same direction as we were as that hinted that we were going the right way and that we were reaching.

I heaved a sigh of relief we saw the Lovers’ Tower. After a long trek, we finally reached our destination, and not anytime sooner as we both were needing the washroom by then. Thanks to the “pit stop”, we were not hungry by that time still. It was about 5pm and the sky was already turning dark.

When we stepped foot onto the symbolic bridge overseeing the wharf, sunlight was already gone. At the middle of the bridge, the wind got even stronger, and therefore colder and wetter. If you ever decide to come to this place, it is recommended that you reach while there is still daylight. The night scene isn’t really fantastic, although that is made up for by the bridge being lighted by itself.

Although the sky was completely dark when we left, the night was still young. The last photo above seemed to indicate that it would be about 8 to 9 pm if it were in Singapore, but it was only between 6-7 pm.

Since there was plenty of time left, we decided to go to Shilin Night Market, as it is along the way back. Strangely enough, the signs at the Jiantan (剑潭) MRT station indicated that it is the place to alight to reach the night market even though the Shilin MRT station is right next to this one.

We eventually found out that both stations are within walking distance to the night market. Intel for travelers!

It was good fortune that we went to the night market – the shoes that my girlfriend bought the night before (to replace the pair drenched by the rain) were killing her. A quick visit to one of the many shoes stalls yielded a cheap pair of shoes that was a much better fit.

As with all night markets, the stalls are more or less the same that you find everywhere. However, the crowd in this market is definitely a lot more livelier. I was not sure if it was because it was nearing the end of the week that got more students active, or was it because the market’s reputation was inherently more popular. If there was only time for one night market to tour, this is definitely the one!

Tags: travel
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